Monday, September 21, 2009
My Mom's money belongs to her. She wants to leave it to me, my brothers and the sister we don't talk to. We understand her desire, she has raised 4 kids who are wildly ..okay.. none of us are wildly successful in any way. We have jobs that are kind of secure and good, no CEOs in our family. Both of my brothers and my sister (and my mother if we're counting her) have been divorced twice and are currently unmarried. I have been divorced once and just don't want to add to my family fun statistic.
So yeah. There is a distinct possibility that she feels like leaving us some money will be something she can give us that can improve our lives. Well sure, a chunk of money (and it wouldn't be that large) would always be welcome. But not at the expense of my Mom's care. We are trying to do what is best for her but I know we cannot afford care whether it be adult day care, in-home care, assisted living, to whatever we need. Not because we're worried about running down our savings, who's got savings??? Nobody is worried about not being able to afford a vacation, who does that? No. It's worried because we don't have it.
Anyway. I talked to an attorney today who specialized in Elder Law. No I didn't, I talked to his administrator whose name was Dottie. She was very helpful with the law in New Jersey, the ins and outs of Medicare, Medicaid, elder care, etc. Comes down to - Ma - we have to cash in the stuff you want to save for us so we can take care of you. Period.
I talked to her tonight, I think I was the first one to bring up the idea of (eventually) needing assisted living or some kind of full time care. I was gentle but I think she was shocked. I told her we don't want her to have to go anywhere right now and later - if then - only if it's necessary. We talked about her dropping the price on her home (which sits empty) so she can get it to sell, spoke about spending some of that money for a place she can go during the day to be around other people to socialize, and also be near people who can help her if she falls. Adult daycare couched in words almost sounding like "play date". A place to go to meet people, play cards, TV, talk to people, maybe do crafts. Ugh.
Not a fun talk. It didn't help that she got up and was moving around while we were talking and when she sat down again she had some serious wheezing going on. I wanted to breathe FOR her. Through the phone. So .. there wasn't much discussion. I tried to emphasize that these are still her decisions, we aren't trying to take those choices away. She said "it's a lot to digest all at once." Yes Mom, it is.
After I got off the phone with her I went to my Insurance Company's site and sent an email to my agent. I need to look into long term care for myself. I don't want my kids to have to figure out how to care for me. I'm 50 now, and if I wait - the price is only going to go up so I might as well check into it now. I have no idea what kind of planning other people do, I'm sure it's quite different for couples, but I guess I've never discussed it with anyone.
Are any of you planning that far ahead? Are you worried about possibly being a burden on your children?
For me I don't see myself as a burden really, but I just want there to be a plan in place so when and if it becomes necessary I want my kids to know there is something in place for that eventuality. I don't want them to have to agonize over it.