A single female is always the one who moves in to care for Mom, they all say "You live there for free'.


That's me. here is my story, DO I? Does anyone else feel like it is unfair for family members to use the excuse " Because you live there for free" every time there is a discussion about living with and caring for your elderly mother or when something needs to be repaired at her home? There are other issues involved because it's not just family members , SHE says this all the time as well.

I was the only single female child in the family 13 years ago when my mother bought a 3 bedroom home close to all 3 of her children. It was actually directly behind my duplex and I could go through the fence and be in her backyard. I knew then that I would eventually need to move in with my mother and at first it would be beneficial to me as well as her but I knew at the time that at some point she would need for me to be there ,that was 8 years ago.
Once I did, the family, as well as my mom started to answer any requests for help by stating "you should do it because you live there for free" anytime anything needed getting done like unstopping the sink, fixing plumbing that required a plumber ,paying all of the electric bill and mowing the yard or paying half the cost of someone else to do it. The first words out of everyone's mouth is ........ "Because you live there for free" when I asked my older sister to have her husband come mow he did it once. My older sister's husband actually wanted to be paid and resented any requests for help.
My older sister has never taken my mother anywhere, EVER. She lives less than 3 miles away and calls twice a month, once a month to say " Hi mom , just wanted to check in" followed by the second call 2 days later "can I come over and see you, (cue the tears)... I need help"
Now my older sister is a widow and comes to my mom's house once a month to cry and beg for money for her medicine ( oxycodone addiction) or for her rent. She calls it borrowing but never pays it back. Mom admits she NEVER wants to have my older sister living here..... EVER !!!

I have one younger sister that is wonderful, she and my mom both love casinos and she takes mom all the time. My sis and my mom can afford that 2 or 3 times a week, I cannot.
Other than that my mom does not leave her recliner. I cook and grocery shop, run errands and do VERY light cleaning . In the last 8 years things have really changed and I knew they would. She is now 83 and has very little stamina. She has advanced Crohn's, emphysema, is deaf in one ear and has a heart valve problem. I do the equivalent of a "live in companion" for free. The bottom dollar value of a live-in companion who gets room and board ( does not pay any utilities or any cost of food) plus a salary for being a caregiver is........ wait for it ..... $2000 per month, at the bare minimum. I pay my mom about 250.00 per month so I can live her ( for free) and take care of her. My mother likes to consider herself independant and so to re-inforce this belief she refuses to buy anything that could make her quality of life better and easier for me to care for her, such as hearing aids, a mobility scooter or even a rolling walker. She can well afford thing things but I think she doesn't want to admit she is getting old (she's 83)
I pay ALL of my own expenses, all of my own food and a portion of her expenses that she would have to pay even if I were not here. My mother is firmly in the opinion that she is saving me "tons of money" by letting me live with her and would feel that way even if she were bed-ridden and paralyzed because what I contribute has no value.
I know this sounds like we have a toxic relationship but I do love her,she just cannot say those 3 words unless we make her say it, and I am trying to care for her and even though it is easy for others ( older sis and my mom both say this) to say " If you don't like it then move" they know I cant and they know I wont. Someone has to be here. My father had a heart attack many years ago, I was living in California, my 2 sisters lived in the same town as he did. He had been dead 4 days before anyone noticed that the newspapers were piling up on his drive and called police to check him out.
So thats my story all of it is true and I want to know ..... Do I really live here for free and am I really just using my mom for a free place to stay? That's kind of how my mom feels about it although she wont outright say it.
As far as her estate what ever is left after she is gone will be divided 3 ways so she wont be playing favorites. A senior living village is out of the question because it would eat up all of her estate so the solution is : Just have me live here for free and that makes it all even steven. My younger sis takes her to the casino, my older sis collects several hundred dollars a month that is never repaid and I ..... "Live here for free !!! "

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If Mom doesn't have a will or advanced directives, encourage her to do so. As far as 'living there for free', it's not really free. You are a 24/7 caregiver, at $10.00 per hour, that is $240. per day or $7200. per month. You cook, clean, do shopping and laundry and any other number of tasks. You pay your own expenses and give your mom money to live there, send your sisters a bill with a total of $2400. per month for each of them, maybe if they see a monetary value to all you do they'd change their minds on helping out. After all, mom isn't going to live forever and caring for our loved ones is what we do. I moved in with my dad 2 years ago, my brother helps out when it comes to maintenance etc. I'm lucky, I know many families are like yours. You are not free labor, as least when mom is gone, you will know you did what you could to take care of her.

and maybe if you didn't have to divide your time for caring for your mom you could work 40 hrs or more a week at your business and get a nice income for yourself! Tell that to your sisters. You are being used for free in home care, plain and simple and they are making you feel guilty.

