Caregivers need help financially.

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I too am in a what seems like an impossible situation. I moved in to help out my elderly parents. A year later I lost my job, soon after my 84 year old father was diagnosed with cancer. I cared for him 24/7 until his passing six months later. I have now been caring for my mother whom ,with dementia, was very dependent on my father and is now with me. She needs a caregiver on a constant basis. My mother has her money and I have mine. I also have a $55k student loan that is outstanding and constant stress for me. I have cashed out my last 401k to live on. Sallie Mae was kind enough to let me know, with the minimum payments I can make, my total loan will end up being over 100k. That's my future retirement. Currently with no income and my small nest egg slowly dwindling away I find myself in dire straits.
I have no idea what to do while time and money keeps clicking away.....
I know this is a growing problem in our society. We need help...


I share a similar situation with you. I've had to make sacrifices that I previously thought were impossible to care for my 91 yr old Mom and upkeep for the family home in the country. Mom could not stay here alone. She is doing well mind wise but she is very frail and I have recently transitioned her away from the drivers seat of her car. I have 3 brothers and a sister who remotely connect with Mom mostly by phone. I provide them with peace of mind so they can live their lives. I am not able to find work without travel and have been told I am overqualified. I wonder if it is because employers hear that I am caring for my Mom and they don't want to hire someone who may need time off for her. My nest egg is gone and I am forced to ask for support from the family. They are keeping track of what they contribute and plan to take it out of the estate when the time comes. Makes me feel as though i am not worth anything. This is their $$ but my God this is my life. All I see at the end of this road are years invested, all my money has gone to help with groceries and household to help Mom... my siblings will be reimbursed for their $$ but what about my time, life and $ ? They think I should get a job and pay rent and expenese because I live here. This isn't how I envisioned living my life at 53. So I pray for answers and guidence. I know I am doing the right thing by helping Mom to stay in place. I am keeping a promise I made to my Dad in his death bed. So, you are not alone. We will survive, we have to!
Welcome to the world of caring for the elderly. I don't recommend that anyone do it, harsh as that sounds. The cost to the care giver is just too high.

Here I sit, after a decade and more of caring for my mom, in dire financial straights. We had an agreement that I wouldn't have to pay expenses if I moved in with her and would be able to save my own money, an agreement that she reneged on a month after I got in there and the demands for money started. I supported her very well financially for over 5 years, until I ended up losing my job because of her never ending needs. She refused me POA. When my own heath started to fail and I was literally in danger of a stroke from the stress and around the clock care she needed, I was forced to abandon her to the state at the beginning of this past September as I couldn't place her myself since all her assets were in her name and I couldn't sell them. I felt trapped in the care giver role. Abandoning her to the state to get her placed resulted in her accounts being frozen, and resulted in my disability checks(disability for an anxiety disorder after I ended up losing my job)also being unavailable since somehow she convinced people that I wasn't able to handle my own money, a total lie there, I've only been handling my own money all my life and have never had any major financial issues. I was without a single dime for 3 months, with everything in the house getting cut off around me and my family. It's still all cut off. We stayed with a friend of my son's for about a week and a half, but I couldn't deal there and was very uncomfortable, so I got my younger son and I into an extended stay motel...which we must be out of my this Wednesday. This month, December, is the first month I've been able to access my own funds, which is why we could afford this extended stay hotel for a couple weeks. My mothers assets have now reverted to my older son and we're working to sell some land to get us back on our feet. The deal was supposed to close by the 15th of this month, but it's taking a little longer. If my mother's house wasn't paid for, we'd have been homeless. She didn't leave a single dime to make sure WE, her family, was provided for. Being land rich and cash poor didn't help my family at all. Now, I'm out of funds and will have to return to my mother's mid December...with no heat, lights, phone or running water until that land sells. I might be in the cold a week, it could be longer, who knows? All I know is what taking care of my mother cost me and my family just wasn't worth it. I tried in the beginning when she was still sound to get her to sell some of her assets to go into assisted living. She wouldn't hear it. She refused. I am an only child. I have no siblings, no other family whatsoever to turn to. It's just myself and my two sons. They'll be staying with a friend until our land sells, but unfortunately I have to return to the house. I'll be completely isolated there in the cold for God knows how long. At this point, I'm just praying I survive until we can sell the land.

If I had this to do all over again, no way in hell would I have done it. I'm alone, broke, and facing living in a god forsaken house in the middle of winter without even enough money to buy firewood. My mother, however, is warm, clean and fed. This shit isn't worth it to the care giver, it's just not. Not when complete and utter ruin is the end result of care giving. Put these elderly in a NH people, and take care of YOURSELVES FIRST and the hell with promises. Nobody should end up where I'm at now. It's asking way, way too damn much from adult children. Nobody should be expected to give up their future security and be reduced to living like an animal, which is how I see my own situation because that's exactly what I'll be doing in a few short days. Nothing...and noone... is worth this. People need to wise up and put the elderly where they a facility with people that get paid to look after them. Period. If I knew back in the day what I know now, things would have been a whole lot different. Never in a million years would I have taken on my mother, and what SHE wanted, to stay in her home, be damned.
To clear up, my mom convinced someone somewhere to put her name on my disability checks, evidently stating I was unable to handle my own money, which resulted in them being unavailable to me after I got the state involved. Thanks, mom! I have no idea how she managed that. I've never had any financial issues, and always paid my bills. I bet she didn't mention that I supported HER financially for years and paid all the bills...
This is such a painful subject. For me it boils down to one simple but cynical question: what is the dollar value of emotional value?

