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Old 08-08-2017, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,651 posts, read 17,623,979 times
Reputation: 27748

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Well, 82 year old grandmother is beginning to reach a crisis point on the mobility issues, and aunt and myself are now helping her house hunt. She is now basically unable to get up and down the stairs in the tri-level home to use the restroom and has been staying with my aunt almost permanently.

The gist of it is like this. The house is a 3BR/2BA ~1225 sq. ft tri-level. Bedrooms/bathrooms upstairs, living room/kitchen main level, and garage/laundry/den (that could be a 4th BR). It's as far from an open concept as you can get - feels very closed/segmented. The Trulia estimate for the home is about $120,000 - it is a smaller home in a neighborhood of somewhat larger homes. It needs updating but is in livable condition, clean, everything works, etc. Heat pump was replaced earlier this summer when it failed.

We've been looking at places and have run into various issues, but the most severe problem is that she is simply unwilling to spend more than whatever her home would sell for. Personally, I don't think it will sell easily - it is not the type of home people want these days, needs some cosmetic work, and is in a stagnant/declining population county with a bad and declining high school. The neighbors (who were all older than her) have mostly died off and the new residents aren't taking care of homes as well, etc. The neighborhood isn't bad but is going downhill a bit.

She needs a place, preferably in a townhome/duplex, without a yard, all on one level, with wide doors/halls that could accommodate a walker, a step-in shower with a bench, etc. What we're looking for is difficult to find in this area, and almost anything that does meet the need is around $200,000. She's unwilling to leave Kingsport for other nearby towns that may have more inventory. Aunt is 56 and losing her job shortly and cannot help financially. My parents are in no position to help either.

I don't know how much money she has, but she has made comments that she is living just on her social security, and that my grandfather's pension (which he took out in a lump sum) was never touched, nor was any of their private savings. They've always been frugal, perhaps almost fanatically so. They've had no debt for years.

She's still in this penny-pinching mode. She said she wants to be able to give it to my mom and aunt, but the money is needed at this point to get her out of this home she can no longer reasonably live in. An ALF may be becoming more necessary. It is incredibly frustrating trying to deal with her because there is no inventory in her price range, and while she can probably afford what she needs, she's just unwilling to part with one red cent. I've told her that savings should be used to meet her own needs first, and that whatever is left over can go to the kids.

She is unwilling to spend down anything. We're not talking about spending savings down to go on exotic vacation, but just to meet her changing needs. Were/are you willing to spend down perhaps a significant part of your savings to meet your needs as you age and your health changes?
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,857 posts, read 4,972,198 times
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She refuses to help herself by consuming savings?

What are savings for? If she buys a new place then croaks 1 month later, her kids will inherit that place.

Humans are irrational.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Orlando
2,010 posts, read 2,647,409 times
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You've said what you think Grandma needs, but what does Grandma want? Does she want to continue staying with your aunt? And if so, how does the aunt feel about that?

If Grandma simply doesn't want to spend money, you can't force her to. I think you need to start by finding out what she wants to do.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Central IL
15,253 posts, read 8,560,668 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WellShoneMoon View Post
You've said what you think Grandma needs, but what does Grandma want? Does she want to continue staying with your aunt? And if so, how does the aunt feel about that?

If Grandma simply doesn't want to spend money, you can't force her to. I think you need to start by finding out what she wants to do.
We know what Grandma wants to do... but if aunt is asked and doesn't want to continue the living arrangement then that may force Grandma's hand. But until that happens she'll hold tight to her money as irrational as that seems.

I don't really understand the point of her even moving to a "stop-gap" duplex at 82 years of age, especially if there is any thought at all of assisted living. It'd be much easier to make the move now rather than 2 moves to a duplex and then assisted living. But again, probably seen as irrational and expensive.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,651 posts, read 17,623,979 times
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Grandma says she wants to continue living on her own, but I don't understand how that is going to feasible long term. She has gone through physical therapy and is doing nominally better about walking around on flat ground, but cannot do stairs. If the house was one level, this wouldn't be an issue and she could likely stay in her home.

I don't know if my aunt wants her there permanently or not. Right now, there is simply nowhere else for her to go. Aunt's condo has all the required living spaces on the first level plus a very large garage, but that development has declined in value, even in this market, and none are for sale. Aunt is pretty set on not moving but does not have the funds to retire now. She may end up having to move if she is unable to find work in this weak market.

What I'm not understanding is the absolute unwillingness to take on a fairly nominal mortgage payment, or even rent something more suited to her needs until the dust settles a bit with my aunt's job and we can see where her health is going. The odds of her being somewhere for more than a few more years are honestly pretty low. I just don't see why she won't spend down some of her savings to make her life easier, and why people are so resistant to that.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Orlando
2,010 posts, read 2,647,409 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Grandma says she wants to continue living on her own, but I don't understand how that is going to feasible long term. She has gone through physical therapy and is doing nominally better about walking around on flat ground, but cannot do stairs. If the house was one level, this wouldn't be an issue and she could likely stay in her home.

