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Need some help, guidance, suggestions, information, etc.
Old 05-22-2010, 02:38 PM   #1
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Need some help, guidance, suggestions, information, etc.

DW and I are in our mid to late fifties, retired and enjoying life in a warmer climate and closer to the grand kids. Recently we have had somewhat of a curve ball thrown at us in the form of DW's 76 year old mother having open heart surgery and is currently in a hospital step down unit and scheduled to go home mid week. The problem is she is 500 miles away and although we can muster some friends, brothers, sisters, son and my DW to help out short term we may be faced with the possibility of having to put her into some form of assisted living, either in her home town or move her down to a assisted living home close to us. To add insult to injury, she also had hip surgery not too long ago and to be frank is in failing health, physically as well as mentally.

I realize this is not a unique situation by any stretch but having never had to deal with anything like this before and just wanted to question the wise sages of the board here for some ideas, suggestions, pitfalls to avoid, etc.

She receives SS and a small pension and probably has a net worth less than $300K, including owning her own home.

Thanks in advance for any and all responses.

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Old 05-22-2010, 04:03 PM   #2
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Sad situation but one many of us have faced. It is always a challenge to balance the best interests of those in need with your ability to help, both in the short and long term.

If your MIL is closely connected to friends in the local community and if (big if) moving her nearer you would cause harm through loss of contact with her friends, then I'd encourage you to do everything you can to find help locally. But if she has declined to the point she won't be aware of the absence of her friends, then by all means move her close to you.

That's the black and white answer. Unfortunately in these situations there are a thousand shades of gray and many other complicating factors, not the least of which are the various members of the family who have different opinions, goals and guilt levels. Best of luck as you and your spouse work through this.

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Old 05-22-2010, 06:41 PM   #3
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My 87-year-old mother has been in an assisted-care living center for almost 3 years now. Her failing health has qualified her for government-sponsored hospice, which is a blessing because she really doesn't have the resources to pay for her medical needs. Actually, she is in no mental condition to know where she is, so she could live almost anywhere. Fortunately, all four of my living siblings and two of her siblings live nearby and visit her frequently, even though she doesn't remember who or when she gets visitors. The assisted-care living center was a easy choice, and really the only choice, for us.

Best wishes in making the best of a difficult situation.
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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Depending on your specific situation (insurance policies, state or residence, etc.), your mother-in-law might qualify for significant in-home assistance (from shopping and cleaning to cooking and bathing).

I'm not saying this is the right thing for your situation; but, I know this is more palatable for some than traditional assisted living facilities. And, more insurance companies seem to be covering this kind of care at some level now than in years past.

You have my best wishes in this difficult time.
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:11 PM   #5
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frayne, I don't have any great advice but you do have my best wishes -- I know how difficult this can be.

My folks didn't live near any of their four children or any other family. We strongly encouraged them to move into an independent living community when their physical and mental health started weakening. My mother was interested but my father was adamant in his refusal to even consider it. I suspect my mother would have lived longer if we had been able to convince my father to move. Ironically my father did end up moving into an independent living community after my mother's death and I slept much better knowing someone was there to help out and that he would see other people every day. He lived there for a pretty good five years, followed by about two years in assisted living and a year in a nursing home.

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Old 05-25-2010, 08:19 AM   #6
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When my Mom needed extra care I hired a caregiver from "Caregiver's America " . It was reasonably priced and the woman would do anything my Mom needed . She did laundry ,food shopped , took my Mom to the Doctor's and for a ride when she needed to get out . It was the perfect situation to stall the assisted living for awhile .
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:55 AM   #7
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We're very close to having to deal with that with FIL. He's 84, has a replacement hip, and still is refusing to face the reality that he's about out of money and cannot maintain his home without a lot of assistance. We've (DW and I) have been trying for a couple of years to get him to sell the house and move to a nearby independent living/continuous care facility. He's just now beginning to seriously consider it. He could do that and have $80-$100k left over.

Other family on DW's side are seemingly content to wait for a crisis before acting. That will probably come in the form of a disabling injury or worse (he's very unsteady on his feet) or an expensive repair needed on his car or house. I've made it clear to them that I will not buy him a car when his needs replacement since his driving skills are borderline.

Financially, he's about where your MIL is, with a net worth of about $270k, almost all of that in the house, a small pension and SS.

Not sure if this is any help, but know that you're not the only one dealing with it.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:53 AM   #8
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Hope you can pass over it.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
When my Mom needed extra care I hired a caregiver from "Caregiver's America " . It was reasonably priced and the woman would do anything my Mom needed . She did laundry ,food shopped , took my Mom to the Doctor's and for a ride when she needed to get out . It was the perfect situation to stall the assisted living for awhile .
This is a good suggestion. It sounds like your MIL will need to move to a facility in the not too distant future, but keeping her in her own home will be good for her and give you time to do some planning.

My MIL was in assisted living and nursing home care for about the last 10 years of her life. She was in a number of facilities due to my SIL's job related moves and desire to keep her mom close by. A couple of the facilities were awful and in one case we suspected abuse.

It's important to research facilities very carefully. Often the ones that look beautiful on the outside are not good at all. Also, I believe having family and friends visit often lessens the chance of abuse and improves the quality of care.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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