I have read so many posts about children of elderly parents coming to their aid, either at home or in facilities. But what happens when a senior has no children and no family?

I remember many years ago, my mom found out that our former babysitter, Sadie, was living in a run-down trailer and wasn't even getting social security. Sadie was dirty and poorly dressed. Mom got her cleaned up, took her clothes shopping, then to the hair dresser, and looked into getting her social security on track. I am sure Mom contacted Social Services but I don't know what happened to Sadie after that.

What happens when a senior is living alone with no one who cares what happens to her? If someone contacts Social Services, what happens then? Will the State put her in some type of facility and take her Social Security as payment?

If hospitalization results from a call then the system will swing in. A patient cannot be discharged legally to an unsafe situation, and certainly severe dementia would be that. Social Workers can do in about 15 minutes what you can do only with a billion forms over 6 months to get such things as medicaid and so on. It is what they do, it is their job, and they are excellent at it. They can also find beds which accept medicaid when you cannot. So there is that. But for the day to day, the inability to care for yourself, clean after yourself, afford supplies to care for yourself, get to shopping and cook food? Well, many die. And the more cut off, whether in a city or due to rural setting, the faster they die. There is time, in seeing the many years of suffering, and in thinking of my own old-retire-RN self, afraid not of death, but of the long slow slide into dementia and into being a burden to others, that I think they are the "lucky ones". Of course, they are not, and who can even meansure their fear, their lack of basics, their torment. This is a bad country to get sick in. This is a bad country to get old in. And that is just a fact. The Washington Post and the New York Times recently ran articles on elders caring for others. Parents in 90s being cared for by failing "youngsters" in their 70s. The money running out or already ran. It isn't a pretty picture, is it?
Helpful Answer (27)
Reply to AlvaDeer
PandabearAUS Jul 14, 2019
This is a wonderful answer. Will the same apply if the person is just old and in dire straits or only Dementia
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When I was younger and my mom and dad became Senior Citizens, my mom would frequently make the comment that “they” always “stuck it to the Seniors”. I was a young mom raising my children and didn’t really understand what she was saying and the truth in it until I became a Senior myself.

Not all situations are as dire as the one you speak of, although there are far too many Seniors around today who are living in that situation with no help.

A few years ago, due to my husband’s medical bills, house repairs and my mother’s death, which cost us $7,000 we didn’t have, our finances took a huge hit and this year, we filed for bankruptcy. Now, we do have two Social Security checks and I have a minimum-wage job that helps a bit. I should be enjoying my retirement but I can’t. There is no help for us. I have applied to dozens and dozens of agencies who strut and crow about how they “help” Seniors. My last effort resulted in a misunderstanding that sent two policeman to our home for a “well-check” as requested by an overzealous caseworker from APS. The agencies I have applied to tell us we don’t qualify for aid because our income is anywhere from $150 to $1000 over their limit. I’ve said here before that we can’t pay our bills but we make “too much” to qualify for any help. No one will offer us help unless we’re living in a cardboard box under an overpass. Am I bitter? H**l yes! We have fallen through the proverbial cracks. Sometimes I feel like I’ll be working until my beloved dog and hubby pass and I can walk away from the money pit of a house we should never have bought. So, my heart aches for those Seniors you spoke of, but these issues go far beyond, and there is no help in sight. .
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Reply to Ahmijoy
mstrbill Jul 14, 2019
Ahmijoy, have you looked into selling your home and moving into senior apartments? There must be better, less expensive options for you.
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My mother had a friend who doesn't have any children or family. Several years ago, she got sick and had to go to ER, the social worker found out that she had no family and couldn't take care of herself, so they made her a ward of the state. She was assigned a case worker who arranged placement for her in a nursing home. She's been there ever since. Her SS check goes to the NH. Last I heard, she developed dementia.

