Skip to main content

I am in the process of cashing out some of my dad�s stocks to fix up the roof, etc on his home. Since he is 88 now, maintenance has been minimal for the past 20 years. His eldercare attorney advised me to do this to make him eligible for Medicaid. But, all I understand about Medicaid is it helps with medical expenses and I wonder what other benefits there are from a caregiver�s perspective.

Are there requirements that I should be aware of regarding his welfare? Will I need to have handicap accessibility renovations to consider? Is he at risk that they might decide to put him in a nursing home for some reason? Could new laws be passed that might adversely affect Medicaid recipients living at home?

My promise to dad is to keep him in his home until the very end. So far, I have had to bail him out of one nursing home. Then, the last time he was in the hospital, I wasn�t sure I would ever get him home again.

I guess government programs cause me concern in general. Since we have been through hospice already, dad is pretty much in the system already. We have a nurse that checks on him every month or so as it is. However, am I opening up the door to more intrusion into his life by signing up for Medicaid or what? Has anyone else had experience with Medicaid, good or bad?

Thank You All, Glenda
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Hi Mimi:

Thank you for your response. I am thinking perhaps everyone is busy with summertime company or other obligations. I know I expect my older sister to come out in August after their daughter's big wedding this month. But I hope they don't! I always feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown right before their visit...

They always say such irritating things like "you know dad is going to need a wheelchair someday" or "the yard is getting so overgrown" and generally other unhelpful things. Last summer my brother-in-law walked around the yard with clippers pretending to help - ha, ha, ha. I told him we have a chain saw but that didn't register with him (or so he pretended).

But I do know that my siblings would rather put dad in a rest home and sell the house than have him at home being taken care of by me. Therefore, their visits are mostly unhelpful.

However, from past experience, I know that a nursing home would kill dad. In fact he wouldn't even go for a ride with my sister without me along. It may be that he doesn't trust them either. He still is pretty mentally sharp but doesn't talk much due to his last TIA (mini-stroke).

I am going to try the chat room again. Previously I was unable do chats because of my AOL dial-up connection. Now I have high-speed internet service which is better. So, don't be surprised if I pop up there soon...

Thanks Mimi, Glenda
My dealing with medicade is limited and would
be somewhat different than your father. My
father-in-law has been on medicade for sometime, it is a great help for his medicine
and he would qualify for health aid. But
he has no property other than an automobile.
I do know my son-in-laws grandmother was on
medicaid and she had a lady come in her home
who cleaned and cooked her meal. She also
moniter her health to alert the family of
possible problems. This helped her daughter out as they all worked. Until she passed away
now medicaide is claiming ownership to her
proptery. They can only get half as her daughter was on the title with her mother.
Dont know why your attorney wouldnt tell you
that this is possible. Do know medicade will
investigate anything that your father owns.
Their are benefits but also downfalls, depending on what your father is willing to relinquish.
Hope this is some help
I feel the same way about my brother as Mimi feels about her sister.

I used to hold such anger against my brother for not helping, especially when my sister now has dementia and my oldest brother has passed on. There is no one left to help mom and dad except my brother and me. Since my brother has backed away from any involvement, I don't call him, I don't keep his adivsed of things and I just figure he'll have to deal with his own emotions once my parents are gone. I don't even let small minded people bother me any longer. I do what I have to do and with the help of my beautiful daughter, we are doing what we can to make sure my parents are safe and cared for.

Life goes on.


[This message has been edited by Irish152 (edited 07-14-2005).]
Hi Mimi, Cinnamon and Jane:

Well, the attorney did do some paperwork which gave my dad a life estate and me a quit-claim on the property. (Thank you for bringing that up cinnamon.) While dad was on hospice, I imagined myself on the streets with two dogs, two cats (mind you, I moved in with no pets) plus my son who was back with me after staying with my middle sister in Louisiana after dad�s hip/home invasion ordeal.

Just two months prior to the cancer and hospice ordeal, I overheard my middle sister talking to a friend about how she could hardly wait until �I was out on the streets�. That definitely gave me a clue as to my future and so I finally protected myself and dad too. That was when I first came to the message boards and to empowerment.

