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My place is just too small for both my Mom and myself and it's starting to drive me nuts. Since my Mom sold her home we have the resources to buy a home versus the apartment I have been renting which would give us more room and I would have privacy. I have been house hunting and found a home that would be perfect for both of us yet I'm nervous about purchasing a home, it's mostly cash so our expenses would not be much, about the same as what I have been paying for renting my place. I just need more space! My Mom and I are constantly bumping into each other and I have very little privacy. Thoughts?

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Yes, I understand that Medicaid will pay for only a nursing home which will be the last resort for my Mom. She is easy to take care of and not demanding. She has vascular dementia and from what I read it will only progress as I am witnessing.

I believe the laws vary from state to state and I trust the elder care attorney I sat down with yesterday as he has much experience in these matters. My best friend's husband suffered 2 serious strokes and Medicaid paid for everything without touching her house or finances. My best friend also received her husband's SS check while he was in a nursing home.

This elder care attorney assured me nothing can happen to the house later down the road. He handled many cases the same as my Mom's and I trust him.
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Just an FYI - Medicaid CAN help pay, but ONLY for nursing homes. This is not the first choice for early dementia stages (still somewhat functional/lucid), AND those 5 year look-backs others mention are true. IF you went nursing home route at any time, THEY can take any and all assets - Social Security, pensions are a given, and if she has any money (think they are allowed to have like 2000$) or a home, THEY can/will take it or at the least take a lien on that half... beware!!
Elder Care attorneys are not cheap but they can help set things up to protect the patient and any assets. We finished up trust for funds and condo last year, and have just gotten a very reluctant mom into a memory care facility today! Don't know how well this will work, as short-term memory is shot and she has been so adamant about being independent and refusing to move ANYWHERE...
I do agree about being wary about buying - you may need those assets to help pay for in-home help or a place better than nursing home (last resort!)
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Thanks everyone for all your replies! My Mom and I went to see an elder care attorney yesterday and in the state we live in the attorney told us the best thing to do with the proceeds of the sale of my Mom's house would buy another home. He explained all the reasons why and this way my Mom would be eligible for Medicaid (without Medicaid looking back 5 years). He said the house will be deeded to me after my Mom passes (goodness that's hard to type).

Originally it was my Mom's idea to buy a house and we could use a larger place. I need to think of the future as far as my well being after my Mom is no longer living as well as my Mom getting the help she needs when I myself can no longer care for her (meaning when her dementia gets worse).

I would be happy in the "right" home with no stairs (I'm no spring chicken myself)... I'll take my time looking. Finding someone to help me is not easy as I live in a very rural area (which I love because of all the nature).. The biggest stress reliever was giving up my Mom's dog because it was too much for me walking him 3 to 4 times a day and walking on ice (they don't treat the dirt roads here with salt, only the main roads).
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Chill1947. My husband has Kewy Bodies also. When I wanted to downsize to a condo, everyone told me to rent first to make sure it was workable. I'm really glad I did. Two moves were very hard on both of us, but apartment living was just not for my husband. He does much better in a peaceful neighborhood. I hate having to manage landscapers and maintenance, too, but it's necessary right now. You will need someone to come relieve you at least once a week so you can run errands, etc. Let them clean the house!
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Locked, not licked, but that wouldn't surprise me either.
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When my husband and I sold our house, I wanted to downsize, so rented a high rise apartment downtown. I LOVED it, but all the commotion added to my husband's confusion. I bought a larger home, fully ADA, all one floor, and room for a live in if eventually needed. Like all people with dementia, he had trouble adjusting, but once he did, I think he is much happier. I agree with all the cautionary steps everyone is reminding you of how will you handle wandering? I sleep in the room with my husband with doors licked. Are you prepared to clean up after your mother when she mistakes a bathroom drawer for a toilet? Or pees in the fireplace? Not saying it can't be done, just be prepared. It's not easy. And yes, be sure to talk with attorney who specializes in elder law.
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JennaRose, may I suggest you look for a larger apartment on the ground floor, BUT make sure that it is handicap accessible. By having wider doors, grab bars and showers, it would be easier to maneuver should your mom need a wheelchair. This way, since it's all ready set up for people with disabilities you would not have to possibly move again, because the doorways weren't wide enough or your mom can't lift her legs to get into the tub. You will have enough to worry about without adding yard work and maintenance repairs on top of your responsibilities. My husband was just diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and I am looking to downsize from a two-story to a one story and I will also be caring for my mom. I surely don't need a large home to clean, hardworking to do, and call someone to do repairs. I would rather live in an apartment or tow home where someone else does the repairs and yard work. Just something for you to consider, we already have our plate full by being caregivers, we don't need to make any more work for ourselves. May God strengthen and guide you on this journey.
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I read these medicare issues & wonder at you all - I live in Canada & there is no looking back 5 years/use up family assets until less than $2000.00 - when you need help you get it, you pay your am't per month mandated by the province & that's tax deductible on income tax as a medical expense - I not moving south anytime soon ..no way... no how

