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I moved my mother in with me 5 years ago while I was still in an apartment and knew it would be uncomfortable to do so with my daughter as well, so mom and I went in on buying a house together. Mom was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years after the home purchase. Fast forward to today .... mom's Alzheimer's has progressed and this home is two stories and I don't believe the stairs are safe anymore and want to move to a 1 story, not just for mom but for me too. I have power of attorney over her, but I don't know if that is enough to make a call on selling the house or not. She argues with me about EVERYTHING and we never got along even when I was a kid, but after dad died and none of my brothers would help, I felt obligated to step up... and here we are. What I would prefer is that she go to an assisted living because she has a ton of medications and doc appointments for all her ailments that I can't keep up with anymore on top of the constant repeating herself and panicking unnecessarily that I don't know how to handle....but mom did zero financial planning, no assets, no retirement, nothing. I feel like I'm on the hook for the rest of her life. Everyone on this site talks about "just put her in a home" like it's that simple but when mom is co-owner on my house and has no money for nursing home, is it even possible?

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You need to find out:

1. What the terms of the house purchase say about future sales, for example whether just one party can force a sale, or whether it requires the agreement of both parties (i.e. both owners, i.e. both you and your mother).

2. Whether your mother is yet deemed incapable of acting for herself (probably, by now, but get a qualified opinion); and if so how you go about having her certified as such so that your POA gives you the right to act for her. What the POA allows you to do should be specified in the documentation you have with it.

The processes are broadly the same in principle wherever you are, but the devil is in the detail and you had better get legal advice on the correct steps to take in your state.

It is in any case a tedious, laborious and often frustrating process, but that's what you need to get ironed out. Once you have, you sell the house, divide the proceeds as laid down in your house deeds or whatever agreement you and your mother entered into on buying the house, then you take your share and you use your mother's share to pay for a facility. Not my area, but I believe you'll be looking for a facility that accommodates Medicaid funding after a period of self-pay; again, best to get professional advice on that.

How closely involved and informed you keep your mother will depend on how well able she is to understand and participate. It may be better not to include her in discussions - and not because she'll argue! But because if she is past the point of being able to act for herself, then thinking through and weighing up the various options will be burdensome and stressful for her.

You mention a ton of medications and multiple appointments - are you discussing your mother's mental state and the progression of her dementia with any of these medics?

Your POA obliges you to act in her best interests. That's okay, in that it won't stop you moving ahead - it's not in any person's best interests to have as her primary caregiver someone who doesn't want to do the job and is finding that it has got beyond her. It does mean you should take into account what you know about your mother's preferences and get as close to them as you can in reality.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Mum is co-owner of the house so if you sell then X% of the proceeds belong to her and can be used to pay for her living in a facility. Once those are exhausted then the state will have to provide for her. Consult and elder lawyer on the best way to achieve what you need to and get your life back. Everything is possible as long as you are willing to get and follow the advice and be willing to accept that at some point her living may not match your ideal but be what can be afforded. The current generation cannot support the older generation and make plans for their own old age unless very fortunate, we can only do what is best with what we can afford and accept what is possible outside that.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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You can get acorn stairlifts..but that’s only a temporary fix. She will not be able to walk into stairlift herself soon. She will have to be transferred by professional & probably by a 2 person assist. Other solution is assisted living facility. ..then memory care or nursing home. Hugs 🤗
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Reply to CaregiverL
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It depends on whether it is a durable power of attorney and has no limitations. If it is not, you definitely need a lawyer.

And "a ton of medications" can greatly influence the medical and mental state of a person. Perhaps she needs a pharmacist to review her medications vs. any symptoms you see and look for interactions that could be causing anger and panicking.

You may need to reach out to a counselor and have a meeting with your mom and the counselor to discuss the options. It's often very easy for people to get angry and frustrated with loved ones, but a third party can help focus the discussion.

Even if you move to a new home - are you going to provide care for her 24/7? Are you going to make your own situation worse by moving? Why not just block off the stairs, or is there no way for her to stay on one floor?
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Reply to rhsolucky
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In a case like this you have no option but to find an eldercare attorney who can advise you legally how to handle this situation - you are going to need legal help both for the house and what is to come. Do not wait. Take control at once before she destroys you and your life. Good luck.
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Reply to Riley2166
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You need to go to an elder law attorney for guidance and medicaid planning. The home being purchased by both of you is a pickle with medicaid. The attorney is expensive but can help shelter some and take the burden off of you trying to maneuver through the system. Slip ups with medicaid can deem her ineligible and the application is a bugger and very invasive. Medicaid rules and guidelines are constantly changing as well, so when trying to find an elder law atty, be sure they are well versed in medicaid planning. Best of luck.
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Reply to libfuller
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I was able to do a lot for Mom with her POA. Of course she was consulted about everything I did including selling her home to cove the AL fees. Many times I had to have her signature on documents or get her on a joint phone call to verify her approval. Even during Covid the nurses would take documents in to her and then sign as witnesses. If your Mom isn’t able to be coherent then you may have to explore guardianship.
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Reply to Frances73
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First suggestion has been made by several respondents - consult with EC atty. Some offer a limited free consult, so have as many Qs and financial information available as possible before the consult.

