Any advice on how to plan for the future when you are alone?

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I am in the midst of all the rules, regulations, paperwork and headaches of getting my 89-year-old mom into nursing care. She never could have navigated this process! Mom had a little bit of money, so I sought out an elder care attorney to help me through the process. I will ask his opinion as well, but wanted to hear others opinion on how to plan for this for myself if I should ever get to the point where I can't take care of myself. I am divorced with no children and have no close relatives who will be able to help me. I am 63 years old. I am by no means rich, but I do have assets. What happens to someone like me when I get old? Who does all this paperwork and running around? What happens to my assets? I do have a will and POA, leaving things to a relative, but will they get any of that if I need nursing home care?

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Ok, your predicament is not a pleasant one...So I am going to irreverently suggest the following, seeing as you have already gotten much sound advice.

1. Get a nice dog.
2. Spend any and all money you have to enjoy life to the fullest.
With any luck at all you'll croak before it is all gone...
Smiling your way and wishing you well.

Grace + Peace,

Bob
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There is a lot of good information already posted here. I will just add this. First, I have two POAs. My sister used to be my POA, but after years of being my Mom's POA, I realized that this is a task for younger people, so I now have two close friends, one in her 50s and one in her 40s, as my POAs. Both are like family, and I have known them for decades, and I new the one in her 40s since she was four. 

Second, I created a document via my computer that lists every bit of important information about me that I could think of, e.g., the name and contact information of my accountant, lawyer, dentist, car insurance and on and on. It is a 34-page document at this point. I purchased a fire proof cabinet and have placed that and other documents (e.g., birth certificate) in it. 

I also have two 2-drawer filing cabinets that I set up just for the POAs. In this, I have my bank statements (always keep the January and June bank and other financial statements of past years) and utility bills and every important statement that a POA would need to know. In short, what I have done is to prepare and label all that I can think of that governs my life, so that the POAs know exactly where to go to find what they need. 

That document of which I spoke is in a folder labeled (in red) Read Me First. The POAs know about it. And, they know about the filing cabinets. And, the filing cabinets are also labeled POA.

 I believe by getting organized this way, it will take some of the burden off the POAs, and it will help me as I get older take care of myself, should I not need a POA.

 I hope this helps you and others.
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Guilt, I know how you feel... I am an only child with no children and not married [even if there were people doesn't always guarantee care], and my cousins are scattered across the country, most are seniors themselves.

I also worry about my future because I am still reeling from the sticker shock of the cost of professional caregivers, long-term-care facilities, and Independent/Assisted Living for my parents. I have a good nest egg, but what if that isn't enough?

Thank goodness for Medicaid and that State program to help those who can no longer afford to live at home. It would be your Power of Attorney who would need to do the leg work to get you the best health care and living facilities you can afford.

As for the Power of Attorney, it is always best to have two names, a primary and secondary if for some reason the primary is unable to service. Your secondary could be your Elder Law Attorney if he/she is willing to do that, but funds for the time spent would be taken from the estate.

And start downsizing stuff within your home. I wished my parents would have done that as it took me more than a month of Sundays to donate, keep, or toss all the items they had.
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The only advice I can think of for us single folks is to save as much money as possible and look in to buying long-term care insurance. The trouble with the latter is that it can be so expensive and you have to make sure it will be worth your investment. Many people have been pleased with their insurance policies, but others have been shocked at how little they cover.
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I had to take care of my mom for years--and it's still ongoing-- and it has impacted my savings and retirement severely (I won't be able to) but I figure we are going to have World War III in a few years or less so none of this is going to matter. We only have one mother so I don't mind taking care of her even though I have to sacrifice my own life for her.
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Old Bob, I think I like your answer best, especially the part about spending most of your money, lol. I tell my kinfolk that's my intention now and then. I'm 62, no kids or hubby, don't have a lot but have helped the two nieces and one nephew financially enough these past years. My brother (my POA) and the rest know I'll be donating my body to the local university medical school, who will cremate me and scatter my ashes in their cemetery right on campus, so that's hopefully settled (I carry the card in my billfold). My paid-for little house is not in the nicest neighborhood and won't net much, and I figure my best bet is to stay right here till I can't anymore. I've lead a frugal life, don't own much anybody would want, and I'll continue this way, living below my means. When mom's in the cemetery, I'll feel like I can take a trip or two out of town. (Don't know about the dog since I don't like cleaning up doo-doo before I mow; I'm good with seeing my sister's dogs once in awhile). I'll probably be talking to mom's elder care lawyer in the future to update my own business.
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My answer will not be popular, but caregiving is influencing my perspective. In just two years of caring for mom, I am seeing how she is becoming more physically incapacitated and mentally impaired, and she hates being dependent on me, and I'll be honest, I do not enjoy caregiving. My physical and mental health, formerly excellent, have suffered. I have a daughter, who is away in school now, and I will never, ever, put her through this. I don't want her to give up her life for caregiving, and that is the reality for so many of us, and except for on caregiver forums like this, no one talks about our realities as caregivers.