I know a couple who went around the world literally for a year & their health care insurance was 1/2 if they did not go to U.S.A. - it's a money grab as far as I can see - I'm looking into investing in it as that's 'free' money as I see it - I pay $2347CDN$ [approx. $1760.25 US$] for my mom's private room with meals, laundry, nursing care, meds dispensing [gov't pays all but $200.00 a year for her ... diabetes & all], physio 2x a week plus about 10 recreational interactions

Good luck to you all - fyi Canadian gov't info lines repeatedly crashed from 9 Nov on from calls from U.S.A. - get in line because we don't just take anyone you must show you will be an asset to our community - what you say is an invasion of your liberties is bullroar - here we no longer go broke taking care of a sick family member but if you want to have the liberty of going broke doing so then enjoy - I read so much about this that I am gobsmacked that you put up with that treatment from your gov't ...... staying this side of border for now & maybe for ever - M
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The advantages of owning a home need to balance with the disadvantages. You are responsible for taxes, insurance, maintenance, these are also costs that you'l;l never recover, which could amount to more than the rent, and all of which will offset the equity you hope to preserve or increase. Then you can't control your "exit strategy"--you can't predict being able to sell if needed at the price you need.
You might be able to set up a trust to hold title to the house, or the proceeds of the sale of your mom's house, which could give you a lot of flexibility. of which you are the trustee, and will inherit automatically without probate. You don't know when your mom's needs will overwhelm your energy and ready cash, and you don't want to put her through any more moves than possible. Talk to the Aging specialists in your community, a good elder care lawyer and accountant.
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I'm a single woman caring for my mom as sole caregiver with no family help. I live 4 blocks away not with her - she is in her own apartment with 24/7 aides provided throught the NHTD Medicaid Waiver program, but I am always there taking care of meds, food shopping, supervision, being daughter and caregiver) I didn't think I would be in my little apartment for as long as I have been (moved to be close to mom) and often long for more space. I, too, have thought about getting something bigger to accomodate mom and me as she continues to decline (dementia and health - she is 94 y/o) and something with more amenities (life a washer and dryer, etc.) My reality check was this:
1) a house takes a lot of maintenance and that means, time energy and money. As it is time, energy and money mostly go toward mom right now so realistically it would be another huge commitment that will make my life tougher at this point;
2) If I were to move now to a larger place outfitted for the disabled and mom's needs, is that where I will want to live when mom passes away? Will I then need to move again?
3) Now for mom's sake I need to be near to conveniences, but my dream would be to live in a quieter more rural settling. So, will I be short-changing myself with such a commitment that does not meet my future desires and really will not lend much to mom's life at this time?
4) The change would be very hard on mom with dementia. Just being in the hospital or rehab for a couple of weeks totally messes with her head and she becomes much more disoriented, insecure and doesn't know where she is supposed to be permanently (e.g. always moving). She needs what is familiar around her and she needs her age old routines;
5) Given how tired I feel now, the thought of taking on a home purchase and a move when I think realistically about all that entails is overwhelming;
6) So very sorry for the loss of your brother. Grief is a funny thing - the way it plays with our emotional selves and our psyches. In a way, when our parents have dementia we already start to grieve the loss of the person we knew and loves and we grieve for what the illness does to them. It is a very hard time in life and more difficult for you with the passing of your brother. I'd say hang tight and try working on small things that might make your life and your mom's life better and easier. You didn't say much on the privacy part and don't know how small your apartment is now. I imagine it must be difficult to have a freer adult life, entertain friends privately, etc. which is a necessary part of maintaining your own "self" and mental health as you care for your mom. Maybe you can try to be good to your self and do things that bring you happiness, in addition to trying to care for and provide happiness and stability for your mom. God bless you and Good Luck!
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If the money from the sale of her home is deposited in her name, then she won't qualify for Medicaid until it's spent down to $2,000. However, Medicaid does not attach the value of a home for an applicant. (State laws vary, I'd check with your State.) With a home of her own, with you living in it as both daughter and caregiver, it will be easier to prove she only has $2,000 in cash. This would also effect (somewhat selfish) your inheritance, give you a larger space for the future. If you no longer wish to own a home, you can sell it later. It could even appreciate a bit in value, especially if you have retrofitted to ADA standards.
Contrary to what others have said, renting is a drain on resources that you can never get back. So I would have your Mother, in her own name, purchase a home for herself. You can do the choosing and sign papers for her with a POA (assuming you already have that). Medicaid understands that a person has to have a home to live in.
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oh for sure...get a bigger place!!!! you both would feel better. get a condo or townhouse so that you are not taking care of yard!! take care.
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It sounds to me like if you feel in your gut that something about buying a home just doesn't feel right, you probably shouldn't because God may be trying to tell you something but it's up to you to listen. If you don't feel comfortable with something or it just doesn't feel right for some odd reason unknown to you, you're probably right because it's that got feeling that's always right and you really should listen. In other words, if something just doesn't feel right, don't do it, you'll regret it later when you find out why that something you went ahead and did whatever that gut feeling turns out to be why you shouldn't have done it. I use to ignore those got feelings good feelings those got feelings no I used to ignore those gut feelings and I plowed forward into whatever it was my gut was telling me not to do because I thought that gut feeling was just all in my head, only to find out it really wasn't. Fortunately it was just in the small things and not anything big. However, even small things can turn out to be part of my figure future things.