Moreover, the attorney asked me if I wanted to notify my siblings with regards to the house, life estate, POA etc. I said no. Long story short � why bother telling them anything! They certainly don�t include me in their discussions about dad. Besides, I don�t want his last years to be filled with sibling disputes.

Mimi, for a long time I felt obliged to communicate with my oldest sister but now find so many other things that I can do instead. It actually makes me feel liberated to ignore them all and they don�t know what to make of it.

Jane, like you, I am sandwiched between generations. I have my son to help me out and have come to appreciate the extra time I have been given with both him and my father. He was 19 when dad got hurt and about to start college. Instead, he was shuffled off to Louisiana with my evil sister and she was abusive to him. (I really learned about siblings the hard way.) Now he has pretty much his own living area downstairs and has been working hard helping out this last year. I am also gently guiding him towards a business plan.

And a big benefit is that I can get a break if only for a few hours at a time. And, as dad gets older, there is no way I can handle him all alone. My siblings? I imagine they will drag me to court after all is said and done. It's been a rocky road for sure. But now with the support system here and therapy, I am getting stronger and smarter. Meanwhile, I can't help but think that, in spite of it all, these are the best years of my life...

Love to Y'all, Glenda

I applaud you for standing your ground and taking care of business. TCB.

I'm so tired right now since it's almost midnight but I'll tell you one thing before I head for bed. You did the right thing. Taking care of yourself is the number one priority. Being a caregiver comes second. Everyone else can take a flying leap if they don't have the guts to hang in there and do what's right.

I'm pretty much done with my brother. Although I still love him, love isn't enough. I'm not calling him when the time comes for me to notify. If they couldn't be around when I needed them, then phooey with them. Let them deal with the tough questions later on. I'll go to bed at night and sleep soundly, knowing I did all I could to make my parents journey from this world as comfortable as possible. It will be done.

God bless you Glenda. Don't forget to take care of you, too.

Hi. Glenda.

I'll add my two cents to what's been said. First, it is a very confusing process. The requirements vary by state, so you'll need to do research. Contact your area Medicaid office for an application and instruction book.

The limitations have to do with total monthly income from all sources - Social Security, pensions, annuities - must be below a certain amount. Liquid assets (cash) must be below a certain amount - you have to supply all checking and savings account numbers and statements for so many months back. He is allowed a certain amount of insurance for burial and final expenses. If his spouse is living, she can keep the house, otherwise he should own no real property. He can keep a car for personal use. If he has any other investments, whether property, stocks, art, jewelry, etc. those have to be liquidated before he would be eligible. Basically, he has to spend down his entire estate and be nearly destitute before he can qualify. There are exceptions and work arounds, which is what the lawyer should be helping you do. I don't know how it works if he is staying home, rather than to a LTC facility, but his medical expenses probably need to far exceed his income.

I'm about ready for a nervous breakdown trying to wade through all the requirements, myself. My mother has been in a nursing home since April, and I still have all these hoops to jump through before she will be accepted. I almost got into a shouting match with someone at the VA about her change of status.

Also, if you haven't done it already, get a *financial* power of attorney for your dad before he gets unable to sign. Every time I turn around someone wants Mom's signature with witnesses.

On the topic of siblings. Mine are generally supportive, but one brother sent a message to the NH which wound up in the home office. He wanted info about our mother's care, but he is not a designated contact. Her medical POA designates me as primary and our other brother as secondary. I'm pretty sure his motives are honorable, though.

Well, I gotta go. Hope everything goes well with you.

Hi Jane and Barb:

Thank you so much for your input. It all helps, believe me. I know right now I am somewhat anxious about finances in general.

Jane, I have a twin brother and, surprisingly enough, I seem to feel the least anger against him. But, when he comes to visit on his way through town on a business trip, I lay awake for hours with this big mad knot in my chest. It is strange. Now my sisters, I am openly angry against. Irregardless, I put on a good face for one and bring the bullet-proof vest out for the other - one is quietly underhanded and the other is vicious and scary. They have a tighter bond than my twin brother and I. Family dynamics - the mental/emotional work is just much too much!

