She is my last living relative, blind & crippled (h&f) w/arthrits. I am 65. Her caregiver has to have back surgery & she has asked if I can take her in. I would have done this yrs age but she was always addiment..NO!
None of us want her in a NH as we all feel this would be the end for her. She is also a Christian Scientist & vegetarian. Woman whos horses I pasture in the summer is also a CS & am hoping that my Aunt will get over her not wanting to be seen by "strangers" & talk to her. (I am not a CS, but a Quaker. We both have heavy German/Jewish upbringing)
She is fine on her own for a couple (2+) hrs. so I will be able to go to store & get groc. & sups.
Will not go to Adult Day Care or Senior lunches. It will just be the 2 of us. I can take her out to the covered porch for fresh air while I do the irrigating, etc. (2 acrs.)
Bedroom downstairs next to bathroom for her to use. Plan on getting a "baby monitor" so I can hear her if needed at night. My bedroom is upstairs. She cannot climb stairs.
Schedule is mapped out with rising @ 7:30, breakfast by 9, supper @ 4:30. Light lunch midday & snacks early evening.
She likes to go to bed (but may not sleep) after the late nite news around 11. Bathroom call around 2 am than sleeps the rest of the night. She is not incontinent, nor any accidents. But does need help with toileting, bathing, etc.
Will be fixing her meals for her but if placed in proper order she eats unassisted. No meat, so no cutting. Vegs. in bite size portions.
I realize this could turn into a full time/ long term arrangement. Will approach that if/when time comes.
I was also thinking about getting & installing a bidet adaptor to downstairs toilet to help with these issues. If this is not a good idea, what kind of moist wipes would be a good choice for her? We are on a septic & they need to be biodegradable without oils.
I realize this will be a fulltime commitment without any downtime on my part but this is family & I have loved her as a Mother all my life. NH is out of the question!
Both Mother & MIL are already deceased, also FIL & all Uncles. Husband lives & works away from area so will not be an inconvenience for him or embarrassment for her.
Any other helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Please NEVER NEVER NEVER use a suction grab bar! They are not safe. Therapists and tradespeople have all told us that grab bars must be anchored into the studs. One that's held on merely by suction cannot be relied on. Your aunt could reach for it and it could come off the wall and cause her to fall. These are absolute no-nos.

Hire a carpenter (not a handyman) to put in grab bars at the end of the bathtub (either vertically or installed at an angle) as well as a long grab bar installed horizontally on the longer side of the bathtub wall.

A slide across bath chair that's wider than the tub would be helpful as well. Your aunt would sit down on it outside the tub, hold onto the rails, lift one leg at a time over into the tub, then reach and hold onto the horizontal grab bar and scooch herself farther into the tub. No standing at all is required to get in and out of the tub.

I would also add grab bars (again, anchored into the studs) along pathways so she can feel her way along by holding onto the grab bars.

Remove any throw rugs as they're trip and fall hazards. And make sure she has a clear path with hand holds from the bedroom to the kitchen and any other areas she'll be spending time.

I would also get a medical alert, just to be on the safe side.

We added 2 small baskets purchased at Office Max and held on with auto hose clamps to my father's walker. He puts his orange juice and water in them to bring from the kitchen to the living room.

He also has a cloth carry-all, something like the cloth bags now used for groceries, attached by velcro strips to his walker. Your aunt could keep kleenex, etc. in it.

What plans do you have for her to contact you if there's an emergency in the middle of the night? Could she call out? Ring a bell or something louder? I thought of adding a phone extension but she couldn't use it to call you, and might not be able to use it anyway if she's unable to see. But I would be concerned about her needing something in the middle of the night - you never know when something will come up.

Perhaps you could ask the CS woman whose horses you pasture to stop by and provide some socialization for your aunt.
Helpful Answer (7)

12wondering, I don't think you're whining at all - the commitment you've undertaken is a very substantial one, and in the context of the logistics you've described… you do absolutely *have* to do this, do you?

R being the caregiver who has to have back surgery, and seeing as you are offering very substantial help, and given that he is being - well, really, extraordinarily obstructive in the circumstances…

You're very patient to be tolerating these terms that he's putting in your way, that's all. Speaking for myself, faced with that attitude, I'm afraid I'd be suggesting he make his own arrangements if he didn't like the ones I had to offer. I admire your forbearance.
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12, you certainly seem to be between a rock and a hard place. For many years, my mom's older sister was trapped at home with her demented husband. She fell. She couldn't get up. Husband dragged her around on a throw rug for 4 days before anyone discovered the situation. Aunt had surgery and several months of rehab. And then was returned home to demented husband with some home health help brought in. This was the way they wanted it. They got what they wanted. We can't get people to want what we see is best.
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Wondering, given the restrictions on accepting insurance, etc., you might be able to find a bath/shower chair either at one of the thrift shops, like Salvation Army, or through a community loan closet. Sounds like you're in a rural area, so there may not be the same level of availability as there might be in a heavily populated area. But some senior centers and some agencies do have loan centers. Area Agency on Aging might have sugggestions on this aspect.

