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First of all I'm so grateful to have found this site. Now...where to start. Mom is 83 and her mind is failing fast. Repeats herself constantly, thinks the bank, the pharmacy, her doctor etc are lying. She's needed hip replacement for at least 10 years, can hardly walk and is in horrible pain. She has not done anything to secure her future. Her home is in disrepair, with a mortgage, although she would probably net $400,000 after sale. She has no other assets other than her SS which I believe is only ~400/mo. I live 500 miles away. I have never been her "favorite" kid, only the responsible kid so this is falling on me. I have an adult disabled child so live on a shoestring while caring for her. I recently had surgery for lung cancer and am trying to heal physically and emotionally. I'm not even cleared for travel yet. I'm simply overwhelmed and do not want to compromise my health or minimal finances but I do love my mom and want to help her if I can. Any ideas where to start?

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I really think you are not in a position to take this on, remember people with no one at all still get taken care of even if it means they become a ward of the state. There are geriatric care managers who can do some of the leg work (for a fee of course), if you contact her local agency on aging they may be able to do a needs assessment for her and point you in the right direction. Good luck.
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RacklaMSW Sep 2018
I disagree. If you have someone guiding you..you are more than capable. Call me. I can guide you for free.

Angela
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Lisajean, The "system" has not had time to catch up with the reality of people living longer than nature intended and often not in full control of their bodies or their faculties.
It will take the tsunami that's coming to maybe provoke changes in the disconnected, dysfunctional non-system of human welfare we have now.

I can't offer any help, except to say that your mom, when she thinks banks pharmacies, doctors are taking advantage of her, no doubt has past experience as a guide . The older we get, especially women, do get cheated by opportunists and thieves. It would be natural, as her mind becomes frazzled, to feel that everybody is doing it. It's hard, but try not to argue over it and get yourself worked up.

You are apparently in no condition to deal with this major issue. I agree with cwillie that you need that geriatric care manager. And to put it to your siblings that they need to step in and share the all the load, including financially. Better that they take it over altogether. You can't be all things to all people. Take care of yourself and your child first. Your mother had her life and made her choices to get where she is. You have your and your child's life to think of and need to keep that as a top priority.

In the end, we are all dead, and she will feel no pain or resentment against you when that happens. And don't let siblings "guilt you" for not doing what they are unwilling to do.
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janeinspain Sep 2018
This is a very insightful response. Have you done any thinking or writing about what a functional, connected system of human welfare would look like? And how to best address the disconnect between people living longer than nature intended and a society that seems conditioned to accept and even demand extremely costly measures and living conditions regardless of real quality of life? I think the “tsunami” you describe is here already!

Thanks for any info you have or good reading on the topic you can suggest.

(and good luck lisajean!)

Jane
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Sounds like you have 1 major decision to make .
What Memory Care facility will you choose for her.
Do you have the authority to sell her house?
Are you POA or who is POA for Finances and medical decisions?
Most Memory Care facilities, if you find one that accepts Medicaid will want you to private pay for at least 1 year. So keep that in mind as you look around.
Your next step might be best to contact a lawyer that is well versed in Elder Care law. They will be able to help you navigate the legalities.

Another question..is your Mom a Veteran? if so she may qualify for other sources of help. If your Dad was a veteran again she may or may not qualify for other help.
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RacklaMSW Sep 2018
In CA Medicaid does not pay for memory care facilities. Medicaid will pay for skilled Nursing Facilities. Usually and most memory care units must be paid for out of pocket and usually begin at $4,500.00 per month and more.
Remember..if she sells her home and she has Medicaid..this could cause her to exceed the financial guidelines and not qualify for Medicaid.

Angela
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It sounds as though you have so much on your plate that love is almost all you have to spare! If there is no other source of help, your mother needs to find care that has options to proceed to nursing home or memory care. You just can’t do it. It would normally be best to tour all her available local options, and then to take your mother to visit the best couple. However you are a long way away to do this. Perhaps a sibling would be willing to take on the tour part, if you write to them with the conclusion you come to. A clear and time limited task without decision making responsibilities is sometimes more workable to ask for. But it would still be tactful to leave it open for more involvement, if any of them step up to the place. Think about how to broach the subject with your mother, either yourself or through the family. It is never an easy thing to do, and try if you can to check that you all feel the same way - you don't want it all to be blamed on you.

If this stage works and you find a placement, you will then face the need to deal with your mother’s house, because she will need to spend down her funds to access Medicare. Her current income won’t pay for care, and she won’t be eligible for Medicare with a big asset.

It would be a good idea to get all the paperwork in order. A Power of Attorney to deal with finances etc (joint and both to sign might be a good idea if there some family conflict), Advanced Care Directive etc. These need to be in place now when there is no question about her not having the mental capacity to sign the documents.

