relayrunner Asked September 2012

Are there accounting guidelines that help resolve disputes over financial assets like a house and 5 years of caregiving for my mother?

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My wife and I have reached our limit in taking care of my 96 yr. old mom after 5 years of being caregivers. She has 3 other children younger than me who can take over this responsibility but do not do so.
After not getting cooperation from siblings to discuss this and work out a new arrangement for Mom, we have notified Mom we can only do this for another year. She is now angry and upset, and says she will move out soon.
She is making claims over an incorrect amount of money she invested in helping to buy the house we live in. It is much lower than she is claiming and we have financial documents to prove it.
We need help in determining if she is due any monies from us after these 5 years of being caregivers; she is claiming we owe her money, and is coming up with an amount using her own calculations.
We pay the mortgage, taxes, and majority of expenses. She has given us 1/3 of those house expenses every 3 months for the 5 years, and that is all.
Has anyone got experience in this area where a 3rd party can mediate and/or help resolve this in an objective unbiased way based on actual financial amounts contributed toward purchase of the house and annual expense costs?

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crystalmpn Sep 2012
it amazing how when you are trying your best to help and take care of them - they turn on you. I would do it again but i would not take them into my home. My mother treated me like her personal servant and it triggered all the painful childhood memories I thought were long gone.
I would have a place separate and still care for my parents but I regret
subjecting myself and my children to an abusive mother - in childhood and as an adult
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Ronnystee Sep 2012
Relayrunner, any updates on your situation? Is your mother completely aid dependent on you and your wife? I read on another blog about another person having similar problems. I think I remember someone saying that when you care for someone who is aid dependent (amount of aid can be variable) that you are essentially acting as an "assisted living center" or nursing home, depending on level of care. If you calculate the costs of such a place, the costs per year are extremely high and usually out of reach for many individuals. So, when an adult. Hold moves their parent(s) in with them to avoid those costs, they are in fact taking on those expenses that the parent cannot afford. In addition, you are taking on the physical, mental and emotional weight as well. Nurses and assistants in those professional facilities are very special people and are to be commended. However, they are getting paid to take care of our parents. The facility is getting paid to provide them with shelter, food, heat, air, etc.
Those nurses and administrators collect a salary (which they should!) but they get to go home at night and live their life as they choose. What do we as caregivers have when neither our parent or ourselves can afford that level of care? Especially if the parent you are caring for lives with you ONLY BECAUSE they want to?
I imagine that most of us or at least a lot of us are in our 50's and 60's. Our parents are products of a different generation. In my case, my mom and dad both worked. After my mother was involved in a car accident 30 yrs ago, she never went back to work. My dad worked harder and provided for us. He invested well, saved his money so that he and mom would not have to worry when they got older. Even after he got laid off from his job of 35 years, he persisted and opened his own business. When my mom was 56 and dad was 63, they sold their home in Ohio to move to Florida. This happened after my mom threw a fit for months and months and my dad gave in. He never wanted to move, but he did to satisfy her. He bought a manufactured home in Central Florida and was miserable. Mom, she was happy as a clam! She just did whatever she wanted, when she wanted, if she wanted. Dad died 5 yrs later and I picked up where he left off. In these last 15 years, she has went through the money he left for her and she no longer wants to live alone. So we brought her in with us. Even though she portrays herself as helpless, she drives 30 miles at least 2 times per week to do a variety of things: get her nails done, get a pedicure, have lunch with friends, etc. in the meantime, My husband and i are drawing from our own 401 K to help pay
bills and buy groceries. Our water bill has doubled and our electric bill almost doubled. My husband told her that we needed some money from her to help pay some bills. So far, nothing. She has reminded us, however, that she bought us this home. It is a manufactured home in a small town in Central Florida. Her own MH is for sale. When she sells that place, she plans to use the money to help augment her Social Security. So, in essence, why shouldn't she have to pay some of the expenses here? She needs to live SOMEWHERE!!!!! And she would have to pay expenses no matter where she lives.
SO......why are we suffering financially, mentally, physically and emotionally to support these individuals?
