My mom refuses to draw social security and has no insurance.

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Her health is declining; she's had glaucoma and lost sight in one eye. She suffers from breathing problems, poor circulation, and dizziness. She won't see a doctor. I managed to convince her to deal with dental problems (she had ten teeth, all in bad condition) but she insisted on going to a cut-rate place and we are still trying to get her lower denture to fit correctly. She shouldn't live alone, but my house is very small and her house is much too far away for me to live with her and keep my job. I also don't want to move away from my kids and grandkids. Her place is paid off and we are considering pulling some equity out of it to buy a bigger place here then selling her place. I can't sell mine because I'm upsidedown in the mortgage. I'm at my wit's end and would like advice on any or all of this. My mom is also a difficult person - to the point that my brother and sister have nothing to do with her.

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It sounds like she needs to be in a nursing home if she lives closer to you you will become her caregiver for sure even if you do not plan on I feel she should not sell her house if she has had if for over 5 years that is now the look back for medicaide if she is placed the nursing home will get her social security for sure very quickly and you would not have to go through the crazieness of applying believe me it is horrible to do and the social workers have lot of ways to get it done easily, do not take her to live with you if you have been on this site very long you will hear stories that would astound you from others who did and wished they hadn't and once it is done it is so hard to change. If she is in a nursing home near where you live you will be able to be as involved with her as you want and can make sure she is getting good care and if she continues to be difficult you can stay away and since your siblings do not want anything to do with her anyway they will not care where she lives-you do not need to give up your life for her when she does not do anything to help herself.
She already lives with me part of the year. It's cold where she lives during the winter, even though it's only 85 miles from me. She doesn't have central heat and tries to heat with a woodstove. Even though she is difficult, I would not put her in a nursing home. She would never consent to going to one and would probably die quickly if forced. I just can't keep her place up and mine too. The idea is to sell her place (which is zoned commercial) and buy another place, smaller than hers and larger than mine. I don't feel that I'm giving up my life for her and I don't want to see her assets bled away paying for a nursing home.
The fact that your sister and brother will have nothing to do with her tells me something about how difficult she must be. This kind of person makes life very tough on other residents as well as the staff of a nursing home'

This must be handled with boundaries like I must have POA both durable and medical if you are going to come live with me all year round. It sounds like she sees you as the good child or at least for the present and I've seen adult children do all sort of things to keep on the good side of such a parent even to the point of sacrificing their marriage and children but trying to justify it by saying "I was doing this so we would inherit my mother's money" as her husband and children went on with their own lives.

Why does she need a place larger than yours? it will only mean more to have to keep up, clean up and repair. What life do you have right now and does it change much when she lives with you part of the year?

By not drawing SS do you mean Medicaid or just SS retirement? I did not know you could refuse SS retirement, but I do think it's best to put it on auto deposit.

I'm glad that my mother gave me and not her husband both medical and durable POA for he would have made bad decisions both medically and financially. I'm also glad that upon her mother's death that my mother invested in a long term health care plan back in 1996 which is helping greatly with her nursing home care. It will be sad if her nursing home stay eats up everything she has, but she's in the right place for both herself and everyone else. Last Thanksgiving, we ate a nice meal with her and my step-dad. This year, she's survived a stroke and a broken hip; really struggled with the idea of needing to leave home, and since April has been in a nursing home. She made a slight come back in walking after the stroke, but she's not even tried to work with PT since the hip. She's much like her own mother once her hip was broker in that she just basically laid down and died. Right now, I and my step-siblings are working on 4 of the 5 years of unfilled IRS and State taxes we just learned about this year. It alone has the possibility of wiping them both out, forcing the selling of their house and the house at the beach, etc. My step-siblings are both much healthier and well off than either me or my wife are in, but like us have children in college and high school. However, I'm an only child and along with my wife have been on full disability from work of any kind since 2003.
Why not call Legal Services, on her behalf and ask some hard questions? You can also talk to Social Security, about becoming Representative Payee, and filling out the forms for her. You may want to contact your local Commission on Aging, or Area of Aging office, and see about an in-home assessment by a nurse to determine her level of needs. Sounds like you need some help, as you recognize, and these places would be a good place to start. I was reminded to be a squeaky wheel. Calling and asking questions will give you some resources, and hopefully, answers to some of your important questions. Be prepared for a long journey, as I have been doing this very same thing for over two years. Each phone call offers a little hope, but each situation raises more questions. Best wishes to you and your Mom, azamma!
Crowemagnum- Thanks for the reply. We need a larger place than mine if she is to stay with me year round because when she is with me I wind up on a twin bed in the dining area so she can have my room. My house is very small and there would be no room for any of her things. Her house is around 5000 square feet and brim full of years of accumulation which she is reluctant to let go. Of course, when we sell the place, a lot of it will have to go.

She does not collect SS, Medicare or anything. If you don't sign up for it, you don't get it. She feels it is a welfare program and that what one has paid in over the years would be depleted within a couple of years. She has worked most of her life and paid in to SS, so this is simply not true. I think it's a matter of her being fearful of anything to do with the government. I have to take care of her tax returns and she is stressed out by such things.

I recently made a big deal of the fact that I was making out a POA (financial and medical) for myself appointing my son as my agent and my other son as an alternate agent. It didn't seem to make the desired impression of inspiring her to follow suit.

I'm going to look into legal advice. I work for the state and can consult with an attorney for free.

My biggest stress is that she will not face reality and do the things she needs to do to make her life and my life easier. It's to the point that my kids also avoid her (they are all grown).
azamma,

I'm glad that my lengthy reply was helpful. You're in a real bind and reaching a point where your children may end up avoiding you because that can't be seperated from avoiding her.

