Caring for mom during Covid within family of 5, she was just diagnosed with probable normal pressure hydrocephalus (resolved, if at all, by brain surgery). This helps explain her gait, incontinence, and severe cognitive problems that have accelerated over past 3 years. She also has pre-existing extensive white matter damage and evidence of multiple small strokes and has shown increasing delirium while with us (not recalling that I grew up in her household for instance, not remembering my husband of 26 years has been with me so long or that he has been around long enough to be father of my kids, etc.).

I am her successor POA. The short and long game is we need a higher level of care for her. She needs assisted living and I cannot go on providing care for her in my home for much longer without consequences to our family.

BUT recently, over the last year, she has gradually stopped paying her creditors. So a formerly strong credit rating is tanking before my eyes. I'm trying to get her bills back on track. However, her score is down in the mid sixes and falling. Since she has few other assets (like none to speak of), I want to sell her house to pay for her care. However, it's going to take some time and work with lawyers to do that since my disabled adult brother is living in the home, as he always has, and does not want to budge. Therefore we may need an HELOC (home equity loan, using her equity) for this next year to for her care outside my home, urge my brother onward, and get the house ready for sale.

My question as this juncture is: Has anyone had any success writing to the credit bureaus to contest the agencies dinging her for late payments since she has a medical condition that likely requires brain surgery and MAY resolve (somewhat, given then other damage). When I ask the credit card companies to have mercy they have so far given me the line that they must report and that all I can do is write to the agencies to contest the reporting.
I guess if I did so, I would try to get doctors letters saying her medical condition interfered with her ability to pay and now I am not top of it and assisting her, as they can see by us setting up auto pay, etc.

The debts themselves are low. She could pay them off right now. It's the credit rating I'm worried about.

Look forward to input and thanks for reading.

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I agree, a lawyer, versed in Medicaid, will be able to direct you. But my question an AL a good fit for Mom? My opinion is she needs more care than a AL is capable of giving. An AL is just that, it assists. The ratio of aides to residents are much lower than LTC. Your Mom should be able to do more of her ADLs than less. I think finding her a nice NH that excepts Medicaid would be better.

If you go the NH route, it does not matter what her credit score is. The house is not considered an asset and being disabled, ur brother can stay there but has to be able to pay the bills associated with the house. ( he can get help with utilities) Mom's SS and/or pension will be used to help offset the cost of the NH. Any credit card bills will just not be paid. Utilities probably will need to be for brother to stay in the home. Hopefully her house is paid off. Taxes and water will need to be paid if brother stays in the house.

As said, a lawyer should be able to help advise you. Check with Office of Aging if they have Credit counsellors.
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You are asking the credit agencies to falsify their records, in order to apply for a loan. I know you do not see it this way, but if Credit Bureaus changed correct reports at will, credit ratings would be useless.

As Mum has the funds available, pay off her debts.

Whether or not she is eligible for a HELOC is determined in part by her credit report, but is also related to her income and debt to equity ratio.

Who had POA over your brother and what are the plans for his ongoing care and housing?

Has Mum been assessed to see if AL is appropriate for her?
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You should see a certified elder law attorney ( is the best place to find one near you.

You really want to know what the law is regarding your brother. If this is his life long home and he is disabled you could be setting yourself up for some serious issues by making arrangements that will cost him his home.

Have you had a needs assessment done for your mom? This would be your 1st step so you know that you are looking into the right level of care. She sounds beyond assisted living and you don't want to have to keep moving her. Board and care are typically the cheapest options, but they don't offer the same amenities as large facilities, they do usually keep people through death though.

Best of luck getting this all sorted out so mom can get the care she requires.

You should add notes to her credit reports explaining that she had medical issues that caused the lapse in prompt payments. I would pay all of her debts off and start saving money for her future needs.
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On the face of it, and in spite of any credit rating good or bad, long term care is almost impossible to borrow for. Assisted living is very expensive. I have honestly never heard of anyone borrowing to be able to pay for it, because it is clear to the loaner that this person is going into care, that medicaid will recover, from the sale of home and etc. , first. That there will be no money for the lender to recover. That is clear going into any loan. It honestly isn't worth addressing this credit. Firstly, the agencies will be very unlikely to change it. They are reporting the facts. It is up to the rest of the world to act on those facts. They honestly aren't interested in our reasons, as we ALL have reasons. Selling the home may not be the best idea also. You may want to hang on to the home, and let medicaid recover later. Your options now are placement such as your elder can find, given what assets the elder has. I would see an elder law attorney and find out what the options are. Take a list of all assets, all expense, the diagnosis, and etc. Paying for this hour of time will let you know options and give you an idea how to proceed. If you are soon looking at memory care then this can cost between 10,000 and 20,000 a month in some settings, and less in board and care, but still not an amount that would ever be loaned in a situation. You must think like the lender. Would you make such a loan?
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Timesavor, I understand your dilemma but the thought of going into debt at this point... have you spoken to a financial planner? Or elder law attorney that specializes in estate planning? Other resources for more immediate solutions may be social services for your county or your area's Agency on Aging. You should not go into debt for your mom's (or brother's) care if at all possible. Your mom may eventually require Medicaid and you don't want to do anything to endanger that option. But you will know more clearly what your choices are after consulting with a professional. I wish you all the best in finding solutions.
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See an elder law attorney. Brother may have rights to remain in the home as he is disabled. I would be very surprised if you would find any company that would offer a loan for assisted living. You cannot get a reverse mortgage to fund assisted living as mom must live in the home.

You need to see an attorney familiar with elder care issues.
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Most creditors like to know the reason for late payments so that they can have some confidence that they will be paid eventually. The best advice may be to ask your question of the individual creditors – would explaining and paying the debts off now mean that her credit rating is restored? What else do they advise? Tell them that Mother is solvent but may require credit to cover the time when she is paying for care and also waiting for her house to sell, and that is why you are concerned about the credit rating. Another option you might want to consider is to pay off the debts now, and take out a loan to cover that period when you think she will need credit. Best wishes, Margaret.
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