Father needs to go to a nursing home

publickmanMarch 14, 2012

I have no experience with this, but my father can no longer take care of himself at home, and my mother is also incapable of helping him. He is a veteran of WWII, and my brother and sister in Texas think he should move to the Veteran's nursing home in Temple, about 10 miles from where he lives now. I cannot picture him there, but I also cannot picture him in the condition he is in at home either. He has not left the house in over a week, can barely move, and my mother has now agreed to diaper him. Also, I do not know how any of us would pay for the nursing home, and I am having trouble even thinking about it. Where should I go for help? My sister is an attorney, but she specialized in banking law. She had larengitis when I called her last night, and so I had Kevin call our brother in Texas who is staying with our parents at the moment while his house is being remodeled, but he will be going back to his house in two weeks. Last week one of my brother's carpenters was killed on the highway by a woman who had been stopped three times earlier in the day but never arrested. I guess she will be charged with manslaughter now.

My last remaing aunt (Dad's sister) died last week at a nursing home in NM, and I found out that my father's kidneys are now operating at 1/2 capacity. I'm still trying to get over a persistent cold and am seeing my doctor tomorrow morning. I may ask him to recommend a psychiatrist for me.


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Lars, I'm so sorry. I did a quick search for social services for the elderly in TX and have these links. It's a place to start.

I recall my mother trying to get VA help for my step father when he had a massive stroke as a result of prep for brain surgery. He had served in the Army during the Korean War but had not served overseas so he qualified for very little. And the VA services were abysmal from what I heard from her. But you could call ask.

My heart goes out to you. Hugs and hugs.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 7:32PM
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Sorry to hear the news about your father. It is a tough decision to make. We had to do it for our Mom when she reached 91. She always wanted to stay in her home till she died. But she had several medical problems that required full time around the clock care and it was the only way to go. It was a wonderful place that she stayed at for almost 2 years before she died. We all felt better after we moved her knowing she was getting the care she needed.

I hope you are feeling better soon and can get over that nasty cold. You should go see your doctor and go in with a list of questions.

Sending you good thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Wow, Lars, when it rains it pours. I know Medicare will pay for skilled nursing for awhile, but only awhile.

Do try to get yourself well so you can cope with this.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Thanks for the links, Eileen. I will check them out when I feel a bit more lucid. As I said, it's difficult for me to think about this.

Clare, I will definitely make a list of questions for my doctor. My grandmother used to do this when she would go to the doctor, but unfortunately they took this as a sign of hypochondria and did not pay attention to her when she complained of abdominal pains. As it turned out, she had colon cancer, but it was diagnosed too late for them to treat.

My sister thinks that once our father gets into the veteran's home he will have more friends and more people to talk with. I would have to see the facility myself before I could feel good about it because I have heard horror stories about not only nursing homes but the one in Temple in particular. One of the national evening shows did a special on this facility because it was so bad, but I think that they must have fixed the problems by now.

I have a feeling that my father will not last longer than the amount of time that Medicare/Medicaid would cover - I don't see him lasting two more years, and this is sad enough. I don't know how much longer my mother will last either, as her doctor has said that she needs a heart valve replacement, which she has refused. At this point I understand her decision, as the quality of life after the surgery may not be worth it, and she is fine now otherwise. I think she may be able to live at least 4-5 more years even without the surgery, and she has told us that she does not want to live any longer than that.

I had a moment at work this afternoon during which I felt overwhelmed with sadness and had to cry for several minutes. I used to have these moments much more frequently when I was younger - even just 10 years younger, but they have subsided in the past few years. What does help is being about to talk with someone, which is why I thought I might need to see a therapist, but I was able to talk with a co-worker today and get some help. She told me that she was good at helping people in this kind of situation, and I have helped her with some of her situations.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Oh Lars, my dear, I'm sorry you have so many things to deal with right now.

I do have to tell you, though, my stepmother had both valves replaced in her heart last year and she will be 80 in just a few weeks. She felt better almost immediately, although she did have to have round the clock care for a couple of weeks following surgery. About a month later, she also got a pacemaker and she's doing a lot better.

