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I am currently the primary caregiver for my Mom, age 86 with end stage dementia. I have been thinking toward the future and my concerns grow. When I leave my Mom, I have a house of my own which I still owe $40,000 on. It needs work and since I haven't been working for the past two years, I don't know what I my financial future looks like. I am currently 61 years old who has blown through my savings after quitting work to take care of my Mom. I will have a small amount of financial support from my brother until I get my life back together. I do have an IRA but certainly not enough. I don't know whether to try and go back to work at 61 or retire at 62 and work as well. Basically, I am terrified. My car is getting quite old and needs repairs. This is absolutely overwhelming to me. Is anyone having a similar experience and what would be your advice?

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Irish boy, she has to work while she retrains. She has marketable skills now. She can then take time to add to her skill base to do something that will not break her back. PS: I am 65 and Dad is about to be 95. Maybe she can be a CNA in an infant setting? Maybe she can sell in medical supplies. Maybe she will learn to keyboard and work on a phone based support system. Just the first hop to work could be short while she plans for longer term.
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pipruby, the OP says she is 61 yrs old. And you suggest she become a CNA?

Get real, being a CNA involves a lot of lifting, and you need physical strength, even if she could do that, she would be facing age discrimination, and just because you took care of your parent doesn't mean you want to do that for strangers. Most caregivers when they're done with their own family are burnt out both physically, mentally and emotionally.

Looking for some type of work is a good idea, but spending money to get training for a job like CNA wouldn't be wise at 61.

Whiska brought up some good points. Why does the brother have the mother's house. Is he living there?

