Author Topic: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition  (Read 12840 times)

CheapskateWife

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What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« on: July 28, 2015, 03:33:16 PM »
Alright mustachians, have a a doozy.  My MIL is 92 yrs old, blind, living in a mobile home in Boulder CO.  She absolutely refuses to relocate, and we are active duty military so don't really have a choice in where we live.  She has 6 other children besides my husband, but none of them contribute financially to mom's continued living expenses, nor will they (no love for mama).

Mom is barely scraping by with our modest financial contributions, and now that the rent in her MH park is going up, she needs to increase her income.  However, I have no idea what her expenses are and she won't tell me.  Seriously, MIL hangs up on us when we get too much into "her business" or gets really vague and changes the subject.

I have several concerns:

1)  I understand that she is running up credit card debt, but I don't know how much or what this debt has purchased.
2)  The mobile home is falling down around her ears.  It is her only property.
3)  She already visits the local food pantry and is on SNAP benefits.
4)  She is on some sort of energy subsidy program for heating costs (when we visit, the place is scorching hot in the winter, and freezerlike in the summer)
5)  Someone is running her finances for her, but I have no idea whom.
6)  We send $300 per month and can easily send more...it doesn't seem to change anything.

I want to go up there and straighten this financial crap out...post haste.  She doesn't want our help with anything but more $ to cover the rent.

So dear and intelligent mustachians, do any of you have suggestions or ideas for how we might help MIL get her financial life back under control, or is she just a lost cause at this point?


beltim

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2015, 03:37:18 PM »
How much more is she asking for?

Cpa Cat

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2015, 03:41:37 PM »
My suggestion is that you do nothing more.

She doesn't want you in her business.

I'm not sure that I would continue to write a $300 monthly check to her without knowing who is running her finances.

At this point, I might call social services and see if they'd give her a caseworker.

StockBeard

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2015, 03:45:57 PM »
Given her age, and if you husband cares about her, assuming you can afford it, I'd just give her the money she asks for. Statistically, she won't be around for very long, and I personally wouldn't see a point in having a fight with my old mother in law at that age.

Maybe put the money on condition that you guys run her finances?

CheapskateWife

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2015, 04:50:58 PM »
How much more is she asking for?

The rent is going up by $40...a pittance really. 

But the deeper I dig, the more I realize that there is more to this...she is spending more than she has coming in, and is of the mind that "banks are evil" and so doesn't concern herself with her credit card debt.

We paid for her bankruptcy 5 years ago, and the behavior didn't change, naturally.

The suggestion to send more monthly money on the condition that she turn over her finances is very tempting indeed.

CheapskateWife

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2015, 04:54:50 PM »
Given her age, and if you husband cares about her, assuming you can afford it, I'd just give her the money she asks for. Statistically, she won't be around for very long, and I personally wouldn't see a point in having a fight with my old mother in law at that age.

I think I'm just frustrated at the convergence of "needs".  We still pay child support to DH's ex in the amount of $1250 monthly.  The oldest is heading off to college this fall. The next one is two years behind him, the next one another 2years.  All the hands are out...its maddening!

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2015, 05:16:03 PM »
Given her age, and if you husband cares about her, assuming you can afford it, I'd just give her the money she asks for. Statistically, she won't be around for very long, and I personally wouldn't see a point in having a fight with my old mother in law at that age.

I think I'm just frustrated at the convergence of "needs".  We still pay child support to DH's ex in the amount of $1250 monthly.  The oldest is heading off to college this fall. The next one is two years behind him, the next one another 2years.  All the hands are out...its maddening!

What does your husbands child support payments have to do with his mom asking for more money?  Sounds like you resent that your husband has to support his kids.

StockBeard

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2015, 05:18:56 PM »
What does your husbands child support payments have to do with his mom asking for more money?  Sounds like you resent that your husband has to support his kids.
Let's not judge, here, please? Just because people have frustrations doesn't automatically give everybody else on the forum the right to criticize how they feel or why they feel frustrated? It'd piss me off as well if I "inherited" a bunch of money-leaks from the past choices of my significant other.

Rezdent

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2015, 05:26:49 PM »
How is her mind?
I've known 90 year old people who were sharp as a tack, and some in their 50s who were gone round the bend.
If her mind is good, and she's asking for money then her tradeoff is transparency, in the form of you getting to know her business.
If her mind is not good, or you suspect someone may be taking advantage of her, then I second the recommendation to contact social services or whatever type of "ElderCare" is available in the state.
Be prepared for the conversation and don't be surprised if she tries to cut you off.

It's a tough place to be.  You have my sympathies.

CheapskateWife

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2015, 05:27:13 PM »
What does your husbands child support payments have to do with his mom asking for more money?  Sounds like you resent that your husband has to support his kids.
Let's not judge, here, please? Just because people have frustrations doesn't automatically give everybody else on the forum the right to criticize how they feel or why they feel frustrated? It'd piss me off as well if I "inherited" a bunch of money-leaks from the past choices of my significant other.

Oh, golly...that happened fast.  No, I am not at all resentful of the child support, or the 3 college bound kids, or even the MIL...just trying to figure out how to help in ways that are productive without messing with our own finances.  None of these financial obligations are going to take care of us in our retirement years, so there is a sense of self-preservation that pops up.

I am frustrated...want to save more for our future but have these other obligations to consider.   Surely folks on this forum could understand that.

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2015, 06:02:24 PM »
I am frustrated...want to save more for our future but have these other obligations to consider.   Surely folks on this forum could understand that.

