Mom has cancer, is in assisted living, house hasn't sold and she is running out of funds. Any advice?

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My Mom, who lives in southern Indiana, is 73 years old, recently widowed and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 11 months ago- just a few months before Dad passed away. Four months ago Mom was told she had 3-4 months to live as her cancer was spreading and the best option was to discontinue treatments as it would do her more harm then good. Mom is on oxygen, taking lots of pain med's and is no longer able to live on her own. She uses a wheelchair to get around but needs help bathing, etc. Her pain levels are increasing.


My brother put Mom in assisted living 4 months ago and simultaneously put my parents house up for sale. Assisted living is $5,000 a month and Mom is blowing through her savings quickly and the house is not selling even after a few huge price drops. Mom can only make 2 more months assisted living payments and without the house selling she will not be able to afford her current AL payment.


I'm not sure what to do. Should we consider applying for Medicaid now? Mom would have to move to a shared bed nursing home if on Medicaid which would be devastating to her as she is still with it right now but I'm not sure that we have any other choice. Mom lives close to my brother (he is her POA) but his house is not conducive to someone in Mom's condition plus he has three small girls. I live out of state and am thousands of miles away. Dad was in the Navy but I don't know if that would be of any help to Mom right now as far as benefits. I feel so stressed and confused. Please help. Any info is appreciated... Please let me know if I should move this post to another topic board.

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Thank you again for your comments and kind words.

We have no idea as to why the house isn't selling and the agent seems perplexed as well since other homes around ours are selling quickly. Moms house is a ranch-style house as my parents didn't want to deal with stairs as they aged and it is on a culd-de-sac. Our house is priced to sell right now and it is priced lower than it should be as we just need to move it. We did change the carpeting and the house is freshly painted as it needed to be spruced up badly. Most homes in the subdivision are two story and I think that's what most growing families want. I almost feel like our home needs a nearly retired or a retired couple to move in just like my parents were when they bought it. The house is ideal for that type of situation.

I did check into VA aids and attendance benefits and am working with my brother on the paperwork. Issue is that it takes 120 days to know if she'll be accepted or not. I appreciate this info! Thank you.

Medicaid paperwork...are there any tips or suggestions on how to get started? Mom lives in Indiana so do I go to the Medicaid site for Indiana and fill out the application online or is there a better way to complete this? The options are online, phone or in person but I live out of state. The facility where mom lives suggests an attorney should help us but that is not feasible.

The person I spoke with at moms assisted living facility said once Mom is unable to pay she could go to a nursing home type facility on the same property where they accept Medicaid. I am wondering what will happen if Mom runs out of funds before Medicaid is approved...if it is approved. My brother lives near Mom but his home is not conducive to moms condition as he has many, many stairs and no bathroom on the main level.

This situation is stressful to deal with and sometimes forces my brother and I to lose sight of the fact that Mom is dying of cancer. Knowing what I/we know now, we would have approached this process a lot differently but sometimes you don't how to handle something until you've lived through it.
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Reply to Floralscent
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Floralscent, sorry that your Mom and you are going through this. At this time in one's life, it shouldn't be so complicated.

Since there is equity in the house, check with a bank to do a line-of-credit and see if that would be workable.

I don't recommend a Reverse Mortgage, as a RM requires the owner to be living in the house and if the homeowner does goes into continuing care, it can be only for one year. After one year then the loan becomes due and payable, plus all the interest, and fees. Thus in many cases, the house has to be sold to meet the loan.

Has the Realtor indicated why it is taking so long to sell the house? Is it location? Condition? I sold my Dad's house "as is" as it needed a lot of remodeling, and quickly found a flipper who was interested. But before I put the house on the market with a Realtor, I hired a licensed Appraiser to give me a ballpark figure. It was well worth the cost of the Appraiser.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Basket - reverse mortgage is NOT an option as she does NOT live at home. She is a resident in AL. RM require them to live in the home. I bet she could not legally even sign the RM paperwork as she’s currently living in a facility 

As far as the we buy crappy homes guys, in my experience those tend to offer maybe the unimproved value of the property based on tax assessor valuation. Assessor usually has property value as 2 sections: improvements (structures like the house) and unimproved (aka the market value of land). Unless raw land really valuable, they will get a pittance paid. Or unless your in an area where there’s no real inventory in sought after neighborhoods. If the house has an existing mortgage (horrors!) hopefully mortgage is low enough that once it gets paid off there’s actually $ to the owner.

