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My 75 year old mother currently lives alone. She has anxiety issues and hypochondria that impact her daily life (constant doctors, specialists, ER visits, and 9-1-1 calls) and is on various meds, including some psychiatric. Although she constantly complains about pains and various health issues, little has been found physically wrong with her besides weak legs (uses a walker sometimes), frequent UTI's, arthritis, and an occasional skin or other infection. She is constantly in need of company - calls people many, many times a day, and "falls apart" when alone. She is convinced that she can barely cook for herself (she will microwave a frozen meal but claims that is sometimes too difficult), clean the house, and she doesn't always take her meds as she should. She is also a difficult person to be around - has high expectations and expects people to essentially wait on her. The bottom line is she really needs to be around other people, preferably in an assisted living. However, she is very low income, and her home has very little equity and a mortgage that my brother and I have been paying. We have also been paying for a small amount of outside help for her; in addition, she is getting some free help from an agency (qualified based on her low income) but it's not enough. She keeps insisting she really wants to go into an assisted living so she can be cared for. Problem is that all the assisted living facilities we have looked at are very expensive and, because of her low income and assets, my brother and I would have to pay out of pocket for most of the expense, which would involve a large financial sacrifice to our own families future. And living with one of us is an option because we both work full-time and have our own families, not to mention she would drive us crazy because she is very difficult and demands constant attention.

I find myself constantly stressed out dealing with her constant issues/problems, both real or imagined, that fall in my lap multiple times a day, along with my stressful full time job and other responsibilities. She has had several nursing home stays for various rehab issues, but they always release her with the recommendation that she needs someone to "take care of her", but doesn't yet qualify for long term care. Can anyone offer advice? Or am I just doomed to live out my life in a constant state of stress and guilt, dealing with the latest disaster every time the phone rings? Or take a second mortgage out on my own house to pay for her care? Help!

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If the doctors release her and recommend long term care, then why can't they put it on a form that she needs long term care? I would imagine that mental disability is an allowable reason to need long term care. What does Medicaid say about it? I would line up the people in charge and get detailed answers of what is needed and how to get it.

If these doctors can't manage to help, then what about finding someone who could

And if that is still not possible, then I think I might allow mom to do what she can until she does qualify for long term care. I would discuss how indulging her demands might not have the effect you want. Plus, who wants to be bullied by a demanding person who has no interest with your welfare. I think I might get my own therapist and learn the tools to protect my own mental heath and bank account. Please take care of yourself.
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Is your mom on Medicaid? I can't imagine asking a child to pay my mortgage. That way lies on the path to financial ruin.
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My brother has been asking me when we are going to put her in assisted living - he says he can't afford it either but thinks it's inevitable. Then my mother called me today and demanded I find her a place immediately. When I told her I couldn't afford it, she told me that I was a liar and could afford it, and then called me cheap b*tch who would be "made to pay". (I know I shouldn't feel the need to defend myself, but for the record I am already paying half her mortgage and chipping in for a helper at her home for several hours a week). The thought of dealing with this for potentially another 15 years (she is only 75) is unreal. I just needed to vent even if no one answers.
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Thank you. I am not an only child but I get no help from one sibling and minimal and mainly financial hep from the other. My mother welcomes help, the more the better as far as she is concerned. She does haveca psychiatrist and is on various meds. Her ills are real to a certain extent (every elderly person has his/her share of aches and pains) but are greatly exaggerated and do not, by any means, warrant the extent of her doctor and hospital visits, complaints, etc. They are a cry for attention. Yes, she wants to go to assisted living, she wants someone to take care of her (although there is no doubt she will still have complaints, etc) but at least she would be taken care of, which would remove a lot of my personal stress. Money is a huge issue. My husband is ok with offering some financial help (and we have been doing as much as we can) but honestly neither one of us is ready to take out a second mortgage to help, as we are on the cusp of major college expenses for my son, as well as our own retirements (we are older parents). I hope this gives some more perspective.
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I empathize MollyJ. I have a loved one who sounds very similar to your mom. It's very stressful and challenging to deal with. At their age, it's not likely they will accept or be helped with treatment, but it is possible. I have another loved one who did get diagnosed with Conversion Disorder. (Check it out.) Even though he was in his 70's, he was open to diagnosis and treatment. Meds really helped him. The problem is when they refuse to accept the diagnosis.