I think many on this forum have been in similar circumstances and understand. You and DH deserve credit for stepping up where the siblings won't. It is entirely appropriate to balance helping family against your own self-preservation and ultimately that decision is up to you and DH. That said, I think Rezdent has a reasonable bullet list that is both fair and in her best interests. In particular, if the mystery finance person is acting in her best interests. You may not need to take over her finances, but you can ask her to let you know enough to ensure that she isn't being taken advantage of. If she is indeed running up CC debt, you should be very careful about the formality of your financial linkages to her. There are a number of threads that have come up about transferability of parent's debt to offspring. The general consensus from what I have read is that it isn't, even if the creditors come knocking. However, it is prudent to be mindful of what linkages there are and how they play out if/when she passes and what level of due diligence about those is appropriate if present. If you are liable through shared accounts, etc, that could be more important than worrying about the $300/mo from the sounds of her financial patterns.

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2015, 08:26:29 AM »
Have you gone to the doctor with MIL?  That might be a good place to start.  I would have her evaluated and see where she falls on the scale.  There is a good chance you could get her declared not competent for financial matters.  Does she have all her other paperwork in place?  Medical power of attorney? I was in a very similar position being a military spouse with a feeble relative far away.  We got her credit cards taken away and sent to us.  We have the checkbook.  We give her an allowance.  Are you on good terms with the other siblings?  You might have a family meeting to discuss these issues.  There will always be someone that thinks you are making out financially on the deal when you take over the money.  LOL.  I assume she has no money since she is getting all those services, lives in a mobile home, and has recently declared bankruptcy.  How is she even getting around being blind?  You sound like a kind and caring person to even step up to the plate.  It sounds like the rewards on this one will be slim.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2015, 08:38:32 AM »
I second all of the people who said she needs to be evaluated...but think it might be easier on you if it comes from an agency: so I'd contact whomever in that town handles elder abuse and state that something fishy is going on with the money and has for some time. Reference the cc debt and the bankruptcy.

There are ads in our local paper for people to take care of the elderly....pays $8.50 an hour. If one of those people sees a cash cow about to leave...it won't be pretty. They also have all of her keys/accounts/probably credit cards.

I also think that regardless of how the other siblings feel, they do need to be apprised of the situation.

"She's your mother too. What do you advise in this situation? This won't be a problem much longer, but if you want to make your peace with her and help her out, now is the time." Sometimes a consensus helps...

Good luck! Tough road to be on.

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2015, 11:18:42 AM »
You may not need to take over her finances, but you can ask her to let you know enough to ensure that she isn't being taken advantage of. If she is indeed running up CC debt, you should be very careful about the formality of your financial linkages to her. There are a number of threads that have come up about transferability of parent's debt to offspring. The general consensus from what I have read is that it isn't, even if the creditors come knocking. However, it is prudent to be mindful of what linkages there are and how they play out if/when she passes and what level of due diligence about those is appropriate if present. If you are liable through shared accounts, etc, that could be more important than worrying about the $300/mo from the sounds of her financial patterns.

This is all very good information, and something I hadn't considered.  First I need to understand the scope of the debt and the details of the income and expenses.  Keeping our names off her accounts is a primary motivation, as we won't be able to stop her from getting additional credit cards, etc.

I second all of the people who said she needs to be evaluated...but think it might be easier on you if it comes from an agency: so I'd contact whomever in that town handles elder abuse and state that something fishy is going on with the money and has for some time. Reference the cc debt and the bankruptcy.

There are ads in our local paper for people to take care of the elderly....pays $8.50 an hour. If one of those people sees a cash cow about to leave...it won't be pretty. They also have all of her keys/accounts/probably credit cards.

I also think that regardless of how the other siblings feel, they do need to be apprised of the situation.

"She's your mother too. What do you advise in this situation? This won't be a problem much longer, but if you want to make your peace with her and help her out, now is the time." Sometimes a consensus helps...

Good luck! Tough road to be on.

Thank you for this.  A mental/cognative evaluation sounds like a terrific idea, but I think I need to avoid state involvement.  I predict that a caseworker showing up at the front door will easily send her into panic mode and shut down communication.  She is already certain "the family" is planning to ship her off to a "home." 

I have attempted to engage the siblings through email and its just crickets, so now its time to call each and every one of their lovely selves and find out how they would like us to handle things.

The saddest thing is she knows they don't want to have anything to do with her.  She is a sad, lonely, old lady and its hard to know the right way to help her.

Thank you all for your support and ideas.

Bob W

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2015, 11:23:37 AM »
I would make a hotline call to the state senior services/aging services.  They will investigate if deemed appropriate.  Worse comes to worse they can seek guardianship.

"By the way 92 and having a hard life like that is a miracle really.   Your husband is blessed with great genes. 

Frankies Girl

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2015, 11:48:29 AM »
If it was me, I'd probably go there (with the husband of course) for a sit down face-to-face and tell her that if she wants you to put in more money, then you want to have her financial records and understand where everything is going and what is owed. She has to be an open book if she wants more help. Otherwise, you have no idea if she is being taken advantage of, if there are scary looming debts, if there is anything help-wise from the government that she is or isn't taking advantage of... and make sure she understands that this is because y'all are concerned and care about her, not because you want to be nosy or have to get up in her business. And also make if clear to her that you will not be stepping in unless there is a clear indication that someone else has screwed her over, and then it would only be to protect her, and with complete explanations to her of what is going on.

If she isn't willing to have someone that loves her step in and help her untangle her finances, then (again, just my opinion) I would not keep throwing money in her direction. You have no idea what she's spending it on and whether she actually is keeping up with anything at this point.

The fact that the mobile home is in disrepair is very concerning at her age, so I'd probably start looking into adult services to check into her situation to make sure she's mentally and physically capable of caring for herself still. That is, if she flat out refuses your help.




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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2015, 04:19:20 PM »
I predict that a caseworker showing up at the front door will easily send her into panic mode and shut down communication.  She is already certain "the family" is planning to ship her off to a "home." 


Sigh. This is just what I was going to suggest. A 92 year old blind woman living in ramshackle trailer with no money and no relatives nearby to keep an eye on her sounds like the perfect candidate for an assisted living facility or publicly-funded nursing home (I'd push for a nursing home personally).