I'm hoping I get cancer, then I'll choose no treatment and only palliative care and hospice, and I'll move to a state where assisted suicide is legal. If I ever get a terrible diagnosis like Alzheimer's or dementia, in the early stages, when I am still rational, I am going to Dignitas. It's an organization in Switzerland for death with dignity, and there I will end my life. The criteria in states that offer assisted suicide here are written so that only those with six months or less to live are eligible, which leaves out dementia patients. I don't want my last years to be spent rotting in some miserable nursing home. I'll travel, say my goodbyes, and leave with dignity, sparing my daughter the anguish of taking care of me.

I don't consider this suicide but end of life managment. Face it, we put people through agonies before we let them go, but the last loving thing we do for our beloved pets is take them on that last trip to the vet.
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Dana, I agree with everything you've said up until the last sentence. I don't think it's usually family and loved ones who keep people alive and won't let go, I think it's seniors and their doctors perhaps who won't let go. I'll use my mother, who is almost 86, as an example.

Mom has a hundred health problems (except cancer other than small skin cancers) and has had a gazillion medications and procedures. She had a knee replacement when she was 77, and even then I argued against it, because her mobility was so poor that I felt it would compromise her ability to recover from surgery, which involves getting up and walking on the operated leg. (I was right and my siblings and I ended up having to fork over $4000 in charges for her rehab stay). Yesterday I was taking her to the doc for yet another procedure, and she mentioned casually that she is going to have to have "something done" for the knee that was not operated in 2008. I'm thinking "Mom, let it go, you're almost 86!" because I don't want to have to support her through another surgery and rehab. What I said was "What about pain patches?" She is going to bring this up with her doctor at the next visit and I'm praying the doc does not suggest anything involving surgery or more office procedures, because I'm already running Mom around to more of those than I would like. I know it's selfish, but I'm trying to have a life here. Trying to keep a job and have some vacation in the summer. It's not me or my siblings putting Mom through endless treatments. It's her own doing, supported by her doctors, who are always saying "Come back in a week." "Come back every three months." "Try this other procedure." Mom has basically nothing else to do with her life, but the schedule of medical needs is running me a little ragged!
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Carla, I sure hear what you are saying and I don't think you are selfish at all. My husbands' mother (now 96) got into the habit of going to the Dr., it became her social life, going from Dr. to Dr. and then she'd have something to talk about with her friends. She did this all during her 80's. Thank goodness she could still drive when all this was going on for years. Finally one of her Dr's called my husband and told him they felt his mother needed to go to a Psychologist to figure out why she kept going to so many Dr's. When she found out they had gone behind her back & talked about her mental behavior she finally quit going so much. Then there's my dad, he hadn't been sick a day in his life but right before he died at 85, he had made his mind up he was going to have some surgeries on his heart that his Dr. had spoke with him about. Dad seemed unfazed at how long his recoup time would be and who was going to be there to do the leg work for him. He had been opposed to Dr's his whole life so I was more than surprised when he told me about this decision. Ultimately, he had a light heart attack & was in the hospital for 6 days, demanded to go home against all the Dr's wishes but he couldn't stand being inconvenienced at the hospital. He was miserable at home the next week then died of a major heart attack. It was hard on me to see all that happen within such a short time, but then I thought, wow, I hope that happens to me, quick and then gone.
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This morning I woke up thinking that the biggest threat facing us in the US is the runaway greed that seems to be getting worse each generation. Home maintenance costs now are awful. The sales tax keeps going up. Housing prices are getting out of reach for most people. At the same time they are talking about cutting money going to senior citizens. It's almost like people are worshiping the golden calf. They even elected a representative of the golden calf as president. I don't recognize this country anymore. Over the course of my life, capitalism has gone into overdrive and is hurting this country so much. Our neighborhood has turned into a perpetual construction zone with people buying, improving, and flipping houses. They don't want a home now. They just want money for flipping houses. The thing that hurts old people is that we didn't come up during such an expensive time, and even if we saved a lot, it is not going to meet this ever-increasing love of money the people in charge have. I wish we could return to a simpler time in the US, but I know it isn't going to happen. I just hope that we ordinary older people have enough to coast through the rest of our lives.
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