There has traditionally been a stigma attached to adults who still live at home with their parents. You may picture the stereotype of an unkempt man in his early 20s, living in the basement, his mother still doing his laundry and cooking for him. However there is a new model emerging of adults who live with their parents, but these aren’t grown children who have failed to leave the nest. Instead, they are Baby Boomers who have decided to move into their parents’ retirement community.

It may sound like a bizarre arrangement, but this housing solution can provide a beneficial mix of proximity to aging parents and private space for oneself, as well as offering the progressing levels of care assistance that both elderly parent and senior child may eventually need.

>> New York Times article–A Twist on Caring for a Parent: Move Into the Home

The conundrum of living longer

It’s one of the many emerging realities of longer life spans. Baby Boomers, some of whom are now in their 70s, may have one or both parents who are still living and are approaching their late 80s or older.

According to a recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute, caregivers in the U.S. over age 75 spend roughly 34 hours per week helping elderly loved ones–assisting with meal preparation, shuttling to doctor’s appointments, dealing with home maintenance. It requires a lot of time, energy, and potentially money, especially if that family member does not live right around the corner.

When you factor in this time and expense, on top of the adult child’s own advanced age and any emerging age-related health concerns, a move to a mutually agreed upon retirement community can be a perfect solution.

Family matters

Three-quarters of a million people live in the nearly 2,000 continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs–now commonly referred to as “life plan communities”) in the United States.

While not for everyone, many Baby Boomers do see the appeal of selling their home and making the move to a CCRC. They are attracted by amenities like zero home or lawn maintenance, less responsibility for meal preparation, and numerous social opportunities, not to mention the availability of progressive care if and when the time comes. And having the comfort of knowing an elderly parent is down the hall in an apartment or across the street in the community’s care facility can create an immense sense of relief.

According to Philip Sloane, co-director of the program on aging, disability, and long-term care at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “It’s remarkably common for children to make big adjustments to take care of an aging parent.” Moving into a common CCRC is “a new but logical aging services model,” Sloane notes.

But this option may be cost-prohibitive for some Baby Boomers and/or their parents. CCRCs typically have a fairly substantial buy-in fee, in addition to their ongoing monthly fees. Making the move can cost under $100,000 or can run much, much higher– it is important to note that contract types, fees, refund policies, services, and amenities vary greatly from community to community.

>> Learn more about the contract types and amenities offered by CCRCs in your area.

Is it right for you?

For the thousands of seniors who help care for their own aging parents, the day-to-day time commitment and stress can be exhausting. Maybe you have explored the possibility of moving your parent(s) to a retirement community, or perhaps you have even considered leaving house maintenance and chores behind and moving to a continuing care retirement community yourself. With this emerging trend of senior children joining their elderly parents in a common CCRC, you may just discover an ideal solution to meet all of your needs.

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