My mom has lived in a 1 bedroom apartment in assisted living for 3 years. She's paying out of pocket, but is going to run out of money in about 1 year. The community coordinator at the assisted living facility told me that Medicaid will pay for only a studio in assisted living, but my mom can stay in her 1 bedroom if we can pay the difference somehow. I don't know what the difference is, but I doubt my sister and I will be able to do that or want to do that.

We have maybe a year to plan. Has anyone been through this before? Should I tell the assisted living facility to get my mom on the waitlist for a studio now, and move mom in whenever one becomes available this year? What happens if one doesn't become available before we have to apply for Medicaid for her?

Also, for anyone who has done this, how did your parent react? I think my mom is going to take this badly. When I moved her in, she complained that she didn't have a 2 BR like some people. She got over that, but now says how glad she is she doesn't have a studio like some people there. She has a lot of stuff, she collects various things and like antiques and crafts. Her place is just stuffed, but she still talks about all the stuff she left behind when she moved in.

I worry she is going to complain bitterly and I'll never hear the end of it, but I also worry because she has mild-moderate dementia that is worsening. (She's not in memory care.) I know that moving people with dementia can be stressful and confusing to them, and I also wonder if she'll sometimes go to her old apartment after we move her, thinking she still lives there.

She keeps asking me when she "goes on the dole," but I haven't told her about Medicaid only paying for studios yet.

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What state does mom live in? Most Medicaid programs won’t pay for AL so it’s quite fortunate that her state is even willing to pay for a studio.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to ZippyZee
tiredmouse Mar 23, 2023
Get her on the waiting list for the studio right away. It may be a very long wait so do it now.
You and your sister do not "pay the difference". The "difference" will very likely be however much the facility can squeeze out of you in cash. Guaranteed they will never allow you to know what Medicaid pays them. So don't do it.
Your best bet would be to just tell your mother the truth. That she will have to go on Medicaid soon because her money is running out. Medicaid does not pay for the 1 bedroom apartments. They pay for a studio.
When the bitter complaining starts up, tell her that you do not make the rules for Medicaid and that her choices are take the studio and be grateful to get it or go into a state-sponsored memory care/nursing home because that it the other choice Medicaid will pay for.
So when the complaining starts up give her the contact number for Medicaid in her state. Tell her she can complain bitterly to their automated system all day long if she likes but there's nothing you can do about it.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
tiredmouse Mar 23, 2023
I had no idea that the facility wouldn't actually tell us how much they get from Medicaid. That's eye opening.
Lol, she probably would try to call them to complain if I gave her the #. She made some noise a few months ago about "writing a letter" to someone to complain that her BFF in assisted living only has a studio.
Mom will just have to face reality that she will have to move to a studio once her money runs out. Dont fund her keeping the one bedroom. Financially it wouldn't make sense unless you are pretty well off.

Really a studio is not that bad. My grandma lived in a studio apartment and it was pretty cozy before she moved in with my parents.

Sure a separate bedroom is nice but it's not the end of the world.

No one wants to have to lose everything as you get old but what I have learned from this forum is that everything gets taken from us as we are piece by piece as we age.

I like your idea of getting her on the waiting list. Mom will have to start paring down her stuff now.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to sp19690
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 15, 2023
We were typing at the same time and typed similar posts!
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I’m sorry that your mom will be running out of money soon.

I wouldn’t ask your sister to help you pay the difference. Nor should you make up the difference.

You need to use your money for your own needs, instead of paying for your mom’s expenses.

Your mom will adjust and if she complains, oh well, it isn’t the end of the world.

You are fortunate that Medicaid will pay for an efficiency unit in your mom’s building. In my state, Medicaid doesn’t pay for any units in assisted living facilities. Medicaid here only pays for a room in a skilled nursing facility.

By all means, have them place your mom on the waiting lists for the efficiency unit.

I would try to start scaling down your mother’s inventory of collectibles now.

It sounds like she has too much for her one bedroom unit and you already realize that it will not fit in her efficiency.

Please be at peace with your decision to have your mother downsize.

Wishing you and your family all the best.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I’m so sorry you and your mother are facing this situation.

Yes, get her on the waiting list for a studio now, and go ahead and move her when one becomes available. The move is inevitable, so just go ahead and do it even before her money runs out, if you can.

Let me ask you this, Tiredmouse. What if YOU were living in a 1-bedroom apartment but could only afford a studio? What would YOU do?

You would, of course, move into the studio. Beats being out on the street, right?

Your mom can complain all she wants, but facts are facts. She cannot afford the 1-bedroom apartment when her funds run out. You and your sister should not foot the bill for the larger apartment. You need to prepare for your own future needs. As others have said, Mom is REALLY lucky that Medicaid will pay for the studio in her state.

As her dementia develops, the smaller space will be more appropriate to her needs, anyway.

My mom went through a similar forced downsizing a little over a year ago. I had to move her from her 1-bedroom Independent Living apartment into a studio in Assisted Living. Like your mom, mine was very status-oriented about her apartment, so she was beyond furious that she had to go into a studio. (In her case, the studio is necessary so that she can afford the higher (self-pay) cost of care in AL, including future increases in care as her dementia worsens.)

