Assisted living is just getting too expensive.

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My mother was living alone and it just wasn't working out. She has a mobility problem and can only get around in a walker and mostly a wheelchair. My husband and I were doing every for her like shopping, taking her to the dr, getting her meds etc. About 8 months ago after she fell at home and wound up in the hospitalo, the dr stated that she can't live alone. My husband and I tossed this around in our heads for a long time and decided that the best thing would be to try to get her into assisted living for a few months to see how that works and then we would decide what is best for her. My mother is trying to be very independent there and refused to have someone help her with dressing, showering and helping her get around. She gets around in her wheelchair very well but just goes down for the meals and her pills and goes up to her room to watch tv and knit. It's costing a fortune to stay there and she's going to run out of money soon. We're getting her house ready for sale but we know the real estate market is terrible right now and her house is worth 1/2 of what it was a few years ago. I thought Medicaid would be the answer but when we spoke to someone about it, we were told that my mother would have to spend everything she has and then apply. My father died at a very young age and my mother managed to pay off her house all by herself by working hard. It's all she has. My mother mentioned the other day that it would be so nice if we all lived together. My husband and I are thinking that maybe we should have her come live with us. I've been thinking about this 24/7. It's always on my mind. I love my mother and want to do what's best. I have a brother and sister who do nothing and don't even make suggestions. Has anyone else had to make this type of decision. If so, how are things. I'm so afraid to spend down all my mother's money at the AL and then she'll be left with nothing. We've checked a lot of ALs in our area (NJ) and the prices are all high.

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This is a hard decision. My husband made the decision for my mom to move in with us 9 years ago. She is now 95 and I would do it again. However, let me say, it has not been easy. Our faith and commitment to her and to each other have made it possible. We have used assisted living for respite care for vacations however this last time we did that my mother fell and broke her wrist and had some head injuries. She has dementia and forgot to use her walker and that caused her to fall. When we left the hospital, it was obvious she needed to go to a nursing home but once again, we brought her home and she has thrived. It has been very stressful at times but I don't have any regrets. Attitude has a lot to do with it and you have to get respite from the day in and day out care. I find my mother little things to do like folding clothes and working word puzzles. I don't feel like assisted living is all that safe for someone who can't be alone. I do not know how long my mother lay in the floor before someone found her after she fell. It had obviously been more than a few minutes. If you bring your mother home, know it will be hard, but the peace of mind is worth it. Don't beat yourself up when you get frustrated, just breathe and ask God for help. He will give it. I wish you the best.
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I'm in the process of creating a family-style home for independent seniors. The focus is to prevent the gradual decline often associated with living in isolation. My husband and I plan to purchase a larger home and invite 2 to 3 such seniors into our home. We will provide all meals, laundry service, housekeeping, activities such as outtings, picnics, speakers, develoment in arts and self expression as well as involvement in community services. Through shared new experiences bonds will form, shared memories will develop and a sense of family will be born. Because it will be such a small group the intimidation of socializing with a huge community is eliminated and instead folks will find themselves in a relaxed, cheerful and intimate setting. Everyone will have his or her own room for when a little privacy is needed.

My question is what would an acceptable fee be for such a service? I am thinking approximately $1,950 to $2,200/month (all costs - food, utilities, services included). Does that still sound high? Is it just right or do you think it may be a bit low considering our current economy and what operating costs might run? I'd appreciate any feedback that's out there....thank you!
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I did what you are thinking about. Mom sold her home and moved in with us nearly seven years ago. It was fine until the last two years when she has started the long decline. She can't walk or even stand now and even with a 40 hrs a week caregiver I and my husband have to lift her off the comode and into bed each night. She hears her deceased son crying and tells me to go get him. That is the hardest part for me. I am not sure I would do this again. I can't go see my children on the weekends anymore, we can't go to the movies without paying $10 an hour for someone to stay with her.
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Your sense of relief is palpable. The AL is smart in doing this as they know what her level of care is; they obviously like her & she is viewed as a "good" resident and a "team player" If they didn't, she would be out.

I will say that while she still has control over her finances, you need to get her things you know she will want or will need. If she doesn't have funeral & burial done - then do that. If you have POA then you can do it as it would probably be too emotional for her.