I've seen specially adapted silverware for arthritic hands; saw these at booths at Area Agency on Aging Expos and may still have the literature but I'm not sure where it is.

If I can find it, I'll let you know who the suppliers are.

I'm impressed with your planning and consideration of all the options. You're very thorough, and I'm sure that you'll find possibilities for all the issues.

This is a learning experience, like walking a new path and seeing new plants and trees along the way. With your sound logic and positive attitude I'm sure you'll make it pleasant for both yourself and your aunt.

Thanks for the update.
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I've never experienced this situation, but it does seem to me that you need to have a temporary DPOA and temporary health care POA for 3 months or such time as your aunt returns home, or permanently if the situation becomes that.

Alternately, the same arrangement could be incorporated in specifically tailored durable and health care POAs providing for specific responsibilities for you and the person who has those responsibilities permanently. E.g., you could have emergency health care powers sufficient to get emergency services, have access to health care records, but not make long term decisions without consulting the individual who has these responsibilities permanently.

When your aunt returns home, your powers would expire.

You might also want to check with your homeowners agent to see if you need to upgrade your HO insurance. (I may have suggested this earlier and if so I apologize. I'm having too much trouble with my computer this morning to switch back and forth between screens and check my earlier posts.)

I understand the financial limitations, but think it should be the DPOA holder's financial responsibility to have documentation prepared. I guess I'm beginning to feel that you're accepting a lot of responsibility, but the holder of the actual powers isn't willing to give up responsibility and expects you to do all the work for $600 a month, which frankly is a pittance consider what you'll be doing.

I would sit down with DH, list everything that you can possibly think of to protect you, including but not limited to (a) emergency or nonemergency actions you feel appropriate with which the DPOA holder may not agree (b) method of payment of the $600 and options if the DPOA holder or his/her designee fails to make timely payment (or fails to pay at all), (c) whether or not the $600 will be covered by a 1099 at the end of the year (Vegas Lady is a former IRS agent and might be able to advise if you need to be concerned about this, specifically whether you'd be considered an independent contractor).

List everything you can think of and get both your aunt and the DPOA holder to sign, in front of witnesses, even if your aunt can only make an "x".

You might also consider what recourse you have it the DPOA holder breaches the agreement.

I'm really beginning to wonder now why the DPOA holder doesn't just have your aunt stay at an AL facility while her caregiver recovers from her surgery. I understand the desire to "keep this in the family", but am really getting the picture here that you're being put into a hard situation and are taking all of the steps to ensure that it's workable, but based solely on your affection for your aunt. The monetary compensation is really a pittance.

Do you know the caregiver? Can you rely on her/him to be paid? Does he/she have the resources to be more realistic with the compensation and/or have documentation prepared by an attorney?

I just can't help feeling that you've being taken advantage of, but again, it's hard to know the situation from posts on a forum.
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Addendum: I wouldn't worry about upsetting anyone, especially the caregiver/DPOA holder. If this arrangement goes bad, you and your husband will be the ones who will be disadvantaged.

Husband is right; you need to think more about how to protect yourselves as you're assuming a lot of risk.
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I believe his reluctance to sign anything is because he has plundered the trust and doesn't want to go to jail. He has kept aunt away from everyone, under his total control, and she has no way of knowing what he has done with her assets, other than what he tells her. He is her only window to the world. Very sad.
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Madeline, perhaps your intentions are well but you're really overstepping your boundaries to be so verbally abusive to 12. And you're also expressing a very personal opinion that 12's aunt would be better off in a nursing home. For someone who's blind, a transfer to a nursing home would I think be severely disorienting and disruptive to her life.

This isn't an ideal situation. Most caregiving situations are not. And that includes situations in which immediate family members are the caregivers.

Enough badgering is enough. You don't have insight into the hearts and minds of others to make the verbal accusations that you're making. Regardless of your intent and the fact, the manner and method of your approach isn't helpful.
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If this is by 1099 as a contractor I think you would be responsible for self employment taxes, complete FICA contribution, eTC that would reduce the $600.00 tremendously. In fact, in my situation, live in with mom was told IRS would never buy off on independent contractor.
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Glad, do you mean that IRS would NOT consider this arrangement to be an independent contractor situation, i.e., that a live-in caregiver wouldn't be considered an independent contractor but rather an employee? If the latter, then were you held responsible for paying FICA, etc.,? I'm not prying, just trying to sort out the ramifications of these issues.

I'm also concerned because I had considered getting someone to help with my father, but stalled on taking action because of liability and tax issues. I'd still like to get some help for him (and me!), but I want to make sure I've got all the bases covered, with the tax and liability issues being as important as the services provided.

If he falls a third time, just nursing home and home PT might not be enough, and I know he's adamant about not wanting to leave his home for any other permanent living situation.

12Wondering, given Glad's observation that taxes would reduce the net you get, I'm wondering if you couldn't factor out food costs from that $600 and handle them separately. If you are able to work out a shared authority arrangement with the POA holder, perhaps you could also get a debit or credit card for your aunt to be used only for food. I realize this could be a big trust issue, but just offer it for suggestion.

Or the POA holder could reimburse you separately for food and supplies costs.
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