I'm an only child trying to plan ahead for how to care for my parents as they age. Any advice?

Follow
Share

Hi! I live in Florida and my parents live in Ohio. My main concern is my Mom. She has a cognitive impairment. In the event anything happened to my Dad I would need to relocate my Mom to Florida. How does Medicaid help her in the event her condition worsens and she can't care for herself? Also, my Dad has some money in the bank but I feel overwhelmed and very under prepared at the idea of having to care for my Mom. I'm not sure if the money would run out and what portion I would be responsible for? Is there anything I could start researching now to be better prepared in the event I needed to make this move to care for my Mom? I love her but I'm not sure where to start in planning for this. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
22

Answers

Show:
I've been a long distance caregiver for about 6 years. I'm also the last surviving child. You need to get prepared now.

Get a broad power of attorney from both parents covering medical and financial issues.

Have each of them do living wills

Also regular wills

Go through all financial stuff, bank accounts, utilities, everything. Someday you may be managing everthing.

Check out meds. Make a list for each parent.

Get a list of all doctors, phone numbers etc.

Record all of the above info in a notebook and on your computer.

Medicaid would be an issue if there is no money for facilty care when the time comes. You can read tons of Medicaid info on this site.


I make all these suggestion assuming your parents will cooperate. Many do not which makes it almost impossible for the kids. I was lucky in getting all this done before my dads dementia increased.
Helpful Answer (13)
Report

bapkak, only child here, too. It is good that you are trying to plan ahead, so many of us are suddenly faced with this issue with no planning. Oh how I wished I would have found this forum ages ago so I could have set boundaries with my parents.

Please note you are NOT responsible for paying for your Mom's care. Thank goodness for Medicaid which will pay for her room/board and care if she moves to a nursing home that accepts Medicaid. Note that Medicaid is different in each State regarding its programs.

I assume your parents are managing on their own right now. And that your Dad is helping Mom with her care. Ask Dad how is he doing? Is this caregiving starting to become overwhelming for him? He may not give you a honest answer. If they own a home, would there be equity to use for moving to Independent Living facility? It's not cheap. Would they want to move to Florida to be closer to you?

Also note, not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver, I wasn't, but I was good with logistical organization. Thus, I never was hands-on care. None of us are prepared for this unless we had experience with other elder family members that needed our help. I was a fish out of water.

Life is interesting, it was my Mom who passed first from a major fall in her home. My Dad was a gentle soul and still had common sense. He knew he needed caregivers to help him because I was a senior myself. And he knew at the right time it would be better for him to move to senior living then stay in his home. Not bad for someone who was in his mid-90's.

Oh, one thing you can do.... go to the top of the website to the blue bar, you will see 3 white lines... click on that... now you will see a search mode.... you can type in "moving" and find threads where other caregivers gave their experiences on moving an elder. Also, go to the bottom of this screen to the large blue bar... lot of topics to click on with excellent articles. Make sure you have Power of Attorney for medical and finances for your parents.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Thank you! My Dad is still in good health. I'm in Ohio now, visiting and getting what I can in order. He has the wills and power of attorney for him and my Mom completed. He's added me to bank accounts and we went through the Dr's and medications for my Mom this evening. He even mentioned that he's been thinking of moving him and my Mom to Florida in the next five years. That's an answer to prayer. I appreciate your help with Medicaid and the perspectives from those who are only children. Thanks so much! So glad I found this site.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Babkak, sounds like you're doing all the right stuff and he's cooperating. That's great.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I second WindyRidge in regards to getting all the documentation lined up if at all possible. After my dad died last year I pushed to get my Mom all set up with financial and health care power of attorney, health care directive and a will. Just in the last couple months her mental capabilities declined dramatically. I am so glad to have it all in place. Fortunately I live close so I now go to doctor's appointments with her as she can't remember what was said (and now she can't drive anyway). So I am up to date on all her medications. And I have gradually taken over her financials. Knowing all the account numbers/password, etc. has been invaluable.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Prepare ahead of time with an Elder Lawyer. It was the best money I have spent! They have taken me a step at a time in getting ready all the documents, bank accounts and paperwork for when I had to place mom in a Memory care unit under Medicaid pending.
One year later, the overwhelming application for both the nursing home and Medicaid was easier as I had already done the important financial and legal preparations. Mom has been in the Home now for 4 months and the lawyer's paralegal is still holding my hand through all the details which continue. Do yourself a favor and find a good Elder Lawyer now. All the best!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Lots of very good advice!

