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Old 07-05-2013, 08:15 PM   #21
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I want to thank everyone for taking the time to reply and to share personal experience in some cases. Lot of good ideas and thoughts, especially the independent apartment idea. I do think my mom is going to be resistant to giving up her home and lifestyle (and it will be her choice) so I am worried she will go for a reverse mortgage and I'm not sure what happens when she can no longer live there in a few years? Unfortunately, I think she will balk at the idea of an apartment. My wife and I are thinking of floating the idea of us buying a very small single story handicap accessible home close to my sister and charge her no rent and then she can SPIA all proceeds from the house and at least we can sell the house after she is gone. Not keen on taking on this financial risk though.
Have you and your wife discussed and decided the amount of money you can commit either in a lump sum or in recurring monthly support? That's your decision


Separately, is your mom willing to accept reality and move into something more reasonable?


Those need to be independent decisions. There are a lot more options if she's willing to move.


I 2nd the the idea of a senior apartment, one of my grandparents via a stepdad is 92 and happily in her own little apartment, been there for almost 20 years
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:27 AM   #22
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To the OP : I have not read the other posts, but to answer your question, yes I would support financially my mom or dad who I miss very much. Do not live with regrets of not helping her more after she is gone.
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:45 AM   #23
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I would suggest an independent living apartment that is affiliated with an assisted living and Nursing Home that way your Mom only has to move once after the sale of the house.
+1

We have just been through this wringer with FIL. Run, don't walk, to an elderlaw attorney in that state. Or at least strongly suggest it to your sister since she's much closer.

Yes, after her resources are exhausted she will qualify for Medicaid but the qualification process takes a while, can be very complicated, and you will be glad you went to see the attorney. The required documentation is literally a book.

Persuading her to sell and move may be problematic - it was with FIL but finally even he had to admit he couldn't stay in the house by himself any longer. It may have to come to that before she will be willing to make a change.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:32 AM   #24
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There is no question that the hardest part of this problem is often convincing the older person to move out of their current home into a more appropriate place. That was the case with my mother; it took me several years to get her to agree. The surprising part was how much she enjoyed her new digs. She frequently thanked me for "nagging" her into making the change.

My main weapon in this struggle was frequent use of the "what if" sort of question. I would pose a problem situation she could face, and ask her what she would do. After enough iterations of the "I don't know" answer, she finally realized that she had no real reason for resisting any longer.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:00 AM   #25
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My 98 yo grandmother lived alone and refused to consider assisted living. She also refused to have Lifeline. Family was nearby and checked in on her every so often.

She was found semi-conscious on the floor of her apartment by some maintenance people who entered her apartment to do some routine maintenance. She had fallen, hit her head on a table and the timing just happened to be in a gap of time when no local family checked in on her. The medical people estimated she had been laying on the floor for 24-36 hours. It was the beginning of the end of her independence (and her life).

Luckily my Mom has seemed to learn from that and willingly wears her Lifeline and seems open-minded to changes as her health and ability to live alone decline but i'm sure a day will come when she will be pushing back against reason.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #26
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Well, here's a cautionary tale of what NOT to do. MIL at 80 finally had to quit work (retail, on feet all day). Nothing but SS and maybe $10k. I was still working and we built an addition for her, lives basically on our dime. Basically a full time job for DW now. I retired fully about year ago, and we can't travel much (BIL will take on limited time frames). We have boocoodles of money budgeted for travel but are stuck. Her health declining, but moving her into a place other than here is a hurdle we can't seem to get over. She can bathe and feed herself but not prepare food and is subject to frequent falls even with walker.

The problem is where do you draw the line and place her elsewhere? I'm sympathetic and it's very difficult for DW. However, we're 62 (she's 88) and I have this creeping feeling that while we are in great health, our window of opportunity for travel is going to start to close. Watching her deteriorate is a constant reminder that robust health is not forever.

Kudos to the cultures where the elderly are revered and cared for by the family; I'm not sold. Definitely have no intention of placing this on either of our kids.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:54 PM   #27
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Well, here's a cautionary tale of what NOT to do. MIL at 80 finally had to quit work (retail, on feet all day). Nothing but SS and maybe $10k. I was still working and we built an addition for her, lives basically on our dime. Basically a full time job for DW now. I retired fully about year ago, and we can't travel much (BIL will take on limited time frames). We have boocoodles of money budgeted for travel but are stuck. Her health declining, but moving her into a place other than here is a hurdle we can't seem to get over. She can bathe and feed herself but not prepare food and is subject to frequent falls even with walker.