You're at a crossroad right now where the decision is up to you. You may need more space from your mom by way of a bigger home. However, what if putting her into a facility would actually be much better? This would actually be the better way to go if she has dementia, which will only worsen with time, and it sounds to me like she may already need a facility. If you think about it, committing to a home is a very big responsibility. You'll have different expenses that you didn't have renting on top of taking care of your mom. In order to keep your home, you'll definitely need lots of money in the bank in order to pay property taxes for starters. Not paying property taxes, the IRS can take your home. If something breaks, do you have enough money to fix it at that time? Let's say the furnace goes out as mentioned here. Can you immediately get that furnace fixed with you and your mom living there? Let's say you need some other major repair such as the roof or worse yet the foundation. Are you financially able to fix those major things? If your home needs insulation or someone breaks a window, do you have the finances to actually fix it right away especially in the middle of a storm or worse yet, winter? These are questions to ask yourself because you need lots of money in the bank in order to even have a home, or you'll end up living in a deteriorating home only to end up homeless later when it's condemned at some point
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I'm going to join with the others in suggesting you seek the counsel of a reputable elder/estate attorney who understands the laws of your state. You need to provide a home for yourself, your mother, health care for both of you and prepare for both your futures. If your mom has a will or other investments the attorney needs to see this also to advise you of the steps that will protect you and mom from making financial mistakes. It's good to have a partner in making plans for the future. Either way you go, to continue to rent or to buy a home will have pros and cons BUT one way may make more sense than the other depending on your and your mothers specific circumstances and state laws. Yes it is good not to move mom around so make a good decision soon with proper guidance. You could try just moving her excess items into storage and see how the apartment works for you then but regardless consider getting professional help to make this extremely important decision for you and mom.
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Landlords are required by law to accommodate a person with disabilities. Get a letter from the doctor describing the disability and/or the apartment has a form with which the doctor can fill out. I had my husband's neurologist fill out a form to replace a tub with a shower and the landlord approved it, with the provision that I pay for it! I have since given notice because he fell too often trying to step up and down a curb, and falling in an uneven apt. floor.
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First you need to check your state laws. If you are the only one to inherit from her will It may be possible to buy a house with you as joint owner or as remainderman. If she has to be put in a nursing home they can't take the house from you if it's in your name too. The state will take everything else including her social security to pay for nursing home. But do check with lawyer before making any decision.
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Buy a house. It's a good investment, you can get tax write-offs, you can decorate it the way you want, you'll have more space, and when your mother passes, you can either sell it, rent out a room, or stay in it and live happily ever after. Remodel it if it needs and sell at a profit. Homeownership has its rewards and renting is money down the drain. Happy New Year!
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Be very careful with the money; agree with all who mention consulting with an elder care lawyer before any purchase. Council on Aging in my area has an affordable dementia daycare. A bus picks up my mom; she's gone and happily occupied/socialized for half a day; then they bring her back. I have respite time for myself as well as clean house, run errands weekdays. Check out your local COA to see what is offered. Then check out any daycare. I'm a caregiver to my mom and key to being with them 24/7 is having their medications balanced by a neurologist. A general practitioner is fine up to a point; they get agitated and angry but you also want them alert and able so balancing the meds quarterly is very important!! Easy on the spending. Just get her out of the house for a while and get her with other people. It took a while before my mom was on board but she's doing great these days. Think of it as school for her; and sanity for you!!
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About the money, if I were you I would go to the professionals for advice. You need to consider the best way to invest it wisely, the possibility that something unforeseen may happen and she will one day need medicaid, and also do some long term planning to avoid fees/taxes/probate and ease the transition of assets when that time comes.
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Safety comes first. It's never a bad idea to declutter when safety is an issue. It's a good thing that mom has her own bathroom. Ask your landlord about installing grab bars. Have you watched any of Teepa Snow's videos on YouTube?
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Yes buying a house is a huge commitment and I'm not sure if I want to commit to such a big responsibility. My Mom and I have been looking at homes for over 4 months now but couldn't find the right house until about a month ago.

