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My mom moved in with my family and I last May. She decided to separate from my step father after 29 years of marriage. Honestly I don’t know why it took her that long because the relationship was very unhealthy. Now she is in the process of filing for divorce. My mother is not very independent and cannot drive, that coupled with her health issues (past heart attack, bypass surgery, type II diabetes, and memory issues) concerns me. I am not sure where she will go from here. I feel selfish because I think she should move into her own place and possibly receive some assistance that my family is unable to provide. She is 71 and still mobile, but very dependent on us for transportation and companionship (she has few friends), she has fallen a few times due to our house having a 2nd level but no broken bones. Both my husband and I work full time and have three children living at home (two college aged) and one minor. It’s a lot and I am conflicted on how to proceed. Appreciate any advice. Thank you

I think assisted living might be the way to go here, if she has any assets. Having people around her own age will provide her with more stimulation and having staff around 24 hours a day will help with your peace of mind for her health issues.
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Reply to DoingMyBest73
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Until your Mom actually gets a judgement of divorce you have no idea where she stands financially. And dear ex could make it very hard. The easiest ones are where there is no contesting. Things are split and they go on their merry ways. Your Mom is only entitled to half of his SS which she probably already gets. If he has a pension, she maybe entitled to some of that. A house, sell and split the proceeds. Assets split. As I said this will be cut and dry if he agrees but he doesn't agree this divorce could go on for awhile.

Do not promise Mom she can live there for good. Always tell her "Mom you know this is not a permanent fix. You r going to need a place of your own and resources."

Assisted living does seem a good choice for her. But they are expensive. Medicaid rarely pays for it. With her divorcing that means her finances are up in the air. The only income she can depend on is what she receives in SS and any pension she may receive. There is low income apts and those that HUD subsidizes. I would start looking for something. At 71 she could live a while longer.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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geddyupgo Jan 13, 2022
Great advice! I'm glad you brought up the financial side which is sometimes easy to overlook in the press of things.
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Seems your mother would do better in a senior community that offers a lot of activities and transportation to grocery store, doctor's appointments... Help her start the research process while the divorce is getting settled. Once she is divorced, then help her with finding her new home.
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Reply to Taarna
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My In laws divorced after 42 years of marriage and it was a hot mess--even 31 years later, MIL still brings it up constantly, and she cleaned him out, financially. Very sad and pretty much insured the whole family would never hang out together again. And we haven't, not really.

Since this is a 'step' dad, maybe your feelings are not so deep as if it were your bio dad. IDK.

Mom is not so old she needs babysitting and having her live with you is not healthy for you, your marriage or your kids. Or mom.

It is kind of you to have her live with you while she sorts things out. But she needs to KNOW that this is temporary. That must be made clear, even tho it's an awful conversation to have.

An ALF with a moderate level of support would probably be best. I have a friend who checked HERSELF into assisted living. Making that choice on her own made it an easier move. She stopped driving, relying upon the 'grocery runs' that the ALF provides and eating most of her meals in the common dining room. She's very active in a lot of activities, esp the service-based ones (tying quilts for refugees, making baby blankets, etc). Her QOL improved dramatically when she moved.

Since mom doesn't drive, she would enjoy the bus services, I'd think.

I guess you do have to wait and see how the divorce settles out. It's good for you to be there for her during that time, but, no, don't let her make this permanent.

Kids of any age need their folks--my girls needed me MORE when they were in college than when they were younger.

Don't overload mom right now with a search for a different living arrangement, but you can do your own research, so when the time comes it isn't so hard on her. Sounds like she does need your input, minimally.

Good Luck with this! I hope mom comes out happier when the dust has settled.
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Reply to Midkid58
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It’s not selfish to want a safe environment for your mother with professional care and people her own age group. Living I your home isn’t in her best interests. Contact the local agency on aging and ask for guidance. Take mom to visit assisted living places. Put aside guilt, it’s normal to be sad that it can’t be different or better, but there’s no place for guilt
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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I hate to hear daughters call themselves 'selfish' when they want to proceed with their own lives, families and children, w/o having to worry about a parent who's completely dependent upon her for everything. How is it even fair of the parent to expect such a thing of her daughter? THAT is the 'selfish' part, in my estimation, b/c to do such a thing to MY daughter is unthinkable, and I'll be 65 in July, so not that much younger than your mother. I still drive, cook, clean, and take care of all the bills, my DH and my dog, too. My mother, on the other hand, has never written a check, paid a bill, called a repairman or fixed a single thing around the house in her entire life; she depended on dad to do it FOR her, including driving, while complaining about it the whole time. She's 95 now and living in Memory Care AL which she moved into from regular AL in 2019. Dad died in 2015 & she's STILL complaining about what he's not doing for her!