The ugly house folks usually won’t touch homes that have historic zone status, or foundation issues or watershed/environmental issues as it’s too time consuming to get permitted and there’s enforced regulations. They have to flip in maybe 4-10 weeks to get it sold, debt paid and move to next. Hard to do if historic, environmental or serious foundation stuff. 

There’s got to be reasons why Floralscents mom’s home she hasn’t sold..... just why -to me - can make a difference as to just what to do with it. There’s got to be something that’s keeping it from being sold. If bro & Floral are fronting $$$ every month on the place and it’s not likely to sell, decisions have to get make as to house situation. 
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Reply to igloo572
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So if you got a contract on the house do not expect cash tomorrow. It does not work that way. You need to apply for Medicaid. Also from what you describe, she does not have much time. Palliative means to continue treatment and hospice is comfort measures. You might want to switch her care
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Reply to MACinCT
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If she has that diagnosis couldnt you be on Hospice? I suppose you could do a reverse morgage on it . Or find one of those " if we cant sell it we will buy it guys"
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Reply to baskethill1
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Floralscent, just a caution about Palliative Care. Has anyone advised you that meds are not paid for someone on PC? I just learned that; the amount is small, but it's still an out of pocket cost.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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I think she would benefit from hospice.
Any idea why palliative care rather than hospice?

Your mom’s in AL right? Some AL do not allow for hospice to come in; that they take the position that if hospice is needed then the resident needs to be in a skilled nursing care facility aka a NH. Is this the situation? I’d suggest you find out from the AL as to if hospice allowed and if so to get her MD to write orders for hospice evaluation ASAP and you can contact a couple of hospice providers to get hospice coming in 2 to 4 days a week to add extra hands to help with her care & provide equipment to make things better / easier. Try to find hospice that will Skype or other email/ FaceTime so you know what’s what in addition to your brother.

But if the AL will not allow hospice, that’s a different situation. Find out.

For this AL she’s in, do they take Medicaid and are there Medicaid beds that she could transition to this summer when she runs out of $ to private pay?
I’d suggest you clearly find out from AL about Medicaid bed available ASAP.
Medicaid for AL is paid via waiver programs so funding totally dependent on your states budget. Most states do not have AL on Medicaid waiver. Hopefully she’s good to get a Medicaid bed in AL. If you find out that it’s a no, post that as an update, ok.

Yes she should look into if she’s eligible for VA Aid & Attendance and you can do this from afar. I’d suggest you do a new post on the VA threads to see if anyone on AC has Indiana experience. File for it and it will pay retroactive should she die before eligible.

Bet your bro is overwhelmed. If house has actively been listed and no interest, it may not be sellable via FHA/VA/HUD criteria. Any idea why it hasn’t sold? Also has bro (or you) fronted expenses on the house? How much and do you all need to expect to be reimbursed for $ spent on her house?
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Reply to igloo572
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Thank you for your answers. Mom is not receiveing Hospice care. She is using pain meds now to manage the pain and going to various therapies a few times a week.

Mom is receiving palliative care at her assisted living facility.
Thank you
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Reply to Floralscent
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Your post is fine here.

You (or your brother) should definitely apply for Medicaid ASAP.
Also apply for Aid and Attendance from the military. You'll need your dad's information for her application.

You may have to "spend down" the money she has but, if it only lasts 2 more months, hopefully the Medicaid will be processed by then.

I'm sorry for your mom's diagnosis. Hopefully you can share some time together.

Has anyone looked into hospice? She would qualify for free services, as they are paid by Medicare. They provide many conveniences like hospital bed, medications, bed pads, suction machine, nurse and doctor checks, oxygen, etc.

May God bless your whole family.
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Reply to SueC1957
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It sounds like applying for Medicaid is the logical next step.

Perhaps one thing you can do at a distance is research if there any veteran benefits for Mom.

Is Mom on hospice care?
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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