At this rate, and given our ages, we will not have the luxury of ANY retirement assistance and remember....this is the money that WE have worked hard for so that we might enjoy some of the same peace of mind that we are giving to our parents. Not to mention, we will not be as fortunate when we really need help as we will have nothing to give to our children.
My mother cannot understand why I am so adamant about finding a job, even if it means finding one in another state. I am 56 yrs old and have no health benefits, no employer assisted retirement. Since I have nearly depleted my own 401K, just what does she think I am going to live on when I am her age?
To say the least, it is mind boggling. I have emotionally and mentally checked out of my mothers life and am nearly ready to check out of my own.
Relayrunner, if you are still reading this extremely long narrative, is your mother a widow of a veteran? Mine is and the next item on my list is to find a lawyer who specializes in assisting veterans widows in obtaining VA pension assistance. Not many people know about it and the VA won't come looking for you, but I guess it's worth a try to see of my mom qualifies. You should too, as there is something in the guidelines about caregivers assistance.
So much to say about our circumstances that really is very sad. All I know is that we pulled the trigger FAR TOO SOON when agreeing to let my mother live with us. And since she tells my husband every day how happy she is here.....I guess if anyone leaves, it will be me.
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sandwich Sep 2012
I think if I do anything to try and straighten this out I wont have a roof over my head so I have to wait and see what comes. One day things will change. life does not stay the same I have to lay some ground work for my future too. I know that I will be OK I have to believe that. This is just karma good and not so good. Good luck Keep your freedom as long as u can. It is a precious thing I miss mine for sure.
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wilma14 Sep 2012
You can find a professional mediator. You can go through the courts to do this or have an attorney recommend one or hire one on your own. If the courts are involved, the mediator will report the results of the mediation to the courts. If the mediation provides satisfactory results for both sides, then you can move on with what needs to be done. If you cannot agree, the issue could go to the courts to help you both settle on a solution. I suggest calling mediators within the court system first and get some advice before you proceed. Good luck with whatever you choose. It is sad that we get caught up in so much other stuff when we are just trying to help someone we love.
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I would say it depends on your mothers health and the care she needs. If she needs 24/7 as my mom in our home you should get paid through a caregivers contract. I took care of mom 10 years from a far, meaning calling and twice a week taking her out, doing her laundry and housecleaning, sorting pills, etc. That sort of help are daughterly duties , in the eyes of lawyers also.
When you move a parent into your home and she is sick, needs meals made, can't be alone, may be incontinent, cannot walk, etc, that's real care requiring a caregivers contract. Even with that you get only 8 hours a day and must pay 30% taxes on it, which makes it like nothing if you ask me but we do it because we love them. I have done it all, and moms money ran out over two years ago, now we only have the A&A and SS we can use to pay for respite and supplies if there is any left after respite help, diapers, chux, thick it, medications, heat, food, etc etc. Just remember how you would feel if you needed help and try and put yourself in their shoes and follow your heart.
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Sooozi Sep 2012
Oh Ronnystee... again, we an relate. My mom is the sweetest person to everyone she comes in contact with. To me... little zingers. Of course I've gained a few pounds, so noticing that she ate a chocolate bar recently, the one time she actually came to the grocery store with me, and since she is not interested in eating, I suggested she select a candy bar. Her response, NO!! and YOU dont need one EITHER!! I had no intention of getting one, but that little nasty snip hurts. I bake her chicken and the next day she screws up her face and says I do NOT want chicken! I would love fish... Why can't she just say thank you and ask for fish the next day. Why does she have to make that face and shudder when she talks about something I tried to do to be nice to her? Again, it hurts. I tell myself that she is just scared. I tell me that I should not let it bother me, but for days and days and days I feel badly. Of course there are hundreds of those little comments. I keep thinking that we are all trying to do the right thing and there should be some joyful moments in this journey with our moms or dads... but they are hard to find and while we are busy trying to shake off the cutting comments, pouting, jealousy that there is some thought that I have a life and she doesn't. Oh My! I just muddle through this murkey situation.