Your mom and my mom have lost their ability to use logic and reasoning. It just is what it is.

I, like you, was devastated by my mother’s anger toward me when I had to make the move for her safety and her financial well-being. It was a miserable time. But it had to be done.

None of us gets to have everything we want for free at any point in our lives. That’s not how it works. My mom would growl, “THIS IS NOT MAKING ME HAPPY!” After several months of feeling awful about that, I realized that “making Mom happy” is NOT the reason for my existence. My job is to keep her safe and see that her needs are met. I love her, but her choice to blame me for her age-related losses isn’t something I can control. She finally caught on to the fact that I was no longer cringing under her angry words, and she has mostly adjusted to her new living arrangements.

When our parents’ possessions and status are more important to them than their relationship with the family members who are doing their best to help, we just kind of have to step back and let them stew until they adjust.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to mom2mepil
tiredmouse Mar 23, 2023
--"What if YOU were living in a 1-bedroom apartment but could only afford a studio?"

Well...good point. :)

--"You and your sister should not foot the bill for the larger apartment. You need to prepare for your own future needs."

Yes. I have a lot of anxiety about my own future now, after all this. My husband and I already bought long-term care insurance in our mid-40s based on my mom's situation and the fact that dementia runs in my family. It seems like LTC insurance doesn't work exactly great, from what I've read, but hopefully it's better than nothing.

--"I, like you, was devastated by my mother’s anger toward me when I had to make the move for her safety and her financial well-being. It was a miserable time. But it had to be done."

I'm so sorry, and I completely understand. It is devastating, that's the right word. I'm glad she has mostly adjusted and that you were able to come to the realization that you aren't responsible for her happiness. I'm still on that journey, but I'm glad to be on the journey after not being on it at all. She is safe in AL, and I think you're right about just letting them stew.
I would give anything to be able to keep my parents in a studio at their assisted living. When their money runs out, the state won't pay for any care whatsoever at AL and they will have to move to a nursing home. They are a nightmare in this area and the care is horrible. Your mom is very blessed; she just doesn't know it. However, my parents were adamant about having two separate bedrooms. But when the time came for them to move to AL, they forgot all about that, thanks to their dementia. You may find that true for her, as well.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to rancks10

Start downsizing her now. Talk up how wonderful it will be when others can enjoy her quilts, stuffed animals or whatever. Maybe she could help you choose the target charity, such as quilts for sick kids. Then lovingly take a picture of each item and put it in an album so she can look at it whenever she wants. She can even make the album if so inclined.

She needs to face the fact that she’s going to move to a studio. Don’t subsidize her in her one-bedroom. We all have to do things we don’t want to do! Grow up, mom.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Fawnby

Mom should be glad she is getting a studio. Some ALs when someone goes on Medicaid they have to share a room if they want to stay.

Ask the Administrator what xtra you would have to pay to keep Mom in her 1 bedroom. Not that you should or have to pay it, just out of curiousity. My Moms AL had 2 or 3 size rooms. I would say Medicaid will pay for the smallest. Your Mom is just going to have except that she will need to move. She has to realize she is one of the lucky ones. Her SS and pension will go toward her care and she will get a Personal Needs Allowance out of her SS. In my State its $50 a month. So she will have no xtra money unless u want to provide it.

I think the best way to do this is u, Mom and the Administrator sit down together. Let the Administrator tell her what is going to happen once her money runs out. No, she probably will not like it but she really has no choice. So let her rant and rave and cry. Let it all sink in. When she brings it up, then discuss it calmly. Do not tell her that someone else could pay the difference for her to stay in her 1 bedroom and ask the Admin. not to mention it because it won't happen. She has to except its what it is.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to JoAnn29

My brother moved into ALF one bedroom, two total rooms because he could well afford it for his lifespan, but the truth is that one room is the norm in ALFs and that should be the choice for anyone in danger of losing their funds before their lifespan is over. I am surprised the ALF has medicaid at all. My brother's facility did not, and that is also the norm.

I would simply explain to Mom that she will be moving when her funds are over, so to begin to think of how she might downsize her treasures. Do tell her when she "goes on the dole". She wants to know, and it is fair that she should know. And do tell her how rare her facility is among ALF facilities, and how lucky she is in that.

I sure wish you the best. Aging is full of losses. It is ALL ABOUT LOSSES. That's hard when you are in a weakened condition, but it is a fact best acknowledged all the while knowing how lucky we are to have nice living facility and supportive family as your mom has.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to AlvaDeer
tiredmouse Mar 23, 2023
If I could do it all over, I would have moved her into an AL studio to begin with, rather than her AL 1BR, to stretch her money like you said.

I wish my mom could understand the loss part of aging, but she doesn't really have the emotional intelligence to understand or accept that.
Hi Tiredmouse - the reality is, your mother would be extremely fortunate to still be residing in her assisted living community. Maybe it's more important that you focus more on changing YOUR mindset in worrying how your mother may react to downsizing to a studio. If she complains, then continue telling her just how lucky she is - and how difficult it was for a new apartment to open up for her!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Hopeforhelp22
tiredmouse Mar 23, 2023
You're right on both accounts, thanks.
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