Is it wrong to charge my mother-in-law with dementia for living with us?

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Above and beyond our additional expenses. In addition to some of the typical additional chores (laundry - including some soiled, meals, medicine, etc) she interupts most conversations between our kids and us with the same 15 stories about her childhood. She's very sweet, and loves to tell these stories, but it keeps out (late-teen) kids from having normal conversation with us at the dinner table.

She is saving about $400/month by living with us and that figure will rise to $1,100/month once her house is sold in about a year. Her estate, including the house, is about $300,000.

Is there a fair amount to charge the estate for the caregiving and the additional expenses? Both my wife and I work. In about a year, we'll have to have a companion come in while we're at work, but for right now she's ok as long as we call her and remind her to eat lunch and take her medicine. Our daughter gets home from school at about 2:30 and helps out.

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
I think it is ok to charge her remember paid caregivers get about 25.00 an hour and with all the work she is adding to your family and your lack of privicay she should be expected to help with the expenses-she should have offered to do that from day one-what is she saving her money for but I would talk it over with an elder lawyer because if she has to go on medicaid within the next 5 years you will have to account for what her money was used for and you will probably need some type of contract for her to sign since she is close to needing more assistance if things are not done correctly you would have to pay this money back at some point due to the look-back period medicaid uses having started the paperwork for medicaid I can tell you it is horrible and they have easy ways to find out things about people now-a- days so to avoid problems later on check things out now.
I don't know about the money part of this equation but I do know about the repeating the stories a hundred times. I think you'll just have to get used to it, cause it will only get worse. The times that my mother-in-law talks about 'dad' no longer means her deceased husband, now she's talking about her real dad. She has gone back in her stories now, to when she was growing up and living at home.
Her world has become smaller and smaller as she has lost her eyesight for the most part, and her short term memory for the whole part. At first I would bang my head on the wall having to repeat everything I told her, but now I just repeat it and let it go. Who cares at this point? She wants to contribute to the conversation, problem is she has nothing NEW to say anymore. Find another time to talk to the kids about what they want to talk about, but not at the dinner table. If she is a kind person, then this will be a good learning experience for your kids as to how to treat you and your wife someday. And believe me, it'll happen sooner than you think. ugh!!
My grandmother, who has Alzheimers, have been living with my family for three and a half years. She does not pay us to live here or for me to take care of her or help pay her bills. I do keep all the receipts of groceries and utilities and have her pay us back for items that are solely hers (medicine, denture cleaning tablets, etc) and a fifth of the other groceries. (There are five of us in the house.) Plus, she pays a fifth of the utilities. We do not charge her rent or "care" fees. We generally only get about $150 a month from her. I wish we had worked out other fees (rent and care), because we have used up ALL of our savings and are practically living paycheck to paycheck. I've had to borrow money from my sister to pay the bills before. My uncle has gotten everything of hers into his name, so he sees everything that she pays us and he is always questioning any check that he sees as unnecessary.

I have two daughters who are now 9 (10 in May) and 5. If I had known how disruptive my grandmother living with us would be, I would probably not moved her in with us. We have not had a vacation in 5 years. We can NEVER spend the night away from home. She refuses to go anywhere else or have anyone else stay with her. She is constantly verbally abusing my older daugher by telling her she is fat or she eats too much or she needs to do this or do that. She's even slapped my daughter. I've told my grandmother that my children are not hers and she does not have the right to treat my daughter that way or tell them what to do. I will move her into a nursing home if she continues to do this, and I've told her so.