One of these houses should be sold. OP, do you really need a whole house like that? You could sell your house and downsize into a small condo, that would give you some money to back you up.
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I found whiska's post interesting. Not to pick on your brother, but you did the heavy lifting all those years and he got the house? Could you sell one house or the other? Then you could live in thr remaining house and have a nest egg from the sale if bro agreed.
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Check where you live for grant programs that pay for repairs to your home. I live in New York State & there are many grant programs to pay for major & minor repairs to your home & you don't have to pay them back. Apply for healthcare ( Obamacare) , if your low income its free & includes medicine & dental care. If your mom is receiving Medicaid notify them you are her caregiver, they csn pay you to care for your mom. There are many other programs out there that can help you. Hopefully you live in a state that accepts the health care program. This program was put in place for people like you. Also we have HEAP which helps pay for your gas & electric & if you need a new fridge too. As a health care provider it is very hard to work & provide adequate care for your mom. May God Bless you & I wish you the best. Caregiving becomes very exhausting. I hope this helps you.
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Katdoll, You pick up where you left off. If I've read your post correctly, you are only 61 now, and you should have at least four years of employment before collecting S.S. funds. Unless you have health issues or perform life-threatening activities, there is no reason to collect the funds at age 62. Good Luck!
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Everyone has already given good advice. I was in a similar position a few years ago and wondering whether I would need to take my SS at 62, sell my house and downsize. Although I've had a reasonably successful professional career, I went through various gaps and career changes. (Raised my son as a young widow, oversaw my brother's care, and now caring for my mom). I had assumed that well paying job prospects were dismal due to age. I am happy to report that I was hired at age 60, and have finally gotten back to earning the corporate salary that I had twenty years ago. Not really sure how much better all of my corporate compatriots for back then are doing, given the ups and downs in the economy. I went in to teaching as a retirement career, am satisfied with my salary and benefits. Now,I plan to work until age 70, and am trying to execute the advice that everyone has given you. I just wanted to offer you some hope because I know how easy it is to lose confidence and get into a hopeless mindset. I've always rented my house out anytime I haven't been living there myself. I've also taken in international students and roommates when necessary. If you feel that some of these repairs to your house are necessary before renting it, perhaps this might be a contribution your mom or brother could make now,so that the house can start generating some income. I was also driving an old junker and didn't qualify for any kind of affordable car loan at the time. I put the word out to everyone I knew and was fortunate enough to buy a low mileage car at a reasonable price that had been owned by an elderly person who had to give up driving. Don't give up. Be positive, take as many practical steps as you can now,including accepting any benefits you for which might qualify. If you do not currently have a chosen profession that you would go back to, try to identify growing fields in which the demand exceeds the supply. Elder care /case management is a good suggestion. Have you considered trying to find employment now and determining what services your mom might be eligible for while you're working? My mom is still alive, and fortunately, she qualifies for many services that allow me to do that - day care, HHAs,meals on wheels, etc. Talk to the case manager at your local home care agency. Good luck!!
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So many good answers here...........My suggestion to you, KatdollBrink, is to take your S.S. payments at age 65. This is considered "full" retirement age, and you may continue workng full-time if you wish. You'll be receiving your salary from your work, and Social Security, Medicare and all the perks of retirement. Why wait until 67? You never know how long You will live. Benefits do not max out at age 70. The calculation tables offer increased payments for as long as you work.
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Personally, I grabbed SS as soon as I turned 62 and have not regretted it... Calculating what I received (which was not in the high bracket!) and rounding it off to even $10,000/year, $30,000 in those 3 yrs., it would take a long time to make up with a higher monthly amount if I'd waited. It's worked out for me, because I had that extra income to help pay the HIGHEST health care premiums before I turned 65. If I can do it, I'd also rather take a little less a month, but have that time free... My health is not great, and one never knows...?
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I agree with pipruby. You have a new skill set and If you are emotionally suited for it a new career where you can work full time or less. If you will have a place to live, consider selling your home and putting that into investments. Also focus on reliable transportation in the meantime.
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contact your local area agency on aging or bureau of senior services, they have staff that can assist you such as health insurance assistance and information and assistance. They also have programs that can help with in home assistance with your mom and caregiver services. If your mom qualifies for programs, you can go to work part time then full time once you no longer have caregiving duties. You will receive a cut in social security benefits if you retire at age 62. The AAA may also have suggestions/information on employment. The info above is also great information. It can be a bit daunting to go back out into the workforce, but I'm sure you will find that you will fit right in. Good work ethics are important; being on time, neat in appearance and willingness to work are very important and are what an employer looks for. If you enjoy caregiving, then you can become a caregiver to others, talk to your local hospice agency and other independent in home care agencies. If you want to get out of the caregiving field, write down what you enjoy, then go to your local job service. They will be able to help. Good luck. I know caregiving is difficult. When my father passes I know my life will also change, so I can understand. Value what time you have left with her, even though she has dementia-enjoy the good days and remember when she smiles you get a glimpse of her real self. Utilize help from local agencies to assist you in your caregiving efforts.
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If your brother owns her home he should be helping with your expenses! Was it her home and she gave it to him? I've seen this happen so often just wondering if that's the situation!
I'm almost 72 and seeing after my mom of 89! I'm an only child though!
If your mom did own her home then I'd suggest to your brother that you deserve half of it! After all you gave up your life to care for your mother!
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I am 66 and my husband is 65. We have cared for mom since 2009 in our own home. Both of us chose early retirement and have not looked back. When you turn 65 you can keep everything you earn. If you take early retirement you have to pay taxes beyond a certain income. My husband has continued to earn but has not reached the taxable level. With my mother's Social Security check we pay ourselves for her care enough to cover our mortgage payment, which happens to be the allowable room and board for her county assistance program. With the assistance program we get needed supplies and respite and she is also on Medicaid. When she dies we are thinking about a reverse mortgage, which is something you can get even if you owe on your present mortgage. Then we won't have to make mortgage payments and we can live on the equity.
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I am in a similar situation ---- in that I was unemployed when my father fell sick, and I stopped looking for work to care for my Dad, till he died. Then, after he died, my Mom developed Alzheimer's and dementia, and I care for her. I am so worried about being able to find work she passes away. Why can't there be more help for caregivers?
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Go to school and get a CNA, or another certification that would get you slightly higher pay once your mom is gone. Get in home help for when you are at school. If the roof is leaking on your own home, fix it. Water damage is awful. Talk to your brother about how to get money. Did he buy mom's home? or was it a gift to him? In other words, did you get your share, because you need it now. Once your own home is repaired and safe, rent it through a property management company that will credit check renters, etc. Or sell your home and get a little one or a condo that you can rent out until you are ready to live in it. You will not want to do a bunch of yard work etc after caring for your mom all this time.
Make a list of your skills and take it to the employment department (aka unemployment office) or a community college to see what kind of work you may be suited for and what kind of work you might enjoy. Practice your keyboarding skills by listening to music or news and typing along. Good luck.
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You'll have to go back to work to recup the lost money.
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If you are healthy you could work until you are 70. That is when social security maxes out. You get 8% more a year every year you work until 70 and than it levels out. You will than get your salary plus adding credits to your work record. If you take Social Security and work at the same time you will not have more money because Social Security will deduct 2 dollars for every 3 dollars you earn and your Social Security check will not do this until you reach full retirement age which is possibly 67?? Depends when you are born .You have to check. I did the same think as you did but now am sorry and my parents are still alive.
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I agree with freqflyer. Good advice.
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I'm in a similar situation, and am easing back into my life. Can't say much about what you have going, but I can say as long as I had nothing coming in I had free health insurance thru Mass. Health. Unfortunately it will end come March as I start to work again and can't renew it. Wish you the best.
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Is your house sitting empty or are you renting it?... I would advise (as the others here) to go back to work. You can always think about getting a 'temporary' roommate to help with expenses until you get back on your feet.
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Adding the "newer model" was referring to an automobile.
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Try to find work, do not retire at 62 because your social security will be forever cut due to early retirement. Wait until you are at least 67, convert that IRA into a Roth IRA so you don't have to pay taxes withdrawing funds, and think about a refinance to either stay in your home, or remodel it. You might also have enough to buy a newer model with less maintenance. If your mother leaves you her house or some money put it into your Roth IRA. You will be living longer so you need to have funds. Be frugal about spending and don't spend money you do not have. You have to provide for your financial future and there are no government bailouts. Good luck and best wishes! (At almost 67 yrs. I will have my husband's pensions and health insurance for life, but I struggle all the time trying to make ends meet).
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Here's my suggestion, mom needs to be paying you for her care. She gets SS and perhaps a retirement, so she has income. Yes there are costs on the home (btw your brother sounds nice and not what most siblings are like based on what other caregivers post on this site) but there should be some degree of monthly income from mom to pay you.

