The CantonRep
Real Estate
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There are plenty of options for healthy seniors who just need a little daily help

David W. MYERS - King Features Syndicate


There are lots of choices for healthy senior citizens who just need a bit of help with typical chores.


DEAR DAVE: My father is 77 and lives alone in his longtime home. He is still healthy, but he forgets important things like taking medicine and often needs help getting dressed and doing small chores. I don’t want to put him into a retirement home, but I am afraid that is my only choice. I have kids of my own and cannot be around all the time to look after him. What do you think I should do?


ANSWER: Your father’s options might not be as limited as you think.


Perhaps he has a friend who can move in with him and do all the things that you don’t have time to do. In exchange, the friend could pay a reduced rent or even none at all. Your dad would get the help he needs, as well as a full-time companion.


If your father doesn’t have a friend who fits the bill, call some local medical facilities and senior-citizens groups to find a reliable nurse or housekeeper who can visit your dad’s home for an hour or two each day.


Should your father be willing to move, he is an ideal candidate for an assisted-living home. Most of these homes offer private rooms or individual apartments, plus meal, laundry and housekeeping services.


More personalized care, such as help with bathing and medications, are often provided or can be arranged for an additional fee.


“Assisted-living homes can be a good alternative for older people who need a little help getting by but don’t need round-the-clock attention,” an AARP representative said.


Call AARP for more information (1-888-687-2277) or visit Also, call the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare hotline (1-800-677- 1116),


REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: About 1 million people currently live in an assisted-living facility rather than in a full-blown nursing home, according to the nonprofit American Senior Communities ( That number is expected to double by 2030, thanks largely to innovations in medicine and the fact that more seniors are adopting healthier lifestyles that will prolong their life.


DEAR DAVE: What is “ALE” insurance coverage?


ANSWER: ALE is insurance industry shorthand for “additional living expenses.” It’s the provision in a typical homeowners or renter’s policy that will reimburse you for reasonable hotel bills, restaurant meals and the like if you must temporarily move out of your home while it is being rebuilt or repaired after a fire or other covered calamity.


In other words, ALE coverage reimburses you for some or all of the expenses you would not have to incur if you had the usual roof over your head.


Remember, though, that the key word here is “reasonable.” If you must move out of your home for a few months while fire damage is repaired, the insurer will reimburse the expenses for a stay at a mid-priced hotel and dinners at Sizzler, but don’t expect it to foot the bill if you move into the Ritz-Carlton and order lobster each night from room service.


DEAR DAVE: We closed the sale of our townhome in early June. Last week, we received a letter from the homeowners association at our former development. It states that it had miscalculated the amount owed for our share of a special assessment it levied for common-area improvements the HOA made at the start of the year and that it had misreported the amount to escrow. The letter is asking that we pay the $1,937 to correct its miscalculation. Do we have to pay it?


ANSWER: Probably not, although your issue raises both legal and ethical ones.


Ethically, if you knew that the association’s calculations were wrong when the townhome was still in escrow, you probably should have pointed it out back then and paid the extra $1,937. It’s not much different than giving back some of the money when you buy something at a grocery store using a $10 bill but the cashier gives you change back for what she thought was a $20.


Legally, though, you probably aren’t obligated to correct your former HOA’s mistake by writing it a check today. It was the association’s duty to initially get its figures right and, when the deal officially closed, all of your debts were wiped out.


Unlike schoolyard games, a legal real estate closing does not permit do-overs. Call a local real estate lawyer if you start getting pestered by your former HOA, and demand reimbursement of attorney’s fees and any court costs that may be involved.


Our booklet “Straight Talk About Living Trusts” provides the information readers need to determine whether forming an inexpensive trust would be a good idea based on their individual circumstances. For a copy, send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to D. Myers/ Trust, P.O. Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405. Net proceeds are donated to the American Red Cross.