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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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!
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.
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.
Whatever you need to have done to the house to make it sell you really, really need to do now while she still has $$ that you can spend as needed. New water heater, plumbing repairs, whatever. If the house doesn't sell and she goes onto medicaid then her income is locked into payment at the nursing home.
So you will have to pay for whatever is needed and wait to get reinbursed through the settlement of her estate at probate.
The good part is we got the house cleared of 50 years of stuff - it took the better part of a year (I live states away) and I got organized with all her financial and health and death records.
She is now under medicaid and the house is subject to the state's medicaid estate recovery act. If you end up going that route, you need to keep all records or what you spend on the house as you can get reinbursed for property taxes, insurance , maintenance as well as whatever you spent that kept her from going onto medicaid (like an aide at her AL who gives her specialized care to the degree it keeps her from the nursing home for 8 months).
All of what you paid, has to be submitted within 60 days to the state (actually a private firm each state hires for MERA),
then they determine whether to pursue a claim against the estate of the deceased for $$ paid by medicaid.
I'm in 110% agreement with you about your mom in AL. The socialization & safety that being in IL or AL brings is so important.
Do not co-mingle any of her money and yours. If you're doing that now then change the bank accounts so that her's is her's with you as a signature on the account. All in all the best thing is to take the time once you have everything together for her is to go an see an elder care attorney who practices in the county where she lives &/or owns property for advice.
She does NOT have to sell her home (if it is her homestead and valued at under $ 500,000 and the property records indicate that) in order to qualify for medicaid. It's all about the income ceiling in your state. Usually $ 2,020.00 of income (social security, annuity, retirement, savings) is the ceiling. If she is above that then it (her $$) needs to be spent down to get to that. I'm sure with all the $$ going to AL that it is significantly less than before.
The money can be spent to have a caregiver come in to help during the week or respite care when you go away and she's at the home.
If you don't sell her house (or it doesn't sell and you are stuck with it) and she eventually is qualified for medicaid you need to really keep records. Now if you spend any of your $$ on her care (like a caregiver) while she was living with you (unfortunately you cannot be compensated for your time), keep records as you can ask for that $$ to be refunded when her house is sold after she passes away. Medicaid estate recovery act allows for repayment of money spent that kept her from going onto Medicaid or on upkeep of the property (taxes, insurance, maintenance) from the sale of the house.
Also, if your sibs haven't stepped up now, they never will. You will do all the work, and, when that time comes, they will wonder what you did with "all Mom's money."
Have you thought of an interim situation? Group homes are much less expensive and have fewer residents. There is also the possibility of having a live-in caregiver in a private or senior apartment.
I am also my Mom's "financial advisor." I am trying to preserve Mom's assets so that, if the time comes, she will not have to worry about getting the best care.
I am suggesting these ideas because having a senior move in with you and caring for them 24/7 is relentless work. Her needs will have to come first. Everytime you go on vacation, you will have to find someone to fill in. As my Mom ages, she doesn't want anyone else to care for her but me. It is claustrophobic.
I know you are being practical, but I would highly recommend looking into other alternatives before moving your Mom in. It will be too hard for her to adjust to multiple moves.
I can tell you that even if you and your mother get along famously, having her move in with you will still be a major upheaval in your household.
You haven't given us some of the crucial details. That is, do you still have children living with you and how do they feel about it? Is your house big enough to accommodate her without losing your privacy and is it wheelchair accessible? Or if her house is bigger, would you consider moving in with her? How would it affect your financial situation?
If you do decide to take her in, I would definitely have a meeting with your siblings and tell them if you are going to provide the housing, then they need to promise to provide frequent respite care/vacation time and share in any of her expenses that her funds will not cover.
Also, be sure to keep good records from the beginning of all her expenses, including home improvements, furniture, medical devices, etc., so that if there's any trouble down the road concerning anyone's "inheritance" being spent or questions from officials or IRS, you'll have the records to show.