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Taking Care of Our Own - Advice Needed on Helping my Grammy

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posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:04 PM
I picked this forum because this is survival as far as I'm concerned. Mods please move if inappropriate here.

I'm looking for any advice ATSers can give about moving an elderly relative closer to home. I know there are services available in terms of low income housing, etc. but finding this information online is abysmal, and I have no idea who to call first.

My 80 year old grandmother has been living in the great north woods of NH by herself for the past 20+ years. She is now legally blind (macular degeneration). She has some sight but not enough to be living alone 3.5 hours away from her family. We have extended family and friends who help out up there, and we rotate trips up north, but it's not the same as having her here with us. Being the stubborn woman that she is, she has wanted to stay in her home and we have tried to respect that as long as possible. She finally admits she cannot weather another north woods winter alone so it's now time to move her back to Massachusetts.

She doesn't need assisted living or a nursing home and damned if I will let those places suck away every penny she (and we) have. She can self-care with regular check-ins. She has been getting eye injections to help with the degeneration but she is over 80 and must also contend with being an older woman. It is possible she will go completely blind in the next five years.

The house she lives in is our family property and was purchased from her by us 10 years ago this November. So that asset is secured. She does have an annuity that she draws interest off of for income. I believe that is in the lower 5 figure range. I'm concerned this may exclude her from elderly housing benefits or other services she might otherwise qualify for.

We are trying to figure out the best way to move her back to Mass so that she retains her independence (an apartment of some kind) while being close enough for us to be there for her on a regular basis. We are overwhelmed shuffling through the possibilities.

My stance is I want to care for my own as much as possible. I considered trying to buy a condo that she could live in through that would be a stretch for us financially (though not impossible). I was advised that we could apply for elderly housing in our local areas but can't find a solid answer about residency status to qualify. Does a person who once resided in a state but lives elsewhere now still qualify as a resident? These are the basic questions I can't find answers to.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation and what did you do? I'm a "keep it in the family" type of person, both from a moral and a financial standpoint. She will NOT whither away in any sort of group setting - this woman was chopping her own wood and mowing her own grass as recently as five years ago. She has lived alone for 20 years. And I'll be damned if I pay several grand a month for her to live in a glorified hotel with a bunch of crabby strangers.

I expect others may have had to deal with transitioning parents/grandparents into new living situations. I would be grateful to learn from your experiences.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:18 PM
reply to post by otherpotato

I know someone in my area that has a Comfort Keepers franchise.

Here's some info for Mass.

I know that they help with in home care. They will do house work, provide companionship and even take the client on errands.

As far as programs, some state agencies (I've heard) will look back several years to make sure that assets aren't transferred away to family members, in an attempt to qualify for assistance.

Take this with a grain of salt, it's just what someone told me once.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:20 PM
First I have to say that I think that it is wonderful what you are doing.

Ok I will give you some advice and suggestions/options to look into based on the OP.

You can call your local courthouse for information, or even talking to the chamber of commerce, they can usually give ou great info, if still nothing you may have a 411 service that can help and also looking into the first few pages of your local yellow pages might get you pretty far as well.

Now for other possible options. If you or another family member/members have a home and or acerage you can always invest in a mobile that can be moved onto the property this way she is close by, and there is no monthly fees. She can grow food there and live alone, but with family always close by.

Also there are mini homes that can be built for a few grand, or less of course and can be easily place on someones property, for easy living, and its convenient, cosy, and of course she can have her independence.

Most states will push for assisted living and thats why some of my advice is unorthodox, and most do not understand why they wouldnt prefer to put family in a home. I dont know much about Mass, but there is also the option for a studio apartment a few blocks from family, or a one bedroom on a ground floor.

Im sorry if this wasnt enough, but I will look into it as well, and of course good luck!

Peace, NRE.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:25 PM
Build a guest home for her at family residence. Have family do the work, save her money, and everyone wins.

There is nothing more precious than a Grandma. You guys will never regret it.

My thoughts love and prayers go out to all of you and to your Grammy.

MD is frighting and frustrating, so try and set the house up as close to what she is familiar with when drawing the plans. Be sure and include her thoughts and desires, and perhaps something like a wrap around porch from her youth? Little things can make the transition of change easier and help her feel loved and wanted even though she is going through these changes.

Ask her how many homes she has lived in in her entire life. Sometime that discussion takes the edge off of the though of moving. Assure her that she will be part of the process and that once the decision is made you can start buying big tupperwares, filling and taping off clearly marked what is inside. Big enough that she can read it.

Best of luck to you and your family. It is all going to be just fine, and many good times ahead.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:27 PM
reply to post by otherpotato

Good for you in your decision to keep Granny as independent as she can be, for as long as possible. Her quality of life is very important to her. Have you considered purchasing a duplex apt. It's a good investment, as people like them for a number of reasons, so resale value should stay up there. Plus, Granny gets one side, and you rent the other side to a part time care giver, for reduced rent, if needed.

Good Luck in keeping your Family together...your heart is in the right place....


posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:34 PM
I found this link for you, it should help answer your questions and give you a place to start.

