As soon as my parents became eligible for Medicare, my siblings and I started nudging them about planning for their future. They were healthy at the time, but we found ourselves looking at their house with a fearful eye. It had lots of steps, narrow door frames and uneven floors, and it was a hundred miles from my sister, their nearest child. We could easily imagine a nightmare unfolding.
What if one or both of them became disabled or seriously ill? What if one died first, leaving the other? There were so many worrisome scenarios, but our parents stuck with their plan for “aging in place.” After all, they had witnessed my father’s aunt live out her final days unhappily in a dreary nursing home.