Father with dementia, mom needs help, brothers want me to move home soon!

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I am the only one without obligations, but I have lived independently for many years with cats, but no husband. My brothers want me to move back in with my parents to assist them, but Mom says no cats,which pains me greatly as they are my family too, not to mention the abrupt loss of freedom and feeling as if I were instantly back in high school. It is a small town with little job opportunities so they are planning on giving me an allowance! Wouldn't it be easier on all of us if I transitioned into this role less abruptly by getting an apt. nearby and spending the time needed, and then later moving in or convincing them to go to assisted living?


Can anyone also direct me to help finding out about getting paid to care for my parents?
Don't do it!!!

Start reading here about children who move in with parents. Get your parents to consider assisted living. A parent with dementia will need more and more help, beyond one person's capabilities. And when there's two failing seniors involved and brothers who expect you to do all of the work, it's a recipe for disaster.

Work together with your brothers (and their wives?) for getting some outside help in for your dad and mom. Don't give up your life (or your cats)! You deserve independence and happiness too. I'm sure others will weigh in with some good ideas, but DON'T DO IT! There are other options that don't involve you moving in and giving up your independence and your precious pets.
Do you have a job right now? I wondered why your brothers thought that you are the one that can give up everything to take care of parents. Tell us a bit more.

One thing I am thinking is that you would be doing your parents and family a tremendous favor, and the first thing they say is you'll have to give up something you love. Your response should be that your cats come with you. Period.

Really I think that you should consider other options before you do this. If you work you cannot afford to give up a paycheck and your retirement for a simple "allowance." You still do have to take care of yourself.
I should have written a bit more. Your mother saying no cats told me that life with your parents would not be simple for you. It told me that she will rule the roost and will expect you to live under her rules. It will be like you're instantly back in high school, just as your wrote. Leave your cats?? No way.
The only way under normal circumstances is if parents pay you. That would require a care agreement and your parents would become your employer. They would have to pay into social security, medicare, state and federal taxes, workmen's comp, the entire gamut. The value of having a live in caregiver? An agency would charge about $12,000 a month. Wouod you ever give your folks a gift of that value? And what would brotgers gain in terms of parents not having to pay for care making assets increase or at least stay stable to be split three ways upon their deaths. I am sure your bros would love to have you provide free care.
I can hardly see to type b/c of all the red flags that have arisen while reading your post.

First, why would you be subject to the direction and mandates of your brothers? What authorizes them to tell you what to do, especially to make sacrifices to be a full time caregiver? And what are they doing?

Second, you're getting an "allowance"? Like a child? Why not a salary and enough to compensate for benefits you'd lose from a real paying job?

Third, what guaranty do you have they'll actually pay you?

Fourth, you should have a caregiver contract, with penalties for their failure to pay you, take deductions, etc. It should be drafted by an attorney, not your brothers.

Fifth, don't give up your cats. Demanding this kind of sacrifice is the biggest red flag of all. You'd be moving into a Cinderella type situation.

Sixth, you're not even on site and already you're being told what you have to sacrifice. What will happen if you do go there? You'll essentially be at the mercy of your mother and brothers. What else will they order you to do?

Don't do it.
Another thought....tell your brothers you want an escrow account set up in your name for your wages, and you expect to be compensated enough that deductions can be taken just as if you were working for a professional employer. Emphasize the escrow account - that'll let them know you're serious.

You asked about getting paid - this is how; your brothers or your mother pay you.
Could you afford an apartment without a full time paying job?

In some instances you can collect social security for caring for your parents but they must qualify for assistance which they not

Most likely your parents will need to utilize all their assets including equity in their home to pay for care - some folks can lovingly quit their job and care for a parent but this is a personal choice

I cared for my mother for more than 8 years while working 50+ hours a week without even a weekend off while my brother and sister both retired did next to nothing- while she left me her home in her will , it is quite likely it will have to be used for her care in ALF which is private pay

This is like watching an old horror movie while the heroine decides to go into the dark basement to investigate a noise. And everyone in the audience is screaming in their minds, "Don't do it!"

Please don't be the foolish heroine and do it anyway. We see this scenario played out again and again on these discussion boards. Please, please, take our cautions to heart! Please, at the very least watch a few horror movies (that is, other posts on this site) before writing your script.

First of all, your parents have raised their children, worked, paid their taxes, faced life's obstacles. They deserve a cat-free old age if that is what they want. That simply means they need to make arrangements for help that do not involve cats. That lets you off the list. End of that discussion.

There are dog people and cat people and pet people and no-pet people. We each have out own preferences, which should certainly be respected. Where ever in the world is it written that your parents preference for no-cats is more important in the scheme of things than your preference for cats? Really? Who made up that rule? Because I just rescinded it for you. I'm sure I have as much authority in the matter as whoever made it up in the first place.