I've been watching my parents and grandma wrestle with similar issues and have come to the conclusion that trying to "stay in your own home" is a fool's game. Get moved into a place where other people can help you before you're so sick that the move itself nearly kills everyone.

There is also a big precedent for moving elderly relatives from their home into a nursing home near their child advocate. If you think you might stay put for any length of time, I'd seriously look into this. Airlines offer wheelchair service, nursing homes have ambulance pickup. If you and her Dr think she can manage a one-way flight to your city, I'd seriously consider it. Sell it to her as a way for you to see each other regularly and an escape for her current struggles. My parents did this with my grandma and it's been great.

vagon

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2015, 05:10:00 PM »
Do you have power of attorney laws in the States?

If she is incapable of managing her affairs I would seek to gain power of attorney, then take control of her finances and do the right thing by her.
You can deal directly with the financial institutions to better manage her accounts, lower credit limits, negotiate payment plans etc.

You can then also makes payments on her behalf. Things like apportioning an amount of her money to know her basic needs are taken care of: meals on wheels or similar food delivery service, general maintenance worker to mow lawns/make repairs, etc.

Once the basics are taken care of you can remove overdraft facilities and lower credit (or remove it entirely) so any discretionary spending is forcibly limited. Any rejected withdrawals or payments could be blamed on the banks she hates already while you pull the strings in the background.

OddOne

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2015, 05:19:20 PM »
Would it be simpler to just pay her park fees directly to them?

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2015, 05:44:27 PM »
I think being active military is one of the big sticking points: you truly don't know where Uncle Sam will send you most of the time, or even when. (Thank you for your service, btw.)

I think face to face with her, with HOPEFULLY one or more of the other siblings present might be your best bet, if you don't want to the state to investigate on her behalf. Although some state agencies might be worth talking to, just for their advice since they see this daily?

If you can get her to sit down, I'd probably say: "Look: we love you. We're your blood. But we're worried because this trailer is falling apart around you, you just went through a bankruptcy, and it seems like credit card debt might be getting out of hand...sometimes people buy things without meaning to. We would like to help. We do NOT want to put you in a home, but we really want to know that you are safe. That no one is stealing your credit cards or money. And that you have what you need to enjoy your retirement. Because of the military it's not like we could bring you home with us...or we would. Please: talk to us. We love you and we want to help. If the situation was reversed, wouldn't you help us?"

Sometimes just changing the point of view breaks people out of their defensive posture. "What would you do in my shoes: let you live in a broken down trailer with no money and not knowing that you are ok? Would you do that to me: let me live like this? Because if you love someone---and we love you---then you want to know that they're ok. That they have enough money to put food on the table and pay their bills. We're only here because we care."

mozar

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2015, 06:45:44 PM »
When my grandmother stopped remembering to pay her bills, when I was on a visit, I went through all her mail. She was so MAD at me but it was worth it. I figured out what all her bills are, and what all of her investment accounts were.

I handed the stack over to my uncle, who was then able to cut off her credit card and switch her to debit and get a handle on her finances where previously my uncles and mother had no idea. Don't be afraid of her being mad at you, I mean, what's she gonna do? Otherwise things will just deteriorate and will be a mess that you have to deal with when she dies (whenever that is).

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2015, 07:09:23 PM »
I feel for you & your husband.  Both my hubby & I both have our parents - all of them in their mid-80's and all of them STUBBORN as all get out.  Which doesn't help us when we try to help them.  We worry/stress about them all the time.  I know we will be old one day, but I hope to high heaven I'll be easy to get along with & be able to admit when I need some assistance/help.

If your MIL expects you to send $$, and is now asking for more, I most certainly would feel entitled to know what her finances are - since you ARE somewhat supporting her!  You have every right to know.  And if she refuses, you have every right to stop sending the checks.  I totally understand that this $300 you are sending her could be put into your own retirement account, however, you choose to do the humane, loving thing, and help her out.  But she needs to be cooperative to a point.  She sounds about as stubborn as the 4 we are dealing with!!

Good luck! 

ltt

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2015, 09:29:51 PM »
Ideally, the $300 should be going somewhere that you know about---meaning you should be paying the electric/gas company directly, or directly to the credit card company, or whatever.  It's really hard to discuss finances with parents---they are just very set in their ways.  Or take the $300 per month that you are sending her and go fix up her MH--new carpet, new whatever, so that you are actually seeing her property get fixed up.  We sent my MIL money so she could pay to have her lawn mowed.

KBecks2

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2015, 05:34:53 AM »
My MIL, who is a retired nurse and a very nice, neighborly lady, does visits to older people as a volunteer.  Perhaps there are some local church programs near where your MIL lives where someone could just check in on her once in a while and be friendly.

Yes, make sure you are not on any of her debt accounts, because at death, her debts will be cleared.  (She shouldn't take advantage of that, but don't worry over her debt.)  I think it's just important at this point that she can take care of herself and the basic needs.

Best wishes. 

« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 05:36:57 AM by KBecks2 »

Villanelle

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2015, 05:50:53 AM »
She fears that the family might ship her off to a home.  Likely much of that fear comes from the fact that a home may very well be where she needs to be at this point. 

Assuming she is truly mentally stable, I'd tell her that she gets no more--not even the $300, much less an increase-- after the next payment unless you are given full and complete access to her finances.  You are only enabling her to continue making bad decisions (either overspending or being taken advantage of, or both) if you keep blindly throwing money into the pit she continues to dig. 

If she gives you access, you can see where the money goes, and set reasonable limits which she can either abide by, or forgo your assistance. 

CheapskateWife

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2015, 08:12:29 AM »
Thank you all, this has been some very insightful dialoge and I really appreciate your varied perspectives.

My perception of MIL's mental capacity is not good.  She is a self described "spoiled brat" who excuses her bad behavior and selfishness by blaming her parents for raising her that way.  She "deserves" the right to use the credit card without paying it off (unfortunately, there is a son who is enabling this behavior...no he doesn't help financially).  We view that as a moral issue but to her, the banks deserve it.  Over the years, we have watched her scheme and manipulate other people to get what she wants, and then burn them when they get wise to her.  Its ugly...so no, I don't believe she is fit to care for herself at this point.  I think that she, as usually, gets by on the kindness of others.

