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Making It in San Diego: Taking care of aging parents

Posted: 11:55 AM, Jun 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-06 21:43:37-04
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego’s elderly population, those 85 and older, is expected to soar by more than 400 percent by 2060, according to new data from the State of California.

The data means many more Californians will be faced with helping their parents at the same time they’re trying to stash money away for retirement.

10News spoke with experts to take a look at ways to manage.

As the population ages, more and more San Diegans will fall into the sandwich generation.

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“It’s those folks who are taking care of their parents and putting a kid thru college,” explains Yvonne Amrine, an estate planning and elder law attorney.

Amrine understands. For a decade, she financially supported her mother’s care, which totaled half a million dollars. She says the bulk of the burden falls on families.

“Mostly you'll be paying out of your own pocket. Medicare does not pay for long term care.”

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The county projects the cost of long-term care to rise significantly within the next 15 years. Nursing home fees are expected to reach more than $233,000 per year for a private room by 2035.

Both Amrine and Linda Urbina with Golden Care have advice for the sandwich generation: Even if you’re simultaneously helping mom and dad, stay focused on a savings plan and look into your own long-term care options.

“Be proactive, talk to a financial planner, the older you get the more they will cost you. Speak with a trust attorney.”

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Also be sure you’ve signed the documents giving you the ability to advocate for your parents as their needs change.

“It’s very important to sit down with your parents and talk about who has medical directive, and who has power of attorney.”

In California, some of the costs of care are covered under Medi-Cal.

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“It cost the state a lot less to keep people in their home, where they want to be anyway. So we're hoping that pace program will keep people at home.”

And there are VA benefits for both veterans and their spouses. The combined benefit can total $2,100 per month. It’s also there for the surviving spouse.

“That is for any veteran who served in any war.”

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Urbina says if a family can’t afford in-home care and they want to keep their parents at home, they can consider a reverse mortgage.

“We can still honor them and provide for them without going into bankruptcy.”

If selling their house is the best option, make sure you have the proper paperwork in place.

“Treat your parents with dignity and respect and think about how you want your kids to talk to you.”