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My friend will be 81 in 8 short days. I, along with another person, helped move her from her dilipated house into low income senior housing. She has a tiny SS check each month that will pay her new housing. She is now safer and there are residents there that visit. This is the upside.


The downside is this:


1) Her old house is chock full as her and her parents saved everything that they had ever gotten. To qualify for the low income senior housing her house had to be put on the market. Real estate people say that can't show it until it is cleaned out. I had started cleaning it out with her approval but she wants to hang onto everything in it. She also wants to give quite a few items to family members who seem unwilling to accept them. We are at a standstill on this matter. The house has been closed for the winter and I am afraid that her beloved stuff is going to become damaged from lack of heat, at least the furniture, books and paper goods.


2) She is not paying her currents bills unless I sit down with her and do it. I found two last week that were close to being overdue. She cannot afford, for safety's sake, to have her telephone service shut down.


3) She has a savings account that she refuses to spend down to qualify for Medicaid. She will be needing the Medicaid as assisted living does not look too far off. She keep saying that it's her cushion for later; I keep telling her that later is now. She also wants to leave this money to cousins, which is admirable but assisted living will take all of her savings anyway before she's eligible for Medicaid help. I do not think she fully understands this.


4) I have noticed a lot lately that she is repeating the same things over and over about events and situations that we have already taken care of such as donating some of her items (only 2 boxes) to a local thrift shop - she forgets that I have already done that and keeps telling me to give them to assorted people. I have stopped telling her that those are already gone so as not to cause anxiety. She can remember where every Urging in her house is but cannot remember instructions on how to use her phone, for example.


5) She has no POA, no medical instructions in case of emergency nor has she had a will done. I have brought this up with her as I worry about her but to no avail.


What can be done about any of this, if anything can be done at all?

You have quite a challenge with your friend declining. Facing those changes in her may be felt as a sad loss, both to you personally, and concerning for you. But you can survive, and the friendship too!

If you understand that she can no longer help herself, and it is not your job to become her caregiver. Maybe you can guide her to helps and stand-by her.
My experience is the family responsible steps up, but often a bit later, or even too late. If you "take over", you will be maligned, as "no good deed goes unpunished" is all too often a reality.

Be a friend even when she cannot, whatever that means for you.

I am going to call my friend right now.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I would call your Office of Aging. Ask what options you have. She will not be able to live on her own eventually.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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God bless you for what you are doing.

I think you are well and truly stuck at this point, no? I'd call your Area Agency on Aging for advice on how to move forward; or perhaps whoever manages the senior housing might know of advisory services you could access. Certainly I think you're right not to want to stir another step without good authority for it.

Are you sure you're happy to continue? - just another point to consider carefully. This could become quite a job of work.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I am not POA and have stopped cleaning the house as stated in my post. I feel uncomfortable doing anymore without a legal contract as I do not wish to cause her any anxiety and I am respecting her wishes. I enjoy visiting with her and do not mind helping as long as my help is effective and causes no harm.
Family (cousins) are aware of her situation; there have been family meetings and although they care about her in a somewhat "distant"manner, no one in her family seems to want any real responsibility for her belongings. She was never married and had no children. One cousin has refused her offer of family furniture and the other has not answered as of yet. They are all in their late 70's and early 80's, so I can understand their hesitation to take on a house load of stuff.
I am not doing this alone. I am helping her at the request of a professional. We have hired someone to do light housekeeping twice a week plus have another friend get her supper ready in the evenings. This lady is a delight to be around and is not a burden. I am a caregiver, an advocate and a friend, just not a relative. I am mainly worried that she is not adequately preparing for the not too distant future by not having a will or a POA - either financially or medically; plus her recent forgetfulness about things like bill paying and how to operate appliances, etc.
I also know "chaff from wheat" as I buy and sell, which is a separate part of my life and not to be confused with my friendship and current assistance.
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Reply to Stilltired
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Without POA, your hands are pretty much tied. And, as a friend and not a blood relative, that just complicates matters. You have no access to her funds and it should not fall to you or another non-relative to take on the responsibility(including financial) of cleaning our/closing down and selling her home. Nor should it be your responsibility to find alternate placement for her.

She apparently has relatives, if not “family”, yes? Since you have taken over handling everything for your friend with no real rights to do so, they are more than willing to let you. What can be done? As Grandma1954 suggested, send a registered letter to as many of her relatives as you can find addresses for. It might not be a bad idea to have it come from an attorney’s office. Keep in mind that these absentee relatives will come out of the woodwork if they believe you are doing anything untoward with her possessions or finances even though you aren’t. Your good intentions and love for your friend will be thrown up in your face.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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First...Are you POA so that you can legally clear these items out? If so then you do what needs to be done. If you do not have POA it is possible that a legal guardian will have to be appointed. This could be you if you wish the job if not (and if no family member wants to be guardian either) the court will appoint a guardian then this is all out of your hands.
If you have contacted family and told them that these items have to go (I would do this in writing sending them a letter certified)
The easiest thing to do would be to contact someone that would do an Estate Sale. Yes this will cost you but it is less work for you. And someone with experience will be able to tell the "chaff from the wheat". And a big clue here...no one wants, needs or will pay for old National Geographic magazines! Items that do not sell can be donated and a tax write off might be helpful. Minimal but helpful.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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