Taking the bull by the horns!

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I am fed up with my mother's ideology about living in her own home until she dies. She lives an hours drive away, age 82 and in failing health (severe COPD).
I work and cannot make that commute when she will start needing more medical attention for her failing health. I have started looking into an assisted facility near me that is also close to a hospital and excellent doctors. I am also checking into a nice nearby nursing home if her health disqualifies her for assisted living. I can no longer dwell on when the ulitmate might happen and have to scramble to find a placement for her, it is emotionally eating me alive. Luckily I have DPOA. I have to do something even though my mother refuses to do anything but live in her unrealistic world. I am just wondering if anyone else went ahead to make inquiries about future placements. Any advice would be welcome. My mother owns her own home (paid in full, taxes defered), has a take home income of $2,000 a month, $16,000 in the checking account (and growing), an IRA account of $18,000 and $20,000 cash in safe deposite box. I am joint in checking account and safe deposite box. Live in the Northeast.


Debralee, it sounds like your mother is a woman of modest means, so I don't know how long her money would hold out in AL. It looks like it would be gone within 2 years unless something else is coming in, such as selling the house. I think it is very good to be making plans, though, because it will let you find something she can afford. Things are certainly expensive for elders.

I wondered how difficult having the taxes deferred will make it be to sell the house. There is probably a lien on it that will require the payment of the taxes before the house can be released. Do you know how much is owed on it for the taxes?

I guess if her money runs out, you could apply for a NH under Medicaid. I don't like the way elder care is in the US, but I am glad we have the Medicaid safety net to fall back on.
It can't possibly hurt to find out. Then, if your mother does have any wobbles - a slip in the bath, a nasty moment finding she can't get out of her chair, any little thing that shakes her confidence - you'll have all the options costed and checked and ready to put in front of her.

Do look at options in her neighbourhood too, though. If you were confident she were safe, comfortable and well looked after, it could still fit neatly with your work and the drive but avoid the 'leaving everything she knows behind' issue.

But the main thing is, yes you should definitely do the research now and get ahead of the game, right up to the point of enquiries about availability, and going to have a look round by yourself.
Owning a house, paid in full, in the North East, I would think would be a chunk of change. Depends where of course, but where I am (LI) even the smallest of houses go for very big money. With her monthly income, and (hopefully) interest earning savings ( I would move that cash and checking account balance to a savings account or short term CD) and her monthly check, I would think she would be fine.
She is 82 and in poor health. YOU are NOT. This sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this decision, and I think you are doing what's best for you both.
Good luck, and sleep a little better tonight. The hardest part is over.

I would make an appt with a Elder law attorney. I also live in the northeast and have seen an Atty in Canton MA...
Absolutely begin the search now! Since you are working, the search has to fit in between your job, visits to Mom and other responsibilities. And, Unless there is other family near where she is now, definitely a place near you. When my Mom started her decline, I began the search. Ultimately, I had checked into 9 ALs before she fell and broke her hip. By the time the hospital visit and rehab had finished an additional 5 places were looked at. Keep good notes and ask lots of questions on your visits. Each place is different and from the comments on these boards, there are significant regional differences in terminology and offerings. In the NE thee is a good chance that you will have many choices and a house that is worth enough to support Mom through a good number of months of care. Good luck
I didn't, of course, mean to imply that you ought not to consult your own convenience when it comes to selecting the right setting for your mother: it is important that it suits you, naturally. What I had in mind was the thought that it can be a mistake to think that daily or very frequent visits from you are the only important factor in her quality of life. Enough is as good as a feast, as they say.

Two or three years ago I went with a friend to help him remove his childhood belongings from his mother's house. She had recently been moved to a nursing home near his brother and the house was to be sold. My friend told me about the struggle his brother had had to persuade her: there hadn't been a problem with health care at her home but she was too far away for the brother and his wife to visit as often as they wanted to, so they'd leant on her. I looked round her sitting room - her needlework table next to her chair, the double aspect views, one out onto her garden, one towards the church where her husband was buried, the dinosaur-era TV that she probably understood how to work - and didn't say anything. It just reminded me that what I think is most important to my mother and what she thinks is most important aren't necessarily the same.

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