I took care of my mom with dementia for past 3 years, couldn't work, used up 90,000 of savings, have 3,000 left and siblings won't help.

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Asked sibs for some help, answer was NO. I did not ask for reimbursement for caregiving, but $4,000 (out of $10,000) for work I'd had done on my moms house to get it ready to sell. We would be doing these repairs now and all paying for it. I am feeling very depressed and vulnerable, being down to $3,000 in savings, plus $25,000 in credit cards. I quit my job 2 years ago to take care of my mom. I am now looking for a job but am 57 y.o so it could take awhile. While caring for my mom, I developed high blood pressure and am on medication for that. I also need to lose 30 pounds and am working on that.

My siblings in charge of my moms estate said that "everyone has pitched in for mom over the years" and so this might open up a can of worms if they pay some to me. I said, but nobody else was out of a job for 2 years and used up all their savings. I feel like I need some therapy, but it's expensive and they won't take credit cards. I just feel so depressed that my siblings, who I've always been close to, are acting as though my contribution of taking care of our mom for almost 3 years does not count for much and that they would not support me when. I am at such a low point. I fear that I will never fully trust them again. We are all inheriting about $25,000 each from our mom, so they tell me to just wait for that to get to me (could be months).
After all I did, I will have no money left after I pay off my credit cards. They will all have $25,000 from my moms estate. All I asked for was $4,000 to help me out right now (it would come out of my moms checking account so wouldn't affect the $25,000 inheritance. What do I do to get rid of this anger, hurt and resentment?? It's really eating me up and all I can think about at times.

18 Comments

I can understand your resentment, you thought you were doing all the right things for your Mom. How did you use $90,000 of your own funds for your Mom? Did you pay for skilled nursing care?

As for fixing up your Mother's house, now a days there are Buyers who will purchase a house "as is". My parent's house is on the market using a Realtor and it is being sold "as is". Thus, don't add another dime to the house.
This may sound callous, but it's honest and forthright. What you need to do is forget about the anger, hurt, and resentment and focus instead on resolution. You know your sibs aren't going to help; don't focus on it and make yourself even more upset.

Focus on moving forward, w/o your sibs. How can you get yourself out of the financial situation? Start with a part time job if you have to, even if it's not in your field and isn't a career position. At 57 you're still young; what did you do before you quit work to care for your mother?

I'm not glossing over the difficulties, but the more focus is given to them, the harder it is to move forward. It's like a car being stuck in the mud or on ice - wheels just keep spinning and the car doesn't go forward or backward.

You might also contact your credit card holders and see if there's any way you can negotiate a settlement to reduce the principal balance. If the $25k was accumulated in the 2 years since you've quit work, and the $90K in savings depleted, take a very critical look at your spending habits and figure out ways to change them.

If you really want to get past the anger and resentment more quickly, do some volunteer work, such as at a soup kitchen. You'll see people who are far worse off than you, and may have even less of a chance to turn their lives around.
Garden Artist has some good points!

Family dynamics like this are all too common. Family members show up a few times during a crisis, or not at all, do little to nothing to help and still inherit equally. It isn't right and it isn't fair, bit in my experience, being angry with them is pointless. You work yourself into a tizzy and they sit then and go "what's the problem?"

You COULD try a family council and show them how you spent your own money on mom's care and perhaps they'll help, but don't count on it.

And yes, I am wondering how you depleted a sizable savings and added $25K in debt in 3 years. Maybe you can share that with us...up to you.

I'd also sell the house as-is. You'll all get less of an inheritance, but it may sell faster and you can move on.

