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jca2's avatar

Can an elderly person be made to pay for their nursing home stay, if they refuse to use their own money for it?

Asked by jca2 (16460points) January 15th, 2023

This is not related to anything in my family. It’s a friend of a friend. The elderly mother, who is in her 90’s, needs assistance and can’t be left overnight by herself. She refuses to go to a nursing home and wouldn’t be willing to pay for it with her own money. The adult children can’t afford to pay and they don’t have the legal right to do so, because there’s no Power of Attorney or anything like that.

The adult child had to have the mother move in with him because he can’t afford to put her in a nursing home and she won’t allow her money to be used.

If the elderly mother refuses to go to a nursing home and refuses to use her own money for her own care, what options might the adult children have?

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17 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Is she fully compos mentis? Her refusal to use her own money for her own care could call into question her competence.
Their senior center could likely provide information about this.

RayaHope's avatar

I’m wondering what does she expect to use her money for at her age? Why would she knowingly want to put her children through that? Is she mentally competent? Could her doctor order her into a home? There could be legal ramifications with her situation that I don’t think anyone would want to go through.

jca2's avatar

SHe hasn’t been evaluated but they say she is getting forgetful but is also nasty and maniupulative.

I don’t think a doctor could order someone be put into a home, @RayaHope. An alternative wou ld be she would need an aide, at home, to assist, but if she won’t pay for it, the kids can’t afford to pay. Another alternative is they leave her and she falls or does something like wanders into the road, but then ultimately it is the responsibility of her family to deal with, when the cops call or Social Services calls.

janbb's avatar

Do they know she won’t pay for a caregiver in the house? That would be my suggestion if she won’t go into a nursing home.

jca2's avatar

From what I understand, the mother is not using her own money for any of the expenses, @janbb \.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 They may have to look into declaring her incompetent. You may know more about that procedure than I do. I would suggest they consult an eldercare lawyer or social work practice.

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Blackwater_Park's avatar

That’s a tough situation. I was in a similar one a couple years ago where my wife’s grandmother was in her late 90’s and about to run out of money to continue paying her assisted living care. She refused to leave for a more affordable location that would have been about the same level of quality but would have given her several more years of funds. The in-laws did not want her to move either. We could not afford to just pay it so she would have been living with us when the money ran out.

This case is a little harder though and probably requires solid legal advice.

SnipSnip's avatar

Resources will be taken if the person’s bill falls to Medicaid. Nursing home are very expensive and you will not get Medicaid until you agree to spend your own money down to what is lawful in your state and then Medicaid picks up the bill. When you die, anything you still have will go to Medicaid. The states do not operate the same way with regard to Medicaid long-term-care coverage. This coverage is a different program from full Medicaid. You need to ask and find answers that are state specific.

As to the situation about someone who needs full-time care but refuses to go into a facility, solicit help from the woman’s primary care physician, an attorney, and/or stop by a nursing home and talk to their social service person.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes after a competency hearing !

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with the competency hearing, but that sucks to have to do that. I’m not sure if the children need a lawyer or can do it on their own.

Maybe the mom
doesn’t fully trust her kids with her money. I’ve seen families that don’t care about inheriting the money and just want their parent or parents to be well taken care of, and I’ve seen family members scrimp and over-control their parent or parents money towards the end.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m not a lawyer – and don’t even play one on TV. But doesn’t it matter where they live?

I thought some states require children to support parents in some form. Filial responsibility laws by state.

SnipSnip's avatar

@LuckyGuy Those laws apply to all types of care for very poor parents. It would include medical. The whole thing is the parents lack of money…..not their age.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@LuckyGuy how does that work though if the children can’t afford to care for the parent? Ideally, children would want to, but what if they can’t afford to?

LadyMarissa's avatar

The children don’t have to have her declared incompetent. They just need to speak with her doctor & have the doctor write a letter that the Mother can no longer take care of herself. Then a judge can rule that she must go into a nursing home. Since she still has some wealth, Social Security won’t pay for it & the judge can rule that she has to pay for it herself until all her funds are depleted or her doctor says that she’s no longer a harm to herself.

I had a friend whose sister did this to him. He tried to get a lawyer to fight it, but every lawyer he spoke with told him that he was wasting their time & his money. He had a private room & was watched 24/7 by the staff for 2 years before his doctor allowed him to leave & go back out on his own. He even had to sell his home in order to pay for his care. Once he got out, he found a retirement community where he could afford to buy a new home.

janbb's avatar

@LadyM. The process you described is what having her declared incompetent is!

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