I don't know if my aunt wants her there permanently or not. Right now, there is simply nowhere else for her to go. Aunt's condo has all the required living spaces on the first level plus a very large garage, but that development has declined in value, even in this market, and none are for sale. Aunt is pretty set on not moving but does not have the funds to retire now. She may end up having to move if she is unable to find work in this weak market.

What I'm not understanding is the absolute unwillingness to take on a fairly nominal mortgage payment, or even rent something more suited to her needs until the dust settles a bit with my aunt's job and we can see where her health is going. The odds of her being somewhere for more than a few more years are honestly pretty low. I just don't see why she won't spend down some of her savings to make her life easier, and why people are so resistant to that.
Grandma doesn't want to spend down some of her savings because that would mean she would be accepting the reality of her new situation. If, as you say, she wants to continue living on her own, then it seems clear to me she's in complete denial about her physical limitations. I don't think it's that she doesn't want to spend the money. I think it's that she doesn't want to be old and physically limited.

I think rather than trying to talk her into buying a new place -- which is a HUGE mental and emotional step for her to take -- you might first talk to her about accepting that she can't live in her current house any more, and ask her what she would consider to be a workable alternative.

Maybe if the aunt is willing, Grandma can stay on with her indefinitely (paying the aunt something for room and board), and you can hire a realtor and start the process of selling her house. A realtor can give you a more realistic idea about what Grandma can hope to sell the house for, how long that might take, and what, if any, improvements would be worth making before putting the house on the market.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Central IL
15,253 posts, read 8,560,668 times
Reputation: 35693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Grandma says she wants to continue living on her own, but I don't understand how that is going to feasible long term. She has gone through physical therapy and is doing nominally better about walking around on flat ground, but cannot do stairs. If the house was one level, this wouldn't be an issue and she could likely stay in her home.

I don't know if my aunt wants her there permanently or not. Right now, there is simply nowhere else for her to go. Aunt's condo has all the required living spaces on the first level plus a very large garage, but that development has declined in value, even in this market, and none are for sale. Aunt is pretty set on not moving but does not have the funds to retire now. She may end up having to move if she is unable to find work in this weak market.

What I'm not understanding is the absolute unwillingness to take on a fairly nominal mortgage payment, or even rent something more suited to her needs until the dust settles a bit with my aunt's job and we can see where her health is going. The odds of her being somewhere for more than a few more years are honestly pretty low. I just don't see why she won't spend down some of her savings to make her life easier, and why people are so resistant to that.
I understand Grandma....and lots of people feel the same. But the only way she is "living on her own" is to get LOTS of family help. She's NOT really living on her own at all! If everyone got together and decided it's better for us to stop "helping" Grandma that would pave the way to a more permanent solution.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:41 AM
 
5,399 posts, read 6,547,428 times
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OP

You are not the person to be doing this. You can remove yourself from the helper role, eg mowing lawn cleaning house. She needs to see for herself that she can or can't do what she wants to do

Is she mentally competent ? Does she have POA, DPOA, will, etc. That person should be working with her. Unless that is you and Grandma must tell you what she wants. Then the person should do that, even if the person disagrees.

Any more people involved will harden her resolve. It is grandma's choice until it isn't.

As a determined (stubborn) mountain woman myself I would say the most that can be done is to ask questions and offer choices not tell her what she should do. Unless her mental capacity is bad ask her how she plans to manage staying in her house. How does she plan to get up the stairs. How is she going to get the lawn mowed etc. And not you.

The other person is your aunt. She needs to make her own decisions. Is Mom going to live with her? Or no. Then tell Mom.

Grandma has the right to make her own decisions and must own the consequences. She either spends the money to put and elevator in or she install a bath and bed on the first floor. If she can't use the steps. Oh she doesn't want to spend the money to do so? Then does she want to rent or buy an apartment? Or find a place in assisted living or independent living? How does she intend to live in her house and care for it? Hire it out? Renovate?

You are in the question mode. Aunt may be in the authoritative mode if she must and legally can
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:03 AM
 
6,337 posts, read 5,075,997 times
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Don't know what to tell you - very irritating when your elders can't see things your way.

But like someone else said - they still have self determination

I remember this one lady telling us about my mom when she was being ornery. She was in a nursing home and wouldn't stay in bed. She told us that they could not restrain her. They could put her on a low bed and surround it with cushioned pads.

Basically she had the right to fall if that was what she wanted to do, but you made that choice easy to bear.

Maybe you can block off the basement and upstairs. Make her stay on one level?
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:32 AM
 
2,699 posts, read 1,550,862 times
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As long as granny is mentally competent, she can live the life she wants, and spend or not as she sees fit.

We all face the problem that our parents and our kids never seem to do thing the way we would, the way we want. That's totally normal, but does not suggest we should force our views on either group. Trust people unless you have a big reason not to, and in the case of parents, unless you're willing to go to court for a guardianship.

"Make her stay on one level?" Everyone has a right to self-determination. You should never force someone unless someone is at risk of bodily harm (or may be financial suicide - gambling etc.?)
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