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Elderly Parents and Financial Worries
My partner's mother is in a financial predicament in terms of being able to afford senior housing. She is currently living on social security benefits of about $1,200 and can no longer afford to live on her own without aid. Senior housing/assisted living is essential as she is not independent and does not drive. Her husband was a military veteran and I suspect there might be options for veteran's aid, as well. If you know of any options to help pay for retirement living on a limited fixed income I'd greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you. anon
There aren't great comprehensive lists of senior housing, but you can start with:
As far as veterans benefits are concerned, call your county's County Veterans Service Office. They will do the research and paperwork to see if she is eligible for any benefits. The clock starts ticking when the application is made, and if benefits are due they are made retroactive to the application date. In my experience these people are fabulous. Good luck to your family
My dad is living independently, very badly, in Sonoma with his wife. The short story is that he has partial dementia, parkinson's, stage 2 diabetes, radioculopathy and peripheral neuropathy and it is absolutely no longer safe for him to not have assistance. They are in denial (dementia, i get it), they live off of their social security only, and have 100k in dept and no assets whatsoever. Their house is in disarray, the don't drink enough water, they don't eat enough nutritionally dense food and they stopped their meals on wheels delivery because they hated the food and were ''embarrassed''. My dad goes to the ER about once a week for a variety of issues...usually ends up being dehydration or over or under medication for his blood sugar. Having been many times with him to the ER, I also suspect he enjoys the attention...not kidding.
My step mother, whom I love, is sweet and well intentioned, but she is 80 and has her own ailments (slow onset Parkinson's, mild dementia) and can not care for my dad alone, though she insists that she can. I have given them 40K of my own money over the last 4 years, tons of my time, and have no other financial resources of my own to draw on as my own family is paycheck to paycheck currently. My husband and i both work full time and have a 2 year old daughter...we live over an hour from my dad.
I took a month of unpaid time off last November to just trouble shoot and put out a variety of fires for them...barely made a dent in things. I realize now that I should have done Paid Family Leave to get a little money, I'll do that next time.
I have been struggling to fill out VA Aid and Attendance application over the last many months for him, their paperwork is not in any kind of order and i have sent out for copies of important required documentation for this application.... and it is not complete (if you have done this application, you know how convoluted it is), but i am sending it in AS IS this week to just get it in the works and dated for retroactive funds should he be awarded the benefit in the future.
My dad was NOT an awesome father, very challenging emotionally to love and care for him now, and subsequently my two older brothers have refused to help in any way...one hasn't spoken to me in 2 years because he didn't want to help care for dad, and we used to be best friends.
I am on my own here. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What are my dad's options with only 1600.00 per month in social security? State run home? VA hospital? I have all the websites for council on aging etc. , I guess I am just looking for a secret bullet or pearl of wisdom that one of you may have if you have dealt with anything similar.
Thank you so much for any thoughts.
My father attended a day-care program for several years where a VA aide arrived in the morning, helped him bathe and get dressed (mild dementia, able to do things with assistance but too much for my mother to handle), then drove him to the program where he spent the day in social and therapeutic activities. He was dropped back home at the end of the day and a meal was prepared for him. The aide was wonderful and also took him shopping and on other special outings, and sometimes stayed overnight so my mother could go out of town. As his condition deteriorated, we were planning to get him on the list for residential care, but he passed away unexpectedly before then. His time in the VA program was definitely the highlight of his last few years -- he really enjoyed swapping war stories with the other old vets.
This was in another state, so I'm not familiar with the people and places you need to deal with in California. But since it is a federal program, I'm sure the same type of services are available here.
I sympathize with what you're going through. Hope this info helps. -A daughter
I wish I had some advice to offer; I will leave that to others. But I just want to write and commend you for being such a caring, loving daughter, trying so hard to help your aging dad and step-mom. It's tough. I hope you get some great advice from this list. warm wishes Linda
I also volunteered with Legal Assistance for Seniors a few years back -- they have a health care advocacy program that might be helpful, especially if you're in Alameda County and wanting to move them closer to you (which would be a lot easier for you if you get them into care). Here's a link to their website:
http://www.lashicap.org/services/health-insurance- counseling-and-advocacy-program Hope that Helps
Best of luck, and remember, 1- they are grown-ups, and have the responsibility to have made their own plans, and arrangements, so don't run yourself ragged, and 2-anything you do to help is better than they would be doing on their own at this point, so don't beat your head against a wall if they aren't able to muster some cooperation, or show gratitude... Been there as a daughter, done that as a social worker
I need specific advice about managing my father's finances. I would be so grateful for any of your experiences with this type of issue. Here's our problem followed by the general situation:
I just found out that my dad has maxed out his credit card, which is how he usually pays for his medications. (I had a baby this year and turned dad-care over to my brother, who dropped the ball.) Now we are in crisis mode and need to devise a new way to pay for meds, gas for his car, etc.