Good luck with the VA. Dad was a rear tail gunner in the Air Force, flew 24 combat missions over Korea. When he got sick, it took months just to get in to see the VA doctor, who told him that they couldn't do anything his regular doctor couldn't do and he should just go back to his regular doctor. Of course, you don't get into the VA system without all the proper paperwork, and it takes months of fighting. So, if your Dad has done none of that paperwork, expect it to be lengthy, voluminous and time consuming. (sigh)

I don't know how long Medicare will pay for a nursing home, but I was told by the local social workers that if my stepmother went into a nursing home that the government would simply take her entire social security check, leaving her $40 a month for spending money, and that would go to pay for the nursing home. I know people who have spent years in nursing homes, so I think the payment period is quite a long time.

Take care of yourself, you need to be healthy to deal with all of these family issues. I'm sending hugs to you and Kevin.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 10:53PM
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Lars, my heart goes out to you in your time of need... I wish I could take you in my arms and hug you until everything is all better. (( HUG ))

Annie is right, take care of yourself FIRST!!!!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Find and Compare Nursing Homes

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:45AM
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Lars, I will be keeping you in my thoughts. I'm sorry you are going through such a difficult time.....


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:19AM
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Lars, I'm sorry you have to go through this. It definitely difficult.

I work in a nursing home/rehab center in Pennsylvania so I have a few tips.

First someone needs to go look at the facilities you are considering and go unannounced. Look at the residents. Are they clean? Do they look well cared for. Does the staff look happy or miserable? Is the facility clean(you may encounter an odor from time to time but it should not be throughout the facility)?

Here in Pennsylvania the Pa Dept of Health website lists facilities their surveys and problems. I'm sure Texas has something too. All facilities have some issues but it's another tool to evaluate a facility.

I work in a small family owned facility so we aren't fancy. Don't let looks deceive you.

Payment is a little more complicated. Medicare does not pay for nursing home care unless skilled care is required and that is for a short period of time. We have people who pay privately, some with long term care insurance and medical assistance. You can speak to the social workers and they can give you more information.

I agree with the others, take care of yourself, otherwise you won't be able to help your parents.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:50AM
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I'm so sorry to read your father is in need of more care than your Mom can provide. I can understand your feelings of being overwhelmed. It's difficult.

I've been through it 4 times. First, my Dad, then MIL followed by my maternal aunt and then FIL just a few years ago. Each situation is unique. You have my empathy. It won't be easy.

We went private pay so I don't know much about Medicare or other assistance. The Veteran's care facility may be a good option. But do a full due diligence before deciding. The quality of care facilities varies greatly.

The other posters are spot on...you must take care of yourself. You'll need your strength - both physical & mental.

Just a thought...have you considered having professional help come to your parents' home daily to care for your father? There are agencies that provide such care - usually in 3 shifts/day. Might be something to consider unless he needs specialized medical care only available in a more structured environment. We did that for FIL for almost 3 years before it became necessary to move him to a hospice facility.

BTW, it's not unusual for family members to have difficulty agreeing on the best course of action. Everybody's emotions can be raw & there are also just differences in opinions. We all handle end-of-life situations differently. Your Mom may also be more needy. Anticipate and be emotionally prepared for a few of these family disagreements. Mostly, take care of yourself.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Lars, I'm sorry that you and your family are having to deal with this issue. I know it isn't easy.

My mom passed away in January. But she had lived happily for the last ten years in a nursing home. She went into the home when she was 74 and it was wonderful for her. My mom was very social so she was able to make a life for herself. She was very involved and had lots of friends and visitors.

It is too bad that your dad doesn't have the same benefits that he would have if he lived in Canada. My mom was lucky because she had benefits through my dad's employment that paid for her room. But if she hadn't had this insurance benefit, and couldn't afford to pay for the nursing home herself, it would have been paid for by the Canadian Government. Her Canada Pension and her Canadian Old Age Security pension would have paid for some and the remainder would have been picked up by the Government. And she would have had the same level of care regardless.

Veterans here also have excellent benefits. I would be surprised if the USA didn't also take excellent care of their veterans.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Hang in there Lars. Has anyone called your dad's doctor?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:33AM
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I just got back from my doctor's office, and he gave me the names of some psychiatrists/therapists that he recommended for me to see regarding the stress that I am feeling. I didn't know it was stress, but that's what he called it. I think seeing a therapist will help me a lot for several issues, and I agree that it is important for me to take care of myself first in order to have the strength to help someone else.

