By Kimberly Jensen
Quail Corner 

Selling the Family Home, Power of Attorney, Dealing with Boredom

 

Last updated 5/2/2024 at 11:33am | View PDF



Question: My mother has decided to move to an assisted living and wants to sell our family home to supplement the payment for her care. The family doesn’t want the home sold. What are the options?

Many families have a difficult time letting go of the home where they grew up. The bottom line is that it is her home. Her home is one of her assets and it will help her in the next chapter of her life. She may feel like she is not safe, needs more socialization or feels like the upkeep is too much for her.

There are options, however, if the family wants to retain the home. Some families will pitch in to help pay for their parents' stay in a community, and rent out the home for additional income. If you do not have the time to be a landlord, a property management company can deal with finding good tenants, performing maintenance, and rent collection. If there is a big-ticket item such as replacing a roof or purchasing a new heating and cooling system, the family would have to pay out of pocket for those repairs. Think about it as an investment. You will have to get all your siblings onboard for this to happen.

If you cannot do this in a group effort, then perhaps you can purchase the home yourself from her to keep it in the family. It means coming up with a down payment and total responsibility of repairs and maintenance on your own.

Otherwise, this decision is solely your mother’s. I suggest sitting down with her and laying out all the options. She needs to know that you support her decision to move to a community, where she can thrive without the burdensome issues that she has in her home. She is trying to get away from cooking, cleaning, maintenance and most importantly, being alone. This decision needs to be a practical decision and not an emotional one. Whatever her final choice is, be understanding and supportive.

Question: My father has a large estate and is currently at a skilled nursing facility getting rehabilitation from an injury he sustained from a fall in his home. He will be moving to an assisted living facility to get the care he needs. As power of attorney, I am not able to handle his finances or even find an assisted living community for him. I live on the East Coast and my job keeps me too busy to give him the time and attention he needs. What do I do?

Many people listed with power of attorney are not aware of the burdens placed on them when loved ones are no longer able to make choices and decisions for themselves. I recommend finding a fiduciary in the area to take over your power of attorney role by becoming his conservator. They will then be able to deal with his finances and care placement. Assisted living facilities work closely with fiduciaries regarding care, contracts, payment, doctors’ appointments and so much more. Their focus is to do what is in the best interest of their clients. It is not a free service, and fiduciaries get paid an hourly rate for the time they spend with and for their client.

Fiduciaries are a team of professionals that can become trustees and conservators for their clients. They will be a huge help and relieve your duties as power of attorney. A “fiduciary” relationship is one of trust and they must account for every cent of their clients’ monies.

Question: My father-in-law has been staying in our home for the past four years. My husband and I work, so he is there alone most of the time. He has started to express his frustration from boredom. We are doing everything we can do to take him out for drives on the weekends, but that is not enough activity for him. What are some ideas for socialization?

A senior center comes first to mind. See if you can provide him with transport so he can engage in all the activities they have. Just being around others his own age and socializing will be a huge step for him. Church groups and Bible study groups are another way to get him around others with like interests.

Check to see if a church in your area has senior group meetings. Volunteering is another good way for him to find purpose and joy. If he is still able to drive, have him reach out to non-profits in his area to see if there is any way that he can help. The Food Bank is always looking for volunteers.

Keeping him busy and active will help with his boredom. Think of hobbies he used to do and consider what he is physically able to do now. Once you find out what he would be interested in trying out, then get him involved. We all need to feel like we have a purpose. You might be surprised at how easy it will be to make him happy.

Kimberly Jensen has been working with Quail Park as a Senior Resource Advocate for over ten years and has helped hundreds of families find solutions to their senior problems.

If you have a question, you can send it to her at KimberlyJ@QPCypress.com or call (559) 737-7443.

 

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