Actually I am thinking of moving in with her. I live 45 minutes from her. So a trip to the doc is 45 min from my house, 45 min to the doc, 45 min back to her house and 45 min home. I'm in my car all day, with snipping along the way. I've tried to hire others to take her to the doc, but then it's impossible for me to understand what happened. So when she has medical or financial issues, I just don't think anyone else can do it, but me. Oddly fortunately for me, and somewhat like you, my husband is 100% in support of the help I give my mom, because his mom died when he was 9 yrs old. However, I think if I move in with my mom, my husband will want to RUN in the opposite direction. It's messy... I do need people to tell me NOT to do it. I think it will resolve half of the driving and gas is Expensive!!, but then I come back home and think it's good to have my own space... but I'm not particularly productive. How can I take on a job when my mom might die in a few weeks, or months... but then what if it's years? I will be dead too!! if this goes on that long... and I'm not saying I wish my mom dead. I appreciate what a good mom she was when we were little children, and she is a dear person now... except when she snipes at me...but that's forgivable. It's me who needs to learn how not to let her nasty comments hurt!!!!

Yes, we.... the care givers need to find joy in our lives, while at the same time we are not free from one of the most important roles of our lives. How do we do that? When was the last time you giggled? For me ... I can't remember...
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sandwich Sep 2012
this is a fine situation we find ourselves in I lost just about everything kept the dog and the car was about it after I agreed to help my sister for two weeks that was almost six years ago. I know I will never get my freedom again. since I agreed to two weeks of care for my sister thru to surgeries a year apart and have been on hand to do for the rest of the family. Now mom and her husband are my full time responsibility. I do work 40 plus hours a week which gives a mental out. I have a few good years left in me but fear they will be taken from me because I am the only one doing all the work. I can't pursue a relationship no one wants all the baggage I have. I understand its more than I want. I feel that I can't get enough done to satisfy the elders and money isn't enough to cover heath insurance or a saving account for myself. I am at an age I have little time to prepare for my golden years. So it's one day at a time. my plate is too full. and Family is too messed up. Glad I have only ONE wish all care gives the best find some way to escape even for alittle while
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Ronnystee Sep 2012
Snoozi, whatever you do, do not allow her to move in with you UNTIL it is no longer an option. At least you can do what I used to do, which is go home after a bout of illness and at least have your own space and peace and quiet. It is sad to hear that you have too, left your job and feel like you are disconnected with your friends. Same here, as you read in above post. I hate to say it, but I don't enjoy spending time with my mom. It worked when I knew it was for a finite period of time. Having another adult, your mother, in the house completely diminishes privacy, makes you feel obligated to include her in everything and then either feel resentful when you do include her OR deal with her pouting and martyrdom if you don't. In my case, it is a no win situation. And with no job or benefits of any kind, I cannot even afford to see a counselor to try and work through these issues. Sorry if I sound too complaining, I just feel trapped and used. She has an excuse for everything and if caught in a situation where she cannot turn the guilt onto me, she runs to her room crying. I am currently looking for a job and have decided it might be best for me to look in other demographic areas that will put some distance between me and my mom. The problem with that is that I will be once again sacrificing my own happiness to do so....meaning my husband has indicated that he is happy here and intends to stay. So, thanks mom.........
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Sooozi Sep 2012
Relayrunner and Ronnystee, I have so many similar feelings. I left my high stress job, thinking I would move on to the next role, but find I am at my mom's beck and call. While I know her last years are my priority I find it supremely difficult to focus on myself, when I think she is heading back to the hospital, failing... only to find she has been running around with friends. When once in many weeks I get a chance to grab Sunday brunch with girlfriends she says... wow you have sooo many friends!!! (guilt tripping....) No I don't have hardly any friends left. They are all working and productive while I'm on pins and needles waiting for mom's sad call, saying I should come right over... for days, weeks, then she ends up in the hospital and starts feeling better. I take her back to her house and help her to eat properly and feel better until she finally says... I'm fine, go home... but there is nothing left there. My career has been on hold for over a year! My friends are busy, my own health is deteriorating and it's just helpful to know there are others out there doing the same. Helping aging parents is so important on one hand. On the other hand we have no idea how long this will last or the course it will take... so we are on edge and have to find ways to keep a good, healthy life ... physically, mentally and financially. It is such uncertain territory! If we had the answers we could all pool together and start a huge business... although the last thing people like us need to do is to pay some expert a lot of money to life's most normal of questions. I'm looking forward to hearing from people who are more expert than I, in answering these questions!!
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Ronnystee Sep 2012
Relayrunner, I too would be interested in hearing input on this situation. Mine is slightly different in that I have spent the last 15 years since my father died taking care of my mother. While not unable to actually care for herself, she would need help from time to time because of her COPD and bouts of pneumonia for which she was frequently hospitalized. She lives in Florida and we lived in Ohio. We both worked and had children at home, so it was difficult to arrange for time away. Suffice it to say, I spent nearly every hour of PTO running back and forth to Florida, usually at my own expense. Any "vacation" that our family did take was always to Florida to "check on grandma". What I didn't allow myself to see was that she was perfect at playing the sick individual but as soon as she felt better, she would go right back to running around, taking cruises, flying to see my cousin etc instead of proactively seeking ways to prevent or slow down these frequent bouts of pneumonia. As she got older, she became "shaky" and could not write her bills or call me constantly because "I just don't understand this bill" or any number of excuses, which I fell prey to.
My youngest sister was mildly mentally retarded and unable to help and middle sister refused to help and is still not helping.
We gave up good jobs to move to Florida to be closer to mom. We were still 3 hrs away but closer. But in April,she decided she wanted to live with us, so we allowed her to purchase a manufactured home in Central Florida, close to her hometown so that she would be close to friends and familiar surroundings. Since then she has shown me that I cannot stand living with her. Taking care of her from afar worked because I could go back to my own life. Now I have no life and want her to move back into her own manufactured home (which hasn't sold) and which is 30 minutes from where we currently live and we will pay her back! She is just as happy as a bug in a rug and I am miserable. I cannot find a job after 3 solid months of trying. I am home all day with her and now she thinks we are best friends. She royally pissed me off about 3 weeks ago when a friend from Ohio came to visit by pouting and acting out when we did not invite her to run around with us. Since she refuses to wear her oxygen, she can not even walk a half a block without gasping for air. I have been unable to talk to her at all and in fact have realized I don't even really like her. Many, many repressed memories have surfaced and I am experiencing severe resentment towards her and the intrusion on our personal lives. To add insult to this dilemma my husband is taking her side and has basically told me if I can't accept this "deal" that we made with my mother, that I can stay here until I find a job OR I can learn to accept the situation and just learn to be happy. I am beyond depressed, am not sleeping or eating and am literally spending the entire day away from home to avoid interaction with her. I really need some clarification on where I stand and what to do. This home that she purchased for us is in my husband and my names. Someone please help me figure this out.
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