Rita, I used your link to compare nursing homes in Temple, Texas, and it did not look good. They gave the VA nursing home one star, and I've read scathing reviews from others about this facility, although I've also read some moderate reviews as well. Someone needs to check it out in person. My SIL used to be a nurse, but she quit working a few years ago so that she could spend more time with her grandchildren (not my brother's, but hers from a previous marriage). She and my father never got along, and she does not want to have anything to do with him or see him any more than she cannot avoid. It's unfortunate that she does not want to help, but I understand her point of view.

My brother has spoken with my father's doctor, and the doctor recommends that he go into a home, but that does not mean that DF will go without a fight. He has hospice care three times a week, but this is not enough, and he needs daily care/attention.

Annie, everyone wanted Mother to have the surgery, but she is dead set against it. Her doctor gave her an 87% chance of full recovery and said that it would allow her to live 10 more years, but she said that she did not want to live that much longer. One of her other doctors had told her before that she had lived long enough!

Ann, I am also envious of the Canadian system - it is so much more humane. Here they will make you mortgage your house/property to pay for a nursing facility if you own property. If we did that for DF, there might not be much left for DM, and that does not seem fair.

Thanks to everyone for the hugs - they mean a lot to me.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I'm sorry about this Lars. I don't have any answers just another hug.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Lars, I sure understand your pain. We have discussions on the Caregivers Forum that might help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Caregivers

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Lars I'm really sorry to hear about your DF.

I can't answer many of your questions. My DM has been in a nursing home twice in the last few years. Both times it was due to injury. Medicare and her supplemental insurance covered all costs. There is a limit though when it comes to long term care. I would question whether they can attach the family home, since your DM still lives there.

Someone in your family should have medical power of attorney and that person may be the best for checking on the details. Unless your DM is able to do that.

My own DM is 91. She made sure that I had all the legal and medical power of attorneys I might need. Bless her heart!


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 3:35PM
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VA Homes and hospitals are usually the bottom of the barrel, sorry to say.

What kind of doctor would tell someone she has lived long enough? That is not for him to say!

Good luck, Lars. I am glad you are getting some help.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:42PM
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I can't offer any concrete advice about the care you can find for your Dad because I don't know your system but you can be no good to your parents if you aren't well enough to help them through

Take care yourself and lean on each other.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:44PM
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So sorry Lars, take care of yourself. The golden years and especially those without dignity are just crummy. My little mother often says, "aging isn't for sissies". She isn't kidding!

BTW see if there is such a thing as Board &Care homes in Tx. My father lived in one and had extraordinary care as his dementia advanced. A small home-like setting, only six residents and each had their own room. No skilled nursing, but he didn't need it. It made the last days of his life as pleasant and caring as possible. I hope they're an option for your father too.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:01AM
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My grandmother was in a board and care home, as Ellen describes, until she broke her ankle. At that point she went to a nursing home and then another, where she eventually passed away. The board and care home provided a social life which she enjoyed.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:26AM
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Lars, I'm pretty new here, but just had to comment. Whatever you do, do NOT sign any papers agreeing to be financially responsible for your father. Texas could be different (I hope not) but children are usually never financially responsible for their parents - unless you sign papers saying you will pay. So don't.

Medicare is a federal program and does not pay for NH care - except for a short time after a hospital stay, and then only if there is continuing improvement, rehab not just nursing care.

Medicaid is a federally funded state run program that varies from state to state. Generally, you have to have limited assets to qualify and considers spousal assets, too. But the spouse can keep the home and a certain amount of $$ - generally over $100,000, plus income to maintain the household. The rest of the income goes to contribute toward care in a NH. If the spouse then needs NH care, the home must be sold and $ used to pay for that care. If it is depleted, then the state will again pay. Here is info specific to Texas, which I think is where your parents are? If not, let me know and I'll find info for their state.