I owned a home a long time ago and I remember all the work that went into home ownership. I like renting because if there's a problem I just call the landlord and it's fixed.

My only private place is my bedroom (I have a 3 bedroom apartment). My Mom and I both have our own bathrooms which is nice. I think my mistake was when my Mom sold her house she wanted certain pieces of her furniture and that's cluttering up my apartment leaving us no room to walk around freely without an obstacle course.

After reading all the comments I think I should just get rid of most of my Mom's furniture in order to make my apartment clutter-free.

What about my Mom's money? Should I put in my name since I have POA (financial and medical)?

Thanks, Jenna
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Goodness - so many typos I don't know where to begin - but will settle for the two at the end. I am LOVING my new puppy and COMMITTING to a house is bigger than to a puppy.
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I'd give it a bit more time before making such a big financial and lifestyle commitment. My reason is the recent death of your brother. It's never s good idea to make big decisions when fresh off of a traumatic event - even if you feel your handling it - the subconscious is a trickster. When I knew my mom didn't have much time left I decided I needed another dog and got a new puppy about a week after mom passed. It is a decision I now regret but am now living my new dog - still I wish I hadn't complicated my life this way. Of course commuting to a house vs a puppy is miles apart - but you get my drift?
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I believe that money should be spent proactively to prevent our parents from experiencing things like falls, isolation, and depression. Any illness that takes away someone's ability to perform their own activities of daily living requires a living space that is safe and will accommodate medical equipment. Homes designed for seniors should already have large, ADA accessible bathrooms with higher toilets, grab bars, etc. and an open floor plan with wide hallways. Rather than retrofitting a space that's already too small, I hope you can find a bigger space that is move-in ready.