I lived with my parents to help out for 6 months last year. I would go to work all day and as soon as I came home my dad handed off my mom to me. Weekends I was expected to do all the care, cart her around for appointments etc. The result was i had absolutely no free time, no social life and it was slowly driving me insane. It wasn't worth living there for free. I had minimal cost while staying there, paid for some food, paid their cable but that was it. Still, I would rather pay $1400 monthly rent to live nearby and be able to come home, relax and be able to read a book if I want. If needed, I am 2 miles away now and can help out in a nanosecond. I still take her to her hair appointments on an occasional saturday which eats up half a day but thats only every 6 wks or so.

Save money, every penny you can and move out. Like someone said, who will take care of you when you are 83? Thats why I plan to work til 70. I went to a SS seminar and thats the best return for a single woman. I will become fully vested at 65, then continue to work and earn credits til 70 with delayed benefits and collect off the exhusbands 65-70. thats my plan, God willing I am able to work that long. If not, then I might have to go live with one of my kids and I really dont' want to do that--for them or me. I just want peace and quiet. I love my grandchildren but they are babies and I don't want to become a full time babysitter for either generation.

Let us know how you make out. Stay strong!

You certainly gain some benefit from living there and having a place to work from. You also very clearly provide real benefit to your mother, and to her estate by saving money that would otherwise be spent on aides or assisted living. I suggest that you right down the various costs and benefits on each side and share that with your family. "Fair" is always in the eye of the beholder.

I always insist that my clients enter into care agreements in an effort to address these issues. they don't always anticipate changes, and the family doesn't always agree with the arrangement. You don't need your sister's agreement legally, but you would be well served to get at least one of your sisters on board.

I agree with many that you are getting the short end financially, based on what you have said. The only solution (other than you leaving) is to have some amount paid to you each month from your mother's assets. That would mean reducing her long-term estate. This is a very difficult situation which puts you squarely int eh middle. You run the very real risk of upsetting the long-term relationship with your family either way. It really comes down to what you can live with in your heart, both now and after your mother is gone and the estate divided. Good luck!

sherry, I would love to know about your live in and what its like. Having someone help me here is fantastic but must they move things the way THEY want to al the time? Not to be picky but it is my house and I have to search for things sometimes lol. She even takes things home to fix or sew or pictures to put in an album, things I want to do. (But of course I never have the time). Shes great but??? A live in???

My mom surprised me last friday, by actually saying thank you when a box of toffee that I had ordered for her from an Etsy candy shop arrived. She even came in the next morning and patted my arm when I was making breakfast.

Unfortunately today we went backwards. She and my son had agreed to split the cost of 2 new tires for my car ( I needed them badly) and I had an appointment to have the tires put on today......................................................
but remember my sister "C", the one with the oxycodone fondness? She doesn't usually call to say "help me, I can't pay my rent or help me I can't pay for my prescriptions" until the middle of the month , last month it was on the 12th when the dreaded phone number ( hers) showed up on caller id.

Today it's the 4th and she calls this morning.
I realize now that I should have asked for the money for the Christmas gift tires upfront from mom but I made the mistake of saying I had enough in my account to cover it and she could pay me afterwards since we didn't know the exact amount it would be.
My son actually gave me the entire amount today and said spend the other half on something nice for yourself. So while I was gone sis "C" came over for 300 promising that she would not ask again, (YA when pigs fly over ice bergs in hell , she will stop asking for money) which threw mom into "scrooge mode". It looks like mom can't afford to buy me that tire now since she had to help "C". I guess she forgot it was supposed to be my Christmas gift and thought she was just doing something nice for me. Cause she is all about giving.