Here is a link for you: Senior services. Find the office close to you and/or your parents and call them. If you are over 60, they can help you, too. Generally, they can put you in touch with a counselor and/or support group who are experience in dealing with aging parents. It can be a godsend to connect with those folks. They also can advise about all the decision making - financial and placement for your parents. Senior Information

Lastly, be sure someone has durable power of attorney for both of your parents. It will make all of this immensely easier. Your attorney sister should be able to help with that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Medicaid assets test

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I'll share all this info with my siblings this week-end. My father has made our other brother the executor of his will, but I do not know about POA. I also know that DF does not trust our sister because she is a woman, despite the fact that she is attorney. He would never accept any advice from her, and that is a problem. I think she can probably find out how much of the estate is exempt, but my parents own quite a bit of land that DF wanted to keep in the family, as his ancestors have been on that land since 1870. My father has already given the brother in Texas his part of his inheritance, and the rest is supposed to go to our Mother if DF dies first so that she will have a source of income.

I think there are home and board facilities in Belton, which is 10 miles from Temple and would be about 19 miles from where my parents live.

I've checked out the caregivers forum, and it looks like there is enough information there without my having to start a thread.

Kevin and I will be at a Sci-Fi convention on Sunday - part of his already planned birthday celebration, and so we will have to get a lot of information on Saturday. However, Kevin is off from work all next week, and so he should be able to gather some information on his own at that time.

Thanks for your help and all the links, which I will be using much more in the next couple of days.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Lars, I don't have any new advice to offer, since the above advice has been so good. Well, maybe I do have a suggestion. When my mother was in Hospice care in Dallas, they were very, very helpful in telling us where to go for funeral arrangements, counseling and all kinds of info and help we might have needed. I suggest that you or one of your family ask for guidance from the Hospice people. They have a wealth of information and resources. In my experience, the Hospice people are angels living on earth.

I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Lars, I am so sorry you have all of this to deal with. I have no advice to add, but I am sending you my well wishes and lots of hugs.

Take care of yourself. You all will get through this.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:06AM
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My thoughts are with you and your family. It's tough, I know.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Lars, I agree about Medicare and Medicaid. When stepmother went into the nuring home Medicare paid for 21 days. After that medicaid covered some of it, and she owned a house and they didn't take it or require her to sell it. She did have to finally sell it as her court appointed guardian said she could not live there alone and that was confirmed by her doctor and nurses. Becasue I could not find a buyer quickly and the bank was getting ready to foreclose, I purchased it myself. She now lives in federally subsidized senior housing and is not allowed to own any property or she wouldn't qualify, but that's a different program altogether.

Elery's parents lived in Tennessee when his mother became incapacitated with Alzheimer's. She spent 7 years in a nursing home before she died and his father was not required to sell the family home either, in fact she passed away 5 years ago and his Dad still owns the house although he is remarried and lives in Ohio.

So, although I'm unaware of the requirements in Texas, I don't think your family will be required to sell the family home to pay for nursing home care. I only hope you find somewhere safe and comfortable for your father in his last days here.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Lars, here's an article by the US Department of Health & Human Services that details how a personal home is treated for repayment of benefits.

Rather than my restating...probably better for you to read.

Hope you & Kevin are having a fun time today celebrating Kevin's BD!

Hang in there...most all of us have to get through similar circumstances at some point. It's difficult, no doubt, but you'll get through it. I hope you can find quality care for your DF without too much stress. Count yourself lucky you have siblings living nearby mom/dad to keep a watchful eye on care and to visit frequently.


Here is a link that might be useful: US Department of Health & Human Services

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:56AM
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Thanks for that link, Tricia - I'll have to read it later when I get home. Kevin and I did have fun celebrating his birthday at WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim. Elvira was supposed to be there one day, but we didn't get to see her - I've seen her in person before, however. When we got home, there was a message from Mother because we usually call her at around 4:30 PM every Sunday, and we didn't get back until 6:00 yesterday. We got lost several times getting to the event and parking, but it ended up being worth it. I met some very nice comic book artists who were interested in my stories, but that's another matter altogether. I really haven't been getting out enough lately, and it was nice to meet friendly people.

Thanks for the support, but unfortunately there are no updates. When I was talking with DM, she wanted to get off the phone fairly quickly, and when I called DS, she still had laryngitis. She hasn't answered my email either and has not been at work AFAIK.

I'm feeling good enough after yesterday that I do not think I need to see a therapist, although that could change. I was a bit shocked to find that they charge from $175 to $250 an hour, and I do not know how much my insurance would pay. I can probably just talk with friends and get the help I need.

Thanks again for listening!


    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Lars, I am very sorry to hear about your father. That is always a difficult time.

