What Happens to Older Adults Without Family or Money? | Cake Blog
More than seven million Americans 65 and older had incomes below the poverty line in 2017. Strengthening your social networks is especially important as an older adult, and volunteering is a great way to create community.
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Conservatorships are a good option for older people who can’t volunteer or who don’t have family to turn to, but even with state resources, these opportunities can be hard to come by. Post-planning tip: If your deceased loved one was fortunate enough to have you as their executor, you may find that handling their affairs is overwhelming.
Tell me how you came to be an expert on solo aging.
According to a study by the US Census Bureau, 20% of the baby boomer population is childless.
I see that you dislike the term ‘elder orphans.’ Why?
The term “orphans” refers to childless older adults who do not have a spouse, partner, or children. For those over 55, there is a Facebook group called Elder Orphans, which has over 9,000 members and is only open to those over 55.
So, worst-case scenario — you’re a solo ager, living independently, and something happens. You fall, you have a health emergency, and you can no longer continue to live as you have. You haven’t made plans. What happens?
You become a ward of the state or county if you have no family or money, and the state makes decisions about your living situation, health care, and finances.
Obviously, you’re a proponent of making plans. How does a person who anticipates getting older on their own avoid such a scenario?
Consider who you can entrust to assist you in making these life decisions, or to make them for you if you are unable to do so.
How would you initiate that conversation?
A fiduciary does not replace an estate planner or a financial planner; they can be named as power of attorney for health care or finances, and they can take charge of your life if you are unable to make decisions.
I understand that you aren’t a huge fan of “aging in place.” Is that because of the lack of community?
I like cohousing, though the options are limited; I understand the desire to stay in your home, but so many elders end up lonely and isolated. There are also condo and mobile home communities, which are similar to aging in place but are closer to a potential community.
What about the village movement? Where I live, there’s a group called Mill Valley Village, a nonprofit that helps seniors “stay active, independent and connected.”
To an extent, I support the village movement; it’s great to be able to access services and stay connected, especially if you’re alone; however, it’s only a band-aid for people who want to stay close to their friends, family, and neighbors.
If that’s what you want, how do you plan for that?
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and life care communities are at the top of the scale, with people selling their homes and using the equity to move into these communities. The idea behind CCRCs and life care communities is that they will look after you for the rest of your life.
What if you don’t have money or you run out of money? What are your options?
In California, there is a shortage of affordable housing for older adults, but there are options. Securing a unit requires an application process and a long waiting list. Burbank Housing is government-subsidized housing for people over the age of 55.
What about the idea that retirement communities are not necessarily the best option, because they are segregated from the broader community? I’ve seen stories where there’s a senior residence and daycare in the same facility. Or universities that are renting out dorms to seniors.
Many older adults object to moving into a retirement community because “I don’t want to live around a bunch of old people.” However, according to LZ Granderson, president of the American Council on Aging, multi-generational communities can be more enriching environments, especially for those approaching retirement age.
Any last words?
Some people live into their 90s, but you don’t want to wait that long to start building community. Learn how Cake can help with end-of-life planning.
Seniors At Home, the senior services division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, is directed by Traci Dobronravova, MSW.
So where does Jewish Family and Children’s Services come in?
We assist people who have nowhere to go or no one to look after them; they can be referred to a private fiduciary, but that costs money; if the public guardian has a backlog and we don’t, we help place them or maintain a relationship with them or the hospital.
Do I understand correctly that the hospital pays your agency when they refer someone to you?
One man who has gone through the process says, “It’s a big deal u2014 you’re taking away someone’s rights, and it’s a legal process. It’s a big deal u2014 you’re taking away someone’s rights, and it’s a legal process.”
What if they can make their own decisions, but can’t go back to living as they were?
People with mental illnesses are being assisted by hospital social workers in deciding whether or not they should have a caretaker come to their home.
What happens to old people who can’t afford a nursing home?
When you don’t have any money, Medicaid is one of the most common ways to pay for a nursing home. Long-term care insurance, life insurance, veterans benefits, and reverse mortgages can also be used to pay for nursing home care.
What happens to elderly who have no money?
The state of California has a few options for older people who are unable to volunteer or who have no family or money to call upon, such as living in a conservatorship. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one’s family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
What do poor people do for long term care?
The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program in California is for people who require ongoing, non-skilled care such as assistance with bathing, cooking, and chores. The IHSS program pays for non-medical home care services.
What happens when people in nursing homes run out of money?
When money runs out, how do you pay for a nursing home? In many cases, the nursing home will dismiss or evict the non-paying resident. Moving an elderly family member out of a nursing home, especially if they require specialized care, can be extremely traumatic for the patient.
How long can you stay in a nursing home with Medicare?
If all of Medicare’s requirements are met, including your need for daily skilled nursing care with 3 days of prior hospitalization, Medicare covers up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for each benefit period. Medicare pays 100% of the first 20 days of a covered SNF stay.
What do you do with an elderly parent with no money?
6 Things to Do If Your Aging Parents Don’t Have Any Money
- Get your siblings on board.
- Invite your family to an open discussion about money.
- Ask for the numbers.
- Pay off debt and out-of-control expenses first.
- Think about downsizing your home and car.
- Consider new sources of income.
Where do seniors go when they run out of money?
You’ll rely on Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and/or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). You might have to find a roommate to share housing costs and utilities, or you could rent a room in a house.
Can I refuse to care for elderly parent?
Some caregivers are concerned about what others will think of them if they refuse to care for their elderly parents; however, they can refuse to do so.
Can a nursing home take all your money?
Nursing homes and assisted living residences, for example, do not simply “take all of your money”; people can save a significant portion of their assets even after entering a nursing home; and a person’s Medicaid eligibility is not automatically suspended for three years.
Which is the largest source of payment for nursing home services?
Long-term care services are primarily funded with public funds, with Medicaid, a federal-state health-care program for low-income people, accounting for the majority of funding.
Who pays the most for long-term care?
Medicaid is by far the largest payer of long-term care costs in the United States today, and most people quickly learn when they need care that the government will not pay until they have spent most of their assets.
Does Social Security pay for assisted living?
Does Social Security Cover Assisted Living in Full? Unfortunately, Social Security does not typically cover all of the costs of assisted living, which vary by state but average $4,000 per month in the United States.
Can a nursing home take your pension?
Any income streams you receive from your pension, deferred compensation, or other plan will go to the nursing facility if you need nursing home care. Taking a lump sum from a pension allows it to be treated as an asset that you can transfer to a protective trust structure.
Who cares for elderly without family?
Finding someone to act as a healthcare advocate for elderly people who live alone can be difficult; a trusted friend, good neighbor, or fellow congregationalist can be helpful, as can a trusted geriatric care manager.
What happens when Medicare runs out for nursing home?
Each benefit period, Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing facility (SNF) care; if you require more than 100 days of SNF care in a benefit period, you must pay out of pocket. If your care is ending due to a lack of days, the facility is not required to give you written notice.