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I am fast approaching some memory problems. My siblings are scattered across the country and will not be able to assist me in any way. I have a son nearby but I cannot rely on him to step up. I am 78 years old and independent still but I can see the hand writing on the wall. I live in a small isolated community and have to drive 30 miles to the nearest town so I only go once a week. I have a dear friend across from me but cannot rely on her either. What will I do and how will I be able to get assistance on a very limited income?

Since I took care of my husband for 4 years while he had cancer I got to learn about how to stay at home while his health deteriorated.
I started ordering all my groceries online thru the walmart app. Delivery is $10 here. I could not leave the house even while hospice nurses were here. Luckily we have handicap bars in the bathroom and a walk in shower with bars. I was constantly having to walk him into his own bathroom because he was a fall risk. When my time comes I am hoping I can find someone that wouldn't mind room and board & some $ in exchange for taking care of me especially when I can't even make it to the portopotty next to the bed. I will probably end up with Chronic Kidney Disease as that is what my mother at 84 has had for many years. I finally got her to sign a medical POA so I could call in hospice for help when she gets worse.
Hospice CNA nurses do clean up bathrooms/portopottys and will help you bathe, dress, brush your teeth, shave, change the sheets and walk you to the bathroom and help you with your meds within the hour or two they are there. You can schedule them to come 2-3 times a week and then more later on as they are needed more, You don't have to be dying to get hospice care and medicare covers everything- you just get reevaluated every 6 months. All you need is the dr to say you are chronically ill and may not live more than 6 months. The hospice dr even comes to your house to see you and all your meds are delivered by fedex to your home.
As for cooking there are plenty of frozen meals for heating in the microwave. If you get dementia - do not use the stove at all - my husband was constantly leaving oatmeal burning on the stove. He finally let me cook it for him and I just used the microwave and put frozen fruit in it. He didn't like microwave food so I would just put it on a plate. Of course in the beginning I cooked alot but as he got worse I just didn't have time to cook.
I also put cameras in the kitchen and bedroom so I could watch him and the nurses on my cellphone while I was sitting in the dining area eating. Your helper can also monitor you that way from another room.
I would recommend getting a caregiver/widow 60 on up that is already retired on social security so they don't have to go to work or depend on you for much income. Advertise on craigslist rental section and be very picky, make them fill out a long application and do a background check online. Get a copy of their drivers license and application and give it to
someone you trust to store it for you. Ask your neighbor to come over and check on you to see how you are doing - or setup texting so you can text them daily about how you are doing. With memory care you are going to need a full time caregiver, hospice does offer respite care for caregivers to take a break too.
Setup your house so you can be wheeled around in a wheelchair inside with no obstacles if it ever becomes neccessary.Your caregiver can also call on hospice at any time if you refuse to take your meds or they need extra help in case you become combative. My husband was on so many meds in the end he didn't even know he was in his own house so could of gone to a facility as he already thought he was in one.
If you start wandering around at sunset by yourself (sundown syndrome) your caregiver may decide it's time for you to be in a facility.
We don't want you wandering down the road in your undies.
Setup automatic bill pay online for all your bills now while you have enough brains to do so. I set that up long ago for us-you setup the exact date you want the bill paid. (no more writing checks and you can check all your balances online)
Well am running over to take my mom grocery shopping, she still won't let me order her groceries online - very stubborn and doesn't like change.
Let me know what you decide to do because I know since I have no relatives to help me - I have to setup everything myself in advance.
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Reply to floridagardener
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ArtistDaughter May 30, 2019
Amazing!
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I ask myself the same question all the time. I think there are so many more of us in this situation than we know. It is a huge worry. I so hope your Office of Aging can guide you and offer solutions!
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Reply to Monica19815
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I’m a fairly healthy 81, but need a little assistance. Thru Silvernest.com, I found a housemate -very energetic &youthful 65. You have to agree to trying the situation out and you
MUST have available space for privacy for each. But this can work out: my HM lives here for nothing in exchange for help. For those who have the space necessary. I recommend one of these senior
housesharing websites. They get b’gnd checks & provide you with their profiles of themselves. (E.G. anyone who lives with me HAS to like dogs!) Silvernest is only one of several of these homesharing sites: Try it; I found a great gal who likes to cook, garden & keep order! Good luck - we’re all going to need help at some point!
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jdmason May 30, 2019
Unfortunately Silvernest only seems to cover major metro areas.  People who live in small towns are out of luck.
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Rusti, I can understand your concern. I am also feeling that way as I have no siblings and no children. Thus, I need to do the logistics on my own.

Later down the road, when you find you need help, be thankful we have Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] for those who are on a limited income. With Medicaid, if you need to move to a nursing home, Medicaid will pay for your room/board and care.