My mom visited her a few times, but now my mom has Alz. and has forgotten all her friends, including the one in the NH. So very sad. Growing old then losing one's mind is a terrible thing.
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Reply to polarbear

This is a great question. Hope it makes people look twice at their elderly neighbours and keep an eye on them.
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Reply to PandabearAUS

Also, I have called our local Ombudsman for help and advice. APS is for neglect but the Ombudsman also has counselors available to find services and placement and it’s free. Believe me, I was stressing with my mom and what to do with financial issues, housing, care, medical needs, etc. I wanted to be prepared and found the Area on Aging and Ombudsman to be at the top of the list. The secret is to be friendly as possible and they will go the extra mile.
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Reply to ScrimbleB

Allow me to tell you story of an elderly neighbor. Her name was Margaret H. Miss Margaret lived up the street in her corner house for many decades. I grew up in the neighborhood, and so I knew her by face only until one day when I was approached and sked to intervene. Her dog had been ran over. It was laying in the roadway but still breathing. It needed to be put down, so I contacted the police to take care of it. That was the start of what turned out to be a wonderful friendship. Margaret had no family, None! She never married. She had no one. Over the weeks and months that followed Margaret began to trust in me. Some two years later on a bitterly cold Thanksgiving morning I found myself setting up a couple of electric heaters for her, near where she slept. The steam furnace had cracked and was losing water so no pressure was able to push up through the pipes. Following day, by days' end she had a brand new furnace installed. She had no income, so any work that was able to get done was just added to her property taxes. This was the best that could be done even during my presence. Our neighborly relationship went on for some three years afterward until...……..
Margaret was experiencing illusions, some of which frightened her terribly so that she would call her visiting Aide. Fortunately the Nurse and I knew each other; therefore I was able to maintain things from escalating to a state level.
However it was not long before the assigned visiting Aide was changed. I was told that these things happen. So we hoped for the best. Then came the new Aide. Both she and I met during one of my mid afternoon drop ins to check on Miss Margaret, who by now, I would say, was 90 and very frail by this time. Her hallucinations had become ever so increasing. As I spoke with the Aide about Margaret as an important member of our neighborhood and how there were some of us who were looking out for her: "so here is my phone number. Please call me at any time day or night if there is a concern." The following day I stopped by, but no one was home. Margaret was gone. The Aide notified the State Individual in charge and soon after an ambulance was dispatched and Margaret was removed and eventually found herself a permanent Ward of the State. I was told by the powers that be: Your name did not appear on any document as a care giver to her; Therefore you have no right to interfere. You can and will not be allowed to visit her if you choose to interfere. I continued to visit Margaret for about a year and a half. By this time she was an empty shell of a person, but not before I was able to express to her to the best of my ability of what had happened and why, even while speaking to her of God's love for her.
Just when you think you've got it covered, there it is: 'The devil in the details'
Ask questions, Keep a log, hold people accountable as you would want to be held. But most importantly do it out of love, oh and if you really mean I,t create a document and have it notarized so that what happened to me doesn't happen to you, or the one that you love. The best of luck!
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Reply to quique

Yes, this is also me.  No one to help or who cares.  I am almost 66 years old and taking care of more than I can almost handle, and it is getting worse.  I have often said what happens to my mother if something happens to me?  I'm it for both of us.
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Reply to debbiesdaz

Finding care is so frustrating. I’ve been looking for LTC for my mother. She’s on 7 waiting lists, absolutely no beds! Waiting lists are incredibly long. In Virginia, you don’t live in AL unless you have long term care insurance or cash. Since Mom didn’t plan well, had to apply for Medicaid. One place I looked it said they could apply for a “voucher” that would pay what Medicaid wouldn’t but Mom made $100 too much with SS. Go figure! The system makes it so difficult to pay for seniors that need placement!!!
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Reply to Lostinva
Isthisrealyreal Jul 14, 2019
Lostinva, can you do a qualified income trust aka Miller's trust for the excess 100.00?

My understanding is that the trust is non revocable and the state is the beneficiary, it is not allowed in every state but sure worth checking.
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The APS social worker will assess to see if there are community resources that can be put in place to make the situation better and can follow the case or refer to a case manager to follow. In my area, if resources are not enough and the person lacks capacity to make safe decisions and provide for themselves, then a referral is made to the Public Guardian's office for conservatorship.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to SofiaAmirpoor

They die lonely and alone, and usually the neighbors will call the police about a "smell". If they lose their home, they often become homeless and die from exposure. The way we treat old people in the USA is shameful.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
Penguinb Jul 16, 2019
It is shameful.
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