I have some input based on my own experience that you may find helpful.

First, your parents' estate can probably be divided now. This division would apply to all assets excluding the family home. Then, if your father goes into care, his half of the assets are spent down. After that he is eligible for Medicaid.

Meanwhile, your mother remains in the family home with access to her half of the assets. After both your parents are gone, the state may bill the estate to recoup costs expended for Medicaid (or partial restitution, depending upon the size of the estate). States differ in their approach to this issue.

It would be appropriate to consult with a law firm experienced in elder care law. They can discuss all aspects with you and your siblings.

Many people are unaware there is a Veterans Pension program for elderly veterans who served during wartime and who meet the criteria for service and income. They do not have to have served in a combat area (could have had stateside service) but must be honorably discharged.

This pension also comes with an Aid and Attendance or Housbound benefit. In other words, it may be possible for your father to receive caregiver services in his own home, but paid for by the VA. Or, the pension can help defray the costs of his placement in a private home, making a VA home unnecessary.

I don't know if this applies to your family's circumstances, but there are many families out there totally unaware the VA provides this valuable service to wartime veterans of limited means.

Somewhere in your parents' county or nearby there should be some sort of Veterans' Advocate office with a staffperson who can assist with the paperwork and expedite.

I've provided a link that might be worth checking out.

You have all my sympathy. I've been there. Do take care of yourself. Financial stresses and family dynamics can take a real toll.


Here is a link that might be useful: Veterans Pension Program

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Thanks, Carol! I will forward that information to my sister. I was not aware of most of the veteran benefits, but then I am not directly involved. There are plenty of veteran facilities in the county where my parents live - they are in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan area (population 390,000) - there is a Veteran's Hospital and nursing home in Temple (close to my parents), another veteran's office in Belton, and a Veteran's advocate office in Harker Heights, which is close to Killeen and Fort Hood, but further from my parents. They may prefer to go to the Austin office, since my sister lives there. I am hoping that DS can help with the estate planning so that it will make it easier for DF to receive benefits from Medicaid or the VA to help pay for his care. I really hate to see him in the condition that he is in now.

Kevin has this week off, and so I might get him to check in on things before the week-end.

Thanks for your help!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Great info! I'm well aware of how much time it takes to manage our parent's care and finances. It's really time consuming, and I'd suggest that Kevin work on it immediately. Please get right to the estate planning. Hopefully your sister will know of a good attorney who can help with getting their affairs in order-- powers of attorney for financial asset management, healthcare etc. All this is very important, as well as a marital or separate trusts so that probate and inheritance taxes don't claim it all.

It's an difficult time, but one that requires a family meeting and some careful planning to make certain that your parents are able to receive what they need.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Lars, I really agree about getting right on the estate planning if it's not already done. Having the right POAs is so important.

My Dad was a stubborn, suspicious, mistrustful man. He refused to sign POAs even though my husband is an attorney. Dad did his Will (thank goodness!) but just flatly refused to sign a POA.

Then one day, I got a phone call that he was in the hospital in a lock-down ward for a mandatory 72-hour evaluation. He had tried to hang himself. My step-mom had called the police. They got to Dad in time to prevent suicide but off he went to the hospital. The doctors said he was incompetent so it was too late for him to sign a POA. I had to go through the courts. I lived in NH at the time and Dad was in CA. It took months to get guardianship. It was also costly. Like thousands of dollars costly. Yes, the court allowed for me to be reimbursed from Dad's estate but we had to front all those costs. Then, of course, there was less in Dad's estate for care. Waste of money. But, didn't have a choice 'cause Dad wouldn't sign POA. Thankfully, both of DH's parents had their paperwork buttoned down tight & it was so much easier to get the care they needed when it became necessary.

If your parents haven't already set up a trust - it's probably too late if your Dad needs care now. There's a set-aside period (in many states it's 5 years but some are a bit less).

Best to all of you.


P.S. Don't be surprised if your Mom starts behaving differently. She's under a lot of stress also.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 4:01PM
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Lars, I'm just reading this. I hope you are well and taking care of yourself.

I do feel your pain and I would love to see an update to how things are going.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 11:30PM
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I, too, want to send you my best wishes in this tough time. I don't have advice to add, but I do have positive thoughts, prayers and cyberhugs to share. ((((Lars))))

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Thanks again for the hugs.