Now it needs to be done via a personal services contract - you never know IF mom could have to go onto Medicaid and her paying you unless all above board will be an issue. Mom pays you, you file taxes & FICA taken out so builds your SS kitty too. Needs to be done by attorney but mom pays for that - what you'd be paid is based on community standards. Good elder law will know what that is.Hospice - you never know - my mom is into her 2nd year on hospice in a NH.

Good about your house. BCBS? did you look into ACA - if your low income it should be super low for your direct costs.

You have ton of geriatric experience and at the right age for other families to relate to. I'd ask the RN with the hospice group (not the aides) what type they hire for administrative & intake with families. You'd be totally good in doing that, I'd bet.

Be sure to take time for yourself in all this too.
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I owe 40,000 on my own home and am not underwater with that. I owe very little money. My car is paid for and my bills are just the basics I had everything turned off at my house except the power and that bill is very low. I have one credit card bill is about $1500, cell phone, etc. The real "killers" are car insurance, and health insurance which is an individual policy with Blue Cross. Mother is at home on hospice. My brother owns her home. I need assistance with some repairs to my home. My back porch needs a new roof and my house desperately needs new carpeting. I worry about getting those things done even one at a time when I return. I have no idea on the job situation for someone my age. I know they are out there but I worry about how much I can make and will ends meet. Thanks for the tip of SS.
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It is good you are thinking about all this.

? on the houses? you have your own home with 40K mortgage outstanding? right?
Are you underwater on your house? Any idea on it's sale-ability?
Is there also mom's house to deal with? If so, does she own it outright? & what happens to it after mom dies? If you have been her caregiver for 2+ years, & mom has been on Medicaid (any Medicaid not just NH Medicaid), there are a couple of things to do now to make the house be not an issue for Medicaid after mom dies.

Go onto SSA and see what the payout would be at 62, @ 65 and then 68. The differences are very real, but if you have been a somewhat lower wage worker, getting it at 62 and you are able to work may balance it out.

You know you can get it earlier and repay it and get it "restarted" at the higher later on - this is done all the time as an investment strategy. If you realistically could get a job that enables you to do this, it is a most excellent technique although you HAVE TO SAVE. I think you have to watch the "earnings cap" till you turn 66, after 66 you can make as much as you can. Perhaps someone can expand on just how to make this work.

you know you do have a whole new skill set to be a geriatric case manager.
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Go back to work and work for as long as you can to help make up what you had lost in those two years, and then some. Scrimp and save big time.

If at all possible try not to take your Social Security at 62, wait for as long as you can if your health is good... the more years you wait the higher the Social Security monthly check will be. Don't forget, at 65 you sign up for Medicare. If you are taking Social Security at 65, your Medicare monthly premium will be taken out of that check automatically.

Old cars are just fine... my vehicle is 19 years old and is far cheaper to maintain then a newer one that need monthly car payments. But it depends on what repairs you need. Change that oil on a regular basis :) Find a good independent mechanic.
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