Does she sign her tax returns or does she?

It sounds like a doctor or someone she trusts just might be able to explain to her that she's paid for SS retirement all these years and its time to cash in on it. I don't think you need to tell her that what she paid in actually paid for the current people drawing on SS and it's your social security payments that provide the actual money for her social security.

If you can get her to give you Durable POA, then getting SS is a mute point because you will be able to file for it in her stead as her POA.

I'm a concerned at this point what a doctor's evaluation of her mental competency might be. I'd try to get the POA's first because the journey to get her declared incompetent for the sake of protecting her via a guardianship is a painful and sometimes expensive process.
Dear Azamma,
Your fortitude in taking care of your mom is admirable in some ways, but it seems like her attitude is sucking the life out of you, and I suggest you TAKE CHARGE and communicate clearly with her. (Forget about having her guess at your meaning, as you did by sharing your experience with your POA.) So, the options could be: 1. sell Mom's house and use the proceeds to buy something that can accomodate you, the rest of your family, and her, 2. nursing home, 3. let her take her chances on her own. (If she chooses 3. and runs into trouble, you'll have to send her to a nursing home anyway, but in that case the decision will have been made for her.) Use the offer to let her stay with you during the winter as a bargaining chip. If she's not receptive to your suggestions and you can't bear ignoring her, at least apply new ground rules when she stays with you. This will send the message that she's in the dog house and at least make it a bit easier for you. Can't she stay on the twin bed, and you keep your bedroom? I imagine your mom would make a face at you at being relegated to the dining room, but so what? If she's not going to cooperate, what should she expect? She'll probably get mad and threaten to go back to her own house, in which case you should offer her a ride. Good luck!
I definitely agree with Azamma!

Your mother's house is 5,000 square feet! Wow! That is a lot of house for one person and you think she needs more house? No, she needs much less. My family of four lives in a three bedroom house with less than 2,000 square feet and it seems plenty big for us.

Don't expect her to pick up on hints. You must be concrete and go into details. She has absolutely no business making you sleep somewhere else than your own bed. That is your house and your bed! Be strong! Take charge and stop walking on eggshells. Your grown children will respect and love you more for it.
Crowemagnum - I did not say that mom needed a bigger house. Her house is 85 miles from me. My house is tiny. If she is to share a house with me, we need a house bigger than mine and smaller than hers.

I sleep in the dining area when she is here because she goes to bed much earlier than the rest of the household and I leave for work long before she is up in the morning. It makes more sense for me to be slightly inconvenienced by where I sleep than to disrupt the household more by altering people's sleep's schedules. She can go to bed when she wants by sleeping in my room and everyone else can be up later without disturbing her.

She does not have a doctor and hasn't seen one in years. Her attitude is that "they" don't do you any good and just give you medication that causes more problems than you already have. She had narrow angle glaucoma a few years ago and insisted for several days that something blew into her eye causing it to hurt and affecting her vision. By the time I talked her into going to a doctor, the damage was done. An urgent care doctor decided that she had a scratched cornea (my doctor's office was closed). I took her my doctor who immediately sent her to a specialist. The specialist did laser treatments which were not supposed to be painful but turned out to be very bad. Mom claims that the specialist messed up and finished putting out her eye. The cost for this was out of pocket because SHE HAS NO INSURANCE!!!! He did only charge $500 for all he did.

Knicknack - I would love to sell her house. I've been trying to get her to do that since my step-father died in 1997. She doesn't want to live in the city (where I live), and until the last couple of years she could manage with some help with her place. She no longer drives (or shouldn't), has severe shortness of breath, and can see only out of one eye. She has no friends around her neighborhood since her only real friend there died a few years ago. She is very socially isolated and refuses to participate in any "senior" type things. When the house was in good enough shape to sell, she didn't want to sell it. It has deteriorated and now she insists it needs to be fixed up before she can sell it. Personally, I would sell it at a discount instead of putting money into it. Of course, she also insists that since the real estate market is down she should wait to sell it. Apparently, everything she owns is worth far more than market value and everything others own is not worth what they are asking. We looked at some properties here which were priced quite well but she thinks they are overpriced. Even in this market, her place would sell and bring a good price because it has commercial zoning and a good location.

At this point, I am going to let her stay with me, keep the sleeping arrangements we have, and concentrate on doing the things I would do if she were not here. Of course, I will take care of her basic needs.

As for her going into a nursing home, I couldn't do that. She would not agree to it and she has two dogs I don't know what we would do with.

The reason people in the family avoid her is because she has a very pessimistic attitude and wants to talk negatively about others behind their back. For instance, my daughter has back problems. She recently had her second child. My mom insists that she doesn't need to have any children because "she can't take care of them" with her back problems. She criticizes my choice of neighborhood and demands to know why I like living on this side of town. She lived on the other side of the city for years. I live here because I like it and my daughter and her husband live here. She likes to ask family members to tell her what other family members are doing in their lives and why they are doing it. I generally tell her that I don't really know the details of what people are doing and that if she wants to know she should ask them.

Anyway, today we have to go to the dentist (for about the 15th time) to try to get her lower denture to fit properly. So, I will get to hear about how she wishes she still had her ten teeth two of which met for chewing.

Thanks for your responses.
azamma,

I'm sorry that I got the facts about the houses wrong.

Your mother sounds like a control person with her negativity and running people down behind their backs.

However, with her having paid into social security all of these years, she does have unused medical insurance available to her via Medicare Part A which is free and Part B which costs like $85 per month which is taken automatically out of the monthly SS check. She needs to know this. She is living off of you by not drawing her social security and using her medicare benefits and her comments about doctors is just part of her control game. You really must take charge.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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