Any specific advice (pay as you go debit card, meds by mail??) and your experiences and ideas about how we might replace a credit card with another form of paying for things? (Unfortunately there are no good elder care consultants, etc in his area, so just tapping another person to handle this will not work.
General Situation: My dad is a 62 year old stroke survivor, very independent, but lacks the cognitive abilities to make sound decisions. He lives in Georgia with his very old mother and is cared for by two aides. My brother lives closer to my dad and has a pretty expansive power of attorney. My dad has an accountant who cuts checks for him, but does not monitor spending in any way. He has a fixed income which should be *just barely* enough to pay for his needs.
Thanks so much for your ideas. My dad is a wonderful person but it's basically like having a twelve year old with a bank account and credit line, and it's getting terrifying. Sandwich Generation at age 35
I would eliminate the credit cards completely as they pose way too much risk of his getting into serious trouble. I also worry about the brother with power of attorney who dropped the ball. Perhaps he would pass the role on to you or at least let you handle the financial matters. With a fixed income it shouldn't be too hard to control what is made available to your dad to spend. Maybe your dad should be working with a checking account and cash only. You can set up the checking account (Wells Fargo) with an automatic alert to you if it is overdrawn. Your idea of a debit card tied to the same account and alert might be an option. A friend who cared for his parents into their 90s with Alzheimer's eventually had to remove all cash, credit cards, and checks from their possession. It is just a matter of when.
I also wondered if you could hire one of the 2 caregivers already on the scene to handle some of the financial oversight with your dad for a fee. A bank might be able to set up a trust fund that receives his monthly checks by direct deposit and funds his debit card. Hope that helps. sympathetic
My dad and his wife are in their early eighties and barely holding onto independent living. I am the only support they have emotionally and financially (my brothers are now estranged from me because they don't want to help). I have my own financial challenges, so I am trying to figure out how to help them and not hurt myself and my husband and children. They are on the verge of being bankrupt and homeless. Their health is ''fair''.
Their only income is from their social security checks,they have no retirement accounts and they are spending beyond what they have even though they say they are ''trying''. They have been pawning jewelry to get by, but there now is no jewelry left. I have tried to assist in various ways, but it is hard to get information from them, they are holding on fiercely to their independence and it is clear to me that we need an unbiased party to come in and help. Instead of, or in addition to, giving them money each month, I'd rather spend money on a few hours each month on a thoughtful ''elder experienced'' bookkeeper to handle their bills and help them learn how to live within a budget.
Does anyone have any Sonoma County specific referrals of someone who has done this for you or a loved one? Thanks so very much for any information. Best, Lisa
My mother-in-law has had financial worries most of her life after divorcing my husband's father when the kids were small. She received generous alimony and child support, and she worked but has always managed her money poorly. My husband and his two siblings have always given her money when they could. She even asked for my husband's bar mitzvah money when he was 13, and he handed it over. Several years ago she opened a credit card account in a relative's name without him knowing it. When the relative realized what had happened, he was very kind about it and forgave my mother-in-law and didn't even make her pay him back. She is now in her mid-70s and retired. She receives a small pension from a government job, but invested her nest egg unwisely and lost it all. She is vague about her finances but it sounds as if she is living on only $2,000.00/month and her rent is nearly half that. Her car is close to breaking down. My husband and I and his siblings want to help her; however, we are all struggling ourselves in this economy. She is difficult to live with and probably wouldn't want to move in with any of us anyway. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? Obviously, she is irresponsible with money, but no one wants to see her continue in this difficult fashion. Where do we start? Is there decent low- income housing for seniors out there? What types of professionals and organizations should we contact to help us extend a lifeline to her? How to help???
