I'll have to resign from caregiving; I'm sad and frightened about my future.

Follow
Share

A little over a year ago I retired (at 72) and moved in with my 95-year-old mother in her home, so that she could come home from a dismal assisted living facility.

It has worked out well for both of us. She has thrived at home---she's in wonderful health and cheerful again---and she's so easy to help. She appreciates what I do and she expresses it. I really don't have much to do other than housekeep and cook, coordinate her medical care, make sure she has some pleasure in life. This has also allowed her to live within her income; assisted living was chipping away at her assets.. And living with her has made my retirement financially easier.

But I've been just a little unwell almost from the beginning. I've just come out of an extended hyperthyroid crisis, ending with the radioactive treatment of my thyroid gland, and I'm still exhausted. I know I'm recovering from that, but now an old sciatic nerve pain has come back. I trust that it's temporary, but it will always be there waiting to return.

I function, but just enough to do what's absolutely necessary. Then I'm overwhelmed either by thyroid-related fatigue or by the sciatic pain---or both.

We have agreed it's time to make different plans: prepare the property for sale, dispose of the stuff accumulated during 90 years of family residence in the same home, find an attractive assisted living facility where she can later transition to more extensive care if it's necessary.

It will take at least a year to do this, and of course during that time I need to choose where I will go after the property sells and my mother moved, and what I will do. I'm frightened, because I have a very modest income and retirement fund. I had thought I would be able to supplement my income for several more years, as I did while I was still working, with translations, editorial work, tutoring, etc., but I simply don't have the stamina, physical or mental. I've already had to turn down a few jobs and I know my clients have replaced me. I actually had to withdraw from one job before finishing.

I could use some moral support, so I'm turning to this wise and experienced community. Please help me find the right way to look toward the future.

Love to you all ... Realtime

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
25

Comments

Show:
1 2 3
Re: Medicare and psychiatric help. It is such a hassle! I have an appointment on Monday with my PCP, and hope she'll have a good suggestion. (The psychiatrist she suggested has moved away.) I don't want more talk therapy --- been there again and again, done that again and again --- just someone who will prescribe, supervise and tweak meds. I know that sounds dangerous, but I did discuss it with the PCP, and she seemed to think it was a reasonable approach. I have given talk therapy so many tries that I'd like to give a well thought out program of meds a try. Nothing exotic. Just the right dosage of standard anti-depression anti-anxiety medications. I think I've always been on minimum dosages of the tried and trues --- Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Lexapro. Maybe I need a combination? Has anything worked particularly well for any of you?
(0)
Report

Pam, vstefans, FF, thanks to you all. Pam, rather than a retirement community, I'm thinking about a rental apartment (NEVER want the responsibilities of ownership again) near my daughter. My mother gets depressed when she's surrounded by "old people" --- and so do I. My daughter lives in a lively urban community, so it wouldn't be hard to come by the services we need. In fact, we have a wonderful "in" to services, in that the sweet wife of my ex-husband is a consulting nurse who took care of his mother at home until she died, and she knows where to look for everything!

Vstefans, I'll remember your comments if we get down to formal negotiations with Mama's potential buyer. The rent-back option looks best to me, particularly since they're talking about a "nominal" rent. This particular situation is probably almost unique --- the interested party is the daughter of close friends who live next door, and just sold their home under a similar arrangement. And although their house is worth a lot more than ours, at any rate their recent sale will keep us all realistic about values, and also about structuring such an arrangement.

FF, yes the screen doors are wood --- they're held together by metal plates and screws that my father patched them with while he was still alive and they now have two different kinds of screen in them, as well as a couple of wood panels. Now that we're talking about selling, I realized that I don't need to replace them --- just replace the hardware that's falling off.

The problem (constantly frustrating) is finding a reliable handyman. It seems as if the good handymen are setting up as small contractors and have more work than they can do subbing to the big guys. The odd job men can't do much more than pound in a nail, and even I can do that. Initially I got estimates and tried to choose the best deal; now all I hope to do is find someone competent and trust him to be fair on price. I'm expecting a call-back and hoping for the best from the latest candidate.

Old houses are hell. Particularly since my father did much of the work on this house. When we moved in (I was 3 years old, seventy years ago) it was just a shell --- exposed beams and rafters, studs, lathe and plaster --- with no indoor plumbing and minimal electricity. My father was a civil servant, not skilled in home construction; he just followed the instructions in Popular Mechanics and hoped for the best. Considering everything, he did a remarkable job --- built stairs, installed everything that didn't require a license and some things that did --- but some of his "renovations" aren't as sound as the original structure, and he did a lot on the cheap. Also, the main "renovations" also date mostly to the 1970s (UGLY wall paneling, etc.) He wasn't good at imagining future needs --- it was as if he thought that once done, it was done for always, and I guess it was fo rhim. He put the baseboards down on top of the (shag) downstairs carpet. When we had an interior flood a few years ago we had to rip out the old carpet and there's still a border of red shag around the edges, since we haven't been able to get it out from under the baseboards without removing them. (A young man with the crew that took out the carpet was so impressed by the carpet --- he kept saying things like, "Man, this is authentic shag, man, this is really authentic vintage antique shag carpeting!") (At least it wasn't orange or avocado green --- it was a nice cherry red.) And tastes have changed. For my mother, carpeting was a big step up. Now, everyone loves the original heart pine floors. I'm hoping to find there's still heart pine under the plywood my father laid down when he turned the attic into a real living area upstairs. Even if we have to price the house as a near-atear down, I'm thinking we can ask for the current value of the heart pine construction as salvage. FF, do you have an opinion on that?

