View Full Version : Only Child and Aging mom

09-25-2019, 11:17 AM
After a recent neuro visit it seems likely that there will be an Alzheimer's diagnosis forthcoming. Mild "eposides" that stray a bit more away from normal have been occurring over the past 6 months. More tests will be performed for a definitive answer but I am not expecting any miracle, although I am surprised as no one in the family has been diagnosed. Since this is still early stage, mom and I want to go ahead and finish all of her planning as needed to ensure wishes are respected.

Already done many years ago - healthcare/financial POA, and I have ownership of her modest home (Life estate). We will be contacting her CPA and consult with an Eldercare lawyer. She wants to go ahead an prepay burial expenses.

She is a widow and I'm the only child so thankfully I won't have to deal with any family dynamics. While hopefully we have a few good years left, I also need to get as much planned as possible with 2 small children of my own. I know she would like to stay a long as possible in the home but at some point will need to go to a memory care facility. She does have life insurance, SS income + small pension, and an IRA as well as LTC policy that I believe will cover her first 5 years. At some point, will need to plan for Medicaid as movement into the memory care facility will be about double her monthly income and have no idea how long that could be. She is 78.

I live about an hour away so not too far and luckily she has a good local network. I think we can solve for most of this but would love to know any experiences especially things to consider that I haven't. Like for instance, I have no idea how funerals work and I will have to manage that. Likely I won't be thinking clearly and am a planner. I don't want to overlook something b/c I was ignorant of it.

Any little insight would be immensely helpful to help deal with the tactical tasks of care and end of life.

09-25-2019, 12:25 PM
I am so sorry you are dealing with this. My father recently died from dementia (from a previous head injury). My mom handled most everything but a couple things to mention: It is well documented that most people live around 3 years after entering a facility. My father’s LTC insurance was for 3 years and he lived just under 2 after moving. It would be a good idea for her to visit facilities now to have input on where she would like to go. In general facilities are less expensive than full time care at home. My mom usd a consultant that helped her find a facility. It was no cost to her (they are paid by facilities) and the consultant was very helpful with the process.

The funeral home really handles everything for you. They make it a very easy process and again your mom could pick out a funeral home now and they will walk you through all of the arrangements so she can have input.

Be prepared that sometimes this process can be faster than expected. A friends mom was showing mild signs but then got sick and everything accelerated quickly and they had to move her much sooner than expected. So just be prepared. The facility will likely have a support group for caregivers and I would recommend it. You will need care too throughout this process.

Just noticed you are in NC- even if there is a Living Will NC also requires another palliative care form to be completed. Unfortunately my Dad was no longer able to communicate by the time we got the form and there were a couple questions my mom and I struggled with. We used his Living Will as a guide but this form has very detailed questions. So it would be helpful if you can fill out that form now too.

09-26-2019, 01:32 PM
I am a senior move manager, so I am just going to approach this from the perspective of the house and eventual move.
If I was you, I would be starting the move process now, while she is still able to help you make decisions. Start cleaning out the house and getting it ready to go on the market. If you are too busy and too far away, hire a senior move manager. You don't know how long it will be safe for her to live there by herself so if things go faster than you expect, you will be empowered to move quickly to keep her safe.

09-26-2019, 01:40 PM
I don't have any advice. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry your family is going through this.

09-29-2019, 10:36 PM
Yes, just wanted to send hugs as you go through this. You are so wise to be thinking about this now, and she is blessed to have your help and love. :hug:

09-30-2019, 12:25 AM
It's so hard to navigate these situations.

Two things to consider - LTC policies are notoriously hard to collect on. We used a third party consultant (Family Solutions for Care). My father's claim was initially denied, and they were able to get it approved and now manage it. I think some 70% of claims are initially denied. Obviously don't know the specifics of your mom's policy, but I would encourage you to pursue this early so you don't leave money on the table.

Also, POA is important. But in addition, when the time comes, you will want a physician to attest that she is no longer competent to make financial decisions. The POA allows you to make decisions. The physician's affirmation that she is no longer competent prevents her from making decisions (e.g. drain the IRA).

09-30-2019, 04:17 PM
Hi All - thank you so much for your input and thoughts. It's really helpful.

10-07-2019, 08:49 PM
I work in LTC as a therapist, so I will go at this from that experience, and in the last year my 83 year old father moved from his home to an ALF.

I highly recommend you find a memory care facility that is part of a facility that can provide nursing care as well if the memory care has limited nursing assistance. You should try to find one close to your, as you will be the one visiting and having to go over there on a regular basis. It's often nice too if your children can visit, that is often the highlight for most residents. Talk to people around the area about places they have had experience with if possible.

As for her home, like candaceb pointed out, start looking at what she wants to keep, start going through closets etc. She will only need a few pieces of furniture when she goes to a facility. Start looking at which realtors are selling homes near her. It may be easier to list the house after she has moved out.

As for the funeral, meet with a funeral director in the near future, they are very good at walking you through things. Ask your mom questions so you can think how you'd like to phrase her Obit, and some of my residents have said they wanted to make sure their family picked a nice picture to include.

Moving into a facility can be scary and also exciting for some. My dad is thriving (he has some cognitive deficts resulting from an aneurysm at age 40) but gets around pretty well. He has been widowed for 30 year, but a few months in has a "lady friend" who is a spry 97! I see lots of wonderful friendships develop in facilities.