I often wonder if anyone has every stood up in the middle of a funeral, like at a wedding when they ask about anyone objecting, ya know when the funeral preacher who never met the deceased says what a "compassionate caring person..... who would give you the shirt...yada yada yada. " and say the truth about the person.
When they did that at my brother in laws funeral, ( "C"s husband, the one who wanted to be paid to mow mom's yard) I swear I almost jumped out of my seat and said ""holy crapola,now I know I am at the wrong funeral, can somebody tell me where R. B's funeral is being held? "" Fortunately my sis "S" gave me the "stink eye look" that tells me "Don't you even think about it" cause I have been known to say things out loud like that LOL

Hey darling, are you in the Tampa area, I am and would love to hear from you.

Mine is the opposite in that Mom moved in with me & my family. I am retired & 1 of 4 siblings, so the expectation is I SHOULD help Mom more because I no longer have a job. Well, hello ... I don't have a job because I felt Mom should have at least one of us available and flexible to help her.

So Mom moves in here, and it is OK to pay for "professional" help off the books but I shouldn't get the same amount as them. Even though I know as much or more than they do. "But this is Mom" is what I get as another excuse -- basically accusing me of somehow exploiting her financially.

Yes Mom pays me room and board ... a pittance & the same as what my adult children pay. The difference is that they don't leave all the lights on in every room within reach all night long. They don't eat 4-5 meals a day, with the same number of snacks. They don't flush the toilet every 5 minutes because a drop of urine has come out. They aren't up 10 times in 10 minutes all night long wanting to be around another person. They don't want me next to them every waking moment, even when a paid babysitter -- oops, I mean caregiver -- is sitting with them. Oh my goodness, the list is endless.

Don't even get me started with resenting my siblings. Big time. They can go on their merry lives because they've dumped this on me. "But this is Mom" I hear again & again. Interspersed with "You took this on" though I know I was backed into a corner & felt obligated to make the offer. Support from them? Hahahahaha -- they feel they are being supportive by saying "thank you for taking Mom in" and then following that up with criticisms of what I am doing, what we should do, and other expert advice from people who are getting their full night's sleep every night. Actions speak so much louder than words.

Yes, I love her. But I am also starting to resent her. Yes, I know it's the disease, which makes me feel worse because I can't help myself either. Yes, I know something has to change.

So, Mom is moving into an Assisted Living Facility next week. Back in the town where she lived.

Did I mention that I am female? LOL

I live with and care for my 102 year old Mother. I have no siblings so I have the advantage of no one to disagree with the decisions I make, and the disadvantage of no one to ever share any of the costs or responsibilities. We both sold our homes and moved in together nine years ago because I needed to provide financial support and could afford to support one household, but not two. Also, I knew the day would come when some physical support would be needed. While she could not live alone now, she does not need 24 hour or nursing care yet. My point is, you do not live with a parent and provide any level of care or assistance and think that it is equalized by living there rent free. It's been proven many times over that the cost of paying for a mother/homemaker/wife far outweighs what nearly anyone could afford. The same can be said for a caring son or daughter who is living in. Paying for the many services providing such as housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, medication monitor, gardener, personal shopper, administrative assistant, accountant and a dozen other tasks I've failed to mention, would be impossible for all but that upper 1% we hear about. It is a full time job that limits your own mobility, social life, and other options. My Mom automatically assume my friends are her friends, and she is part of every conversation and every activity. She can ignore me and do as she pleases because I'm obviously still 17 years old. I'm 70 and still trying to do some work from home because no one told me I would need to support my Mother up to age 102 and beyond. But she can interrupt me and want something moved or brought in or out, or question answered or whatever, any time she feels the need. The frustrations can be many in addition to the work load. There is love, caring and necessity wrapped into the whole deal, but no one should assume that as a caregiver you are getting some great bargain even if you are living "rent free." As a caregiver there is no such thing. You are giving away enormous portions of yourself that go well beyond any rent payment you could ever make on a piece of property. Until someone has spent all their days and nights meeting the needs of an aging parent, on their good days and their bad, they have no concept of the sacrifices that are being made or the gift you are giving allowing your Mother to go on living "independently" in her own home. She does not even fully comprehend what enters into it. Unless your family and your Mother come to some appreciation of what they have in you, then you should go on strike or move out permanently. Perhaps finding somewhere you can stay for a month or two while they see how it is to cope and manage it all on their own will give them a reality check. Your challenge is thinking of some way to wake them up. Otherwise, steel yourself for walking out. Either way, don't continue to destroy yourself.