"I don't believe the stairs are safe anymore.."

Temporarily can the second floor access be blocked off? Are there bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor? This would buy you a little time, while you work out a plan.

"I have power of attorney over her, but I don't know if that is enough to make a call on selling the house or not."

This is why it is important to consult an EC atty. Unless you understand the wording regarding selling property, it's best to get legal advice. My mother owned her own condo, set up as a Life Estate (won't discuss this here, but my opinion is this is a bad idea unless the 'owner' can remain near to or to the end.) The atty told me I could sign ALL paperwork related to the sale, EXCEPT the deed. Despite dementia and living in a MC facility, I had to get her to sign it and have it notarized.

In your case, because there is joint ownership, there are MANY details that we aren't privy to, such as:
 Did you use equal amount of money to purchase?
 Is there an outstanding mortgage?
 If mtg, does she pay 1/2, incl RE tax and ins?

The actual "share" of everything would have to be legally worked out. Medicaid, if applicable, will be picky about this.

Side notes:
Try not to bring up topics that lead to arguments. Avoid anything that might or does set her off. It will make your life better! It's hard, but it can be done.
Panicking - have you discussed this with her doctor? They might be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety, which might take the edge off this. If it happens more later in the day, sun-downing, which can be helped with medication.

"What I would prefer is that she go to an assisted living..."

AL might work, for a little while. It depends on her dementia level. While she may not currently wander off, being in a new, strange place might lead to her wandering off. AL provides assistance, not constant oversight (or even minimal really.) At the very least, if you choose AL, make sure there is a MC unit associated with it that she can transition to. Might be needed sooner than you think!

"...mom did zero financial planning, no assets, no retirement, nothing."

This likely won't bode well. As you noted, many do say "just put her in a home" and it is NOT that simple. Being co-owner on the house is going to take legal assistance, but that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Medicaid, IN GENERAL, does NOT pay for AL (includes MC.) In some cases they will pay for the medical needs, but that might, at most, cover half the cost, usually less, esp with AL.
NOTE: MC is considered medically necessary, therefore it is fully deductible on Fed return - frees up tax w/holding.

In most cases, Medicaid covers NH care, but additionally the person needs to qualify for NH. It sounds like your mother has some medical issues along with dementia, but not likely enough to qualify for NH. Medicaid in many states DOES provide in-home assistance. This might be an option for you, esp if you can block off the second floor access. Having someone to watch over and assist with needs, it will give you a break, time to unwind, do things you like, get chores done, etc.

LEGAL assistance needs to be addressed first, so you know where you stand RE the house. If you both fully own the house (no MTG), then half would likely be her share and if managed well, it might cover some time in a facility. If not, inquire atty about selling and buying something smaller, and securing Medicaid in-home help. Your mother must get some income from SS - depending on how the sale/purchase goes, use her share to save for future facility and/or more in-home care and your share to buy the new place.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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When I did research on this years ago I discovered that a person entering a nursing home does not have to use their house as income or an asset if their spouse or caretaker is living there and is part owner. So as long as you have medical power of attorney you can safely put her in assisted living or a nursing home and apply for Medicaid to pay for it. The house will not go against her qualifying for Medicaid because you are part owner....you will not need to sell it.
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Reply to fluffy22
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igloo572 Jul 7, 2021
Yes, their home remains an exempt asset for their lifetime. It is exempt whether there is a spouse, a family member living in it or sits there vacant or is rented once the owner goes into a NH.
BUT
It’s not necessarily quite so simple 4 heirs to acquire….. the caregiver exemption to MERP, aka estate recovery, will require documentation as to the necessity for a CG and that you provided this for 2 -3 years prior to the elder entering a facility and applying for LTC Medicaid and it was your full time job. A state can require you to submit a on letterhead document indicating care needed from their old MD or SW to give to MERP to get that xclusion (when MERP makes it’s required attempt for recovery). MERP is an after death process. Getting a letter 2, 3 or more years after the old doc or old SW has seen them may not be easy.

Once they go into a NH, the medical director of the NH becomes their physician. Good luck on getting the doc from years & perhaps several years ago to remember the elder still have the records & gladly do a letter that has legal ramifications. For the SW, if they were a SW on a government program (not private practice), being a state / city employee precludes them from doing a document like this. You can’t just say “I did caregive”, you have to in some way provide documentation to the state that it happened.

