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We have failed twice before having my 94 Y.O. mother live with us. Bickering and fighting reached a point where I had to get her out or lose my marriage. Her AL move was traumatic but it worked out. Then her AL facility closed. We had to move her to the last AL open in our area. They are private pay only. Once again, she will have to move. Most likely in December. The only two choices are nursing homes.


My difficulty is we still have the same house and could move her here. She no longer walks, is forgetful, self centered and demanding. She has IBS and occasionally needs a full diaper clean-up. She will not bathe in a shower instead washing in the sink. Additionally, she is perpetually cold needing the temperature set around 80 to be comfortable. I think taking her on would be 24 x 7, and likely result in serious difficulty in my marriage.


Am I a bad son if I don't want to do this? Should I feel guilty about applying for Medicaid to place her in a nursing facility? Do her handicaps even qualify her for nursing care? Should I expect the State to do this for me even though I am capable but older (72)? This has really got me.


I need your help.



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Oh, boy. Can I be very honest with you? Get on the phone and contaxt your local Medicaid office.

If Mom was “difficult” before, so difficult that you almost lost your marriage, it would be worse now. Much worse. Asking your wife to mop her up when she has a blow-out from her IBS is totally above and beyond.

She is beyond AL and needs a skilled nursing facility. She has medical as well as cognitive issues. When I placed my mom, the Skilled Nursing Facility did all the Medicaid work for me and she was accepted Medicaid pending.

You are not a “bad son” for not bringing her back to live in your home. But your status as a “good husband” may suffer if you do.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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Nncbb57 Jan 9, 2019
Yes! My Dad was allowed to live in his nursing home while he was “Medicaid pending.”
Your marriage must come first.
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Please read what you have written. Read every word, several times if necessary. Then read it as though you were counseling someone else who was writing what you have said.
In your decision making, contact your local social service agencies and get the logistical information you need to make your decision. Visit the two facilities to which you have access for her.
I have become an advocate for having a psychological/psychiatric evaluation done on ANYONE of this age, especially someone who presents with significant problems of ambulation, memory loss, and is belligerent/demanding.
It is highly likely at her age that a trained geriatric specialist in psychiatric evaluation will find evidence of dementia. The experience you had when you attempted home care previously will not have lessened, but will have increased.
What aspects of her and/or your present circumstances lead you to consider that caring for her “at home” will be successful now, after two failures?
After two failed attempts, only you can determine for yourself if you are or were a “bad son”. To the anonymous reader, it is likely that you are not.
There are NEVER good decisions to be made when caring for someone in your mother’s condition, so you must choose the best out of a bunch of less than good choices. As part of your personal assessment consider the impact on your mother, YOURSELF, and all the other residents in the house to which you’d be bringing her home.
Arm yourself with all the FACTS. YOU will be empowered to make the decision you need to make, however difficult.
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Keepingthelove Jan 9, 2019
Lots of wisdom in your statement, "There are NEVER good decision to be made when caring for someone in your mother's condition so you must choose the best out of a bunch..." Good advice that applies to many situations!
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No, you're not a bad son for considering alternatives to having your mother move in with you especially since you've tried it in the past and it didn't work out. This time would be no different.

Start the Medicaid application process. If your mom's assisted living has a social worker enlist their help with the application. If there is no social worker to assist you you can still do it on your own. Medicaid can take a long time to be approved so it's best that you get started as soon as you can.

While you're applying for Medicaid visit some nursing homes to determine which one will be best suited for your mom.
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Richard41 Jan 9, 2019
Thanks Eyerishlass, yes I am about 8 months from needing the approval completed. Everyone says I'm starting at a good time.
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No. No. I certainly hope so and Yes!

Do not move her into your home. Do not feel bad about seeking assistance in caring for a 94 year old woman. You will be able to be a much better son to her if her physical needs are being met by a team of workers.

Best of luck.
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Richard41 Jan 9, 2019
Thanks Marcia, I definitely want to be a good son.
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NO, NO, and NO!
Do not move her into your house.
It will destroy your marriage.
You are NOT a bad son.
Get her into a NH (as close to your home as possible) and visit her multiple days a week just to ensure she is being cared for.
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Richard41 Jan 9, 2019
Thank you Xena, exactly what I plan to do.
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You are a husband first and foremost. If mom wants to do it her way then she can not live in your house. Your wife is the mistress of your home, not your mom.

You aren't really thinking it could work, right?

She has needs that should qualify her for NH, tell her doctor that is her only option, you're not in a position to care for her, she needs professional care and you would only be a bad son if you failed to get that for her.
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Once again thank you all. Your advice and wisdom gives me confidence to go forward and plan for her move. Everyone has been very supportive. I have not felt really good for months worrying about what would become of my mom. Now in just 2 days there is the kernel of a plan. Lots of work to do and people to contact. A good suggestion that may help others came from the SNF Admissions specialist. She suggested moving Mom about 2 months before money runs out, paying privately. They will apply for Medicaid during that time. She should have a smooth transition without stress. In the mean time (about 8 months) I will arrange to meet Medicaid's requirements. Ample time to do things right.
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Lymie61 Jan 9, 2019
Sounds like you are planning well and feeling better about your decision, good for you! Don't question that you are a good son, a very good, loving and caring son because you obviously are. One thing I would like to add just in case it helps at all is given that she no longer walks it seems to me that a NH situation may be far less of a transition and perhaps better for her than it seems, than it would have been previously when she was more capable on her own. Her world and surroundings are smaller now just by the nature of her lack of self mobility so she wont be reminded of her less spacious individual space constantly and having more direct access to people and help may be a welcome thing for her, who knows. Sounds to me like you are not only doing the right thing for you and your spouse but for her too by moving her to a NHF even if she wasn't running out of money!
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I understand your guilt, but it is non-productive.
Apply for Medicaid now. Your mom, by nature of the fact that she’s not ambulatory, should qualify. Let the AL know the situation.
At 72, no matter how fit a 72 year-old you are, the physical care of a person who cannot walk and is fecally incontinent could literally kill you (or severely impair you).
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Do not move her in!!!! You've already tried and know it will not work. No need to feel guilty. if she needs a nursing home - it is not putting her on the trash  heap and walking away. Start looking at homes now
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Richard41 Jan 9, 2019
Thanks Kimber, I'm doing as you say.
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Thank you all! I have started the process. It will be hard but it is what is best all around. Your support was critical. Thanks again.
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AnotherOneofUs Jan 9, 2019
Can I add, though you've already decided, don't move her in!

Great advices here, which I also need since I'm in a similar situation. I do want to add, this all should apply, even if there's no spouse or marriage at risk.

I am 70 and living on my own and difficult though this is - it applies for me regarding my own mother. This is not a position I want my children to find themselves in, either - married or single.

Best wishes, Richard!
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