Let's take us out of the equation. Mother/father gets taken into institutional care. They don't starve. They don't die of cold or neglect. They are "looked after."

But society says: what about your loving filial duty? What kind of child abandons its parent to an unfeeling system? Shame on you.

But we don't need society to tell us that. Our hearts have already said: this is my parent and I will care for him/her 'til the end of his/her days.

So we do. And it costs society nothing, it costs our more remote siblings nothing (unless the expense of keeping us is a net debit against the parent's estate - but how often does that happen?), and - I hear more and more - it costs us everything. Financially, physically, emotionally. It is Not Fair.

Essentially, it seems to me that we are idealists living in a world of cynics. No wonder we're not comfortable. So if we can't beat them, how do we join them? How do we explain and assert ourselves in terms that the cynics can grasp? Because right is on our side; all we need is the right language to communicate the reality of what we're doing to people who do not understand.
StandingAlone, If your disability checks are from Social Security, you can contact them to find out how to fix that mess. I would go in person to the local Social Security office to ask what to do. Your mother might have made herself representative payee for your account, but you can have that undone. If she did it without your knowledge or consent, she can be in big trouble and might even need to pay it back.
CM, I get what you're saying. But really, I don't give a tinkers damn if everyone here thinks I'm the devil himself for 'abandoning' my mother to the state. The only regret that I've got on that score is that I didn't do it years ago, and that I took on this role in the first place. I never should have, and what 'society' thinks be damned. Let this 'society' make these sacrifices, then talk to me about what kind of person I am. I am totally bitter about this whole care giving crap, and totally outraged for the people here, and everywhere, that are sucked into doing it out of some ridiculous sense of moral obligation, and end up beggared and lost with no security, no help, no nothing because these elderly demand to stay in their own homes and demand that their adult children into take them on and keep them there as if it were their God given right and are 'owed' that damn much. Just thinking about how I've ended up, the hardships my family has had to endure because of my mother, pisses me off royally. Never in a million years would I ask my own kids to sacrifice ALL for me. What RIGHT do I have to ask that much of them? Absolutely none. I raised my kids to have their OWN lives, to be happy and secure and successful and peaceful in those lives... I damn sure didn't have them so that I could have a convenient caretaker when I was old. When I can't take care of myself anymore, I'll go into a NH and that's that. I want my kids to LIVE, not die a slow mental and emotional death dealing with changing my diapers and having to watch over me around the clock. God for freaking bid. If that were ever to happen, in my view I've FAILED my kids. You have kids to let them fly free....not chain them in a cage with you. Just...UGH!!!! I have come to royally dislike the elderly that put their own blood in a lose/lose prison situation out of sheer selfishness. Freaking blood sucking vampires, the whole lot of them.
App, I had no clue that she would be on those checks until I got the first one. But it's all good now, they're in my name now, starting this month. :) Thank God!
wow, so familiar, also have student loans, caring for mom 24/7, no help from employed siblings, no payment from mom for 2.5 years I have cared for her, yes she has significant assets, used my IRA, broke, will I lose my house too?

we family caregivers keep folks off of medicaid, what for? To lose all ourselves? To benefit of siblings,.

I am completely overwhelmed with it all and now my sibs, getting my children in the midst of all of this. Too much today.
Glad, you might lose the house if you can't find some way to get paid. Scary, but real.

If life was the way it was back in the day, when families all lived in the same area, and people had HONOR and supported each other, and the entire family was around to take care of the elderly, I'd have no problem with the elderly at all. But it ISN'T that way anymore. Now, families are scattered all over the place, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles away, and from what I'm reading around here all the time, even if family is close by they have no sense of honor or care and bail out, leaving one sibling holding the whole care giving bag alone. That should never, ever happen, imo. If families stood together and shared the care giving role, and everyone took on their fair share while others could get much needed breaks, that's a workable, fair plan. But that's just not how it goes these days, and I don't think the elderly have any right whatsoever to ask that one child take them on all alone, and risk that child's own safety and security, while demanding that their own safety and security be guaranteed at all costs, even if it means that their child ends up broke, and possibly homeless, all the while insisting that the 'do nothing' family members get a 'fair share' of any money left after they die. That is just outrageous to me.

Lose all for the elderly? Shouldn't ever happen, and it shouldn't ever be asked.
My situation is a bit different. I am one of 8. Oldest sister took the brunt of care while our father was dying. She and her husband are now ill and very ill after the stress of my father's illness. Mom was just along for the ride. Now that Dad is gone and Sister and husband are unwell enough not to be able to take Mom full time, she stays with husband and I weekdays and goes to sister weekends. Mom has never worked. Youngest sister has Power of Attorney. Never filed for Dad's death benefit. We get no compensation for Mom's care. I am disabled and have been on SS disability for 13 years. My husband is a DAV. We are both over 65, lost our house in 2009 when my husband lost his job. He is now working 10-12 hour days at a factory, Something he has not done in 30 years. We had to move to a place big enough to give Mom a room. Rent is $1500/ month for starters. Our savings are gone already. Yeah, so who is going to care for us when we tank like Sister and Hubby? At least they have good pension plans. Our kids are autistic and are unable to take care of themselves. Guess we go to State Care. Whoopie.

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