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Hi, everybody,


I was wondering if anybody had/has a similar situation: My mother is my father's primary caregiver. However, she is in advanced stages of ovarian cancer and while for now she is ok in terms of helping him, at some point soon I see this is not going to be the case. My father suffers from mobility issues so living on his own is not an option (despite his protests that he will not go to a nursing home). He cannot drive/cannot-will not leave the house. They both are on Social Security (no savings) and on Medicare. I've done the research for Medicaid but it's a bit of a limbo situation right now. I realize I cannot predict when my mother will die, but I am very worried as to what will happen if she passes before my father does. I cannot take him in as as primary caregiver and I obviously cannot put him on a nursing home waiting list now with no definitive date, yet when the day comes that he is alone, what am I to do? Shall I call social services in the county now? I'll not even address World War III discussion that comes around every time I mention that he needs to think about what will happen when Mom dies. Any suggestions?


And a big thank you to all of you for answering all of my wandering questions. I'm still trying to figure all of this out and keep my sanity. My parents both declined within a period of 6 months.


Thanks!



- Suzanne

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Hi Suzanne
I think if I were you I would contact the Area Agency on Aging to come do an evaluation of your parents needs.

Community Medicaid is available in some states for home aid.

An assessment would give you information from someone in your area who can help guide you forward. There might be services available that would lighten your mom’s burden for now. If they were on community Medicaid it might be easier to transition to facility Medicaid if and when that became unavoidable.

I’m really sorry you and your parents are dealing with this.
I think it always surprises us how quickly health can fail.

Come back and let us know what you find. We learn from one another.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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SZHNJ1023 May 29, 2019
Thank you for this. Very helpful.
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I hate to add more to your woes, if mom has a terminal cancer, chances could be that she will get weak enough to stop walking and may need 24/7 caregiving as well. Then you will have two to deal with. It may be best to get dad situated first
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Reply to MACinCT
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SZHNJ1023 May 28, 2019
Thanks. Yep that’s exactly my fear. There isn’t going to be enough time though the way things are going.
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I se where you were quoted 8k to have an attorney draw up documents. Sounds like the package deal and these firms are thieves.

Please find a certified elder law attorney at www.nelf.org and do a consultation with them.

When we were updating our paperwork we interviewed the package deal slime and they wanted 8k, which ended up being 900% more then we paid. We interviewed a half dozen attorneys and I can tell you that we were told some whopping big lies to put fear into us to sign up today.

Just FYI.
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SZHNJ1023 May 27, 2019
Thank you. It is rather ridiculous. I’ll do some more investigating for an affordable atty.
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I am always befuddled when a person that requires help refuses to do what is needed to ensure they get the care they need, but families automatically accept that they now have to make all the sacrifices.

I would tell him that he can refuse to do what is required, however, you refuse to be his caregiver, so now what dad? He doesn't get to hijack your life by refusing to do what is needed. You can choose to be his caregiver, but he doesn't get to dump it on you.

I am sorry that your mom is battling cancer and that your dad is unable to care for himself. It is a lot to deal with. You can make decisions for you and your life, please don't own his demands.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Consult an attorney who specializes in these matters. Don't put off doing this. It is crucial. I'm not going to go into all the reason why - I'd need to write book, just do it.