Bless you for stopping your life to care for mom. I am sorry about the siblings--you realty can't change them, and while you are consumed with anger, my bet is they are completely oblivious to how you feel.
Hi and thanks to all for your comments. I realize I might sound whiny and this is a first world problem that I have. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, so much of my money I used up went for general living expenses, I,e my half of the mortgage, food, utilities, etc. I love good food and my mom was earring gourmet meals that I cooked every night, which she appreciated! I also bought my mom clothes, lunches when we'd go out, trips, etc. My husband was very supportive emotionally. I realize I could curb my spending habits a bit. You are right that I should just let the anger go, but it's hard. I was always best buddies with my mom and am glad I was able To quit my job and that I had savings to live off of. I guess I thought my siblings would be more appreciative of it and help me out right now. That's the part that really hurts. Time will heal all wounds, I suppose! I will try to get a part time job and get back out into the world. I have too much time on my hands to ruminate about this.
Been there. You could try to bill mom's estate for two years of care. Was it medically necessary? I cared for mom for four years, cost me my career, social security contributions, 401 K contributions, retirement benefit and salary. FF has the stats that estimate the financial impact on unpaid family caregivers. And it taint pretty!
Resentful implies you feel you are being treated unfairly. I assume you didn't call a family meeting three years ago and ask for your siblings to support you while you took care of mom? That ship has sailed. Their opportunity to express how they felt about your decision to move in, self finance, etc. went with it. So I'm hearing several different issues here. One is you are broke and need to go to work. Another is the house needs to be repaired to be put on the market in order to make more money when it sells. Now this is a supposition as you didn't state that clearly. But if I'm assuming correctly, then separate these issues. Siblings are not responsible for your lifestyle and the gift you gave your mom. As the one sibling said, they all made sacrifices. The house is another matter. In some states you would not have to move because you have been living there taking care of mom all this time. See an elder lawyer before you do anything. Siblings might be more willing to negotiate when you come to the table with more chips. If you don't want to live there and you believe you and siblings will make more money on the house if you make repairs, then gather your facts and make a business proposition and not an emotional one. If you are voted down, move on. It's as much their decision as it is yours and you have a right to be disappointed but not resentful.
They may not trust you to move out and feel they would be enabling you to remain in the house and not sell it. Try to see it from each siblings perspective. They get to decide how they spend their money just like you did. And know that you will need time to heal from the last three years and may be making decisions that aren't in your best interest long term. Get a good exercise program. Even a 30 min walk will help you think more clearly. You have to gird up and fight for your future. Once you start walking (do it today) you will increase your success with lowering your blood pressure and your weight loss. It will all start coming together fairly quick. Pray for understanding and replace the resentment with love. Shift your focus. Determine your rights. Take care of yourself and allow your siblings the right to their own feelings and decisions. I may have some of this wrong. I only have limited information but recognize that you created your situation and it wasn't all wrong. You just can't see around the corner right now. This is just a little bump in the road. You are made of strong stuff, you'll see. If you measure and weigh and record and journal you will see that you are moving forward. Stay focused. Don't forget to breath. Let us go on this journey with you. You'll be an encouragement to us all. People start over every day. The momentum of starting will carry you forward. Stop pushing against your siblings. That will keep you stuck. Invest in some good walking shoes. Your new energy will be contagious and make future employers see a woman who isn't afraid to get things done and wants to contribute. Don't doubt your higher self. Good luck and Hugs. Do it today And tomorrow And the next day.
Hi there, that's a thought.. My mom couldn't live by herself anymore, so I guess you could say it was medically necessary, She was locking herself out, leaving gas on, etc, throughout 2013, so she started coming to my house for months at a time and then moved in early in 2014. We never did have any home health aides come in, mainly because my mom was still feisty enough that she wouldn't stand for it! So it was 24/7 for me, with 4-5 hours off every weekend when my sister who lives close by would give me a break.
HI 97yomom, thanks for all your tips. I have always been a resilient person, so I'll reach deep down and pull that side of myself back up. I'm not actually living in my moms house, that is in another state. She has been living here in my house with me and my husband, i actually got the work done on my moms house back in 2012, because she was wanting to sell it then (this was pre-dementia). So that's what I'm asking them to pay me back for (some of the $10,000, not all). And when my mom moved in with us, I should have called a family meeting about it, but it seemed greedy at the time and I always thought they'd do the right thing by me. Now we need to sell my moms house, so there's no issue with me losing a place to live. Thanks again
Be careful fixing that house! One sib, mom's poa decided to put new wood floors and granite counter tops on top of forty year old cabinets to try to get more money on the house. I warned her that most sales in the area were flips. She did not listed. Spent the money, listed the house at 700k, sold four months later at 620k to a flipper that is going to tear everything out. Hopefully countertops can be recut and new wood floors resanded and refinished!
Here is the stat on what it cost to quit work to care for a loved one. Glad's right, it taint pretty! We tend to forget about the benefits we lose.

On average if a working person quits work he/she will lose over the years between $285,000 and $325,000 which includes not only loss of salary over those years... it also includes the net worth loss of the health insurance coverage.... loss of money being put into Social Security/Medicare..... loss of other benefits such as matching 401(k).... profit sharing.... workman's comp insurance.... company sponsored life insurance.... vacation pay, sick pay.... tuition assistance, etc. [source: in part Reuters 5/30/12]

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