Whatever you do to help your parents, do it without giving up your cats. (I myself am in the no-pets camp, but I certainly respect other peoples rights and needs in this regard.)

Next, they are offering you an "allowance." The very way this is phrased is demeaning. The fact that they don't seem to realize this is scarier than the offer itself. They can use this allowance money to bring in household help such as a cleaning service, laundry help, meals on wheels or other food service, lawn and house maintenance, etc. This will free Mom up to focus on Dad better. And it certainly does not have to be done by family. (This is the kind of help I needed first to be able to care for my husband with dementia.)

Perhaps, if it also meets your own needs, moving back to their town, in your own apartment or house and continuing your career (with your cats, of course) would be suitable. You'd be close enough to visit often, maybe daily, give Mom breaks, perhaps stay with Dad some weekends, etc. (The kinds of things your brothers could and should also do.)

Your are the only family member "without obligations." I'm going to assume this is because you choose to live your life this way. That is a perfectly valid choice. It is every bit as valid as lifestyle choices your brothers made. So why it it your lifestyle that is going to be disrupted, and not theirs? Give this some serious thought. I suspect the answer is "because you're the girl and your life choices aren't as important as the boys'" Are you OK with that?

DON'T DO IT! Don't go down into that dark basement!!

ElaineA57, my sympathies really are with your mother. Been there, done that, needed help! I cared for my husband in our home through his ten-year journey with Lewy Body Dementia. I don't know your mother's age or her health or your father's symptoms, so our situations may not be that similar, but I'd like to take a shot at giving some advice:

Dear Elaine's Mom:

My heart goes out to you. Your life partner, your soulmate, your equal other half has now become your dependent. Emotionally this is devastating. On top of that you now have to do all the household things you used to do, all the things he used to do, and all the new things that taking care of him entails! This triple-whammy on top of the emotional distress is almost overwhelming. And it literally cannot be done without help.

What kind of help do you need? I suggest that you sit down with your children and discuss this in detail. Perhaps they can provide some of that help themselves and also help you figure out how to arrange the rest of it. Here are the kinds of help I needed:

1) Medication management. Both my husband and I took lots of pills. I tried lots of ways to lessen this burden on me. In the long run one of our daughters took over that task. She came every two weeks and filled two one-week pills boxes for each of us. She made the drug store order for refills. This was about an hour to two hours of her time about twice a month, and it was a huge relief to me.

2) Cleaning help. Nearly anyone can clean a house. I felt no one could care for my husband as well as I could. It made sense to pay someone else for the routine household task and free myself up to focus on him. I didn't want to use my children to take on this chore -- they were more valuable in direct contact with their Dad. (They did help out with the more heavy cleaning once in a while -- "Spring Cleaning" stuff.) I also simply lowered my standards a bit.

3) Meals. I'm an awesome cook and I like it, but I took a lot of shortcuts during those 10 years. There are fairly good frozen meals now. Take-out from nearby restaurants helped. Family contributions of hot dishes, casseroles, soups, etc. can be a godsend. Do you have family nearby who could help in this way? Even a child who visits once a month can bring several frozen meals and help out for much longer!

4) Yard work, home maintenance, things like cleaning the gutters, shoveling, filling the water softener tank were taken on by one son. For the year he was working out of the country I hired a handyman and lawn service. If you husband can still do some of these things I encourage you to let him, with some supervision, but lots of tasks will be beyond him. If you have a child who can come twice a month and do a list of chores for you, awesome! Otherwise, hire them done. And, again, lower you standards!

5) Respite: No caregiver can do the job 24/7/365 without breaks and also retain their sanity. Can't be done. I found a volunteer service that came in for a few hours at a time, so I could go out to lunch or have my nails done, etc.

The best thing in this regard was enrolling my husband in an adult-day-health program for a few days a week. I understand you are in a small community, but even if you have to look elsewhere in the county, this can be a fabulous option. It gave me a little free time and also gave my husband other adults to interact with and other activities for stimulation.

6) Direct care: As my husband declined, even though I was still the best person to care for him, I really needed more direct help with that. I had a PCA come in four days a week. She helped him bathe and dress, fixed him breakfast and lunch, watched television with him and talked about what they were watching, supervised him doing his exercises, did jigsaws with him, etc. She also helped me take him on some outings, such as to the county fair.

7) Social interaction: Here is where family can really shine! Take Dad to lunch. Take him for a haircut. Bring an iPad loaded with vacation pictures to show him. Just sit with him, while you take a nap or run errands. One of our daughters lived in a different state. She couldn't visit regularly but she came for a couple of weeks at a time and provided lovely respite. The local kids arranged to drop in often, and the semi-local ones came less often. Their Dad was always glad to see them.

I wish you every success in keeping your dear husband home with you as long as you can. You will absolutely need help to do this. I hope your children can work with you to find the resources you need to provide this help.

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