Yes, you'll need to ask what it will cost to do what needs to be done - just make sure your 1st (consultation) visit is free.
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SZHNJ1023 May 26, 2019
I already did that and was quoted $8,000 for the whole "package." I'm not draining my savings for that (I know it sounds cold, but I have a retirement to think of ) and my parents have zero savings, so an elder atty is not an option. Good suggestion, though, and spot on.
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"Our attorney was helpful in giving us guidance as to what to do if her money starts to run out as, in PA, we still have a Filial Responsibility Law which makes children financially liable for their parents." From everything I've read, it's mostly nursing homes that are starting to use the law to recuperate money. Here is a timely article:
"In its April 26, 2019 Opinion in the matter of Melmark, Inc. v. Schutt, et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania’s filial support statute applies to a support claim by a Pennsylvania healthcare provider against parents domiciled in New Jersey for care provided in Pennsylvania to their disabled adult son.
The Melmark Opinion expands upon the application of Pennsylvania’s filial support statute, 23 Pa.C.S. § 4603(a)-(c), which was applied most notably by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America v. Pittas to hold that a son was liable for his mother’s nursing care bill of nearly $93,000.
Pennsylvania’s filial support law generally provides that a spouse, child or parent who has “sufficient financial ability” of an indigent person has “the responsibility to care for and maintain or financially assist [such] indigent person, regardless of whether the indigent person is a public charge”. 23 Pa.C.S. § 4603(a)-(c).
In the Pittas case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held Mr. Pittas responsible for the cost of his mother’s nursing home care because he had net income in excess of $85,000 and because he did not otherwise establish that he lacked sufficient financial ability to financially support her.  
In its Pittas Opinion, the Superior Court also determined Pennsylvania’s filial support statute does not require that other possible sources of income be considered before proceeding against any one of the financially responsible relatives listed in the statute.  The Superior Court suggested in Pittas that there is joint and several liability under Pennsylvania’s filial support statute, such that a claimant could proceed against any one of the statutorily responsible relatives regardless of the financial ability of any other relative, even if more sufficient.  
In Pittas Superior Court found that the meaning of “indigent” as used in the filial support statute “includes, but is not limited to, those who are completely destitute and helpless…” and that it “also encompasses those persons who have some limited means, but whose means are not sufficient to adequately provide for their maintenance and support.”
In its Melmark Opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed a conflict between the filial support law of New Jersey, the state where the indigent son and his parents were legally domiciled, and Pennsylvania’s filial support law. Notably, New Jersey’s filial support law does not impose liability for individuals younger than 55 years of age unless the indigent person is the party’s spouse or minor child. 
....Due to a protracted dispute over public funding for Alex’s care, Melmark filed a filial support claim against Dr. and Mrs. Schutt in Pennsylvania under its filial support law. 
On appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed the conflict between Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s filial support law. The Schutts could not be liable under New Jersey law because Alex was under age 55 and not a minor at the time care was provided, while the Schutts could be liable under Pennsylvania law because does not apply such age restriction.
The Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania’s filial support law applied and that the Schutts could be liable under this statute. In its conflicts of law analysis the Court noted...that Pennsylvania had a stronger interest in applying its law as all of the relevant facts occurred in Pennsylvania, notably that the Schutts voluntarily brought their son Mark to reside at the Melmark facility in Delaware County and personally funded other services for his benefit in [PA]."
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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My husband (who is in the process of being evaluated for possible dementia/Alzheimer's) is also an only child, his only brother having been killed in a motorcycle accident 5 years ago. My FIL died this past December. FIL and MIL were living in a very high priced 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment in a retirement community and when FIL got sick and was on Hospice my husband found out they were living above their means, had less money than they had told us they had and then my MIL lost most of their income when he died. Luckily, there was an income-based studio apartment open just doors down from their apartment and my husband moved her into there....and she fought him tooth and nail until she saw what money was NOT coming in after her husband died. She is independent right now, still drives, but lives 45 minutes from us. We have placed her on the waiting list for the retirement home down the street from us for when she is no longer independent. Our attorney was helpful in giving us guidance as to what to do if her money starts to run out as, in PA, we still have a Filial Responsibility Law which makes children financially liable for their parents. We would go back to work if we had to to keep her in a retirement home as she CANNOT live with us.

Is your dad a veteran? Call the VA and look into Aid and Attendance benefits. Talk with your Office of Aging to see what resources are available in your community. Is there income based senior housing in your area? It is TOUGH being an only child and having to deal with aging parents. I am so sorry to hear that your Mom is not well. I so hope it all worka out for you.
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Reply to Monica19815
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JoAnn29 May 25, 2019
I read about those filial laws and I interpreted they only pertain to if the children have the money. If you are retired and collecting SS, I doubt if you would be expected to pay for a parents care.
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I think you will get notice of your mother's time in time for you to make decisions for your father. At the end of the day you have to go with what he wants to some extent, and get outside care in if he wants to stay in house. They don't always want to do what we know would be best, but they are adults and have the right to decide for themselves whilst able to. Try not to worry about something before it happens, there is enough to worry about in life at the present.
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I am so sorry you’re going through this. I’m in the same situation. My husband is bed bound. I am his only caregiver. I have a son and a daughter, but only my son has ever offered to help. If something should happen to me, he would be the one to take over making decisions for his father.

No, you don’t need to put Dad on a waiting list right this minute, but you can tour facilities so you have a good idea of what’s out there when the time comes.

We don’t always get what we want in this life and sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do out of consideration for others. Dad needs to realize this. Don’t belabor the subject, but make sure he knows what his future holds.
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Lymie61 May 25, 2019
Maybe Mom could take part in this too so he feels she has had some input and wants to feel assured that should she go first her DH will be safe and well cared for. She might have better luck getting him to warm up to one place over another and that requires some little investment in the idea from him. Have her help "warm him up" not with the thinking this is an inevitability but making sure we are well informed on all the options should we need them...
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I’d say talk to appropriate Nursing Homes, explain the situation, and put him on the list. Sometimes the NH will put the person back to the end of the list if they turn down a place, but sometimes they will just hold the person’s priority over until the need arises. You need to make it clear that the uncertainty is about someone else’s death, not his own decline or decisions, and the need will be immediate when it happens. Good luck!
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SZHNJ1023 May 26, 2019
Thanks, I've started looking into this - good idea.
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