It is tough for the elderly to adjust to moves like this. She will need a great deal of support and help adjusting to a lifestyle change and move from the familiar. With love and care it will work out, certainly if she needs more help you cannot leave her where she is. I wish you and her the best..

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:45 PM
reply to post by Iamschist

An 80 year old lady who can take care of her self, what kind of super grammy is this?

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:47 PM
reply to post by NoRegretsEver

I offered converting my garage into an apartment for her. But my mother lives downstairs and she can't handle having HER mother that close (family dynamics). Thus why I offered buying a condo though that might hurt me more financially.

I'm the credit/land cow in this situation. I'm already starting to take care of MY mother - she rents for reduced rate from me. Now I have to take care of HER mother - who is my grammy and also my obligation as I see it. Problem is I didn't bank on caring for both at the same time.

I believe each generation should care for the two that came before them. I hope to instill this in my children. But those of us who are caring for the boomer generation will be in a world of hurt which is already starting.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:50 PM
reply to post by antar

I wanted to build another family residence (see post above) but mom nixed the idea. And Grammy is her mother so I feel I have to respect her wishes.

Frustrating times ahead. My grandmother has her faith and I know it will see her through. I have my practicality and it will see me through too...

Thank you for your support. It means a lot.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:51 PM
I think sticking the grandparents in a nursing home or assisted living is the stupidest thing that people do. I do not want my savings going to a nursing home, I want it to go to my kids. I won't go to a nursing home, I will take a walk in the woods first.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 10:54 PM

Originally posted by Tlexlapoca
reply to post by Iamschist

An 80 year old lady who can take care of her self, what kind of super grammy is this?

We come from hardy stock. You have to if you want to live in the great north woods! Her family lived into their late 90s - mostly alone. This is par for the course,

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 11:12 PM
Heres a thought you can put an ad, without to much personal info, I am sure there are other elderly folks out there in a similar situation that maybe able to help, or maybe another grandma that might be in a similar situation needing a roomate to help with the finances.

Peace, NRE.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 11:13 PM
reply to post by rickymouse

I think it's inexcusable for the most part. A family should take care of its own, but I cannot judge what other people choose to do. I just know that I worked in a nursing home and saw people transform from vibrant individuals into passive, beaten-down shells of who they were within a month. Not gonna happen for my family.

Why is this so hard to figure out? We all have aging grandparents and parents and yet it's an uphill battle. Services to help are hard to find. I have no interest in relying on the state but I thought this was why I paid taxes - to help? Information is scattered and inconsistent. It should not be this hard.

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 11:17 PM
You can also go to a center for the elderly, believe me I think there is no better placec to get advice, but from those that are living it now, they will give you the good and not so good facts about places, and even resources.

I am sure they would be more than happy to help someone that cares so much.

Peace, NRE.
edit on 28-5-2013 by NoRegretsEver because: spelling

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 11:35 PM
These instances are always hard . The question is,have you asked her to move ?
You know how they are . This in my home ,I'm not leaving !

There are places that are like assisted living ,but are really apartments for the elderly .
There's medical staff in the building ,just in case . Everyone can eat together in a communal cafeteria ,or not .
They can eat in their apt .
It's whatever they want to do .

Check and see what's near you . There must be something like that . Also ,check what the archdioceses has. They run places for the elderly in some states too . There's usually a very long waiting list to get in tho .
Good luck with whatever you do

posted on May, 28 2013 @ 11:49 PM
reply to post by PtolemyII

Yeah, we asked her to move for several years. She said no. Now she's suddenly decided she's ready - so we all have to jump. Thanks grammy!

posted on May, 29 2013 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by otherpotato

What you're doing makes me happy. On another note, your quote is hilarious!!!!!! Hahahaha!

posted on May, 29 2013 @ 07:44 AM
Good to see an interest in this thread, it really is about survival and not just living at 80 but thriving in life. I wish the very best for your Granny and her new future I really do. If you are not being respected for being the "Kid" still, well I know how tough that can be so just support your Granny and be there for her as best you can.

I used to love planting out veggies and tomatoes and flowers with my Grandma's. they love that too. It is always the simple stuff in life they appreciate.
edit on 29-5-2013 by antar because: To add flowers!

posted on May, 29 2013 @ 08:00 AM
reply to post by otherpotato
In my area it has become common to convert wooden storage buildings into small apartments complete with all necessities to keep elderly family members close while maintaining most of their independence. A lot of the nicer buildings look like mini houses and are well made- and can fit in your back or side yard. Some of them even have a small front porch just the right size for a rocking chair w/table or a porch swing.

My mother has one behind her house that she converted into a sewing/quilting studio complete with AC, WiFi and Satellite TV. It has a mini-fridge and microwave, a small bathroom with toilet and shower and a small sleeper sofa. When she reaches the point of needing assistance we plan to have the building moved to a spot of her choosing on our property for her to live in.

posted on May, 29 2013 @ 12:29 PM
reply to post by otherpotato

Any chance of getting the annuity into someone else's name who will actually use it for her? That way, it isn't factored for her eligibility.

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