How do you tell your mother, who is in assisted living, that her money is running low and she must apply for Medicaid?

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In another post I mentioned that assisted living was getting too expensive and I thought about moving Mom in with my husband and me. After thinking about it a lot and getting feedback from a lot of people, I'm trying to keep my mother in AL because she's doing very well there. Her money is running low and it's almost time to think about applying for medicaid. How do I approach my mother with this? She's gotten use to me paying all her bills and doesn't want to know anything about how much AL is costing. She's not going to be left with much per month and I don't know how to tell her. I'm putting this off as long as possible. She gets her hair done every week, she has cable tv and a phone and she goes out to lunch with her friends once in awhile. Plus she's going to have to share a room with someone. I've tried to talk to her but she changes the subject. How can I tell her she'll have to cut down? My husband and I are on fixed income so we have no money left over per month to give her. I wish I did. How have others approached this?

Answers 1 to 5 of 5
Perhaps you should make a special time to just talk about financial is too difficult trying to dicuss serious issues during a regular social visit. Share with her your desire to help her stay where she is. Tell her that some sacrifices need to be made in order for that to happen. Be direct and do not sugar coat anything. Then let her think about it and bring up the subject again with more concrete ways for her to save. I do this with my Mom and it works well. As we age we need more "processing" time.
I do not think that Medicaid will pay for ALFs (if I am wrong, please let me know. I would be interested). Was your Mom or Dad a veteran? If she qualifies (which it sounds like she would) they pay quite a bit. Another cost saving tip is to sit down with the director of the ALF and see if there are ways to reduce her monthly bill...they want to keep their facilities filled and may work with you. Also, there is generally a 5% increase each year, but if you write a letter of "hardship" the company will sometimes decrease the percentage.
I think that staying in the ALF is best for her and for you too. I hope it all works out well.

Give it to her straight; the moment you come in, right after a hug and a kiss. "Mom? You're running out of $. Time to apply for Medicaid." If she changes the subject, ask her what she's going to do when the $ is all gone. ... I wouldn't give her any cash. That only reinforces the illusion everything's okay and, if you leave it for the last minute, she might ask what YOU did with it. Don't let her flip the script on you.

Always at your service,

-- ED
Thanks again for your responses. When I visited my mother yesterday, I brought up the money and the fact that I was trying to make her money stretch before Medicaid would be factored in. Even though I try to explain to her what Medicaid is, she has no idea why this needs to be done. We've gone over this a couple of times. I told her that the house is not going to bring in all the money she thought. I explained that the market is terrible and we're lucky we even get a buyer. My mother still thinks her house is worth a fortune. She doesn't want to realize that prices have come down so far. She said she hopes she's not being a pain and wants me to take care of her. Then she shut me off and didn't want me to talk about it any more. When my mother turns it off, that's it for the day. She'll come around because this is the best thing for her and I know she wants to stay at AL. Fortunately the AL she's living at accepts medicaid and they are going to work with us when the time comes. I just want to make sure the transition to Medicaid goes smoothly. I thought my mother would qualify for spouse of a veteran benefits since my father was a POW in WWII and passed away in 1965 BUT my mother re-married about 10 years ago. I was told that since she re-married, she wouldn't qualify. My stepfather passed away 2 years ago.

Phew!!! At least the AL takes Medicaid. Thank your lucky stars.
Hi Ed - When my husband and I visited the AL facility, they told us they took Medicaid after private pay. I knew my mother's money wouldn't last forever and believe me the AL is costing a fortune so her money isn't lasting long. ALs in NJ are a fortune. We visited quite a few in the area. I am thanking my lucky stars. Now we just have to get through the Medicaid process.

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