Think it through and make a decision about what you think is the best course of action. Then come back again for help when there are clearer questions to ask. Good luck in tackling a problem which must seem overwhelming right now, and best wishes.
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jacobsonbob Sep 2018
I believe you meant MediCAID rather than MediCARE.
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youtube.com/user/teepasnow If I were you , I'd watch this woman's work that teaches the best way to work with those who have memory issues . I know you will find there are ways to work with a caretaker and/or yourself to help her . I understand your Mom needs extensive care and being her caretaker if you cannot take care of yourself is simply not going to work most likely . If you really want to help your Mom and yourself , it is a good idea to let Social Services handle her . With her house in disrepair it may be worth only the land value but certainly you have expressed you really need to focus on your life and your adult disabled living with you . If your Mom's income is only $400 a month , how has she managed to even pay the taxes ,etc., for the home ? You can look online ( her courthouse ) to see if taxes are owed and /or liens are filed from any bills owed in addition to the mortgage owed . Believing there is anything that heirs could get may be a mistake ( nice if true but who knows ) .
Right reasons to care for your Mom are that you are in good health , you chose this and you know you have the expertise to do it . You mention she has had pain for years and that alone is enough to make her terribly depressed and sick . My heart goes out to her and she deserves good care , now and to let go of all that is too much . It won't be easy but it will be right . The website I mentioned above can give you real insight into the time and patience it takes for someone with Memory care issues not to mention pain that should have had help years ago . Call Social Services in her area today . She has been neglected long enough . Imagine trying to cope with serious pain and a mind that " tricks " you . Not right ,not fair . Love means it is ok to let go and make that call . Compromising your financial situation is not what you can afford to do at this point , you are correct . Be at peace , make the call and be clear about how serious the situation is with her alone .
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lisajean Sep 2018
Thank you. Love is the hardest thing we will ever have to do as human beings. I have Teepa's videos in my playlist for tomorrow.
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Hi LisaJean. First, wishing you well on your own journey to restored health, and I taking care of your daughter. While I am not an expert by any means, I would volunteer advice that you need to be very careful about obpver extending yourself, even with the best intentions.... I would do what you can, but..... you have got to take care of yourself so that you can see to your disabled daughters needs.... ypthat is your main priority.
Best of luck, keep us posted
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lisajean Sep 2018
Thank you. It is easy to guilt myself into action. I have a lifetime of doing this with my disabled child (not intentionally of course just always second guessing if I could have done more or better). However over the past few years I've experienced what ignoring ones own needs does to a person and I'm determined to put my own oxygen mask on first. I wont be here for anyone if I drop dead from cancer or a heart attack!
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First and foremost you want to get living will or trust asap, get DPOA for finances and Medical. If she is not too paranoid..ask her if you can put your name on her checking account. You want to get these legal items taking care of first.
If she does not have a geriatric doctor. Get her one. They understand the needs of the geriatric population.
If she has not been started on Namenda and Aricept..discuss with her primary doctor.
She is only receiving $400.00 per month. Something is wrong, especially she was married before. Even if she was not married before..she should be receiving at least $850.00 per month. You might want to take her in to the social security office.
Feel free to contact me for additional resources and information.
Hope this helps.
Angela
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You are a gem to offer one on one personalized help! But could you tell me a bit more about yourself? May I call you too?

I was actually wondering about putting our name on a LO's account. I did this with my Mother but then was advised against it as her funds could be construed as mine somehow implicating me in any possible outstanding bills or worse responsible for a NH stay.

Thanks! Lucy
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I can only add have her checked for UTI. Just in case that's making things worse.
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talk to her doctor and rule out underlying infection like UTI. Whatever the case, you will have to talk to her doctor about her condition. Get her on Medicaid, start planning a nursing home. It only gets worse. Unless you are prepared to change her diapers including clean her feces. and it is very back breaking work. End stages they will not help you to the least, but resist.
See an eldercare attorney, establish Power of Attorney (if not done already), and go from there. but plan on nursing home. If she is already on Medicaid no worries. Nursing home placement is merely a doctor's order..done deal.
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1 - EDUCATE YOURSELF by finding her & your legal position
2 - EDUCATE YOURSELF by finding out who has POA & go forth from there
3 - EDUCATE YOURSELF by finding out her financial position

I can't say it enough - you can't make an informed choice without the straight facts concerning where you stand & make sure they are not guesses but her personal pertainent issues

It seems that there are siblings & what will they be doing to help or hinder - you have quite a bit on your plate so make sure that rest of family are not doing the same things you are which is a waste of time for all - TIME FOR A FAMILY MEETING even if it is a conference call or skype - your don't have to do everything yourself - delegate to the one who can do it best so may be that bro does paerwork, taxes etc & someone does daily issues

Once you have a plan then if possible everyone keep the rest of family in loop - after I take mom for an app't I write it all up in an email with names, contact info etc to my sister & COPY MYSELF - I have folders on computer for her financial, medical & miscellaneous so if I need to refer to anything I look there [subject titles are very important with this] - if she needs to step in if I am away she has the info at hand [we're 2 hour drive away from each other]

Your mom most likely will have to move & probably sooner than later - make it a 1 time move & she should be near whoever has the responsibility for her because doing things from 500 miles away won't work -

Then sell that house & don't kill yourself over it - clean out & search for personal items & things of family value otherwise sell as is as a fixer upper then be done with it - look under the shelf paper for items hidden away - put the money where it will generate an income for her but make sure she can't touch it because she could give it all away in a whim

Seek professional advice for her medical condition, selling house, her legal issues etc - quite often you can get this from agencies that have little or no cost & try to get it from someone who is not trying to sell you something to line their own pockets

Good luck & I hope your situation improves as well as your mom's
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