My Blog

September 26, 2017

Elderly Mothers and Finances

How can people afford to stay at a high-priced Residential Facility?

Lady D makes pretty bead jewelry and sells it to other residents at their annual fair. Lady M, Mom’s neighbor across the hall, paints pictures to sell. Others feel fortunate to have families that are willing to help with payments. Still others, a very few, saved enough to pay the high costs of extended care and an even smaller number were smart enough to buy Extended Life Health Insurance. The premiums may be high, but the relief at the end is worth it.

Probably a more common question, is how are we to care for ourselves in our old age? Not everyone has family to help out. Or insurance. And I can promise you—don’t count on the government. We are on our own.

I made the rounds of the Social Security offices yesterday, both national and state and found that there was no help for Mom. She either made too much–$850 a month was $100 over the Social Security limit—or she had to have some medical condition and spend 30 to 90 days in a Medicaid Pending facility to get support. No chance of that happening since there are no beds available.

What is she to do? At 98, Mom still talks, sometimes, of getting a job to care for other elderly. Or working at a library. Or working at anything. But the jobs are few and far between and she is truly no longer able to do much of anything. It is up to us, her children, to care for her.

I can see why there are many people who have to give up their day jobs to care for elderly parents. Or lock their parents in the house and hope they don’t burn the place down by forgetting a pot on the stove.

I have a feeling that, more and more, we are going to see our elderly out there scrambling for jobs. I hear Amazon hires a lot of them. Then when the facility gets too hot to work in, they just put EMTs outside to rehydrate the ones who pass out and send them back in to continue working. A lovely thought, wouldn’t you say? What a convenient captive labor force!

One of my friends from our local exercise center has found a job at Walmart handing out samples. It is hard on her feet since she stands 6 hours a day and the public to whom she offers her samples are either rude or keep cruising past to eat up her wares without buying.

Another friend moved in with relatives. Still another, at 70-plus, has gone back to take classes in computers to try to find a job. Still others have considered creating their own commune and pooling their resources so they can survive together. But they will need caregivers and who is going to pay for them?

We never know what is going to face us if we have not been proactive in saving money. Or, God forfend, we have lost our savings whether by accident or by disastrous depression in our economy.

In Mom’s case, it’s back to the trailer. Okay, okay, not trailer, her Mobile Home. We will get caregivers for day times and just trust to God and luck that she can keep from hurting herself at night. What else is there to do?

I remember hearing a story about my father-in-law. My fragile, elderly mother-in-law had fallen and he could not raise her. Rather than calling EMT immediately, he sat there and waited for her to die. She didn’t. Eventually, he had to call the paramedics. She didn’t last too much longer.

At least Mom will be happy to be “home” again. I doubt she will be prone to wandering and this time she is not going to complain about having maids to help her.

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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