(The kid who took out the shag was a real sweetie. I couldn't help apologizing for a clutter and congestion of the house --- all my mother's ugly furniture and knickknacks --- but he said, "It looks like a grandmother's home. I like it.")

Love to all of you...
(0)
Report

Mulata, I responded to some of your comments in my last two posts. Thank you, thank you for the information on TRADOS and other software. That was very helpful. If I'm able to resurrect my really good former client, the function of finding previously used vocabulary would be invaluable, since a lot of the work involved semiannual updates to their very, very extensive web page. I'm curious what you do when the language of origin is really badly organized, imprecise or badly written, or un-English ("in reference to your gracious missive of the 20th instant I take my pen in hand ... para sirvirle, etc.) One effect of rewriting was that the word count usually dropped way down compared to the source, and I felt I was losing money when I charged by the word. I sometimes averaged the source and final word count, with the client's permission --- particularly since I often edited out chunks of repetition --- to reflect the editing service.

With my main client, I had free rein to rewrite and re-conceptualize, as long as I highlighted what I had done --- but it was unwieldy. When I used track changes, it often got very hard to read. Since the English of the people preparing the texts for publication was sometimes shaky I worried about their understanding (and validating) what I had done.

By the way, your screen name enchants me. Every time I read it I think of Agustin Lara -- "piénsalo bién, Mulata." I had lunch in a good local Mexican restaurant yesterday and deplored the music that was playing. The food is surprisingly "authentic" for a community like this one, but the decor and ambience are a combination of random sombreros and Latino hip hop. I wish I could eat to the sound of Lara and the trova yucateca. I wonder if anyone up here listens to them at all. (I wonder if they're disappearing from restaurants and bars in Mexico. My boyfriend was quite a bit older than I, and we tended to visit the haunts of his youth.) I think "La Ronda" is my favorite Lara song.

As I mentioned to GardenArtist, I'm lucky that I don't have to make a lot of money by translations. For now, just a few hundred extra dollars a month to avoid cutting into my retirement fund and staying within my budget. No, I don't do interpretation. I admire anyone who can do interpretations, particularly simultaneous interpretation. I had some experience in Mexico with international seminars, and was so impressed by what the interpreters were able to do, whichever direction they interpreted in. I recently had a very small experience in translating Spanish poetry to English --- just a couple of poems in a memoir I translated to English for a woman who wanted to share her experience with cancer with her English-speaking friends. I loved doing it but it was very, very hard.

Oh, yes, by all means let's "talk." You're the first person I've met since I got back that does this.

If I can get back my old client, I probably won't look any further afield. It kept me as busy as I wanted to be ---- and I have less freedom now than I did then. I love the image of your mother creeping into view on camera while you worked!

(I hope other readers don't see this as hijacking a thread!)
(0)
Report

GardenArtist, To continue, I'm interested in tutoring because it would get me out of the house and into the community. And if could get tutees to come here to the house sometimes --- sit on the front porch looking at the porpoises and working --- my mother would love the presence of young folks in the house. My only experience in academic tutoring --- but I think I could leverage it --- was with my recently graduated grandson and a couple of his friends at college. Writing was a challenge for them, as it is for so many youngsters. I critiqued their papers, sent them back to the drawing boards (sometimes the night before the paper was due --- kids!) drilled down on their biggest "issues." These young men attended a pretty rigorous school. I had to slap my own wrists to avoid doing their work for them, and I think I succeeded. This was an extension of mentoring I had done for many years with young consultants when I worked in business consulting. (Report writing was agony for many at the start.)

I also adore history (I have an undergrad degree in British civilization and a master's with an emphasis in Latin American studies). There's a minor 4-year college in this community --- very little in the arts or humanities, unfortunately, because it grew out of a trade school --- but three high-quality high schools. Tutoring would require more planning and self-education than translating/writing, but I could probably get something going. What scares me about tutoring, especially given my recent history of not-getting-things-done, is the responsibility to other people.

I don't feel qualified to tutor Spanish, since I learned it as an adult on the job/in the community; although my Spanish is rich and fluent it's not always strictly correct (I'm weak on subjunctives and conditionals) (that's why I don't do English-to-Spanish translations, Mulata).

But the college has a nice lifelong learning program for active adults. I'm thinking (thank you, both GardenArtist and Mulata) about putting together a proposal for a short course on the lines of "what you really ought to know about Mexico" for people in this small community with a growing Latino, mostly Mexican, partly undocumented population. I see several short courses in the college catalog that are clearly reflections of the instructors' personal passions. (I hope to take some of them --- wine tasting, for instance.)