The problem is where do you draw the line and place her elsewhere? I'm sympathetic and it's very difficult for DW. However, we're 62 (she's 88) and I have this creeping feeling that while we are in great health, our window of opportunity for travel is going to start to close. Watching her deteriorate is a constant reminder that robust health is not forever.

Kudos to the cultures where the elderly are revered and cared for by the family; I'm not sold. Definitely have no intention of placing this on either of our kids.
H2O, I think it would behoove you to figure out some strategy today, to receive some assistance now from family members or other means. You should be able to enjoy some free time and travel while you can. You could very well be heading the path of my grandmother. When she was around 60, my great aunt who had some nice assets, basically bought my grandmother to be at her call and take care of her. GA told my grandmother that she would leave her money to her if she did, as GA did not want to move out of her house until she died. Well she succeeded, as my grandmother drove 120 miles round trip 3 days a week to take care of her. The trouble was GA didn't die until 105 and my grandmother died at 85 shortly thereafter, unable to benefit from what was left of her inherited assets.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:00 PM   #28
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Yes, there comes a point in time where time is a more valuable asset than money.

Money can improve your quality of life to a point, but not if you are determined to hoard it.

My great-uncle is quite wealthy by all accounts but lives in squalor and dirty diapers because he is aghast at the cost of home help and nursing homes and is unwilling to spend his fortune to make his life more comfortable. Go figure.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #29
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H2O, I think it would behoove you to figure out some strategy today, to receive some assistance now from family members or other means..
You're spot on, and while traveling recently with a group of peers (DW stayed here!) an old friend said basically same thing. We have talked about hiring someone in, a likely means of respite. It's just hard to have someone in the house for us. The other thing is that she is deteriorating; it's a matter of time. So it's sort of a variation on the "one more year" syndrome. Of course, DW and I joke that she could outlive us DW has a wonderful disposition about it; I have more freedom than she does. Just sort of play it day by day and enjoy the freedoms we do have.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:44 PM   #30
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.

The problem is where do you draw the line and place her elsewhere? I'm sympathetic and it's very difficult for DW. However, we're 62 (she's 88) and I have this creeping feeling that while we are in great health, our window of opportunity for travel is going to start to close. Watching her deteriorate is a constant reminder that robust health is not forever.

Kudos to the cultures where the elderly are revered and cared for by the family; I'm not sold. Definitely have no intention of placing this on either of our kids.
Look into respite care . Most of the assisted living places offer it . It is expensive but cheaper than having round the clock care . Once she tries out a place she may like it .My Mom balked at the idea of anything but having her family take care of her until she saw the toll it was taking on us now she loves her independent living apartment with the option of assisted living .My Mom is 97 and may outlive all of us .I am in my middle 60's and still travel but after a certain age travel does get harder .
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:03 PM   #31
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I had a financially independent MIL who needed assistance. We arranged for a driver to take her anytime she wanted. She had lost her eyesight in a botched cataract operation. She refused to use him. We arranged for an apartment in our neighbourhood. She refused to move.

I would suggest the following. Have your sister go with her to the reverse mortgage meetings. Make sure to get the best rates. Then sit down with her to make it clear how long she will last in her home. (At $18K/yr plus interest, the home equity should last for 10 years assuming that appreciation offsets interest.)

At that point she will be at your mercy. You will have the benefit of 10 more years of status quo. At that point, you and your sister will have to negotiate with her what to do next. Maybe an assisted apartment would be acceptable to her then? Otherwise, you could buy something smaller and let her live rent free.

I know this is not optimal but it is probably the easiest path for all concerned. Like others have said, she is your mother.

(PS MIL died of lung cancer in 2008. In hindsight, we were glad we had not made her move.)
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:07 PM   #32
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Look into respite care . Most of the assisted living places offer it . It is expensive but cheaper than having round the clock care . Once she tries out a place she may like it .My Mom balked at the idea of anything but having her family take care of her until she saw the toll it was taking on us now she loves her independent living apartment with the option of assisted living .My Mom is 97 and may outlive all of us .I am in my middle 60's and still travel but after a certain age travel does get harder .
I completely agree. Find a decent place that you can afford for the few weeks that you are away, and inform (don't negotiate with) your MIL when and where she will be going. Ask BIL for a financial contribution.
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Old 07-06-2013, 03:10 PM   #33
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Looking for any input on a thorny issue. Have had a moderately rocky relationship with my mom .....
I feel your pain. I've got a relative problem, too.