I did talk with my sister on Sunday, and it seems that she and our other brother are taking care of things the best they can under the circumstances. Our father had flatly refused to do any estate planning, and yes, it is too late now, according to DS. DF is on a waiting list for the VA home, which DS says is a very nice place, but she told me that the waiting list is now approximately six months. They have someone coming in five days a week to care for DF and do light housekeeping for two hours, and so there are just two days when DB (Mike) will have to come in and help. DS said that before they had more help that the house was very dirty, which she thought was unhealthful for both our parents. DF now no longer remembers where he is and keeps asking to be taken home even though he is already at home. For this reason, DS thinks that it will be easier for him to transition to the nursing home, since he does not know where he is anyway. He is not eating much now and keeps losing weight and strength. No one knows how much longer this will continue. I told DS that I could not quit my job and move down there, and she agreed that that was not a practical alternative. I feel bad that my two siblings are left with the bulk of this situation.

I was very glad to be rid of my cold, which lasted three weeks, and I've been very well the last 10 days. I need to get into a new execise routine that I can safely do each day, and I plan to start riding my bike after work, now that we have more light. I would like for Kevin to ride with me, but he's been working late the past week, due to absences from his assistants and also to make up for the long vacation he took for his birthday. For myself, I only have three vacation days left, having used quite a bit when I was sick, and so if I have to go to Texas very soon, I would need to take unpaid bereavement leave.

I do not see anything getting better at this point, and so it is just a waiting period. DM seems to be doing okay, and her doctors are impressed with how healthy her heart has been, despite their recommendation for a valve replacement. I do worry about how she will fare when DF leaves the house, as she would be very lonely, even though he has been a burden on her lately. She might move in with Mike - he has been renovating his house, and one of the renovations was adding a bathroom for the guest room.

Thanks for all your thoughts.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Lars, I was the primary caregiver for my mother. My sister lived about an hour away, and my brother lived several hours away, while I only lived 20 minutes away, and ended up moving in with her. I didn't feel any resentment at all at the situation. My sister came to town frequently to give me breaks. We were able to have a caregiver come in during the days while I was at work, and the Hospice nurse came once a week. So, I had lots of help and support. I went to support groups, which helped a lot, too. I'm sure my siblings probably felt like they should have done more, or at least wished they could do more, but it just wasn't practical. We all understood that. I hope it's the same with your family. It sounds like it is. Please, if it's the kind of thing you do, find a support group to attend. Urge your siblings to do so, also. It's amazing how much they can help. Oh, and in my case, the Alzheimer's association was a big help, offering care giving training and books on loan.

I'm glad you're feeling better.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:34AM
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I have been thinking of you and your family. I hope you are staying well and that you and your siblings are managing the challenges.

Regarding your parents' home, as long as your mother continues to live there it is excluded from any consideration of assets. What normally happens is the spouse stays in the home and after the spouse sells the home (or dies) the state may make a claim for reimbursement of money spent. Some states are more aggressive than others in attempting to recover funds from estates. I don't know where Texas falls on that line.

Federal law prevents the sale of the home to cover these costs as long as the husband or wife is living there. Nor is the value of the home considered in the calculation of assets.

I am really sorry to hear that your SIL is not willing to check out facilities as it would certainly make things much easier. But hospice is a resource not just for your father but for your family. It might be useful to ask them for advice or names of people who can assist with some of the issues.


Here is a link that might be useful: Medicaid Treatment of the Home

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:54PM
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According to my sister, DF will never qualify for Medicaid because of the way he has insisted on handling his affairs, and so there is nothing we can do in that regard. Because of his deterioating condition, he has been moved up on the waiting list for the nursing home, and I think it will be a relief for everyone involved when he is finally admitted. My grandmother moved into an assisted living condo in Temple not too long after my grandfather died because she had broken her hip when got up at night to turn a light off in the hall. She should have left the light on. Anyway, she was a bit younger and could still drive when she moved there, and my father needs much more care than she did.

My mother seems to be holding up well during this - but I guess she's just taking it as it comes. My parents have never had much patience with each other, however. It will be drastic when DF moves out, however, and I will probably have to go visit when that happens to help her with the transition. I guess she will keep the house as her official residence but spend most of her time and DB's house, which should be ready in the next month or so.