I wish you all the best. I wish I could offer more advice. With our loved one who refuses to accept diagnosis and treatment...the family basically ignores the complaints. There really isn't anything we can do. She gets medical care, but we do not address her constant daily complaints of multiple aches, pains, etc. It's too exhausting and turns out to be nothing. We are hoping that she will finally take the med for Depression/Anxiety, but she is resistant.
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Molly,
Help me and others understand the situation a bit more.
Are you the only child?
Are you the only child that cares?
Are there any other relatives that could / want to help?
If it is not you, does mom refuse any other help?
Is she under psychiatric care?
Are her ills 100% real, 50% real, 25% real?
What seems to work best?
Did you say she WANTS to go to assisted living?
Budget. She hasn't any but you can get a second mortgage on your house?
Are you married, and if so, would your husband agree to the second?
Would you be at peace knowing she is calm, and not alone?
Would that be worth the effort/$$$/???
Visualize best case scenario for her. For you. Short term. Long term.
Thank you for your time and effort with your answers.
M88
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If her income is too high for Medicaid, you get her to an eldercare lawyer and ask about setting up a Miller Trust or pooled income trust.
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Honestly, she has so many psych issues (crying, tantrums, helplessness, narcissism, hypochondria, etc.) but unfortunately that doesn't qualify her for any assistance. She says she can no longer live alone, is depressed, and everything "hurts", and emergency personnel are visiting her on a weekly basis, although nothing serious is ever found wrong. Ideally she really should be elsewhere - but again, it involves a large financial sacrifice on our part, probably for years, because of her low income and little assets. I feel frustrated, angry, hopeless, and guilty for not wanting to deal with her neediness, and then not wanting make the financial sacrifice it will take to place her in assisted living.
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Although her income is low enough for extra help with Medicare, it's not low enough to qualify her for Medicaid. She is getting housekeeping help once a week through another low income program through the local Dept of Aging for 3 hours/week. It certainly helps but isn't enough to stop the issues. Especially at night, when her anxiety issues really seem to really peak.
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Does she qualify for Medicaid? Can they provide her with housekeeping services once or twice a week?
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If she's physically able, she's going to have to "do" anywhere she goes. Even if she goes into assisted living, no one is going to wait on her hand and foot.

Even in a Skilled Nursing Home setting (let's hope she doesn't need that for a long time), no one is going to wait on a patient who has the capacity to do some things for herself.

Has she ever volunteered at a soup kitchen? I mention this, because several years ago, when my mom seemed to be hosting a permanent pity party, my brother and sister in law started taking her to the local soup kitchen they help out at. They'd call her up and say "Mom, we need you to make us 50 Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for tonight". She did; she started going and helping out and it did her an awful lot of good. If you have any volunteer opportunities nearby, maybe signup for one shift a month and do the shift with your mom.
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She has a psychiatrist. I have spoken with him and he seems to think it would be a good idea to get her into an assisted living, if possible. But he understands the financial aspect is an issue. With her hypochondria it is REALLY hard to draw the line between what is legitimate versus what is being exaggerated/over dramatized. I only know that the complaints seem to worsen when she is alone/lacks enough attention. And most times it turns out not to be a major medical issue going on, although she would argue otherwise. She has been through rehab for the legs from time to time; it helps for a while but not 100%. They are always somewhat weak and her balance is not the best. The elderly group home idea is a good one if I can locate one around here. I know they have a few psychiatric group homes around here, but she was resistent to that idea when she found out she would still have to do a lot independently (as I said, her desire is to be "taken care of".) Thank you for you responses, the advice and support helps more than you know.
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Perhaps your mom would be better off living in a group care home. Those are small private residences for the elderly. It was give her people to be around.
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PS, it is not your job to pay for her care. Don't go down that street ; she could for another quarter century. And it won't stop the phone calls. If there's truly "nothing wrong" don't fall for the helpless act.
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Rehab says she needs someone to "Take care of her" She "wants someone to care of her"? Has she had a thorough psychiatric and cognitive assessment?

75 is awfully young these days. Can she get PT for her weak legs to strengthen them?
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Thank you. She has actually been on the list for a Medicaid Waiver evaluation for several years, and I'm told it could be another several years before she reaches the top. The list is moving very slowly and funding is short I'm told :(
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Look into community based Medicaid waiver programs.
Those also cover assisted living, if the care manager so recommends it, or at home services if approved. Start by digging up 5 years of financial records to prove she did not give anything away and that she has few assets.
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