Like many others, I can't see a small house and an SPIA for someone with your mother's health problem. If she would agree to my suggestion, I'd say the independent living wing in an elderly complex. BUT, they may not accept her. SS + $180,000 may not meet their financial resources test. The window for that will close if she stays home and does the reverse mortgage.

One thing you could try is to tell her that if she moves now she has more choices of where she goes (check first to be sure that's true). If she waits till she's broke, she has to take whatever Medicaid allows. Oh, and nursing home costs (at $60,000/year?) are way more than you can cover.

I'll second the elder lawyer visit. At least know your options.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:23 PM   #34
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My 81 yo Dad is basically living on Social Security and still making suburban condo payments (although he has very good medical/pharma insurance).

He was concerned when his last car died, so I went out and bought him a used car for $3,000 that was the same as the one I drive. Since ER, I go down to his place to repair anything he needs (Car/home AC / computer etc.) once a week.


Bottom line is that together with my free labor and occasional gifts, he seems to be living fine within his means on Social Security.

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Old 07-07-2013, 06:00 AM   #35
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Well, here's a cautionary tale of what NOT to do. MIL at 80 finally had to quit work (retail, on feet all day). Nothing but SS and maybe $10k. I was still working and we built an addition for her, lives basically on our dime. Basically a full time job for DW now.
Perhaps I'm starting to sound repetitive but I can't emphasize too much how much we learned about what options are available from the attorney who specializes in elderly issues.

I'd encourage anyone with elderly relative care issues to at least go in, talk with the attorney, and find out what options you have. Disregard what other friends/relatives tell you about what is available - situations are highly individual. Even nursing home staff often gets it wrong if a situation is slightly out the ordinary. As MIL gets less and less capable of getting around the burden on your DW and you gets heavier and it can exhaust you both.

That's not what you worked for.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:09 AM   #36
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From someone who lost both parents at an early age, one of whom I had many issues with, this is not a simple decision based on purely materialistic considerations.
Live life with no regrets is a nice simplistic slogan. Can you do that when mum is gone.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:21 AM   #37
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It is tough deciding what to do, or what is reasonable or realistic. In our case FIL clearly needs full time nursing care - he can't even stand, even with assistance, and can barely feed himself. We simply could not provide that level of care and the staff at the nursing center is doing much better than we could do if we tried to do it ourselves.

Not every case is as clear at this one though.
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:13 AM   #38
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My MIL was struggling in a 2 storey house with a garden. Both sons lived nearly two hours away. A ground floor apartment came for sale about 50 yards from our home, we phoned and told her. She said she was not ready to move then half an hour later phoned back to ask what her view was like. We bought the flat and she was paying the interest only but her daughter (who lives 4 hours away) was worried about us making money out of her so we then sold to her at cost plus expenses - kitchen / bathroom and fees. When she first moved she was able to potter down to school and our village shops (about a ten house distance). She has gradually deteriorated and now is bed bound / hoisted for showering etc. She is still fully aware and home care 6 x day is about a third of the cost of nursing home care. We do a ten o'clock visit for her last Parkinson's tablet, we shop for her and deal with "emergencies" like the tv is on the wrong channel or she has spilt something. She has lived "over the road" for eight years, initially she did some after school pick ups / child care. When less mobile she would just meet the children at our house. The children are now 18, 16, and 13.

Perhaps it would be worth finding a selection of suitable accommodation choices and work out all the pluses - distance to shops, distance to your sister etc. it's possible she will see the benefit more than you would think?
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:05 PM   #39
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Just reread all the posts. Thanks everyone so much for taking the time. Good ideas and things to investigate. I'm trying to find a time I can travel to see her, review the reverse mortgage proposal and have a pow-wow with both mom and sister. I am very worried she will be adamant about leaving the big house but it's ultimately her decision. I'm also going to try and assess her medical condition b/c she also has developed some dyskinetic neck/trunk and limb movements (Parkinsons?). Thanks again everyone.
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