Thanks for your thoughts.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 5:37PM
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You might still keep it in mind. My stepmother went into care and in the third year shifted to Medicaid after her half of my parents' estate was depleted.

I understand about how your father insists on handling his own affairs. After my father had his stroke he had periods of distrust/paranoia and became very secretive. Superficially he seemed fine, but then we'd discover unbeknownst to us he'd made choices we had no idea about.

It wasn't until just a few days before he was due to move out that we'd discovered he'd sold his farm. We had almost no time whatsoever to clear out a big old three-story farmhouse crammed to the rafters. I still get queasy thinking of all the keepsakes that were tossed into the donation skip because we just didn't have time to sort through everything.

The buyer (a really unpleasant used-carlot owner) became very aggressive and arrived late at night with a caravan of cars ready to push my father out, even though he still had 24 hours.

Fortunately my DH was there and called the sheriff who got rid of them. (Though not before the buyer got into an argument with his wife, locked himself out of his car and had to breakout his own window. Karma.)

All the best to you.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Well, Lars......if nothing else, know you have tons of friends who are standing by you...this is something none of us want to do....i watched my mother at her nursing home for 3 weeks...my sister said it was my turn to take care of her...it is all a sad story. have you tried calling hospice ???
no one wants to see their parents in that situation....my son, who now lives in Sweden, came here to Florida 2 weeks ago to visit me...he was worried, as i moved to tn to Fla and he wanted to see where i lived and security and all of that..i think he wanted to believe that i would live forever...the kids all gave their dad a huge 70th birthday party....but mine came and went..i got cards...we also drew up my will as he was here...which was good....
but , you have my blessings....when i lived in Knoxville, i would go to the nursing home around the corner...to give those ladies , hand massages....i said, i could not do it for my mother, but i was happy to do it for someones else s mother....they just don't get touched...big hugs

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Carol, DF would not be able to sell the farm without DM's consent, and so that would not happen secretly. He has only a small portion of what was the original estate from 1870, as it got divided a couple of times, but he lives on the original homestead and is listed in the Texas historical registry for continuous one family ownership for more than 100 years. My brother in Texas wants to continue the ownership, and his son will probably want to take care of it after that.

I tried to call Mother yesterday, and DF answered the phone, which was a bit of a surprise. He said he was doing fine (which he isn't) and that Mother had gone to town to pick something up and had left him in the house alone (also not true). He then told me that someone had stolen his pickup and that it was probably in Mexico by now. That was pretty much the extent of our conversation, and then he told me that he would have DM call me when she got back. She did call me a few minutes later while Kevin and I were on the phone with our sister, and DM told us that she had never left the house but was merely in a different bedroom - where I guess she had gone to get away from DF. He seems to be driving her crazy, and she has very little patience for him. She told me that she threatened to leave him if he didn't stop telling her the same wild stories over and over, and so I guess he has the idea that she might leave at any moment. According to DS, someone is with him 24 hours, as he cannot be left alone for any stretch of time. I'm sure that my brother and his wife are doing everything they can to speed up his entrance to the nursing home, which is where everyone agrees that he needs to be - that is, everyone except DF. He would try to drive his pickup if my brother had not taken it away, even though he is almost completely blind. My mother gets tired of hearing him ask to be taken home and keeps trying to convince him that he is already at home. DB and his wife will be moving back into their own house in a couple of weeks, and this will make it more difficult for DM. At this point, I am just trusting my brother to make the right decisions, as I am not in a position to move back to Texas to help with the care. Speaking of sheriffs - DF threatened to call his local sheriff to have him come and pick him up and take him home unless DM takes him - he thinks he is being held hostage at times.

Linda, what do you mean by "calling hospice"? I'm not sure what that is. It's nice that your son visited you from Sweden, but I think you are a long way from having to worry about death. It's very nice that you visit nursing homes yourself - I haven't been since my grandmother died. We gave our mother a big 80th birthday party and also a big 60th wedding anniversary party, and that was the last good family reunion we had, I think, except for maybe my nephew's wedding, and I can't remember when that was.

I'm trying to figure out if and/or when we should plan another trip to see our family. We were there last December, less than four months ago; DF's birthday is in June, and he will be 89.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:54PM
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