Catholic Senior Living Advice/Resources? Help Needed

If anyone could please help with advice on this, it would be GREATLY appreciated. Hopefully I am posting this in the right place.

The situation is: my mother is 84 years old, she has been a devout Catholic all her life. We are in Southern California, Los Angeles. My mom was happily married for nearly 6 decades to my wonderful father, a Korean war veteran, and they lived together until his passing last year. Since his death, she has been temporarily living in a spare bedroom with my sister, but it is clear that my sister (who works full time and has a family) cannot take care of our mom on her own, and she needs some kind of assisted living setup for her remaining years. Mom also does not get on with my sister’s husband, so the living situation is clearly not working.

A few weeks ago, mom fell and broke her hip. She went to the hospital, they fixed her up and now she is in rehab. The rehab place is going to release her in a few days, so we are now desperate to find her a place to live because my sister’s husband is refusing to allow her to come back to stay in their home.

So the only solution is to find her a place for seniors where she will receive the appropriate care. And since she is such a devout Catholic, I think the only type of place where she will be happy is a facility that emphasizes this Catholic aspect in a way that will bring her peace and comfort in her remaining years. Seeing nuns and priests and various items makes her happy in a very profound way, and I think she really needs that now that dad is gone.

So we have been calling around to different Catholic senior living facilities but we are shocked how hard it is to get into them (because of waiting lists) and more importantly how expensive they can be, typically 4-7 thousand dollars per month after all costs have been factored in (mom’s budget including pension etc would be about $2,500 per month). We have tried all kinds of different places between our home down in San Diego, all the way up to Santa Barbara, but we have been told basically “sorry, we can’t help you” so many times it’s not even funny. We would be happy with any place that is not too expensive but will at least give her the basic care and compassion that a person needs at that age. It very upsetting and demoralizing. They apparently are not willing to work with people financially. We have no idea how the residents can afford to live there, assuming they are all not LA millionaires. Also we have been told many times that the fact that my mom is on an HMO medical plan is not going to help her when she applies.

Can anyone suggest anywhere we can try. Are there no Catholic assisted living type places that are affordable by elderly people with modest incomes? We are pretty desperate here, and don’t know what to do. It’s This is such a frustrating process. If anyone has any ideas, they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance and God bless you.

Have you tried Senior Services at Catholic Charities? You might have to put her somewhere temporarily until you can find a more suitable situation. The Knights of Columbus at St. John of the Cross in Lemon Grove have senior housing and Little Flower Haven in La Mesa is also excellent.

You need to find expert social service people to advise you. I am afraid that you are going to have a hard time on your limited budget. Look for Affordable Assisted Living, HUD assisted programs.

Here’s a start:

Contact her HMO provider for advice.

Always make sure the place you find is registered and that you are prepared to be a guardian before your mom needs more complex medical treatment or develops other problems. When my dad was diagnosed with dementia, I found a local lawyer, appeared in court, and was granted guardianship. In my case, this included making medical decisions on his behalf.

And even if the other facilities are full, always, always ask for suggestions about who they might recommend. Also, ask for information about Catholic social workers. Don’t be afraid to say “I only have this much money to work with.” And call around, compare, and actually visit the facilities before your mom gets there. I visited several places before I found one that I felt was right for my dad.

God bless you,


Was your father in the military during any war? If so, she may be entitled to a stipend called Aid and Attendance.

My father was in the military during WWII. So, as his wife, my mother received a stipend of around $1000 per month (from 2003-2010), which helped her to live in a board and care home. The program is called Aid and Attendance. For whatever reason, this program is only advertised by word of mouth.

Try googling “Aid and Attendance”. But, don’t pay anyone to “help” with this. You can get “free” help by calling the nearest military base. The paperwork is treacherous, and someone will need to pay OOP until she is approved. It took a year, but the program will pay retroactively from the date of application. It is well worth the effort.

Praying that your mom gets the help she needs.

Just a heads up about Catholic Social Services, I used an in home rehab for my dad. They were excellent, but one of the rehab techs was definitely NOT Catholic but an outspoken atheist. I now know for next time, I will be interviewing them first.

First of all I want to say thank you and God bless you to all who have contributed, I am new to this message board and I just checked it this morning and am very touched by the many helpful responses.

We have not tried either of those places but I will be calling both of them this morning. Thanks.

Thank you, I will check in the “HUD” program. We did talk to a local social service lady, basically our problem is that my mom is not quite “poor enough” to qualify for aid from them. But she is not nearly rich enough to be able to afford the assisted living facilities that we have seen so far, it’s almost seems like she is in this weird middle ground where she doesn’t have a lot of options.

Thank you so much for the advice. We actually have made plans to visit both Nazareth House and Santa Teresita to see if they have a place available and would be willing to work with us. I have visited several places already and the rest of my week is taken up by more appointments. The Catholic social worker tip is also something I will be checking into.

Wow, thank you. We had no idea about this. I will definitely find out more on this if I can. My dad was a Sergeant in the Korean war.

Thanks. I hope that if she does get that kind of help, the person has strong Catholic beliefs that are similar to ours. My mom is the kind who is never without her rosary beads, and I know it would be a great comfort to her to be near people who share her faith.

Social Services at the facility where your Mom is should be helping you find somewhere for her. If she can’t afford to pay the charges in full (and you’d have to be a millionaire to pay them out of pocket month after month), she should sign up for medicaid. Social services can do most of this for you. Your Mom will have to use most of her own funds first, and sell any property that she owns and use the profit from that first.
I worked in an alzheimer’s facility back east, and the cost was about $6000 a month plus things like doctors and medications and laundry etc. Average private pay was close to $10,000 a month. Non specialized facilities might have been less, I’m not sure.

You and your sister and any other family members will not be held responsible for her bills. Though I heard that there was thought that children should have to be made to be responsible for their parent’s bills, I don’t think it would ever become a law, at least not in the near future.

As far as an atheist taking care of a catholic in a home setting, I don’t believe you can pick and choose the religion of your care takers any more than they can pick and choose the religion of those they take care of. You CAN however ask them to not share their opinions of religion whilst working with your family member if you hear them talking about it. Facilities cannot discriminate because of religion.

I hope you find the perfect place. Getting someone in a care facility is no picnic.

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