That's me. here is my story, DO I? Does anyone else feel like it is unfair for family members to use the excuse " Because you live there for free" every time there is a discussion about living with and caring for your elderly mother or when something needs to be repaired at her home? There are other issues involved because it's not just family members , SHE says this all the time as well.
I was the only single female child in the family 13 years ago when my mother bought a 3 bedroom home close to all 3 of her children. It was actually directly behind my duplex and I could go through the fence and be in her backyard. I knew then that I would eventually need to move in with my mother and at first it would be beneficial to me as well as her but I knew at the time that at some point she would need for me to be there ,that was 8 years ago.
Once I did, the family, as well as my mom started to answer any requests for help by stating "you should do it because you live there for free" anytime anything needed getting done like unstopping the sink, fixing plumbing that required a plumber ,paying all of the electric bill and mowing the yard or paying half the cost of someone else to do it. The first words out of everyone's mouth is ........ "Because you live there for free" when I asked my older sister to have her husband come mow he did it once. My older sister's husband actually wanted to be paid and resented any requests for help.
My older sister has never taken my mother anywhere, EVER. She lives less than 3 miles away and calls twice a month, once a month to say " Hi mom , just wanted to check in" followed by the second call 2 days later "can I come over and see you, (cue the tears)... I need help"
Now my older sister is a widow and comes to my mom's house once a month to cry and beg for money for her medicine ( oxycodone addiction) or for her rent. She calls it borrowing but never pays it back. Mom admits she NEVER wants to have my older sister living here..... EVER !!!
I have one younger sister that is wonderful, she and my mom both love casinos and she takes mom all the time. My sis and my mom can afford that 2 or 3 times a week, I cannot.
Other than that my mom does not leave her recliner. I cook and grocery shop, run errands and do VERY light cleaning . In the last 8 years things have really changed and I knew they would. She is now 83 and has very little stamina. She has advanced Crohn's, emphysema, is deaf in one ear and has a heart valve problem. I do the equivalent of a "live in companion" for free. The bottom dollar value of a live-in companion who gets room and board ( does not pay any utilities or any cost of food) plus a salary for being a caregiver is........ wait for it ..... $2000 per month, at the bare minimum. I pay my mom about 250.00 per month so I can live her ( for free) and take care of her. My mother likes to consider herself independant and so to re-inforce this belief she refuses to buy anything that could make her quality of life better and easier for me to care for her, such as hearing aids, a mobility scooter or even a rolling walker. She can well afford thing things but I think she doesn't want to admit she is getting old (she's 83)
I pay ALL of my own expenses, all of my own food and a portion of her expenses that she would have to pay even if I were not here. My mother is firmly in the opinion that she is saving me "tons of money" by letting me live with her and would feel that way even if she were bed-ridden and paralyzed because what I contribute has no value.
I know this sounds like we have a toxic relationship but I do love her,she just cannot say those 3 words unless we make her say it, and I am trying to care for her and even though it is easy for others ( older sis and my mom both say this) to say " If you don't like it then move" they know I cant and they know I wont. Someone has to be here. My father had a heart attack many years ago, I was living in California, my 2 sisters lived in the same town as he did. He had been dead 4 days before anyone noticed that the newspapers were piling up on his drive and called police to check him out.
So thats my story all of it is true and I want to know ..... Do I really live here for free and am I really just using my mom for a free place to stay? That's kind of how my mom feels about it although she wont outright say it.
As far as her estate what ever is left after she is gone will be divided 3 ways so she wont be playing favorites. A senior living village is out of the question because it would eat up all of her estate so the solution is : Just have me live here for free and that makes it all even steven. My younger sis takes her to the casino, my older sis collects several hundred dollars a month that is never repaid and I ..... "Live here for free !!! "