I really appreciate the perspective of this suggestion:

've been watching my parents and grandma wrestle with similar issues and have come to the conclusion that trying to "stay in your own home" is a fool's game. Get moved into a place where other people can help you before you're so sick that the move itself nearly kills everyone.

DH and I are seriously considering the idea of finding her an assisted living facility close to us.  He has made the decision to retire in 6 months from Active Duty, and I have a great job here...we could stay put and be very comfortable for 5-10 years in our current location before MY parents start needing us. 

The other thing we are going to pursue is the VA Survivor Pension...she may or may not be entitled but it is certainly worth a try.  Obtaining power of attorney might be necessary to get the finances straightened out...I hate the idea of taking that from her but jeez louise, she is messing this up.  Will talk to the hubs about that too.

Thank you all...keep the good ideas coming!

TrMama

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2015, 11:51:56 AM »
Moving her to an assisted living facility near you is a fantastic idea. Although it will be 10x harder than all those military postings. Sell it to her as a way for you to see each other all the time and as her last big life adventure. Almost like a long holiday to a new place. She won't have to worry about going out to get groceries in the snow/rain anymore. There are great services in the complex. A pool! Beauty salon! Etc.

Frankly, I would just proceed even if it makes her mad at you. I would also proceed without consulting the other children. It doesn't sound like they want to be involved anyway.

Check your local library for books on dealing with elderly parents. There should be a selection of them. I recently read, Caring for your aging parents : an emotional guide to nurturing your loved ones while taking care of yourself / Berman, Raeann. It helped me understand things from my MIL and grandma's point of view. With this knowledge I've been able to be more sympathetic and understanding so when they do something crazy or insulting I don't react to it emotionally.

With my MIL, it's always helped to begin every difficult conversation with lots, and lots of empathy. "I know this is really hard. I'd hate to be in this position too. Let's do this thing so you can have an easier time with X. etc.

Giro

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2015, 12:05:49 PM »
How much money does she have each month?  It doesn't sound like there's a concern for someone ripping her off.  I would probably just send her the money.  She isn't going to be around too much longer and will probably die in very high debt.  How does a woman this age get credit on credit cards?  Sounds beautiful for her!


KBecks2

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2015, 12:27:46 PM »
Are you sure you don't want to move her into an assisted living facility that's not near you? Just checking!

CheapskateWife

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2015, 01:08:19 PM »
Are you sure you don't want to move her into an assisted living facility that's not near you? Just checking!

No, I'm not sure at all :D

The VA is not going to be a help...the divorce precludes her from any benefits there. 

Weve done our research into assisted living both here and in Boulder, and baseline starts at $3000 per month, her income with family contributions is $1350.   Sweet Baby Jesus!

We just found a low-income senior apartment complex in my town where the rent starts at $500-700 and would cover the maintenance that we are having to deal with on the trailer and would get her close to family...going for a tour after work, but the place is only 2 years old and looks shiny.  This could be it! 

Check your local library for books on dealing with elderly parents. There should be a selection of them. I recently read, Caring for your aging parents : an emotional guide to nurturing your loved ones while taking care of yourself / Berman, Raeann. It helped me understand things from my MIL and grandma's point of view. With this knowledge I've been able to be more sympathetic and understanding so when they do something crazy or insulting I don't react to it emotionally.

Thank you, I have to remember that this whole idea will be terrifying for her, and with her failed vision, the change in her living arrangement is really scary.  She knows where everything is in her trailer.  I'll be sure to check out the book you mentioned!  Thank you!

goatmom

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2015, 09:30:54 PM »
Moving her near you sounds like a good idea.  Since MIL is 92 - I imagine that your DH must be near retirement and the moving around is near its end.  I found the people at Office for the Aging to be very supportive but there were no magic answers.  Good luck!

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2015, 11:59:14 AM »
This hit home a bit--my mom just turned 90. We've (her children) been worried about her, particularly since last winter when she went several weeks without leaving the house and ran out of milk, bread, etc. She's stubborn, doesn't like to ask for help, and adamant about staying in her home, even though the house needs some serious repairs. She has hidden bumps, bruises, even a broken arm, from us because she was worried that we would make her go into assisted living or live with one of us. We were also worried about her finances.

Anyway, after my retirement, I'm spending the summer here with her and learned a few things: She has a support system, she just chooses to not call on it yet. She has neighbors and friends who discreetly keep tabs on her and she's very connected to her community. By being in town for a while, I found local businesses that can provide services for her. I was able to get some minor work done on her house to make it more comfortable. It's not a house I would live in, but it's safe. She also let me look at her bills and she was OK with making changes in some things when she saw I was only trying to save her money and not "take over." This all took some time to develop a more trusting relationship and to convince her that I wanted to help her stay in her home and not to push my preference for her to move.

Your MIL may have more support where she lives than it appears to you from far away and her home may be in bad shape, but still livable for her. It would be good if you or your husband had a few weeks to visit her, using any excuse so she doesn't think you're there to "snoop." It seems common for elders to trust the people closest in proximity. But maybe you've already tried this and in that case you have my sympathies!

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2015, 12:27:35 PM »
Anyway, after my retirement, I'm spending the summer here with her and learned a few things

Thank you so much for your response...my DH is retiring this winter and I'm hoping to send him up to Boulder for a few weeks to do just that.  We know she has a support network, and for that I am grateful.  Perhaps an extended stay will help us figure out if the home is salvagable at all.

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2015, 06:00:43 PM »
I'd like to share a general comment with the rest of this forum: 
Unless you guys have personally cared for the health and/or finances of an elder, preferably a parent or grandparent, then you are blissfully unaware of the resources and issues.
Until you have navigated the Medicare, Medicaid, and "nursing home" systems then your advice is probably not helping.