Welcome daughterhallie! I see from your profile that your mother is 90 and you just hit the retirement age of 65 and live in San Jose, CA. So your mother has general age related decline, Alzheimer's/Dementia and she is raging at you when you visit her. I don't blame you for not trying to live in your mother's home at all! Even if life was better at home, it would be a healthy boundary to have somewhere else to live like you do for such an extended amount of time.

I read your post form 6 days ago about your time with your mother, driving her all over for medical appointments, errands and shopping as well as writing down her insults every night in your notebook and mentioning that her raging has been elevating since your arrival three weeks ago and evidently the next day it is as if nothing had taken place the day before. Your mother does not remember raging at you the next day? After reading that particular post, I see why your friends are telling you to go back home, but you are there and you have a reason for being there and it must be strong enough of a reason to have kept you there for three weeks. Well you are definitely determined and strong!

I'm sorry that you have had to take so much money out of your retirement at one time and applaud your efforts, investment of money and time to do this visit while sustaining two residences.

In order to fully grasp your situation and offer the best support in input possible, I am going to ask a lot of questions. The more details that you can share the better. Take as long as you like and vent as much as you need to. I'm sure others will think of other questions to ask you , but that is the nature of this site and you are on a very good thread.

Where did you move in from on this visit? How long has it been since you have seen your mom? What is going on that prompted you on this evaluation, elimination, and recovery mission at this time?

Who has been keeping an eye on her while you have lived in another place?

What kind of relationship have you and your mother had over the years? Why does that friend say you have a bad attitude about your mother? Has that friend ever met your mother? Sometimes our attitudes about someone are correct because that is how they are.

How does your mom manage to take care of herself from day to day? How long has she been managing on her own alone?

What is your goal in evaluating your mother? Are you thinking that she needs a nursing home? Do you think that her fiances are out of order or that she might need to file for medicaid? Do you want her to be evaluated by a doctor to see if she is still mentally competent to handle her affairs and ok to live like and how she is living?

How exactly are you planning on eliminating some stress in her life?

What is she recovering from?

What do you perceive is her next medical issue?

It sounds like you have given yourself a time frame of three months. That does sound like all you can afford with supporting two residences. That is not a lot of time for mother-daughter relationship work, but sounds like enough time for some basic triage assessment of your mother's overall health status and plotting a course of action in light of that assessment.

To accomplish all of that in three months, I assume that you do have her durable and medical POA. Do you?

What are your plans if three months is not enough time? Come back later? Try to move permanently? or what?

Are there other relatives who will actually help? We know this is often not the case.

Sorry to sound like I'm doing a professional intake type interview list of questions. That is normally not my style, but all these questions are popping in my head as try to wrap my mind around this situation and your mission.

Those are all the questions that come to mind that I think will give us some helpful details to know. We look forward to hearing back from you. Don't feel like you have to answer them all at one time. Tell us as much as you feel comfortable sharing.

I feel so much better mentally by being in this blog or what ever it is. I have not been sure that I made the correct decision to move within to 2 miles from my mum to evaluate, eliminate some stress and help her recover and work on the next medical issue..All at my expense with double housing bills. I have been here a month with my two pekes and have not a clue about the future but try to stay in the moment. love more, guide me, and for 2015 the mantra is TRY HARDER.
the extra expenses amount to over 2 grand a month I cant afford any more.
I withdrew 10 grand from my retirement account. 2 grand for taxes. 8 grand for 3 months. I cant live in my moms house. it is just impossible. I am attempting to work on our friendship. Useless at times but I will stay as after 30 days here it truly is interesting to observe my self and question myself. In short, What is the best thing to do in the span of every hour? daughterhallie PS I have received feedback from one person that I have a shitty attitude about my mother. I intend to contribute this time to her as was her contribution by producing me.

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