Barb, you hit the nail on the head when you said "I'm about ready for a nervous breakdown". That is my fear also. The last thing any of us needs are more hoops to go through. Who has extra time or patience for hoops? I have lost it once this year already over the phone trying to just "take care of dad".

And we do this out of love. We are expected to do this for nothing. My eldest sister is quite well-to-do and she contributes next to nothing willingly. My brother buys vacation homes and remodels them yet will not help maintain his own father's home. The middle sister just sticks her nose into dad's checkbook and picks fights. And then they all bury their selfish heads in the sand.

I guess this is what truly relates to my medicaid question. I feel backed into a corner to look at government programs. And I don't know if it's worth it. I have heard medicaid pays caregivers but just a pittance. As for prescriptions it isn't worth it because I took dad off all prescriptions. One cleaning lady a week might be worth it however. However, if I had a cleaning lady here, I could probably find time to work out of the home...

So, I try to hold it all together hoping there are no new devastating surprises. I am going to school part-time and now have almost $50,000 debt in student loans to pay off in the future. So, the pressure builds up and I can hardly handle any more at this point. My dad is the easiest part of the whole picture...

God Bless, Glenda

[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 07-16-2005).]
A couple of weeks ago my husbands company
was having a 20the anniversary party and
my husband wanted me to attend. I ask everyone I knew who could I get to sit with
my FIL ? Finally my brother who owns the company called hospice in a larer nearby city and they faxed him a list of caregivers
and it gave some fee and stipulation. I had
asked the Hospice my FIL is with for a sitter
they couldnt allow someone to sit unless he
would not smoke. He is on oxygen 24/7 and
a heavy,heavy smoker. I hope this helps you
and others who might read this post.
As far as family goes. Some people always have something to critize others for. They
never seem to have a salution. My FIL had
11 children. Now 10 as one died. Of all of
those 1 offerd to come to our home and sit
with their DaD if I need a break. This sister-in-law had a son who had cereabal palsy he only lived to be 16. So she knows
how demanding it is to care for another person. These kids had not seen their Dad
in 8 years and my husband told them I they
want to see him alive they best make the trip
from Wiconsin to Missouri. Guess what they
came 14 of them and camped in our yard. Except 4 who didnt know in the country you have tick. and chiggers. So I spent 4 days
cooking for additonal 14 people. Geeeees
guess I needed to vent SOrrrrry

I'm an only child caretaking my mom with dementia. That at least eliminates useless siblings .

But on the topic of Medicaid: indeed each state is different (it's a state medical insurance of last resort). As a former social worker I went on-line to read my state's Medicaid manual (I'm in NC). It's like reading a tax manual--you can wade thru it, but what a headache!

The best thing for Medicaid eligibility you can do is spend a parent's money on things for the household (repairs, additions, things that help with caregiving, really ANYthing that's directly on the house or grounds since they will benefit at least indirectly).

Also, spend their money on care that's needed, whether it's respite for you or direct care for them you can't provide. I also suggest that you eat out or have food delivered (to make life easier for you). Adult Daycare makes my life tolerable--it started at 2 days a week & now we're up to 6 days some weeks. She likes it & seems to do better than just being at home with me & I get 8 hours to get something done besides watching her.

They can have one car (even if they no longer drive) in their name & of course all the repairs, maintenance & gasoline can be from their funds even if you are the only one driving it.

My philosophy is to make your life & theirs as comfortable as possible in the ways you can, since there's lots of things you can't do anything about.

It's seems that in NC I can take $2999/mo (NOT $3k!) & put it in my name without it counting against Medicaid eligibility later on. But I'm going to talk to an lawyer who specializes in elder issues before doing that. Some give you a 15 minute consult free. So I plan to have a list of questions in order of importance. Lawyer fees should also be paid from the parent's estate.