DH and I are seriously considering the idea of finding her an assisted living facility close to us.  He has made the decision to retire in 6 months from Active Duty, and I have a great job here...we could stay put and be very comfortable for 5-10 years in our current location before MY parents start needing us. 
Thank you all...keep the good ideas coming!
My father's Alzheimer's symptoms showed up in 2008, and by late 2009 when he shared his "slipping memory" with us he was completely resistant to all offers of help.  He was polite as ever, but he was hard-core stubborn.  I don't mean to sound unsympathetic to your situation, but I doubt that you will ever change your MIL's behaviors.  I doubt that you'll get any help from siblings-in-law, either.

Six years ago a local geriatric care manager advised me:  "Get ready for the emergency, and wait 'em out."  You can't change your mother's behavior, but you can act on your own behalf and help yourself feel better about the situation.

If you're able to subsidize your MIL in her trailer for the next couple years, that's the path of least resistance and most communication.  If she eventually admits that she could use help with meals or cleaning or laundry or transportation, then that's an opportunity to introduce her to "concierge services" and have a discussion about assisted living.

But while you're waiting her out, right now I suggest you contact a Boulder-area geriatric care manager like Gordon Wolfe at Human Network Services (http://www.humannetworksystems.com/About-HumanNetworkSystems.htm).  He was a huge help to my brother and me with our father in 2011 and again in 2012.  Get ready to spend $50-$100 for a few hours of reassurance and advice.  They'll guide you through the whole discussion (including VA benefits and Medicaid) and open a file on your MIL.  Someday if the police or the hospital or the social workers contact you, Gordon or your chosen GCM will be ready to swing into action. 

I'm sorry to say that at age 92 with obstinacy, it's far more likely that your MIL have a medical emergency before she ever asks for your help.  (If the police are called, they may take her to the hospital too.)  When that happens, the hospital discharges Medicare patients as quickly as possible for a few weeks of rehab services at a skilled nursing facility (which is also paid by Medicare).  The doctor's attitude will be "You can go home, but first you have to do xxx weeks of physical rehab before you're ready to live safely on your own."  In my father's case, he insisted on going home until the surgeon assumed the authority role and even wrote a "prescription".  Dad refused to cooperate with me or my brother or the GCM, but when the doctor wrote the prescription then suddenly Dad was totally motivated about six weeks of free room, board, & exercise.

If your MIL ends up in the hospital then you'll be working with your GCM and the hospital's discharge coordinator to get your MIL to a skilled nursing facility.  Discharge coordinators are experienced (and so are GCMs like Gordon) but they'll probably start at a website like this one:
http://www.skillednursingfacilities.org/directory/co/boulder/
or this one:
http://www.skillednursingfacilities.org/directory/co/denver/
When you talk through this situation with Gordon or your GCM, you might even decide to tour a few places.  Many SNFs are also full-care facilities.  In my father's case, after about a month of physical rehab at Amberwood Court Care Facility he transitioned from Medicare to private pay while staying in the same semi-private room.  He's been there for over four years.  Amberwood's rates started in 2011 at $212/day (semi-private) and have risen to $245/day, with the expectation of 4%-6% annual fee hikes.

As you're keenly aware, finances are a problem.  If your MIL has enough savings for 6-12 months of private pay then you could get her into a care facility and immediately file a Medicaid claim.  Your GCM and the care facility's social worker will help you through the process.  Care facilities cannot discharge a resident for being unable to pay after they've spent down their assets.  (Care facilities can still ask a resident to leave if there are behavioral or other care issues.)  If your MIL does not have enough assets to pay for a care facility then you'd either have to find a care facility or a private residence that accepted Medicaid, or you'd end up moving her back to the trailer (or someone else's residence) with visiting GCM staff and "nursing assistants".

If you want to read more about various scenarios, I recommend Paula Span's "When The Time Comes".  It's probably in your local library.

Your MIL's credit card balances are an unsecured debt.  If she can't pay them then nobody else should, either.  She'll eventually bump into a limit and either work out a payment plan with the card company, or they'll write off her debt and turn it over to a collections agency.  She can ask the agencies to stop contacting her and they'd have to go to court to obtain a judgment.  The reality is that neither the card company, the collections agency, or the courts will be very aggressive about collecting a debt from a 92-year-old woman.  The key is to not have any other family members step in to help pay the balances either, because any family funds will be better used for your MIL's direct care instead of her debts.  I wouldn't even open up a joint checking account with her.  It might be better to send any of the financial support that you're contributing now directly to the trailer property manager instead of to her (in case her accounts are garnished or even seized).

Unless your MIL has signed a power of attorney with one of her family members, there's not much you can do about her finances.  If you can't figure out who's helping her with her bills and accounts, then that might have to wait until your MIL is ready to move to a care facility (or has a medical crisis).  If she's upset about the credit card bills (or the collections agency or the court judgment) then she could petition the probate court to have someone (your spouse?) appointed as the conservator, possibly in conjunction with yet another bankruptcy.  Send me a PM if you have more questions about that issue.

Someone is eventually going to have to figure out whether she's been filing state/federal tax returns.  That problem is far worse than the credit-card companies.

I'm sorry to say that while the siblings may be little or no help, they'll feel free to chime in with plenty of helpful suggestions.  Your spouse could suggest that they only get a vote if they contribute to your MIL's care:  cough up a check or a spare bedroom.

As I said, your MIL won't let you help her.  But you can still set up an emergency-response system with a GCM and educate yourself so that you don't have to deal with this on your own.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 06:02:24 PM by Nords »

gReed Smith

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2015, 06:20:41 PM »
Assuming there is no estate to preserve, at 92, she should accumulate as much debt as possible. 

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2015, 08:15:25 PM »
Someone is eventually going to have to figure out whether she's been filing state/federal tax returns.  That problem is far worse than the credit-card companies.