But back to your money question... I'd talk to an attorney who specializes in elder situations (including medicare, medicaid, etc) and get every "t" crossed and every "i" dotted. If I could do it all over, I definitely would.
I think the best advice is to keep it very clear and with a separate account. If you have other siblings as part of this equation, I would definitely discuss this with them and either have them agree that the $400 she was paying before should come to you for her care or they can start to contribute to her wellbeing. If Medical or Medicaid is an issue, it must be very clear and documented. I went through this with my dad and was a wreck. I made it work, but it would have been so much easier if I started with a system from day one. I had to recreate five years at one time. This was beyond a nightmare. The best of luck to you and your family...
When my MIL, who has Alzheimer's, came to live with us, we had papers drawn up to give my husband and I joint POA for both medical and general. We opened up a joint checking account in her name and mine. We're very glad we did it right away, because she's no longer able to sign anything. I keep track of receipts and charge her monthly for anything that is solely for her (as someone else posted above). Since it's necessary to do her laundry everyday, sometimes more than once, I now buy separate laundry detergent for her. I should have done that from the start! I use her money to pay for adult day care and for occasional overnight respite care. I can't take "pay" from her because I'm on disability and can't have an income, plus she simply doesn't have the money to pay me anyway. But I do charge her a flat $200 per month as a contribution to household expenses. I keep a detailed spreadsheet so if we're ever called to account for how her money was used, it's all there, with a box full of receipts to back it up. I did charge her $10 once for one of my sons to accompany us to the doctor's office. It was messy out and I was afraid to help her in and out because of my own health issues. We're getting close to needing someone to help me with her regular morning routine, and I'll be happy to pay one of my sons or a neighbor out of MIL's money. That's what it's there for, to provide for her. If your MIL has the money to pay one or more of you for her care, make sure you keep records and don't charge her more than the going rate in your area.
Do you have power of attorney for her? If so, then you can write checks to pay for her bills. Make sure you keep all receipts and document what you purchased for her and the reason for the purchase. For utilities you could divide it by the number of occupants in the home and that would be her contribution. As long as you keep very good records and they are reasonable you should not have any problems.

If you do not have power of attorney then who is in charge of her money? If she has dementia I would assume that she is not capable of managing her own affairs. The important thing is that things are done with her best interests at heart. Even if she goes on Medicaid they understand that the financial responsibility for caring for an elderly relative should not fall on the shoulders of family members. As long as you can show reasonable receipts you should be fine.

Get her to the Doctor. Have the Doctor mail a letter to the Local Soc. Sec. Office (make an appointment with soc. sec. to become her Authorized Representative), stating that the Doctor feels it is the best interest of his patient that You Become her Representative. After this her check will be sent to your bank account and she is not to have access to her money. Keep records as the Soc. Sec. will send yearly audits. If she has her own bank account take her to the bank and get your name on the account, take the Authorized Respresentative letter with you. NOTE: Be her Payable upon death if she is the primary account holder. Remember, the Soc. Sec. does not recognize Power of Attorney; only Authorized Resprenstative; the Soc. Sec. Administration will not speak with you regarding her without the Authorized Representative. Power of Attorney means nothing if the person becomes incoherent or dies. Be sure to have an appointment set up with an Elderly Lawyer (based upon her income) while she is still coherent and not diagnosed incoherent; have Durable Power Of Attorney Papers drawn up incase she becomes incoherent. If she is already incoherent this becomes a case for a court, you will be asking to become a Legal Guardian; placing you in complete charge as to where she goes and who she speaks with; for example a parent and child guardianship. As for the Dinner Table, perhaps have a separate time for dinner for your mother-in-law would be suitable. I strongly urge to contact the Elderly Services in your community and get her signed up for Adult Day Care during the daytime. ( and/ or a women's weekly prayer meeting or bingo). This will give her exercise and communication; including signing a Medicaide Waiver to help with transportation, meals, home aide assistance, bathing; the doctor can order physical thereapy, speech, bathing, etc at your home... for a temporary stay of 60-90 days to help her become adjusted. By all means, if the Stay at Home is too much after doing all your Paper work and legal matters, Consider searching an Assisted Living Retirement Home. You can use her check to pay for her rent during her stay with them. You will be able to plan activities for her when you pick her up for the day or for travel vacations or for her doctor appointments. The more she can do for herself the better the entire family is. She needs to get up early, have activities to tire her out, an afternoon 30 minute nap, and to bed by dark. Showers are not necessary every single day. Safety Issues are. Remember the Coucil of Aging will give her an Identification Bracelet for her to wear incase she becomes lost. Concerning Family members who ALL want to Stir the Pot but not contribute the stew meat, they can take a Hike. Hope you have made the right choice. We all will die; take the time now to make all funeral arrangements now. Take lots of pictures and video recordings. Smile and good luck.

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