When Mom's money runs out

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My 85 year old mother has Parkinson's disease, mild dememtia, loss of bladder control and lives in a lovely assisted living community. My sister, who lives very close to her has shouldered the main care giving dutes and handles all of our mother's financial obligations. My sister is an extreme worrier and has figured up that Mom will be out of money in 4.9 years and my sister is very concerned as to what will happen when the money runs out. None of the three children has the capability to take Mom into their homes nor the financial means to keep her where she is--which by the way, doesn't take Medicare. What can I do to allay my sister's fears? She thinks that Mom will have to go to a convalescent home where she would have to stay in bed all day sharing a room with another person.


I have thought of this very thing with my mother-in-law. Right now she has money enough for asst living, BUT what happens when that money does run out? My husband is the youngest of 3 brothers. Number 1 brother has preempted that problem by saying that he and his wife will NOT be taking in mom. His wife would take her in for sure, but not him. So... that really means us, since #2 brother travels much with his job and his wife likes to go with him when she can. Either that, or we find a place that does take Medicare. Because, like where your mother is, my mil's places does not accept Medicare either.
I guess we'll cross that bridge when it comes. Nothing we could do now except move her into a place that does take Medicare so when the times does come ,she'll already be there. Other than that, I don't know either. It'll all come out in the wash.
You can apply for Medicaid. You did not mention that the place does not accept Medicaid. There are nursing homes that only have private rooms. If your sister is concerned about her having a roomate, look for a nursing home that only has private rooms. Unless a person is on their deathbed, the person would not be staying in bed all day.
my prayers go out to u & your mom. Husband and i moved in 10 years ago to help my mother & step father who passed 6 yr. ago. mom came down with oral cancer 3 years ago,very sick treatments etc. now in remission(thank god) mom is 68, her only income is s.s.plus her retirement. she is losing her home. we helped with everything from bills, house, medical,food her care etc.she too has no savings. we dont either husband is only one working, plus moms s.s. with bills kids cars medical everyday survival etc. we live week to week. we too don't know what we will do without each others income we survive with each others help.We know the fear of not having a place to live or not having food, we also fear we all r gonna be on street, we also have 2 teenage boys,this sounds bad we, even fear how it will effect them, and their friends treating them different. All we all can do is pray,pray,pray& do our best to take care of our moms like theyve always done, even if it comes down to not having a home We r family and we take care of our loved ones.
this is true their are alot of extended care facilities, and your mom wont be in bed all day unless shes bedritten, they have lots of activities even church i know its a hard decision but u have to always put your mom first,lots of prayers
Thank you all for your comments. LME--I thought that Medicaid was only for people under 65, before Medicare took over--will have to check this out.Thanks for the heads up. KSylvia I do hope that you all get along with the finances, your mother is close to my age, which makes me think that I will have to worry about my own care in the future. Best to all,
please send comments advice and hugs god bless u and your family
My understanding is that Medicaid is for people 65+ who have run out of money (or for people under 65 who are disabled in different ways). I believe that a person has to have $2,000 or less in assets AND meet a monthly income limit (in FL it's around $2,000 and in NC it's around $1,200) to be eligible for Medicaid. I have read that one should apply for Medicaid months before assets run out as it can take a long time to complete all of the paperwork and requirements. Medicaid will pay for a nursing home, but not for an assisted living facility (ALF). In the case of an ALF, some states have a "Medicaid Waiver or Medicaid Diversion Program" that will pay a portion of an ALF (Maybe around $1,000/month?). Hope this helps!
Thank you so much! We figure Mom has enough money for her to stay in assisted living for almost 5 years. However, my little sister is worrying now for what is still fairly far down the road. I will keep you advice in mind when her funds start to get really low.
I think it is wonderful that your sister is thinking ahead. At age 85 and in poor health, there is no certainty that your mother will outlive her money. Yes, it is worth considering, but I think it is a little too early to panic.

Your sister has taken on a huge chunk of the caregiving duties. Wonderful! Maybe you can take a small part of the responsibility off her shoulders by volunteering to research this particular concern.You can do this by internet and phone and perhaps a few in-person interviews. You don't have to be geographically near your mother to do it.

First, find out about applying for Medicaid. There is lots of information on this site about that topic, and there are good sources of information elsewhere on the Internet. If your mother has almost 5 years of ALF money saved up, she is not likely to qualify for Medicaid now. But she very well might as the money runs out. And it MIGHT make sense to make the money run out faster. Certainly not be giving it away or throwing it away of frivolous things, but if Mom needs a better wheelchair, or would benefit from a Personal Care Assistant hired to visit her a few times a week, if there are things that would make her present life better it might be worth considering, rather than automatically thinking, Oh then she will only have 4 years or 3.5 years worth of ALF payments in the bank. Also, prepaid funeral expenses make sense. I'm sure not qualified to give you financial advice. I'm just suggesting some things to think about once you understand the qualifications and benefits of Medicaid.

Next, find out for sure whether Mom would have to leave her present setting when the money runs out. Facilitiies are all over the map on how this works. I go to a caregiver's support meeting in a lovely ALF that also has a memory care unit. They do not accept new residents on Medicaid. (They cannot affort to operate on what Medicaid pays.) But they have balanced their budget on the basis of having a few Medicaid residents to average in with the private-pays. They reserve those Medicaid spots for residents that have been living there for several years and have run out of money. And, by the way, the accounting office knows who is private-pay and who isn't, but the daily staff doesn't and it has no effect on the care provided.

If the ALF isn't is a position to subsidize some residents in this way, ask for their recommendation for other placement options when the money runs out. Check out those places online, for possible future reference.

The obstacle is, you really don't know what Mom will need in 4 years. Parkinson's with Dementia (PD) is a progessive disease, but no two cases progress in exactly the same way. Maybe Mom will still be functioning as she is now. Maybe she will need more assistance than an ALF can usually provide, even before her money runs out. Maybe she will be on hospice. You can't really have very firm plans that far out. (My husband has LBD, very similar to PD, and he's 85. Believe me, I take one day at a time and don't schedule much further ahead than what we are going to do for the 4th of July.)

I would tell you to just wait a couple of years and see how things go. But my heart goes out to your worrywart sister who is shouldering a big burden. If you can help reassure her by doing a little research, I think that would be the kind sisterly thing to do.
my aunt is also in AL, she suffers from dementia and she will be out of money in about 5 months. I tried to apply for the Medicaid waivers as she meets the income limits for assistance that would let her live in her current residence for a lot longer, probably until she passes as she is 96 years old. The problem is that her savings has to be down to $2000 BEFORE she can apply. My question is, what does she do during the 6 months or longer that it takes to get on Medicaid? The AL will not wait that long to be reimbursed. The AL is telling me to apply but I am telling them we can't until she is broke!!! I have looked and read everywhere for information, help with this situation. The only thing that we have come up with is to take her to the hospital and make them admit her for three days, then possibly they will release her to a NH that MAY have an empty bed. But she is healthy except for dementia and incontinence, so she may not even be admitted to hospital let alone qualify for NH care.....ugh....

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