It sounds like she's low income and the majority of her income is from social security, so she probably is not required to file a tax return (it never hurts to check, of course - but I wouldn't lose sleep over it). With low income seniors, it's far more likely that they are missing out on senior-related tax credits than that they actually owe tax.

Nords

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2015, 11:27:14 PM »
Someone is eventually going to have to figure out whether she's been filing state/federal tax returns.  That problem is far worse than the credit-card companies.

It sounds like she's low income and the majority of her income is from social security, so she probably is not required to file a tax return (it never hurts to check, of course - but I wouldn't lose sleep over it). With low income seniors, it's far more likely that they are missing out on senior-related tax credits than that they actually owe tax.
It looks that way, but it can be a hairball.

When my grandfather stopped filing tax returns in the 1980s, he was five years behind before anyone realized.  When my father caught up on the returns, my grandfather had owed a small amount the first year.  The interest and penalties on that continued to mount despite my grandfather being owed a refund on the second through fourth years. 

It took four years for a tax CPA and a lawyer to resolve the situation with the federal and state govts.

My father kept up with his own tax returns (and estimated payments) through April 2010, but his cognition went down sharply in early 2011.  While he was in the hospital during early March, one of my tasks (when I wasn't hanging around the ICU) was tossing his files and completing his federal & state tax returns with TurboTax on my laptop.  He hadn't done any of the paperwork since mid-2010.  Luckily I was able to complete it all online and have the payments deducted electronically from his checking account.

CheapskateWife

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2015, 11:43:06 AM »
Someone is eventually going to have to figure out whether she's been filing state/federal tax returns.  That problem is far worse than the credit-card companies.

It sounds like she's low income and the majority of her income is from social security, so she probably is not required to file a tax return (it never hurts to check, of course - but I wouldn't lose sleep over it). With low income seniors, it's far more likely that they are missing out on senior-related tax credits than that they actually owe tax.
It looks that way, but it can be a hairball.


This line of discussion prompted me to look up the appropriate IRS regulation for the question of whether or not she needed to be filing.  I can confirm that by her own account, she hadn't filed since the mid 90's.  Eeeek!  But as it turns out, since that time she has been living strictly off SS (never mind the unreported casual income, credit cards she never intends to pay, and unreported family contributions) and is well under the mandatory filing amount for income level. 

Nords, thank you so much for the recommendation of the GCM in Colorado.  Having someone on our side to help us navigate all this sounds like our first step, and well worth the modest expense.  DH is going to chat with her about her preferences, whether she wants to stay in CO as she transitions out of her home, or whether she wants to come here.  I'm assuming that the GCM can help us get ready for the inevitable filing with Medicare and we would be so grateful to have the guidance.  Seems like a wise investment, indeed.

Thank you again!

ambimammular

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2015, 12:14:01 PM »
Nords, thanks for the insight. I can understand more clearly what my own in-laws have been dealing with within their family. I think I'll go double check our will and power of attorney now...

Nords

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2015, 12:48:02 PM »
This line of discussion prompted me to look up the appropriate IRS regulation for the question of whether or not she needed to be filing.  I can confirm that by her own account, she hadn't filed since the mid 90's.  Eeeek!  But as it turns out, since that time she has been living strictly off SS (never mind the unreported casual income, credit cards she never intends to pay, and unreported family contributions) and is well under the mandatory filing amount for income level. 
Whew.  And if income is not reported then I guess it's not taxed. 

If it's any consolation, the family contributions to her are gifts (up to $14K/year from each contributor) and are not reportable nor taxable.  If the "contributions" are directly to the biller then they're not even limited. 

If you and your spouse are paying for more than half of your MIL's support then technically she could be considered your dependent, which would also make her eligible to be put in DEERS and have Tricare.  However Tricare would still be second payer to Medicare and frankly I'm not sure the bureaucracy (and delays) are worth the benefit.  Her current support system might be "good enough", and disrupting the routine might cause more problems than it solves.

I wonder whether the money you're spending on her is somehow deductible.  If that's even possible then it might be only if she's your dependent, and again the hassle might not be worth the savings.

Frankly, if your MIL doesn't want to give up her finances (or her financial helper) then it's not worth the fight.  If she has to move out of her trailer and do her own finances by herself then she could have problems keeping up with her financial chores.  The issue is that if an elder has to move out of their house because of cognitive problems then they probably also aren't considered competent to sign a POA.  I'm happy to take care of my Dad's finances, but dealing with the probate court (and its reporting requirements) is not exactly free of stress. 

If you think you're going to need to be a conservator or a guardian then you could contact Ernie Fazekas in Castle Rock for legal advice or for a referral.  He's been my father's lawyer since the 1980s and he's been a big help too.

Nords, thank you so much for the recommendation of the GCM in Colorado.  Having someone on our side to help us navigate all this sounds like our first step, and well worth the modest expense.  DH is going to chat with her about her preferences, whether she wants to stay in CO as she transitions out of her home, or whether she wants to come here.  I'm assuming that the GCM can help us get ready for the inevitable filing with Medicare and we would be so grateful to have the guidance.  Seems like a wise investment, indeed.
You're welcome.  Gordon has been a huge help to us just by being there to answer our questions, let alone knowing what questions to ask and who to speak with. 

Gordon was part of a daisy chain:  me in the Grand Junction hospital with Dad (plus a GJ GCM and the hospital's discharge coordinator) and my brother in Denver (with Gordon) finding a care facility.  Gordon and my brother would scramble around to check into the recommendations and then get back to us in GJ.  He nudged my brother into choosing Amberwood, and that facility has been fantastic.  A year later Gordon worked with the police and the psychiatric hospital to help with Dad's sundowning behavior (long story).  Again without Gordon's help we would've been very frustrated and unhappy in our ignorance (and our steep learning curve).

