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Economic Support for Aging Parents

My 86 yo mother is on a fixed income $2170 per month. Due to bad financial and life decisions, she finds herself homeless (she is currently living with me).  I moved out of the house at 21 for a reason and although I don't mind her staying here for the short-term, I don't think I could maintain my sanity if she lived with us until Death Due Us Part.  $2170 does not buy you much in the way of housing in Massachusetts.  I have been looking and applying for senior affordable housing in the area.  However, I think she would like to go to one of the Independent Living facilities (at 86 she can still care for herself), but at between $3500-$4000+ a month, it is outside her monthly income range.  She has some cash assets, but if we supplemented her income with money from the "nest egg" she would run out of money in 10 years. My question to the group... what economic support do I owe my mother?  I have a brother, but he is retired and is already supporting a grandchild.  I don't want to put my retirement at risk nor my ability to support my children should they need it in the future.  

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Since your mom can still care for herself, get her into a low income senior housing complex. She's young enough to enjoy the social aspects as well to make new friends. Spending her assets on more expensive options now could leave her nothing when assisted living is required later. She can live in a lower cost area and you can travel to see her. In central Ohio, for example, there are nice apartments for seniors for about $700 a month. Go to for ideas also. 

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Regular Social Butterfly

To be blunt, you owe no financial support (or living with you), imho!


I have planned EOL to not involve my daughters' monetary support; I am now estranged from my Bro after this support question very recently re our Mom.


Speak honestly and openly with your Mom; perhaps have her read some of these discussions on AARP. Perhaps she'll find the right path for yall...



Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Honored Social Butterfly

Assisted Living (official) facilities usually have a base price which includes room and board, meals housekeeping, laundry and medication handling.  It is the addon price for anything else that begins to add up - might be just incidentals at first like beauty parlor, transport to stores & back, those are pretty nominal.  But when you start to get into actual personal care and the levels of it, it starts to really add up.  They charge for care at different levels from just observation/monitoring- to some help with- to the actual performance of the care.  As an example:  Take a bath - observation/monitoring would be at one cost, help with the bath would be at a higher cost, actually giving her a bath would be at the high level.


At 86, she may do just fine for a good while at just the standard but when needing care begins, except for maybe during a recuperation period, it does not usually go back the other way.


The facility will evaluate her for care level and set the price at that time and what it includes and at what level.  They will also give you the upwards care fees.  Contracts only go for so long so be aware that all the price points can go up.


In my area, we have what we call Personal Care Homes - they are in regular neighborhoods where the person running it has gotten a permit for this type use.  They are limited to the number of residents by the size of the home and number of full baths.  They are monitored by my state just like Assisted Living Facilities.  They have ratios of caregivers to residents.  Some are really nice and great - others, not so much. The state, if they have them, keeps a list of them on their eldercare area - In my state, they keep a list of all the monitoring, any complaints and infractions and the outcome.  A list like this is actually kept for all the various types of eldercare facilities - so check with your state on how you can find it for your review.


My mother entered one of these Personal Care Homes when she was 89.  There were (5) residents in total and she was the youngest one.  Some were pushing 100; some needed little care, others a whole lot (my mom)  

The cost was close to what she was paying in an Assisted Living Facility but more intimate.  She had to leave the Assisted Living facility because she was no longer mobile (or coherent)  and they had liability issues with that problem like unable to get her out in an emergency situation like a fire.  I understood their problem and hospice helped me find this great PCH.   



As far as paying - You will have to check with the state to see how her income/assets measures up for any financial help.  But that will limit her choices of places to live.  If that is her fixed income, she is more fortunate than many but Mass is a high cost state.   My mother had a good amount of assets which I liquidated as needed for her living, personal care and medical expenses.  I had been her POA for a very long time so I planned accordingly for such a time.  


I cannot answer your question about economic support for her - like I said, as my mother's POA for a very long time, I had planned for this financially by managing and investing for a very long time.


I's say, Use the "nest egg" - once the assets are gone, she may have to move to someplace where her fixed income covers most or some of the cost and the government will pick up the rest under agreement with the facility.  IF she qualifies for government help.


I understand about not wanting to live with her - I had the same situation.  I care for my mom - visited her, took her places, arranged R & R, made sure she was well cared for - made sure that what money she had grew and it was there when she needed it - but she could not live with me for several reasons - it would not have worked - not for her and not for me.  


But you have to decide - probably more decisions will have to be made from here on out - 

I found these places which may help you - I just hate it when they don't put dates on important things, but I know that it has some references to 2017 within it so it may still be relevant. - Assisted Living In Massachusetts: A Consumer Guide

There is also a - Senior site that references HOUSING.  check this out.

Good Luck to you and your Mom




It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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