If she needs new glasses, hearing aid, walker, clothes then do it now. Keep the reciepts and document what's what. Think Target rather than Sak's as you want NO red flags during the medicaid process. i know of people prepaying for cable, utilities and magazines in advance to get to the spend down. As long as it isn't extreme and is for her or her homestead. Dental - most states do not cover any and this is very expensive, so please try to get that done.

Did AL tell you they base her rate "medicaid pending" for the period of time while the application is being reviewed. Some places do and some don't. It is a huge difference. For example if their resources shown in the application are $1500
a month then the amount she would pay would be $ 1400 to the AL and the $100 personal would stay in her account (some require they get it all and she can draw out of it for the hairdresser, cosmetics, whatever but they get it & dole it out)

But if they don't take "medicaid pending" then the amount due every month is their private pay rate, which could be
anywhere from 3K to 8K a month until she is approved from the state. You & the family have to make up the difference.Just clarify it so no surprises.

About the roommate, ask about. There could be someone she is friends with who is in the same situation who is also already a resident. My mom couldn't understand why she had to share but now it is OK. They will never be pals but they remind each other about activity times and save each other a place at the table for "game" day. It reminds me of being around 3rd cousins, you are family but not close but manage to get along.
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I brought my mom to our house nine years ago. She never understood "letting go" and it was as if we lived with her instead of her living with us. During that time she has fallen 3 times and broken 5 bones. Four years ago she got dementia and now sometimes doesn't know who we are. If you do this, seek counsel first. It is very difficult. They can be very demanding and their being independent doesn't matter. It's still someone in your life 24/7. Check out United Way day programs in your area. That has been a life saver for us. When you move her in you will become the parent. This is very difficult. Do whatever you need to do to keep her somewhere. It will be easier than having to have her leave your home once you realize you can't do it any more. Believe me, it is very difficult. Hope it works out for you.
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thanks for your comments. My husband and I met with the administrator at the AL facility and I advised them that my mother's funds are running low and she will probably only be able to pay for another 8 or 9 mos. They said that once she runs out of money, she'll have to apply for Medicaid b/c it takes at least 4 or 5 months in NJ for the application to be processed. They will accept medicaid and my mother's ss as payment. She'll have to share a room but she'll be able to continue to stay there. My mother seems very happy there so living with us is now out of the question. I love my mother but the more I think about it and talk to people, I don't think it would be advisable. As far as Aid and Attendance goes, my father was a POW in WWII but passed away in '65. My mother remarried in 1992 and my stepfather passed away 2 years ago. I was advised that since my mother remarried, she wouldn't qualify for Aid and Attendance. My stepfather wasn't in the Armed Services. I try to talk to my mother about sharing a room with someone and she says she's not ready for that. I don't know how to deal with that but I'm taking one day at a time. I keep trying to bring up the fact about her having to apply for Medicaid but she changes the subject. She doesn't understand the Medicaid process at all. I know this is going to be a big shocker for her when she finds out they only allow her $100 per month and $2000 in the bank. I'm hoping someone will be able to help me explain this to her b/c she's not listening to me. Thanks for all your replies. I'm glad I can come here and see what everyone else is going through. I'm not alone.
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If your father was in the armed services during wartime and had an honorable discharge, your mother may qualify for Aid and Attendance through the Veterans Administration. Many people don't know of this wonderful benefit, but it would pay for a little over $1,000 per month for the assisted living center.

Blessings
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i often wonder if my daughters recent the fact that i took care of my mother and father on weekends for so many years. though they can't complain cuz their lives were filled with sports, school activities and friends with alot of family get togethers. home life was difficult because my mother was such a handful. i love and feel fortunate i was the one to take care of her. i wouldn't change it for the world. but if i had it to do over, i wonder if i would make the same choice?
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Spend down the money on the Assisted Living place. Pay in advance for her funeral, etc. Then as the money is spent down, she will be eligible for federal assistance in programs like Medicaid. You will not have to worry.

While you love your Mother and is admirable that you do, you will find as her needs change, so will your life. Remember she gave you life, she didn't give you hers but her life will become yours as she gets older.

meaning there will be no dinners out after awhile, there won't be friends coming in to visit either. Family functions -- forget about it -- all this happens slowly so you don't think about it. You just accept the fact that taking her anywhere is more of a headache then it would be enjoyable. Family visits or functions would be non-existent because you have to keep quiet after she goes into her room.
right now she's aware and somewhat ambulatory but it won't always be the case.
You'll enjoy her more if you 'visit' with her but still keep your life and love separately.

Good luck.
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