Care facilities would prefer to not take Medicaid patients.  In fact, if a care facility is seeking Medicaid patients then I'd be a little concerned about the quality of the care, although that personal bias might just be caused by selective media reporting.  But that's why many families of elders try to start out in a care facility as private pay (so the care facility makes a little money) and then file the Medicaid claim.  GCMs can help with the Medicaid claim.

I don't know whether a social worker is part of all care facilities or just Amberwood, but Amberwood's social worker stays in touch with me about Dad's finances.  (I have a spreadsheet.  Apparently Amberwood's social worker does not often see families with spreadsheet forecasts.)  Amberwood knows it takes 6-12 months for the Medicaid claim approval and they're motivated to help.  We even have quarterly care conferences with the Amberwood staff and our whole Ohana Nords (including Dad).  They dial me in from Hawaii, and Dad is always thrilled to learn that he has a son in Hawaii. 

It's a very strange phone call but it's good to know that they're willing to share status and keep an eye on future issues.

Nords, thanks for the insight. I can understand more clearly what my own in-laws have been dealing with within their family. I think I'll go double check our will and power of attorney now...
You're welcome.

Be aware that most financial institutions treat POAs like toilet paper.  Heck, they even ignore conservator's appointment letters signed by a probate court judge.  (I tried twice with PenFed, and both times they argued with me.)  If you're going to do a POA then talk with your bank/credit union and use their forms & notaries.  They might even want to see the designee in person or at least verify that they're not a terrorist threat/money launderer.  That was my experience with ANB Bank in Grand Junction.  The only reason Dad's accounts are still with them is because it's easier to deal with ANB than it is to move Dad's deposits of Social Security and his pension to NFCU.

I suspect that the vast majority of financial management for elders is done by family members who have the online login/password.  (Legally or otherwise.)  In that situation the financial institution can pretend to ignore the POA issue because the company is legally shielded by the online terms & conditions.

A more comprehensive financial solution is a revocable living trust.  My spouse and I plan to have one drawn up by a civilian lawyer (not a military JAG) with my spouse and me as trustees and our daughter as successor trustee.  The legal fees to set it up (and transfer the property) are about the same as the expense of probate, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the legal fees to be appointed as conservator.  Of course my spouse and our daughter know where to find our online logins/passwords if they need them, but the RLT documents also give her the legal authority to take care of all of our finances when the time comes.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2015, 01:00:15 PM by Nords »

CommonCents

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2015, 01:01:14 PM »
As you're keenly aware, finances are a problem.  If your MIL has enough savings for 6-12 months of private pay then you could get her into a care facility and immediately file a Medicaid claim.  Your GCM and the care facility's social worker will help you through the process.  Care facilities cannot discharge a resident for being unable to pay after they've spent down their assets.  (Care facilities can still ask a resident to leave if there are behavioral or other care issues.)  If your MIL does not have enough assets to pay for a care facility then you'd either have to find a care facility or a private residence that accepted Medicaid, or you'd end up moving her back to the trailer (or someone else's residence) with visiting GCM staff and "nursing assistants".

One small caveat about asking to leave for behavioral issues: I don't know what her health care coverage is, but if she's in Medicaid managed care, then the managed care entity (MCO, PIHP, PAHP or PCCM) cannot request disenrollment from the MCE because of "an adverse change in the enrollee's health status, or because of the enrollee's utilization of medical services, diminished mental capacity, or uncooperative or disruptive behavior resulting from his or her special needs (except when his or her continued enrollment in the MCO, PIHP, PAHP, or PCCM seriously impairs the entity's ability to furnish services to either this particular enrollee or other enrollees)"  42 CFR 438.56.  So the MCE would need to find a way to get her services if she has behavioral health issues that are causing uncooperative or disruptive behavior.

MrsPete

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2015, 01:01:59 PM »
I was heavily involved in my grandmother's care up until her recent death, and it's NOT EASY even with a compliant, easy-going elderly person.  My grandmother had moments when she just sort of "lost it" and took it out on us; all of us knew that it was simply her frustration at living in a body that was betraying her bit by bit. 

Anyway, lots of good advice here already:

- I totally agree with the other posters who say, If you want my help, you'll be more transparent in where the money's going.  If she chooses to reject this offer, tell her that you're very willing to resume help as soon as she meets your requirements.   
- I also agree with the idea of looking into paying her bills directly (through her name, not yours) so that you know where the money's going.  For example, paying the trailer park directly makes sense, and they don't care where the money comes from as long as they get it.
- You're absolutely right to keep your name off all of her accounts. 
- A medical evaluation sounds like a great idea, and I think you're justified in making it a requirement for your future help.  However, keep in mind that at her age things can change; what's true today may not be true tomorrow. 
- Sounds like the apartment you've found might be the answer.  I'd push the nice, new maintenance-free aspect.  I would not suggest bringing her into your home; I think you'd be putting yourself through a great deal of trouble.
- Look into community services that may be helpful to her.  While she was still living alone, the single thing that helped my grandmother most was Meals On Wheels.  Someone came into her house 5 days a week and brought her a hot meal.  It was always a healthy, well-prepared meal, and since she ate so little, it was usually enough for her dinner too.  Similarly, the elderly in our community can call for a free van ride to the doctor or various other places.  And Medicare/Medicaid (I always forget which is which) may pay for a home health worker to come out to her house a couple times a week; they'll help her with bathing, meal prep, and light housekeeping.

However, that's all just maintenance for today.  At some point you're going to encounter an emergency.  The smartest thing my mother and her brother did was to make a plan about how to handle THE EMERGENCY that hadn't happened yet.  We knew that at some point she'd fall or become ill, and she'd probably have a hospital stay ... and then what?  She couldn't go back to living alone.  The two of them made plans about her coming to my mother's house (though that posed numerous problems) and exactly how her brother would support her /make it possible for her to care for their mother.  They never shared their plans with their mother because WHAT WOULD WORK wasn't WHAT SHE WANTED, but the two of them were in total agreement about what would have to happen.