For the spouse exclusions, that depends on your specific states laws. Some states totally allow the spouse to transfer ownership with no lein from Medicaid. Other states keep the lien lurking and then eventually when it gets sold, it may need to be released to get clear title. Some states don’t do a lien, it a claim against the Estate which moves it into probate laws and rules.

There r other exclusions and exemptions to MERP. But it’s completely on surviving spouse, POA, Executor, heirs, to find one that works and keep track & do whatever may be needed to get thru MERP. If there is no spouse, then someone in the group will need to pay property costs on the home in the elders name from day 1 of LTC Medicaid to beyond the grave.
It can be done - imho if u have the time, $ & sense of humor - but it will not be simple. You have to have the wallet to front whatever is needed to securely keep the house and do it for undetermined period of time. Its not simple.
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Usually a POA document would need just one extra line added, to extend the standard powers to also buy and sell real property on the principal's behalf. But if she has an Alzheimer's diagnosis, there's no amending the document now. You could petition the probate court to also become her guardian/conservator, which would grant you whichever powers you needed, including selling her home and more. But the court will be breathing down your neck .

If you have paid off decent equity on the home, maybe consider taking out a reverse mortgage I guess? Those can be a very bad idea sometimes though.

Also , this is probably very state and country specific, but in my state anyone that lives in their only home that they own, they can file a 'declaration of homestead', and that protects the home from any debtors up to...a very very large amount. But if you don't file/record it, than creditors can put liens on it, etc., and no one is obligated to tell the owner about the homestead exception.
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Reply to nerdmafia
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GardenArtist Jul 7, 2021
I've never heard of a "declaration of homestead" - interesting. I'll have to check it out.

In my experience in my state, "homestead" is primarily used to get an extended tax payment period, about 6+ months, based on that and some other factors.
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First things first - go hire an elder care attorney who specializes in medicaid. There is a certain process that needs to happen in a certain order, and one misstep can put Medicaid out of your mother's reach. Make sure they are familiar with Medicaid. But they do cost $$. Here in western washington state, a good elder care attorney specializing in medicaid runs about $400-600/hour.

Check to see what paperwork your mother has concerning 'end of life', I had power of attorney for my 95 yo mother. However, it was not effective until I had a medical doctor declare that she was incapable and unable to manage her financials and make decisions for herself. Once that was written and signed, then the power of attorney took effect.

My mother's only asset was her home. Nothing else. But in order to pay for long term care for her, the home HAD to be sold. Here in western washington state, the monthly cost for basic but GOOD quality care runs about $8-14,000/mo - which is all personal pay. And that doesn't include everything that she needed for her care, which, depending on the facility, needs to be personal pay as well.

But please, do speak with legal prior to doing or starting any type of actions. You want to make sure you are following the proper steps.
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Reply to Annabelle18
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Imho, you should retain an elder law attorney. Also, your mother, who has Alzheimer's, may require more care than an Assisted Living facility can provide.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Yes. It is possible. Contact an eldercare attorney for starters. State laws differ and come into play later on. Federal law covers Medicaid and there IS a look back period to get aid. Certain local agencies can help cover some of your day to day concerns and this will help reduce your stress. There is a mound of paperwork involved for everything. Take it 1 step at a time. In my situation there are 3 siblings in different states and the POA is the resident sibling that has an extremely difficult time handling decisions. Mom was in denial and so were they due to being enabled their entire life. The out of town siblings handled moving Mom to a facility, cleaning out the house, selling it and moving the resident sibling within a very short period of time. It wasn't easy but it can be done. There are still issues that need the resident POA's attention but the 3 siblings are working together much more efficiently and calmly now that Mom has the care she needs. Please be aware that you need to take care of yourself and that you are "not on the hook for the rest of your life."
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Reply to glisse1121
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get with a good Eldercare attorney ASAP and they will help you sort things out. well worth the money. wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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If your power of attorney is for financial, you can sell the home. Check with local lawyer that specializes in elder law or family law just to make sure.
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Reply to Taarna
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The OP hasn't been back since creating this thread.  I wonder if she's read all the answers and/or if she's still around??
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Fill out Medicaid forms.............u just are allowed 2000 in her act. and if need be purchase a Funeral Contract which should be 10,000 not including her plot,headstone etc. if there is more money otherwise its spendown time.
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Reply to ckrestaurant1
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There are some good answers here. I totally agree that you need advice from a senior care specialist. That’s the easiest thing to do and it will give you a roadmap on how to proceed. My experience with assisted living was very good but they charge for EVERYTHING. This was 5 or 6 years ago but the charge for administering meds was $500 per month. I tried everything to have mom take her own meds but in the end we did pay the money. We were also charged for any transports and extra if someone from the staff were to accompany her. You will be paying plenty to have some of these tasks taken from your plate. Hang in there!!!! Many are walking this road with you.
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ckrestaurant1 Jul 6, 2021
At least the NH acts like a hotel....they do have transport for docs appts and have registered nurse for meds everynite food three times perday..structure etc...what you are doing is seeing how safely she can occupy her home?
use yr common sense , do u live with her?...is she becoming obligerant its the loss of control or old age depression...some people do well but its a huge headache my dad was so compliant and nice it depends on the personality of the person..but u know my brother caretaker died before dad at 69 some from the constant babysittting,yelling about incontinence.getting up at all hours disturbing an already stressed caretaker..its not about being loyal to parents sometimes its about taking care of yourself before you breakdown...as brother did as he always g=felt he had to get home to take care of dad..and cooking,cleaning,taking to docs appointments,church and u must have a catheter i did not order one for dad...this could have eliminated a big problem.
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I have hired a elder attorney what you have to do is dwindle her assets so Medicaid will kick in. My elder attorney is getting my name only on the house that way the nursing home can not touch it.
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igloo572 Jul 6, 2021
Be cautious! Transferring their home to your name is basically her gifting her asset (the property) with a value to you. Gifting is not allowed by Medicaid and will place a transfer penalty on her application.

