I cannot afford Assisted Living. How do women like me manage when we need help?

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I am very worried as I am 82 and only have Soc. Sec. as my income of $1222.00 a month. I cannot afford Assisted Living and how do women like me manage when we need help?

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Hi Snowball,
You are not alone in being worried. There are many people like you who just don't know where to turn. Frankly, we need many more services for our wonderful elders who have given us so much. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your county Social Services.
I hope you will apply for Medicaid through Social Services. From what you say, you should qualify. Each state is a little different, but Medicaid is there to help low income people like you. Not all assisted living facilities accept Medicaid, but it would be a place to start. If you have children or a friend you trust, you may want to ask their help, since the application process involves a lot of paperwork. In the end, it will be worth it for you to try.
You can also see if you have a local Area Agency on Aging that covers your community. They may be able to help guide you.
Take care,
Although the waiting lists are often ridiculously long, you may want to check to see if your area has public housing assisted living facilities. You asked a very good question that someone better start working on as more boomer start to age and can't afford those luxury assisted living facilities. There is no reason why there are not incentive programs for private industries to build assisted living facilities that are required to offer some of their units to lower income seniors. I think it is ridiculous that so called non profit assisted living facilities in my community are charging thousands per month for housing. Why are they considered tax free non profits? Here is some info about public housing option:

Publicly Funded Assisted Living

Public-housing developments that provide supportive assisted living services for the elderly are usually apartments built and subsidized by the state or federal government. Local housing authorities manage these housing units. You must contact your local housing authority to find out if there is a publicly funded, assisted living apartment complex in your community. Monthly costs for publicly funded assisted living units are based on income. Eligibility guidelines change each year and vary by region. You must be at least 60 years old to apply for a housing unit in state-assisted public housing for the elderly. Contact the public housing authority office serving your community to apply. Contact your county's agency on aging for assistance

My Mother is in the same situation but she needs nursing care and meds I cannot give her. We found an assisted living facility (private pay) that showed us how Aids & Admissions could supplement the income. Added to what Mom receives monthly and deducted from the total monthly expenses made private pay a viable option vs doing the whole SPEND DOWN to destitute in order to get medicaid. Aids and Admissions in a VA program offered to Veterans and their Spouses.
In addition to applying for Medicaid, call your county's office for aging. There are often services, like transportation, help with housekeeping, meals, that are available through your county. There are also some private organizations that offer services on a sliding scale according to what their clients can afford, so don't completely rule them out when considering your options.
All of the above suggestions are wonderful, but require a great deal of paperwork. I hope you have someone who can help as many questions will be asked and documentation required. If you are a veteran or the spouse of one, in addition to all fo the paperwork in applying for Aid and Assistance benefits, you will need a doctor's certification that you are in "need" of assistance and must document the reasons.

It is not an easy road, so I would suggest your applying as soon as possible. I applied 5 years ago for the medicaid waiver program and it took that long for my number to come up. However, I do not believe applications are being taken any longer as there are so many on the program, not unless one is in a nursing home. I could be wrong though and hope I am.

The bottom line... please seek out the assistance NOW. The worst time to ask for something is when you absolutey "need" it.
Your local Senior Center can also help you in the application process.
There are Rental assistance, energy assistance ,medical assist programs, etc. that they will assit you with.
Also, the 211 info line can be helpful.
VA ,Aid and Attendance application is in.... private pay Assisted living "Age In Place" facility has a room for Mom...things are moving along swimmingly. We are avoiding Medicaid for as long as we can, keeping Medicare, though.
You must still be aware of 'Spend Down' as Medicaid has 5 year look back.
Document all $$ spent ; that it is spent on her care only.
Most states have ICAN Ombudsman who are not for profit and will help do all paperwork you need to do for any program; housing, meals on wheels, transportation to dr's appt's, many other services as well. I know you are worried...I am 61 and will not be retiring any time soon if ever....I don't believe I could make enough money in my entire lifetime to retire or afford NH care...

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