In addition to a caregiver agreement, would a roommate agreement help in this situation were Medicaid ever to be needed?
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I'm always cautious about someone who may need Medicaid eventually, because of the 5 year lookback period. If large sums of the applicant's money were used to purchase a house, that is in someone else's name, it might be considered as gifting, which could be an issue. It's not basic needs for her care that might be the problem. That's why I always suggest a professional opinion.

Also, I'd keep in mind that if you get a new place, you might need things like handicap accessible bathrooms, grab bars, large doors, etc. I'm sure others here can tell you what you might need to have installed to make it possible for her to live in the home. Many dementia patients become wheelchair bound and need room for that.
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Your mother lives with you, in your apartment, and this situation is no longer working. In order to care for your mother, you need more space, which is understandable. Your mother needs to live somewhere. Wouldn't Medicaid understand that?

That said, buying a house is not a great idea during times of uncertainty. I think you could make a much stronger case for renting a larger space that accommodates you both and where your mother can age in place.

You also need to be realistic that you yourself will not be able to care for her 24/7. You need respite and to run errands and you will need to hire help.

That said, are there bigger spaces in the center of town where you live? It is much easier to care for someone and to find helpers when you live close to services like transportation, grocery stores, a hospital, etc.

But getting back to Medicaid. I don't understand why caregivers are cautioned about spending money on basic living expenses for their parents. If you moved into a mansion and bought a Ferrari to drive her around in, that of course would be outrageous. It's your mother's money and, in my completely Medicaid-uninformed opinion, your mother needs somewhere to live that's not in your apartment.
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I'm so sorry to hear the loss of your brother. You are still suffering from that, in addition to the situation with your mother. I'd give it more time, but, that's just me. Making a huge investment is something I'd do with a totally clear mind.

I would also make the decision based on more what you know and can put on paper, and not what your mom might want. She may not be thinking clearly and not really in a position to offer sound advice...considering the dementia. Eventually, she may not really understand the concept of privacy of having her own room.

I'd also consider that while her condition may appear to be slowly progressing, it could change suddenly and you be in a situation where you cannot leave her alone at all and she may need constant care due to incontinence, wandering or bizarre behavior. She may also become bedbound and not be able to turn herself. I'd try to budget how you would afford a new house, home maintenance (if the furnace goes you have to replace it) and in home help for her.

I'd still get the attorney consult to get information. We never know what the future holds. I'd make sure that I was protected.

It's a lot to consider, but, it sounds like you are weighing the pros and cons. That's smart.
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Since you had been renting before moving your mom in with you I wonder if you would prefer that over home ownership, what if you looked for a larger apartment or a townhouse unit? Or would your mother agree to adult daycare - a break for you and socialization for her? You might even want to consider something in an IL or AL community since services would be more readily available there.
And I'm sorry about the loss of your brother.
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Some excellent points here. First of all my brother passed away about 3 weeks ago. So it's only me. And yes, I plan to take care of her until the end. My Mom who has dementia also wants a larger place. She has her good days and not good days and I am watching this disease slowly progress...
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I'd do a lot of thinking before buying a larger space to accommodate for privacy from your mother. As a person with dementia progresses, they are going to need constant supervision, so, she would need to be in the same area with you, even if you have the extra space, unless, you are planing to pay for in-home help to come in and occupy a separate part of the house. As mentioned above, I'd consider if mom or you can afford the extra in home help as she progresses and needs it. Or would you be able to not work and stay home with mom?

If she may be applying for Assisted Living, Memory Care or Nursing home Medicaid coverage, I'd be careful of using her funds for your home, since it could effect her eligibility for financial help. I'd see an Elder Law attorney who knows Medicaid laws about that. I'd make sure of how it needs to be handled if you do decide to purchase.

There are so many things to consider. Also, her behavior may change as she progresses through the various stages, but, I wouldn't count on more space, making her her easier to live with. It's not her fault. Just the way the illness makes people.
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