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I am taking care of my wife with dementia at home. What happens to her if I get sick from the 36 hour days and Family can't help and I don't want to pay for expensive nh care. She will leave home and wander the streets. She will become a bag lady? Or will the state put her into a nursing home? Will I get charged with neglect or elder abuse? Can the state force me to care for her or pay for her care?

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Warren, are you asking what happens if you abandon your wife, or if you drop dead?

It depends on laws in your state. In any event, HER asets will be used to care for her.

It sounds as though you need to make a list of questions for the attorney.
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Hi Warren, posters are giving TMI to answer your question. I would think if you abandon her ( she gets lost) you most likely would be held responsible. Authorities will find out who you are and you're still going to have to pay for her care. The poster who said you need to have a plan B ready, forget that too, my husbands daughter wouldn't even answer the phone let alone take care of her Dad if I was sick. Now there is a Medicare clause giving every caregiver one week of respite care (that would be your wife staying in a NH) a er year - not much, but at least it's a break. Please don't take her out to the interstate :-) & drop her off. You can do this.
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A couple of years ago, when I was looking into a similar situation, I was informed that in NC in case of emergencies for people who have dementia, are incompetent, mentally ill, etc., that social workers from the county take emergency custody of the person if there is no one available to take care of them. I suppose they have to have a court official approve it and then it's followed up with the court at a hearing within so many days, where a permanent guardian is appointed. And they place the person somewhere for their protection. I'm not sure if it's in a hospital, group home, adult foster care home??? I'm not sure. But, they care for them until other arrangements can be made. I'm not sure about how it's handled in your state.

I think it's likely that her funds would be used to provide for her care.
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Warren, I can understand your concerns, they are valid.

Last year I had fallen and broke my shoulder, and it happened to have been my right arm thus it affected my writing, eating, putting on clothes, and driving. Well that played havoc with my parents who were still living on their own. I wasn't able to physically help them such as driving or doing things around the house for about six months. I had to cancel all their doctor appointments as my parents wouldn't take a taxi, etc. Thank goodness I could order groceries on-line and have them delivered to their house.

So we never know what the future has for us as being a caregiver. I didn't have Plan B for that situation. And my parents refused caregivers.
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Has your doctor sent anyone into the home for a needs assessment to get you help caring for your wife?
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Warren,

It might be a good idea to have a plan in place in case you do get sick and become unable to care for your wife for a period of time. Someone you can call in a pinch. An adult son or daughter? A neighbor?

It might help put your mind at ease if you could come up with a plan just in case. I'm a firm believer in always having a Plan B in my back pocket.
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Hi Warren. This is a question that all full-time caregivers have at some time. I myself just recovered from the flu and while I was running fever and contagious I had to keep away from mom. Fortunately I have in place a daily aide for a couple of hours who helps me get Mom cleaned up and out of bed and then my husband was able to take off too. Mom is mostly bed bound so there was no way she was going to wander, but she had to be changed, gotten out of bed for part of each day and fed. The aide and my husband and the home health nurse were able to get it done for mom. Housework and laundry got a little behind and meals were delivery. But it really concerned me that if it had been something longer lasting I would have been unprepared. I would contact a home care agency for a daily aide - just a couple hours a day can take so much pressure off of you. It is so easy to be overwhelmed when you are doing it all yourself. Well worth the money.
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Warren, the State will use HER assets to pay for her care. When her assets are gone,Medicaid steps in.

Did the eldercare attorney explain that as the community spouse, you retain the family home and assets that support you? Did he also explain that by having the ability to private pay for a while, you ll be able to get your wife into a better facility than if she was simply admitted as " Medicaid pending"?
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Warren, are we being a bit dramatic?
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