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Asking for a friend, whose mother is 94, has just gone into assisted living and is paying out of social security check. She does not have dementia and is in her right mind. Her health has been good but lately she is weak and of course she is 94. She is Medicaid pending, not on it yet, and my friend has signed her up for the 'pooled trust'....So her mother has had a couple of health scares lately, and a UTI, and my friend has no plan for her mother's end-of-life. She is very immature and weeps and moans 'oh, I'm not ready for this!' though she should have 'been ready' for the last 15 years! The friend and mother are pretty much estranged from the rest of the family (a 60 year old son and family), who have ignored both of them for many years (though they will talk to them if contacted. They don't visit or help in any way, maybe send the mother a card at Christmas. A very dysfunctional family, a real mess!) Anyway, my friend doesn't know what she will do when her mother passes on. She is on public assistance and works part time, but certainly can't afford a funeral. She is thinking vaguely about cremation for her mother. Neither of them belong to a church, though my friend has started going to services at a place nearby. She is constantly praying to the lord, and she calls me weeping and wailing and saying 'oh, I am ALL ALONE with this, oh, what shall I do when mom passes? I just don't know what to do!' .... So that's really it. No plan. Doesn't want to think of a plan, and is all alone in the world. ..... I don't know what to tell her. Literally. Where to start? Call a funeral home? Call the estranged relatives? Call the county social services? Office for the Aging? What about payment when there is no money for anything? .... What advice would you give this sorry creature?

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If the body remains unclaimed, then the county will take care of cremation.

Long ago there was such a thing as a paupers grave...unmarked. These days I guess the ashes are just dumped.
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I don't know exactly how this works, but I have heard that if you donate your body, they harvest what they need and cremate the remains, returning them to you at no charge. Perhaps check with a major hospital nearby?
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All your ideas sound like good places to start. Perhaps she could talk to a crematorium and see what policies they have that she could start paying on? Once she sees the numbers she might be able to manage a monthly payment by increasing her part time work. Hopefully there are some county provisions for the indigent? Call some of the places you mentioned and see what you can find out. You are a good friend to help her with this. It seems like whoever signed her up for the assisted living would have asked about funeral plans. They may have a ready answer. Hopefully others will see this question who have additional ideas.
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Wow that's really tough. I guess if I were you, I would research whether your county or even state would pick up the costs. I know someone from Wisconsin who did that with some success. However, I don't know what all paperwork had already been processed. That might be key.
If you do call for information, you might mention that the daughter is on public assistance and is of questionable mental capability. That "might" help push things along. I do hope she has P.O.A. at the very least!
Good luck. Bless your heart for wanting to help.
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