Expanding on TorieJ's comments, identify the support you'd need if they stay where they are, as well as what you'd need if they move to Florida. Make contingency plans and implement them to the extent you can.

Some senior centers have lists of companies and individuals that are interested in working for seniors. For a cold weather climate, they'll need both mild season lawn mowing, and cold weather snow removal. My father is fortunate that neighbors have taken care of the snow.

You might want to check out Meals on Wheels, which provides not only food but a brief period of companionship daily when the meals are delivered.

You might also want to contact their existing doctors, introduce yourself and ask if you can be made aware of their existing and significant changes to health. I've found that after I've become well known to the doctors, I can call and just speak with their medical assistants and get information or assistance needed.

Back up plans are appropriate too. Do they have a generator? Are either on oxygen? Is there someone who could take them in for a few hours or longer if there's a power failure?

This happened to us. A windstorm knocked out a transformer; the whole township was without power for about 4 days. W/o a generator (and someone to refuel it as needed), there was no electricity to power an oxygen concentrator.

I frantically called the fire department/EMS, a rehab center we've used, other care facilities, and lots more before a place was found where my father could stay during the power failure.

The need for oxygen support during a power outage is a really challenging issue.

That also reminds me. If they have digital phones, get land line phones. They don't go down during power failures. If they have cell phones, make a schedule to remind them to charge them.

Suggest they buy frozen meals that can be heated if they're snowed in but do have power.

You can do the same kind of planning for when (or if) they move closer to you. If you're in hurricane area, draft a contingency plan. (We're seeing right down how Harvey has devastated SE Texas, and many of those people had no real alternatives, especially if they had no transportation to evacuate. And thousands if not millions are suffering).
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

So glad to hear that you are looking into the future and doing some planning. Kudos to you. Although I am one of 5 siblings, when it came to mom's care, I may as well have been an only child because they all backed out of helping with mom. I am a hands on caregiver and have been for the past years. My mom is in the later stages of dementia.
There is a great book called 5@55 that talks about the 5 most important documents to have. These documents are critical for you to have in place for your mom and dad so that you have the ability to take care of both of them in whatever way you need to. They should have a Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Power of Attorney, Will and Digital Diary. Of those five, the ones I found to be critical in taking care of mom and getting things in place for her were the Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Power of Attorney and the MOLTZ form. I was not listed on any of the documents and the siblingsthat were, were not willing to have the documents changed. But, because they do not want to be actively involved in mom's care, I have been able to make things happen with a lot of phone calls, documents faxed/emailed back and forth, trips to the bank, trips to the doctor, etc. It has not been easy, but I have managed to get everything taken care of so far and still maintain my full-time job and time for myself! There is always something to take care of as mom continues to decline. Thank goodness I am working with a lot of very understanding people and they can see, very clearly, that the other siblings are not involved. So, that has been a big help.
So in getting those documents in place, or if they are in place, knowing where the actual documents are, it is also important to understand where they are financially. What income do they have every month, assets, savings, retirement accounts, 401K accounts, IRA's, investments, etc. You will need a lot of this information to find out if either is eligible for Medicaid and the benefits that would be available thru that program.
Also, I found out the hard way, you need all of the personal documents as well such as birth certificates, social security cards (the actual card itself), current photo ID (driver's license), military paperwork if that applies, etc. There is a lot, so anything you can think of, make sure you have a copy and know where the originals are.
I didn't know if I could be a caregiver, I just knew I was going to do it when it came time, and I had faith I would figure it out. It has been a long road full of twists and turns, downers, uppers, adventures, you name it, it has happened. But, I wouldn't have it any other way :)
Good luck to you. You can do it and planning ahead (which I was not able to do) is a huge benefit to your success in caring for your parents. You got this girl! :)
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I have worked with many children of elderly patients. Even though I was working only on their nutritional needs, you still like to be a sounding board. Even with siblings, in far too many cases, there is usually only one that does most of the work. In some cases the other siblings do next to nothing. PLAN AHEAD
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I'd work on getting him to relocate to Florida soon. Talk about the Ohio winters and how dangerous it can be walking on ice or snow, power failures, etc. At the same time, start looking at places for them near where you live and get a good handle on costs and amenities. Look at health plans and other community services. Your dad seems to be on a good track by already setting up accounts with you, so he might be open to reasoning that it will be better for mom to move now while she has awareness and can participate in some fashion in making decisions.

The advantages to you of them moving now is that all the medical, services, will be where you are so you can more easily participate with them. They will have time to make new friends and build their own community of support so when the time comes you won't be mom's only support or friend.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.