Stingy...

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I moved my mother in with me 4 years ago..it's just the two of us. She was 90, and had taken some spills at her home, and she is vision impaired. We rent out her old home to my cleaning woman. My mother insisted I retire or she would not move in, which I did, even though I was not yet eligible for social security... But I felt financially, I could handle it. Well it's a struggle. My mom gives me 350 a month of which 200 goes to the cleaning lady who assists my mother. She in turn uses the money to pay my mother rent. My mom gets ss and my dad's pension. The other day I looked at her savings account and saw she had stashed an additional 18,000 dollars since she moved in. I was shocked that she was stashing away money while I was struggling to stay above water. When ever I would bring up helping out more she would get angry.... I can't believe how selfish she has become? Am I wrong to be a bit angry? I know she watches everything I do when it comes to spending MY money and begrudges that I take a two week vacation each year... But honestly, I need that time away to keep my sanity..

14 Comments

If your mother is still mentally competent, and in general is not an unreasonable person, then perhaps you can tell her directly, "Mom, I need to sit down with you and revise our original agreement."
What is it you'd like to change? Do you want to go back to work? Would you like to change your arrangement with your cleaning woman?
At her age it is going to be rough to get her to see reason that her "rainy day" is already here. IMO she needs to be paying half of the living expenses, which I imagine would come to $600-800 a month for the necessities, including the cleaning lady. Most of us would love to get by paying only $350 a month.

Something I wondered is if you are her only heir or if her bank accounts are set up payable to you upon death. That would repay the extra money you've been spending keeping the house going, but only if she doesn't need Medicare.

If you think she is still reasonable, show her the bills, tell her you're struggling and need more help. Come to a new understanding of how much she will contribute each month, aiming at half of the shared bills. It is the only fair thing to do.
Thanks for the responses. I think I just needed to vent. There was a reason she was hiding her bank statements. I guess sometimes everything is just overwhelming when you have to do so much for someone else, when you should be enjoying your own golden years. I think she is miserable and can't see past herself. The other day I kind of told her off. She was complaining about her new jacket, didn't fit perfectly. She complains about all her clothes not being perfect. I finally told her I was sick of hearing her complain. I go thru great lengths to try and make her happy.., picking out things, ordering then, sending many back. I told her it was very inconsiderate of her considering how much trouble I go to just to find things that she'll like. I guess it's just burnout on my part.
Bobbi, it's very important that you not burnout, because where would mom be then.

I need you to explain to me why you are paying the housekeeper who in reality is mom's caregiver. Mom should pay her own way.

She "insisted" you retire? I seems to me that this is in no way a relationship of equals, nor is it a caregiver/client relationship. You appear to be being exploited by your mom. Mothers of adult children shouldn't insist on things that are detrimental to those children.
Ah, the word "stingy".... sounds like my parents. I have to remember they were children of the great depression so parting with money is a monumental task... heaven forbid they blow that dust off the wallet.

I was shocked when I learned an estimate of my parents estate.... I was surprised people didn't see flames coming out of my ears I was so upset. My parents could have hired a full-time chauffeur instead of guilting me into driving Miss Daisy and her husband [my Dad] all over hill and dale. After all those years of driving, I had developed a fear of driving so I had to drastically cut back... that has made me sick because I use to be so independent, now I am not because of that :(

Dad says he's saving his money for my inheritance.... oh great, Dad, but what if you and Mom outlive me?.... that could happen.
I think it would be a lot fairer if she paid you $350 and you kept that. The $200 for the aide who helps her should come out of her funds. Just my opinion.
Babalou, I'd go a bit further and say mothers of adult children *can't* insist on things. Or at least, they can insist - and they can be ignored. For anything actually to happen, though, requires the consent of those adult children; and so, pathological relationships aside, it's a case of 'there are no victims, only volunteers.'

Bobbi, you moved your mother in. You can move her out. With that important point clear and on the table revisit the household finances, do the sums together, and make d**n sure she looks at the numbers and in future will be paying her full way. And if you want to factor in your Loss of Earnings with those numbers, you go right ahead. You've opened your home to her and offered her protection in her late years: it's too much for it to cost you money she can readily afford as well.
Bobbi, ask your mother to write you a check for $285,000 because that could be what you had lost by retiring 4 years earlier.

On average if a working person quits work to be a caregiver he/she will lose, over the years, between $285,000 and $325,000 which includes not only loss of salary, it also includes net worth loss of the health insurance; loss of money being put into social security/Medicare; loss of other benefits such as matching 401(k); profit sharing; etc. [source: Reuters 5/30/12]
CM interesting you say that...I initially wrote that caring mothers of adult children DON'T insist, but it seemed too harsh. The last time my mom insisted i do something was when i was a teenager. As you say, people should volunteer to be victims.
I had to chuckle here at the words of some of our more assertive members. :D

Our care receivers hold several important cards. First of all the hold the Age Card that enables them to say and do things that younger people can't get by with. Second, they hold the Sick Card that gets sympathy and support from people around them. Third, they hold the Parent card so are used to bossing the caregiver around -- something they've always done. These three cards are very powerful and can make victims out of even the strongest volunteers. They are often played frequently by a parent who asks, "How can you not do this for me because I'm old and sick?" Caregiving-type people have big hearts, so feel guilty very easily IMO.

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