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Due to longterm family disputes, I am likely to be the only person in position to deal with upcoming elder care situations, some of which are evolving faster than I anticipated. 1) My 74-year-old mother who is rapidly losing mobility and has few financial resources 2) A reclusive 72-year-old aunt who is losing mobility and has ZERO financial resources and lives alone (by preference) in semi-squalid conditions 3) An active 77-year-old father who lives in his RV, is showing signs of diabetes, never goes to the doctor, and has few financial resources. I feel like I'm within 18 months to 2 years of becoming suddenly overwhelmed/blindsided by one or all of them having to go in hospital. I only have one sister and she has kept her distance from them for years so I don't feel I can call on her for any sort of help whatsoever (did I mention, she has few financial resources?) What can I, by myself, do now to prepare? Should I be asking/coaxing them to think about advance health care directives, home care, etc?

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Ah. Most of us are, too, so you'll probably hear about lots of experience.

Financial resources are going to be one issue, for sure. Preserve your own financial resources for your own needs. You are going to be old some day, too! I hate to say don't be generous, but do be realistic. And don't sign anything that makes you responsible for their financial obligation. If you do get POA for them, sign only as POA.

A POA may not be sufficient to give you access to their bank statements you may need to help with applications. That may require a trip to the bank with your relative and filling out bank forms.

Probably the Medicaid program is going to be appropriate for these folks. They may not be eligible now ("showing signs of diabetes" may not qualify for the medical need) but look into what is involved in applying and be ready when the time comes. Applying for individuals without assets is much simpler than applying for couples who need to preserve assets for the well spouse.

Another big obstacle is attitudes of the elders. Would Aunt Recluse cooperate in applying for Medicaid? Would she accept in-home help for housecleaning, or helping her bathe, for example? Dad isn't going to qualify for medical aid without seeing a doctor. This may be a challenge! The sooner you can bring that about, the easier the application process will be when the time comes, and, of course, the sooner he can start taking better care of himself (if he will).

Many people with limited mobility can take care of themselves just fine for many years, with appropriate help. Should Aunt be using a walker? Does Mom need an electric scooter? Do they both need some help with housecleaning? Laundry? Or are
the mobility issues such that they cannot get in and out of bed unassisted?

You are wise to be looking at this ahead of time, instead of in a crisis. You can start looking into resources for indigent elders now.
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I'm in the U.S.
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Ellen, what country are you in? If you are not in the US, for example, us telling you about Medicaid won't be helpful. I think you need to identify resources, and that will vary depending on where you are.

By all means encourage them to do health care directives. Do your own and talk about it. You may want financial POA for one or more of them, in order to help them apply for aid, etc.

Let us know where you are so others from there can respond.
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