But actually the best thing -especially if your goal is to keep them at home- is to simply spend the money for their care (aides are at least $8/hour which adds up quickly!) & have the ability to use their money how ever you see fit. For those trying to get the parent into a nursing home quickly, I'd say see a elder issue lawyer. Do a search on-line for them to be sure they are licensed. Anyone can say they specialize, but study & experience make sure they can actually give sound advice.

Indeed, the state will keep after you for years after the parent's death, trying to see if there's any money left from the estate to pay them back. Lots of continuing hassle & paperwork.

So, I'm hoping to simply keep mom at home & pay for help that I can't provide until her funds are gone. Then she'd be eligible for Medcaid without doubt. I AM going to see if the $2999/mo thing is really ok to try to keep some of her estate if possible. But in the mean time I'm purchasing things really needed around the house (new countertops, for instance) so at least my home will be in good shape as a result of caring for her. And, by the way, I'm getting a Jacuzzi bathtub for myself for Xmas. My joints are killing me, I have a sleep disorder & nothing but a shower. So, if nosy relatives want to comment on my purchases I'll ask them when they'd like to care for mom awhile & give me a break? With a smile, of course. And NOT answer their question to me.

By the way, talking with friends who've already gone elder caregiving is helpful. Even though their experiences may be totally different, I'm learning something from each of them.

I'm just learning about this issue (Medicaid) so am interested in anything others have to say!

Time to go make mom-related phone calls!
Hello Caregiving Daughter:

Thank you so much for your response to my post. Your advice is so helpful. And your timing is perfect!

Right now I have been trying to do some home repairs - what a nightmare that can be!!! Especially after over fifteen years of deferred maintenance. Plus, now the car is broke down and so my stress level rises...

What is really hard is timing. I am afraid if I run through his money and he lives for another ten years, it will be difficult for me to make ends meet and keep him at home. But then I worry every time he is in the bathroom for more than five minutes that he's never coming out... (dad had colon cancer over two years ago and came home on hospice.) Since 2001, he's bounced back from adversity twice and I worry so about his diet and digestion.

So, one day, I think "spend the money" (fix the house and buy a newer car) and the next I worry about the future. I get weary of making all the decisions... Plus I have siblings to give me grief when all is said and done!

I appreciate so your words of encouragement and love your jacuzzi idea. I think, since I am burned out on home remodelling right now, I will look at trading the old car!!!
Whew - do I feel better... Thank you, c.d., for giving me the opportunity to vent here! Somehow, things always do work out - and I must keep the faith!

Happy Holidays from Glenda
Hello Marklaske:

That is a good point! When dad was in the last nursing home for about a month after hip surgery in 2001, I would visit him several times during the day. It was a continual challenge to get him to eat thier meals. What is really interesting is that he is not a picky eater other than he balks at string beans...

So, I know, he would most likely never survive an extended stay in a care facility. While it hasn't been easy care-giving at times, I deeply feel my dad has worked hard all his life and deserves the comfort of his own home during his elderly years. He turned 89 years old in December!

I know, realistically, it is not always possible to care for an elderly loved one in the home... So, I appreciate your take on nursing homes for the elderly. And it makes sense really. Meanwhile, I will be working on maintaining the roof over his head and go as far on the maintenance issues as I can with the monies available. Thank you, Marklaske, for saying that...

Happy New Year from Glenda

[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 01-01-2006).]
I know this is an old thread, but I have been looking for the guidelines for FL for a medicaid nursing home for my husband. We really don't have income except for SSD, but we do own a home and I don't want them to come get it or make me sell. I haven't worked in years and I wouldn't be able to afford a place to live. The only thing I was told was that I would be able to keep his SS except for $35-40 which he would get. I am a little worried about the house, because if they can claim it I would probably be better off selling and paying someone myself. I hope that makes sense.
Hi Donna,

Try this website It looks like the medicaid rules in FL are pretty favorable at least compared to Indiana where I live. Income limit is 1809/per month. There is a Well-Spouse Resource allowance of $95,100. Additionally it looks like the home is protected and exempt as long as a spouse or dependant continues to live in that home. Check out the website. It gives lots of examples. Hope this helps. Stay strong. You are in a very tough situation. Thinking of you.


Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.