What responsibilities do I have for my Step Mother? - AgingCare.com

What responsibilities do I have for my Step Mother?

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Her two natural children have both passed away, so Its just me and my family. Mom (Ruth) married my Dad when I was 3 years old. His first wife (Bessie), my mother died at age 43 and since Dad was in the Navy, he remarried after only 4 months of grieving. Ruth has or had two children of her own but they have both passed away. Mom has had several slight strokes and now has Dementia, and has been living with me for a year and a half. She has given away her car, actually she mailed the Title to her Son in law ( daughter died 5 years ago) with the stipulation that he could have the car when she died. Well he came down on the bus and picked up the car within two weeks. In her mind, it wasn't supposed to happen that way. She had a mobile home that she lived in but there was so much work that needed to be done, and I live about 3 hours away, I just surrendered it to the Company that owned the Mobile home park. So... that takes care of her property. Mom has a burial plot that is already paid for. I am on Mom checking account, and have been for many years. Mom has a decent amount of Social Security each month and does not qualify for Medi Cal. We do not have any POA, however she has the Medical form that her Dr. requires but nothing other than that.. What, if anything, needs to be done? Eventually I will need to move her into a Facility or Board and Care Home. I need to go back to work and take care of my own finances.
Never mind the fact that we don't get along, and the family is suffering for it. I have a hard enough time trying to find someone to watch her while I work my three days a week. My caregiver has her own health issues and my husband is taking steps to helping his mother. Before I get so burned out that I cant function anymore, I would like some advice and suggestions.

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Several folks have talked about having a separate living area in the home for their elderly parents. This might also be an option, along with a caregiver. Perhaps converting a garage to a studio for example, adding a wheel chair accessible bathroom & shower. Otherwise, I agree that finding a placement for her that she can get used to and remain in as she continues to loose functioning would be a very good plan. That way she will be familiar with the place, the staff, the other residents. One problem with living at home is boredom, and a place that can move from assisted living to nursing care might solve that. Its just they are very expensive.
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Since your dad was a vet, your mom should qualify for a "house bound" VA pension. My mother gets about $1100 per month. It goes a long way in helping out with a caregiver. You must prove that she has nothing and that most all of her income goes to either medical bills, medication or caregiving. In my case, all of her income goes to caregiving including her social security of 1100 per month.Check with the VA and remember that "housebound" is the word that makes eligibility for this pension & it is a larger amount than a regular disabled pension.
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Cactusflower, if you can get your stepmother squared away into a residential/memory care facility you consider of acceptable quality, you can then walk away with your head held high.

Now that she has been living with you and dependent on your care for more than a year, I imagine you probably will have acquired some de facto legal responsibility for ensuring that her care needs are addressed, at least until she is housed separately from you; but morally? You have stepped up and done well. You have every right to put yourself, your husband and the rest of your family first.

I don't mean I'm not sorry for the sadness she's had to endure with the loss of her daughters, and I'm sure you are too. But in practical terms that still doesn't make her your problem. So: tidy up her loose ends, hand her over, and move on.
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I believe Aid & Attendance is only $1,000 per month, but it could be combined with Soc Sec and may be enough to pay for a small group home.
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If Dad was in the Navy, she may qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help pay for Assisted Living. Call the VA in the AM. You can also go to the Money and Legal tab above and click on Veterans Assistance.
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