Actually, for my grandmother, THE EMERGENCY never came.  My uncle's living situation changed, and she moved in with him -- no emergency involved.  And when she finally did fall ill, the whole family was there to help him (my uncle) with her care.  He did the lion's share of the day-to-day work, but the rest of us brought in prepared meals and stayed with her so he and his wife could get a break away from home.  She died quietly at home only three weeks after falling seriously ill. 

Make your plan.  If you need it, you'll be relieved. 




frugaldrummer

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2015, 09:02:25 PM »
Just a comment about moving her:

While yes, assisted living might be ideal, moving her might also result in a marked decline in function. Moving someone with Alzheimer's to an unfamiliar environment can worsen their dementia symptoms. Plus, being blind, she knows her way around her home, but at this age, might not be able to learn her way around a new environment.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #43 on: August 02, 2015, 09:18:38 PM »
I hope you keep us posted.

I know this makes me a bad person, but I'm worrying more about you and your husband right now than the MIL. (sorry) It seems stressful and it's not even my family.

I agree that a blind, mentally "impaired" person will have some issues learning how to navigate a new environment. But in a care facility that is used to blind/impaired people there is support and someone to help with all that...I'm picturing an old run down trailer and crap, I don't want one of my dogs sleeping in that. I hope the apartment works out but if not...I hope you do what's best for everyone.

Including yourself.

BicycleB

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2015, 10:48:38 PM »
Great comments by Nords! 

Also the remark by MrsPete about making your plan

When my dad started getting Alzheimers my sister and I developed a plan and it turned out to be well worthwhile

One last thought is that based on her age any small amount like forty bucks is minor in comparison to issues like maintaining communication

Pick your key battles and let the others go if you have to

Anyway good luck and pardon the typing from my misbehaving laptop!

WildHare

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2015, 07:42:32 AM »
Alone, blind, with six children who want nothing to do with her.  Knowing her life is coming to an end.  Sounds like she doesn't want to give up whatever little independence she feels she has left.   Investigate her finances, get rid of the person 'handling' her finances, re-assure her that she will still be able to do what she wants, and get her into a safe situation. Whatever that looks like.  If she wants to stay where she is, let her.     Go with her to the doctor and make sure she is not being over medicated.  Don't feel bad if you need to lie.  I had to get people out of my Mom's life.  She thought they were her friends. They were using her and taking advantage of her financially.  Trying to explain it was a waste of time and frustrating.  I made it clear to these people the gravy train had come to a grinding halt and simply told my mom they had moved.  Tell her whatever you need to to get her to let you take over her finances.
Elderly people can be very resistant to change.  I would start with getting rid of that person, and leave her where she is for now if she doesn't want to move.

Sibley

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #46 on: August 03, 2015, 09:54:21 AM »
A note on the transition to assisted living. My family dealt with this with my grandparents, and I've known many others who have had to move someone into assisted living. In every case I'm aware of (about 10 individuals), the person in question was extremely resistant. Getting them into the new place was hell, for months or years. However, once they were in, every single one of them ended up loving it. It took anywhere from 1-6 months to transition. Having social interaction made a huge difference for them, and once they settled in they were much happier than they had been. There were even some apologies for past comments that were pretty nasty.

Nords

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #47 on: August 03, 2015, 11:42:20 AM »
A note on the transition to assisted living. My family dealt with this with my grandparents, and I've known many others who have had to move someone into assisted living. In every case I'm aware of (about 10 individuals), the person in question was extremely resistant. Getting them into the new place was hell, for months or years. However, once they were in, every single one of them ended up loving it. It took anywhere from 1-6 months to transition. Having social interaction made a huge difference for them, and once they settled in they were much happier than they had been. There were even some apologies for past comments that were pretty nasty.
I hate to admit it, but I was secretly relieved that my Dad's move to a full-care facility happened without a generational confrontation.  I'd made some exploratory approaches but he wasn't having any of it.  I'm sorry that he had emergency surgery and got ordered by the doctor to go to the care facility for physical rehab, but that incident totally changed everyone's roles.  The doctor became the "bad guy" and we sons were just helping Dad comply with doctor's orders.

On Day #1 Dad thought the place was nice, but he was really looking forward to going home.  He even had me park his car in the front lot and give him the keys so that he could check out when he was finished with the PT.  (He would've had to fix the disconnected battery cable first, but it never came to that.)  He didn't even want to unpack his bags.

On Day #2, while we were visiting with him, one of the staff brought in his clean laundry.  Dad almost broke down in tears of joy because his Alzheimer's had made it very difficult for him to do laundry in his apartment complex-- he had had to walk to the laundry room at the other end of the building corridor while remembering to bring all of his detergent, coins, and dirty clothes.  If he left the laundry room "to do other errands or chores" then he'd almost always forget to go back.  The cognitive load was more than he could handle, although back then he could remember his frustration.  It was taking him all day to do a load of laundry, but of course he was too stubborn to ask for help.  By the end of Day #2 he said he wasn't leaving.

On Day #3 he'd decided that he was on a business trip in a nice hotel, and he was consulting on the client's electrical engineering needs.  (This was pretty much his life during the 1960s and early 1970s.)  He said he was really happy that they'd let him stay there on the weekends because he'd forgotten where he'd parked his car and didn't want to ask for help.  And besides they had free coffee...

Today he doesn't even want to go out the front door because he's afraid he won't remember how to get back to the building.  He still goes out to a local restaurant for Sunday breakfast with my brother, but he's not going to be interested in doing that for much longer. 

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Re: What would MMM do - 92 yr old MIL edition
« Reply #48 on: August 03, 2015, 12:02:05 PM »
It took anywhere from 1-6 months to transition. Having social interaction made a huge difference for them, and once they settled in they were much happier than they had been.

This. It also dovetails with Nords story of life being easier for those things that have become difficult with age and the unfortunate ailments that come with that. I hope that when I reach that point in my life, I am able to have the clarity (or maybe the nudge) to go instead of staying in the perceived security of a known situation at home.