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My mother lives with me because my father is unable to care for her in their home. Mom receives an annuity from the Railroad Retirement Board of $948.00. Because of this amount, I couldn't list her as a dependent on my tax return. She doesn't pay me to care for her. She does have a savings account and I withdraw $200.00 a month for her expenses such as OTC medications, prescriptions, incontinence products, clothing, and use the rest for groceries. I cannot work because Mom needs someone here all the time due to her numerous falls. Needless to say, I have exhausted my savings and I get a retirement annuity of 2200.00 a month which just covers rent (984.00), insurance, car payment, medical insurance, and groceries. I have had to withdraw from my savings every month to cover utilities, gas for the car (I don't get out much and all my clothes come from the thrift store) and I am unable to get my new contacts and eye drops to deter glaucoma, and I can't even go to the doctor because I can't afford the charges. Is there a way that her savings account can't be claimed because I know that eventually she will need more specialized care as she continues to lost her sight. I am looking for part time work because I may be able to leave her for 4 to 5 hours a day but I know I will be worried the whole time. Even food stamps would be good, but because of my "huge" income and hers and her savings account, we don't qualify. When I retired, I had plans to work part time, travel a little, do volunteer work, go back to school...but now I'm a full time caregiver. My siblings do not help in any way, shape or form. Any ideas? Suggestions?

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Sorry jeannebiggs, I meant to respond to babalou. Mom and dad have been married 65 years. When he comes over he brings eggs because mom likes her two fried eggs every morning! To be honest, i don't know how they've been managing all their expenses since dad retired. Now that I've read all these comments, my problems don't seem so bad. You all have given me hope.
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Thanks for the clarification. It sounds as thoughBOTH of your parents would benefit from being in Assisted Living. Just thinking ahead... what happens when DAD falls and breaks a hip. You very much need a certified Elder Care attorney.
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I think I'm going to contact an attorney. Thanks to all of you.
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To jeannegibbs. My parents have a two story home. The bathroom is upstairs. My dad is unable to help mom with her shower. He also recently had a knee replacement and moves very slow. The church sent a group of teenagers to clean up my parents yard. Dad wants mom to go home, but she needs the kind of care my dad could give. My apartment is all on one floor. My dad comes to visit mom at least four times a week.
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Chic - see an elder law attorney & do this soon. It sounds like moms needs are fast approaching the tipping point of your ability. Right now -without a legal caregiver contract between you & her - that $ you've taken out could pose a transfer penalty issue for her Meducaid application.

Unless moms savings account is mid6 figures - like she has saved $200,000.00 or more - she will not have the $ to private pay for a facility for long so mom will apply for Medicaid. Right now it seems your living costs are being cominggled which has to be figured out and changed. Also as others have said, if your folks are still married, dads income & assets factor into her eligibility for Medicaid. Mom may need to get legal involved to get dads info for Medicaid & funds for soend down to whatever your state allows for a community spouse.
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Commochic, I'm very curious what is going on with your parents, and if Dad is also ill, or if they are separated for other reasons.

I get the sense that there is more to this story. The very important takeaway for you is that you MUST get an eldercare attorney involved in your mother's situation. You are right, at some point down the road, she will require Memory Care, or a Nursing Home, or lots of in home care (at her home or yours). The private pay price tag for Nursing Home care where I live is $15,000 a month. Which is why it is very important that you find out how to get her qualified for Medicaid. Protecting mom's savings account is not the piece of the puzzle that's important right now.
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commochic, what you are building up in her savings account would not meets her very long if has a sudden need for a higher level of care. I don't think building it up at this point makes any sense.

It does make sense for her to pay her own way NOW. Nobody expects her to live rent-free and with free board. Why aren't you taking that? It is crazy to impoverish yourself so she might avoid Medicaid a few months longer when the need arises.

What you REALLY need to do now is see a lawyer whose specialty is Elder Law. Come up with a plan that makes the most sense for you and Mom and Dad.
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It goes into her savings. I'm withdrawing 200.00 a month, but that just barely plays for groceries. I also use it for her expenses. I just don't want to use up her savings because she may need it when she will need specialized care. Mom is,, 95_ , mild dementia, loss of hearing, and macular degeneration.
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I am wondering how your mother's $948 is spent each month. Does it go to the upkeep of your father? I wondered why you couldn't tap into that money, since it is hers.
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You REALLY need to spend a few hundred on good advice and a plan done up by an eldercare attorney! You are not required to ruin your own health, retirement plans and impoverish yourself for the rest of your life to care for your Mom. There are ways to get her qualified for Medicaid and preserve the home and a car for your Dad for the rest of his life, or until he cannot live at home any more. If it would be that your Dad is a veteran there is even help from the VA for some people....Aid and Attendance it's called, but I believe the veteran must have served at least one day in a war. If on Medicaid, it's possible for them to pay for some caregiving help in the home too, rather than a facility placement. You won't know what's available to you without having a consultation. Also, there may be some free resources available from your county council on aging. You need to do some research and consultation and create a long term care plan.
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You need to take mom to see an eldercare attorney (on her dime, of course) to determine what the best course of action is in this situation. As Maggie mentioned, she's entitled to marital assets for her support. She may qualify for Medicaid and some home health aides if that is needed.

I'm curious why mom is living with you and not paying rent or a caregiver's salary to you. And why you think it's okay to impoverish yourself caring for your mom when she has assets.

But first, to the eldercare attorney to sort out the money issues.
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There's more than her savings account to worry about. There's your mom and dad's joint assets. She has claim to some of those if she needs additional care. Just because she doesn't live with him doesn't mean she isn't entitled to her share of marital assets.

If your mom can't be left alone, you really need to look into assisted living or a nursing home for her. I can't see how one person could care for her alone....? we love our parents to bits, but we can't do the impossible.
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Leave the savings accounts alone, both yours and hers.
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The rent and utilities are $900 per month for your mom. Mom gets a personal allowance of $48/ month. The caregiving is now free.
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