If only I could trust myself!
(0)
Report

GardenArtist, I do love your handle. Gardening must be your passion. Do you do vegetables only, or the whole range of growing things? My mother loves to go outside with her Rollator and inspect the shrubs, count the blossoms, pot an occasional plant. I was ambitious when I got here --- spent my first summer back rooting shrubs from old ones and replanting --- but I've scaled back to container gardens on the porches now. My mother can participate more easily. My best plant right now: a huge pot of squash blossoms. Wash and shred the flowers, saute lightly in butter with a bit of garlic and chopped chilis, and either serve as a vegetable or tuck into a small tortilla and fry in oil.

I really appreciate the time you took to write about getting back into the labor force. (You, too, Mulata!) When I still had an active translation sideline, I mostly did business documents --- made Mexican web pages, proposals, etc., readable and persuasive for the English-speaking market. This was a bit of a two-step process: I translated for accurate meaning and then, if necessary, reorganized and rewrote for more colloquial English-language flow and naturalness. Because it was a hybrid of translation and editing/writing, I charged by the hour. It was a good small side business at a time when I had a low-stress full-time job in another field, with down time. Obviously, I translated for folks who already knew me well, for whom I had worked in other capacities when I was still in the Mexican labor force. I'm afraid they have replaced me, but I suspect they could still use me if they haven't lost faith in my responsiveness. I sort of dropped off their radar without much discussion about a year ago. I never even billed them for the last job I did, and it was worth a couple of thousand dollars!

GardenArtist, as I worked my way through my own cash flow forecast for the next few years, I realized that I really didn't need to make much additional money as long as I was still living with my mother. Considering that I probably have between a year and a year and a half before I have to change paths, I should be able to meet a reasonable income goal, start rebuilding my savings. By the time I need to get serious (-er), if I stick to your critical path method, I should have ducks in a row.

The key, of course, is having the motivation to stick to it. That's where I've had such a big problem in the last year. I know that I've been deeply depressed, as well as physically below par, and that is probably more fundamental to my problem than the actual work-finding process. Reading your comments and suggestions, I feel a lot more motivated, have been able to stick to things a little better for several days. Several days do not a reformed life make. So...

Isn't it interesting how business methods can flip over to private life? I'm trying to mesh your critical path with my "pressure points." One thing that concerns me is that when I drill down on goals and decisions, I tend to run roughshod over my mother's issues. She's suggestible, and looks to me and my brother for guidance, and I'm fearful of not balancing my own needs with hers. I know I have to take care of myself to take care of her, but at the same time I want to be careful. Here and now, she has pretty much decided to do something --- sell --- that she's spent her life saying she'd never do. Am I being fair? Kind? Objective? I have to mull that over.

Since I lost two previous versions of this message, I'm going to post now. More later.
(0)
Report

Medicare does pay for psychiatrists and therapists.
It is just that they pay so poorly, no psychiatrist wants or needs a Medicare patient. It is becoming more rare to be able to find one who accepts Medicare.

I could be wrong-it has been a long time ago.
(2)
Report

FF, I had a therapist that specializes in caregiver issues, one of the being health insurance. Naturally I had told her about my crazy caregiving situation. He normal rate was $120.00 an hour. She discounted 50% for me because I did not have insurance, and I always paid her in cash.
(1)
Report

FF, some nursing homes have consulting shrinks. I'm sure they accept Medicare. In fact, I'm wondering if the AL facility where your father is living has one.
(1)
Report

FreqFlyer...........I had no idea Medicare would not cover ??? WHY??? Is it a cosmetic phase you are going thru??? GRRRRRR!!!

I am going to open a new thread...........my GRRRR moment.........or my GGRRR life............

I am sorry, but, keep searching..............there has to be someone. Or do like my hubby's dad-in-law............he had a huge medical bill and he paid them FIFTY CENTS A MONTH.......................but he was paying so he could not be taken to collections, that was funny............

Keep up the good work; I know you are thorough, organized and resourceful. Hugs my friend, many hugs,

M
8
8
(0)
Report

Realtime, that is a great option to do a rent-back. That way the Buyer can purchase the house and have it as an income producing property, and in the mean time do whatever repairs are needed and write-off those repairs against the income. Perfect :) That way when the Buyers eventually move in, the house will be updated.

Are the screen doors wooden? I have one.... that reminds me I need to tighten up the coil that runs from one corner on top down to the other corner on the bottom as the door isn't closing correctly. I do like the wham sound it makes... so old fashioned.

Realtime, oh my gosh, I am just running into the issue of also trying to find a psychiatrist or therapist who accepts Medicare.... like, what is up with that? This is a time when us caregivers who are senior citizens need talk therapy and these doctors won't take Medicare, nor my secondary insurance United Health.

I called my primary doctor and told her oops we have a problem... as I do not want to pay out of pocket $150 per session. So the search is still on to find someone who will take Medicare.
(2)
Report

1 2 3
This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Related
Questions