The value of her home is in local tax assessor/ collector info and the property history is recorded at the courthouse. All, all that dovetails into the states database. Any caseworker can find this out and in a few keystrokes. The transfer will surface.

Are you sure he is transferring into your name? Or is he doing a Life Estate? or an Enhanced benefit deed? Or a type of Trust?

Please realize you all would need a 5 yr window to get beyond any transfer issues. (In some states it could be 3 years). So transfer in Aug 2021 = Sept 2026 b 4 she can apply for Medicaid. If mom is youngish and healthy, 2026 may be totally feasible. Otherwise you take your chances on the timing.
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Your mom is coming owner and I'm sure she gets monthly finds coming in to pay her half of the house note.
You should let your mom know your plans to sell the home.
She has too much money to be on Medicaid so to have her in a home, you would have to check with her Medicare and secondary Insurance and see what they pay regarding a home.
Or, you could sell the home, buy a 1 story and let mom continue living there until she really needs to move into a Senior Home as they're not a fun place to be in.
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freqflyer Jul 7, 2021
bevthegreat, my Dad sold his house and moved into a senior home. He loved his new apartment and said he wished he would have sold his house years earlier. The best was that my Dad was now around people closer to his own generation.... lot of new ears to hear all of stories :)
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ASAP, you need to consult a certified Elder Care attorney with a proven track record of being Medicare knowledgeable in your state.
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Reply to CarolLynn
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Her house won't be considered when applying for Medicaid for a NH bed. It would only come in to play after she passes. Her part of the equity would be in the estate/probate and the state could go after it to reclaim monies they spent for her NH bed. It is also taken in to consideration of you living w/her prior to NH in the house to care for her and that you own half the house. Often times, Medicaid doesn't go after the home - BUT - if they did: Only her 1/2 would be considered. You could sell and give Medicaid her half. You take your half and buy something else. That's pretty much what would happen no matter who you co-own a house with - everyone gets their interest of the investment.

If she has no money or assets (besides the home), it's probably not going to be an AL facility she can go to. Check with your state - more than likely she would have to be self pay for that. Usually Medicaid, those with little income, only get qualified for a NH bed.
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Reply to my2cents
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If you sell this home, one half of the assets from the home belong to your mom. As to buying a home with her again as POA more complicated in all likelihood than selling. You have a diagnosis I am assuming that your Mom is no longer competent to act in her own behalf. Your POA powers to sell property and to buy other property depends upon the language in your POA and how well written it is by the attorney to did it when your Mom was competent.
My own opinion is that placement of your Mother is better, for her own safety and for your own life ongoing. If that requires medicaid then you as POA can get her Medicaid. That DOES mean that the home cannot be sold until your Mom dies, and when it is there will be medicaid clawback by the government for her care.
What you need now is not the opinions of those of us on Forum, but the advice of an elder law attorney. You have big decisions to make that will be life changing for you and for your Mom. I sure do wish you good luck. Take deed copies and your POA with you on the visit. Mom's assets pay for this visit.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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JColl7 Jul 6, 2021
Excellent advice. She needs an elder law attorney in her home state. We come from all different states (even countries) on this forum. All places have different laws/criteria.
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"none of my brothers would help, I felt obligated to step up... and here we are. "

And she's quite young, still, and you are only in your 30's?

I hope someone can give you advice on how to sell your house and get your mother moved into Assisted Living.

You have done plenty for her; time for your brothers to step up and do something.
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Reply to CTTN55
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Llamalover47 Jul 6, 2021
CTTN55: OP states that her mother is 69 years of age.
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Read the PoA form to see what puts it into effect and see if it covers you handling real estate affairs. Start there.
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