Find an AL for your mom that also has a Memory Care wing or building which she can segue into if necessary. Providing she will have the funds to self pay, that goes without saying. Assisted Living is like camp for needy elders who are unused to doing for themselves. They CAN do for themselves if they want to, but they don't have to; they can go down to the dining room for 3 meals a day & have the mini bus take them where they want to go (for the most part). They can make friends & schmooze the days away with activities galore. It's really the best answer for mom's like ours, who depend on others to function. #Truth

Living with us hampers OUR life and also stymies THEM, when you think about it. We feel like they're impinging on our sacred space and they hone in on those feelings we're having, so nobody wins. In AL, they get autonomy. Their own space that they can do what they want with. It's a win-win, yet you'll hear others around here tell you how 'horrible' ALs are and how horrible YOU are for even suggesting such a thing for the sainted creature who was in labor with you for 89 agonizing hours. Hogwash. AL is the answer to everyone's problems. It's like a hotel with caregivers on site as needed. And a doctor who comes in to see the elders on a weekly basis! And a beauty parlor and and and.

Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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MaryKathleen Jan 16, 2022
My Aunt who lived in Dallas, and my ex who still lives in Omak Washington, both were/are in AL. Man, it was/is great. I used to call Aunt Maggie to talk and 3/4 of the time I got, "Honey, can I call you back in a little while, I am (take your pick,) playing bingo, cards, listening to someone talking, going to dinner, getting on the bus, etc". My ex has a lot of people to complain about, even the guys he goes to McDonalds for coffee with in the morning. They go on bus trips etc.

My ex was self pay for 3 years, then his money ran out,and they let him stay in his old room for just his SS.

I wouldn't mind having a one bedroom in either place. Oh, wait, I don't want to be in the same one as my ex :-D
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While the final aspects of the divorce are being ironed out, take time out on the weekends to research and visit a few AL homes to see what's available, acceptable, and affordable. It's important to do this so that Mom sees that your home isn't her last stop. Once the divorce is finalized, take action by following through with the plans to move her to a nice place where she can begin the process of socializing with people her own age. Best of luck on your journey.
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Reply to NYCmama
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A nearby Independent or Assisted Living community might be a great option for her. They usually provide transportation to shopping, often to doctor appointments and in the past will take residents on outings (not sure how much of that is done now because of COVID)
The choice between IL and AL would depend on how much help she needs. And most communities will also have Memory Care as well (you mentioned memory issues)
She will meet people and get involved with activities.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Making a major move at her age is difficult. She is in the process of 2 of them, loss or marriage and loss of home. I would think it would be best for her to find her own AL place right away, where she can settle into her own place, make friends her own age and also know you are nearby. If she waits to move later, that's another move. I'd think it would be easier to to settle in right away.
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Reply to Debstarr53
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I strongly recommend that your mom and you consult with an elder law attorney and estate planning group - there are some steps she can take BEFORE filing for divorce, legally, that may protect her in future. She needs her own bank account, health care proxy (for medical decision making if she is unable to express what she wants in future) and a power of attorney for finances. This person can make decisions about her finances/resources and how they are saved/spent, if she is not able to do so by herself. Get these done now, before there is any question of her ability to process complex information and make a choice.
Then, get to work on the divorce process....the elder law group may have a partner who does divorce work, or will be able to recommend a couple of local attorneys who do well in these cases. Sometimes you. have to spend more money to get something done right the first time...trying to do the bare minimum due to cost usually ends up creating an emotional, financial, and legal tangle.
I write from the perspective of spending 4 years as a protective service caseworker, and saw this process from the inside.It is rocky, at best.
If you consult with an elder law attorney that has different advice, and that seems reasonable to you, take it.
Getting her own assets will make it clear what the housing choices are. Facilities cost money.
Getting her on a waiting list for HUD subsidized housing is worth a try, if they are accepting new applicants. Can take years to get a place, though.
Call your local area on agency - use that as a search term - and find out about what services are available. They can do a phone consult with you, so you get information to be thinking about. They. may be able to provide her with some in house help or transportation, or rides to and from the senior center. Even if she is sitting on the sidelines there, she is still around other people and will get to know faces and sit in on programs and she might find something that gets her interest. She does need to 'go out to her own place' a couple of days/week..for the sake of your family and their needs.
Take good care of you, your marriage, and your kids.
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Reply to Clairesmum
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