In between, check with your County Agency on Aging [or whatever it is called in your area] to see what is available right now. Being you are in a small isolated community, the availability of programs may be limited.

I commend you for thinking ahead. Just a thought, would you be able to budget to live in the town that is 30 miles away? I was thinking it may give you more options in regard to County programs. Any chance your dear friend and you could share an apartment to save money? Or would it be like Felix and Oscar?
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Isthisrealyreal May 30, 2019
But Felix and Oscar made it work FF.
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First and foremost, somehow you have to find someone you can trust to be a Power of Attorney for you in the event you can't take care of yourself. If you do not know anyone, talk to the Office on Aging who may offer advice. Or perhaps an attorney, for a fee, would take this on. You have to make sure that every single facet of your life is current and up to date. You must write down and have full details on everything - finances, medical, religious, funeral, everything, If something happens and someone has to step in, they should be able to refer to that personal manual so they know exactly what to do. I have done this for the past 50 years (I will be 86 with no family). I have found two trusted friends who will step in but everything is l00% written down in detail and I already paid my funeral in full, even wrote the eulogy/obituary and have my gravestone. And sometimes a bank will do this for someone. What about a church? Please start preparing information on everything to do with you, your wishes, a medical declaration as to how you want to be cared for, etc. Also talk with your doctor. I have no one in the world so I did everything ahead of time so if the need comes, it will be very simple to handle things.
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Good ideas for you already here. I like especially suggestions to move into town and/or have a room mate. I think about all this as well. I have a husband, two sons, and a brother, but none of us wants to burden others. My husband and I have a house in the mountains that we love love love, but I just can't see us living out our old age isolated and depending on others to bring us what we need. I watched my parents hiring help to take care of all they had. Nope. I won't do that. We also have a little house close to where my mom is in assisted living so we can keep track of her. Too much to care for though, two homes, two yards! I'm thinking about senior housing at some point - just a little apartment with an extra room for me to paint and draw in and easy access to the outdoors. All that my husband and I don't need should just be gone. It will take quite a while to get rid of everything, so I guess I should start.
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Reply to ArtistDaughter
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Aside from contacting your local Office of Aging for advice, research Medicaid and get all the documents in order that you will need for that while you still can: https://www.senior-planning.com/document-checklist/. Appoint a medical POA and a financial POA. They can be your lawyer, if you cannot rely on anyone else. I cannot stress enough about having your papers in order. Let someone know where these documents are. I had to do this for my mom and all I had was an old driver's license and her SS number. I also had POA fortunately. It was a LOT of work getting everything else.
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Reply to JoLoBx
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It may be time to think about moving where there are more resources and things are more convenient. I know it could be overwhelming but better now than a few years from now when ur health is failing. Start by cleaning out what you no longer need. I used to crochet. I had tons of instructions. I figured hadn't made any of the projects in 20 yrs, at 69 wasn't going to do them in the next 20. So, I am down to a tote.

If u own ur home, sell and use the proceeds for a nice apt. No upkeep. Easier to keep clean.

See a lawyer. A lawyer can become ur POA. You can stipulate in both documents, financial and medical, exactly how u want ur finances handled and decisions on Medical. Get all your important papers together. Don't make it hard for someone to find. Make out a Will if you have any assets and how u want them distributed. Write down what type of funeral u want. If possible, prepay it.

Other than my children, I would not put the responsibility of my POA or Executor on a friend or even a sibling. If I had no children, I would find a good established law firm.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Dear Rusti You have touched on a question so many of Us do ponder on with regard to our selves. As a Bachelor with no Children I have often asked myself that same question. I would ask a senior Nurse for advice as they are so up to speed on this same subject. I think Your greater problem is not Your age Bless You, it is living in isolation so far from Town.
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Reply to Johnjoe
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All suggestions are excellent. It definitely pays to plan ahead. Something you should consider if you haven't done it already is putting your assets into a trust. Medicaid has a 5 year look back and the faster you get your finances protected the better.

Myself, I'm 55 and live in a semi rural area on 2 1/2 acres. Currently my 26 and 21 year old children are living with me, but that could change. If it does, I plan to sell my house and move to a condo or townhouse where snow removal and yard work is taken care of. I see those as my biggest physical challenge. Just about everything else can be done by computer these days, so shopping and banking shouldn't be an issue. I do worry about the possibility of having dementia as it tends to run in my mother's family. I can only hope my children will help me as I have helped my mom, but will be making plans for my care in case they don't.
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AlvaDeer May 30, 2019
The physical challenges are one thing. The mental challenges are something else again. And I see, with our aging population, many of us who are now caregivers are realizing we are a step behind those we give care to. And it is a huge worry. I wonder that there are so few answers to this dilemma. So thankful for the support and questions on this aging care site.
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