There are money management agencies- Bay Area Community Services (BACS) has had one for a long time. Again, call ''211'' for info or go on-line, google to ''area agency on aging'' and add county of residence- this is comprehensive senior services referral list. Even stopping by her local senior center and talking to the director can be very helpful. I did the latter when looking for home care agencies for my mom to try to keep her in her own place. There may be a small monthly fee. There are support groups for family caregivers which can be very informative- I facilitate the free drop-in group in North Oakland at BACS program - call Roberta Tracy for details -510-601-1074 caring about and watching out for your mom-in-law can be an on-going endeavor esp. if she doesn't think there is a problem- www.caregiver.org Good Luck Monica
We are not quite sure which to consult regarding this...my mother will be moving into assisted living and I will be needing to make some decisions about her house, car, finances, etc. I am already her Power of Attorney, so that is not an issue. She is also still moderately able to make some choices with support, though I fear soon she won't due to dementia. What we are not sure about are things regarding her accounts and money, I am already on all of her accounts and have access to them. We may want to rent out her house, rather than sell, so need someone to help understand if this all needs to be transferred to me, or what is more financially sensible for both her and us. Home improvements will need to be made, rental income will come in, etc...I feel like an attorney would have better legal information, but a financial advisor could help us make better financial choices. Are there people out there who do both?? Any recommendations would be helpful.
My parents retired this year- dad at 55 & my mom at 50. The problem is that my parents are terribly financially irresponsible & they respond very negatively to any discussion about it. Hence my mom retiring at 50 instead of 55 & losing major retirement $ and benefits because of it as just one example. We are at the point of just wanting to know info and trying very hard to NOT give the impression we are passing judgment or being anything other than supportive- otherwise they won't talk at all. I know they don't have enough in their retirement to last even 10 years at this rate, that they are on a very limited budget that they don't stick to, & that they do not consider 2nd careers.
My husband & I are decently educated on financial issues- we helped my husband's mom retire responsibly. We have tried to approach my parents in many different ways to no avail. Since they retired this year, they have no financial planner and adamantly don't want one, drawn from their retirement to pay off MAJOR credit card debt, have taken costly trips, & want to buy a larger, more expensive home for the two of them. They also continue to make big, frivolous purchases on credit cards & veer from a monthly budget.
What is most troubling to my husband and I is that they have no regard for their health & lie about it when asked. I accidentally found out my mom is on pre-diabetic medication & both of them are very possibly being treated for heart disease related issues. (They eat fast food everyday & are sedentary). They obviously can't or choose not to see how their actions effect our family (us & them). My son is close with them and I am beginning to worry that -in the immediate- one of them will have a heart attack or stroke while he or our newborn is in their care. In the long term, we are VERY concerned about what their behavior will do to them & us financially. We don't know what to do, don't want to be preachy, but feel that we need to intervene.
They seem to think they are invincible in both health and finance & that their actions don't effect anyone else. We love them a lot, but are concerned they will end up destitute and/ or we will be financially responsible for caring for them and we just cannot afford it- along with all of our other sad concerns. Has anyone else been in this situation? What can we do? Worried
As for #3, I want to say they have a right to choose how they want to live out the rest of their life. They've earned it, getting to their age. But on the other hand, I know it is hard for you to watch. If you don't feel comfortable having them watch your kids, then don't leave your kids with them. Hire a professional babysitter and be there when your kids visit their grandparents.
As for the financial part, I personally don't think parents take advice of any sort well from their children. Give it up! If you can't get them to go to a therapist with you all, I think you and your husband should seek out counseling to find the best way to deal with this situation. So sorry you have to deal with this. I know it's painful. anonymous member of BPN
I am sure that it is hard for your parents to listen to advice from their children. There has to be a way to approach it so that they will see that you're looking out for their best interest/their comfort? It sounds like their independence is important to them. Maybe stress that you'd like to find a way for them to continue to live independently in the lifestyle they prefer and that at the rate they're going they won't be able to?
My parents are likely worse than yours financially and I certainly haven't found a way yet (sorry). The underlying tone here is that you sound like you don't want to have to take care of them financially. Maybe they are getting that vibe from you as well and it's making them resentful? I am sure that they don't expect you to now (and are in denial that they'll need you to later). Rememeber though, they took care of you, and in most cultures throughout the world children take care of their parents when they age. I would do my best to advise them to get part-time (or FULL time) jobs and to make a budget. They could get part time retail jobs which would help keep them out and about, keep their minds sharp, and add some $ to their pockets. I would also recommend that you start to accept that you may need to help them financially in the end. It will likely cramp their style as much as yours. Empathizing with You
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