I moved in with my mother a few months ago with the intention of taking care of her full-time as she got older. She has macular degeneration, loss of hearing and some light dementia. She is 89. She was all in favor of my moving in and helping her. But after I moved in, she changed her mind. She did not want me doing everything for her. She said she was not an invalid yet and when the time came for her need for help, she would ask for it. She became very difficult to live with, was very argumentative all the time, and she began to treat me like I was a stranger instead of her daughter. We both agreed that I would move out and get an apartment of my own. I told her that once I move out I would not move back in to take care of her later on when she really needed it. I will not be her caregiver in the future. She has rejected that idea and I also do not want to do it now. My question is this: Is it my responsibility to take care of her when she cannot do it herself? She has a house and I assume the house would be sold to put her in a nursing home. She keeps saying that I would not get anything if I put her in a nursing home. And that would be okay with me because it would be detrimental for my mental health. What are my options? Should I talk to a lawyer before that happens?
I too lived with my mother for a while and then moved out. I can't imagine any circumstances under which I'd live with her again, not unless she had full-time care from someone else at the same time, and maybe not even then. However, I have not abandoned her. I still live within an hour's drive, I still take her to doctors' appointments and for weekly shopping trips, and I still help with minor issues around the house.
I don't like it but I don't see any realistic option. If my mother had the money for assisted living, or if she was frail enough for a nursing home, I'd probably do less for her. I still most likely won't move any distance away until she dies.
Your task, I think, is to figure out what level of involvement you feel obligated to provide for your mother, given your relationship with her and considering all her other options. It shouldn't mean moving in with her except as an absolute last resort. The fact that you mother doesn't want to use outside help, or doesn't want to go to a nursing home, does not obligate you to live with her. Her wishes aren't absolute requirements; they're only her wishes, not to be given any more deference than your wishes, and not even as much.
Good luck finding your path through this - all of us here know it can be very challenging!
Good luck with mom and remember to take care of you no matter what you decide to do or not do for her.
Do you have the authority to discuss her condition with her doctor? Becoming disagreeable and argumentative could be an symptom of the dementia (my LO became that way), but, it could also be the result from just wanting to be in charge of her own care. Some people don't like roommates and that's okay. lol
Since you may end up moving back in to care for her, I'd consult with an Elder Law attorney who focuses on Medicaid laws right now, to figure out what options there are. It seems to me that there are some exceptions for keeping a lien away from the house, if the adult child lives in the home and takes care of the parent for a certain amount of time. Perhaps, those who know more about this can chime in.
If Mom can budget this, she might be better off in Independent Living which averages around $5k per month, depending on where you live. Then as her memory starts to fade even more, she will then move into Memory Care which averages around $7k per month. Does Mom have enough equity in her house to handle 3 to 5 years in such facilities?
If not, and there comes a time when Mom needs a much higher skilled nursing care, a nursing home on average cost around $10k per month. I know, yikes !! That is when Mom needs to apply for Medicaid [different from Medicare]. If Mom's house is still available and the 5-year look back has been done, then Medicaid will place a lien on the house to get reimbursement. Thus, you wouldn't get the house at that point in time, as it will have to be sold.
Many parents seem to believe that their obligation to treat their grown children as independent adults and free agents miraculously vanishes when the parent gets old and starts needing help. Suddenly they feel free to treat you as their unpaid staff and expect you to be at their beck and call. If I stay at my mother's house, she expects me to wait on her hand and foot. Why should she lift a finger to get a glass of water, when I'm there to do it for her? This irritates the heck out of me, and causes no end of friction between us. I can't be in a state of never-ending agitation and still function in my life. So I don't live there.
You have every right, and responsibility to yourself, to consider your own mental state and well as financial and other considerations in deciding how much you can do for your mother. In my case, that's really top of the list.
She doesn't want you to move back in. She doesn't want to go into a Nursing Home, to the extent that she's imposing the worst penalties she can think of on anyone who tries it. Okay, fine. So... what *would* she like?
Let her calm down. Get your own breath back. Meanwhile, download information about health care and welfare options, including directives, appointment of proxies and all the rest of it. Gather together some brochures and leaflets about services and facilities in her area. Then you want to get the information to her: you can give her the reading matter and talk to her about it; or if she gets tearful and argumentative at the mere thought, you can track down a social worker or elder care specialist lawyer or planner and suggest she talks things through with an independent professional.
Everyone is on her side, including you; the tricky part is getting her to accept that, and to appreciate that if she doesn't want to end up helpless and with no choices, she has to Have A Plan.
I'm sorry Plan A was so bruising for both of you. My mother started out saying "mi casa es su casa" - that didn't last too long for us, either.
You are not under any obligation to provide hands-on care for your mother. Not now, not in the future. The point is that you want her to be okay, and living as close as possible to how she wants to live. That's why you're bothering.
If her resources are limited, do some research into Medicaid in her state.
I was struck by your sentence "I assume that her home would be sold to pay for nursing home care" and your mother's statement "I would get nothing if she went into a nursing home". You need to look behind the assumptions of those statements (her home is an exempt asset while she's alive, even if she's on Medicaid) so you need to find out the fact and not what "everyone says".
To endorse what another poster said, you have no legal duty to provide hands on caregiving for a parent. You might well find that you feel a moral obligation to see that your mother is cared for.
But she is definitely going to need some kind of care, and she is going to have to pay for it with her own assets. If she outlives her funds, Medicaid will probably be needed. They won't step in until all of her money is gone. There will be nothing to leave to anybody. This is simply a sad fact of life in modern America.