I was her sole carer for 3.3 years, and I had no income for that time. I wanted to have a relationship with her before it was too late (she has, in the words of her own therapist, failed to be a mother to me), so in Jan. 2014 I agreed to be her live-in aide -- initially for only room and board (about $6K annually), because I assumed I could generate a little income from home as a freelance writer. But by 2015 her needs increased a great deal and by late 2015 they were all-encompassing; finally, in June 2016, I told her that if she wanted me to stay, she needed to pay me retroactively, from Jan. 2014, and that I would charge her only 40% the cost of a live-in aide. She agreed -- but she has been stalling ever since (it's been 20 months).

Despite her stalling, I continued taking care of her -- and continued pressing her to honor her promise; in late summer/autumn 2016, she became unpleasant, she accused me of harming her, and my two sisters installed a live-in aide in March 2017 (the aide does 20% as much work as I did, and she can't handle medical emergencies because she lacks common sense and isn't fluent in English; I have documented how little she does and the dangers she has posed re: not keeping track of Rx, not being present when my mother fell and thus needed to go to the ER).

I have also documented some of what I did when I was the carer, but I didn't keep a daily log because I was exhausted; is the absence of a daily log plus the absence of a signed employment agreement going to make it impossible for me to sue her? Her therapist knows of our arrangement because I discussed it in June 2016, during one of the three-way meetings (mother, me, therapist), and my mother agreed to the conditions in the presence of the therapist -- but I don't know whether the therapist will agree to speak about this in a courtroom or legally binding setting.

I realize that this situation sounds extreme, so please take my word for it: I'm not the bad guy here. (On several occasions form Jan, 2015 thru Jan. 2017 my mother and I saw her therapist, who tried, as a family therapist, to get my mother to see that she has never treated me as a daughter.) In 2015, for ex., when I needed Rx (lupus-like ailment), my mother refused to pay for it but continued paying for my chronically underemployed 62-y-o sister's cable TV -- yes, you read that right. (My mother has given that daughter about $150k over the past 35 years because she refuses to grow up and get a FT job with benefits.) As noted, my mother has never treated me as a daughter -- sometimes not even as a person -- and I was so starved for a relationship with her before it was too late that I (unwisely) sacrificed my financial and physical well-being in an effort to earn her love. (Yes, I know that a good parent loves freely -- doesn't offer love for sale -- but back in 2014, when I offered myself as the Good Daughter Who Will Do Everything!, I wasn't yet admitting to myself the intensity of my mother's malevolence.)

Anyway, if I were financially able to simply walk away from this horrible situation, I would -- but I can't, because I'm ill, I'm not-very-employable after years away from the workplace, and I'm broke because I've been without a salary (+SocSec contrib+401(k) contrib) for 3.3 years -- because I naively believed that she would keep her promise. So, I need to sue her if I'm going to survive. Any ideas? Thanks.

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I don't understand what the therapist has to do with your contract for compensation. Did she witness your Mother agreeing to pay you? If not, it comes down to your word against Mom's word. And a judge or arbitrator would question why you waited so long (years) if you truly had a contract. It sounds like your best option is to move out of your Mother's home and let Sis be responsible for caregving
Helpful Answer (1)

HiHo, I read ur post a few hours ago. I have been thinking about it and need to respond.

This is a forum for people who have or are caring for someone. We are just everyday people sharing our experiences. We are not professionals even though a few do chime in from time to time. Your circumstance is not a new one for us. I can see where you are stuck between a wall and a hard place. I don't really think ur going to get anything out of Mom. So now you have to get some help for you. You don't mention ur age. If already SS age (62 u can start collecting). Not sure how the disability works when ur SS eligible. Go to ur local SS office to get these answers. When I handled my nephews SS disability I first went to Medicaid. I applied for SSI and SSdisability. Since my nephew had an annuity he was turned down for SSI. The first time he was turned down for SSD I got a lawyer. A SS lawyer cannot charge you. He gets paid out of the retro money you receive based on the first time u file. In my area, there are Senior apartments that take 30% of ur income for rent. You can apply for food stamps and utility help. Your local Office of Aging can tell you what services they provide. I think if u can get away from this situation your health may improve. Stress is bad on the body and mind. But you will need to do the research to see what help there is in your area. You have done what you can. It's ur time. Good Luck.
Helpful Answer (2)

HiHo11, so sorry you are in this situation. If only we all had a crystal ball to see our future as being a caregiver to a parent.

What are the medical issues with your Mother, and her age, as that is not filled in your profile? Without enough information many of us have to guess what is going on. We all are or were family caregivers for many years, thus we come equipped with a vase array of knowledge depending on the questions. Some of us will use the tough love approach, some of us the opposite.

I am trying to clarify your living situation. You mentioned that almost a year ago your sisters had hired a live-in Aide for your Mom. Therefore, are you still living with Mom? I assume since you are low on finances that you are unable to pay Mom rent for the past year. Just trying to clarify facts, not make judgments.

As for suing, it can be done but as to winning the case, as you know it would be 50-50 chance. If you do win, then your Attorney will want to be paid, usually an Attorney-Client contract the Attorney will get 1/3 of the payment won. If you lose the case, the Attorney will not be paid except for you paying office administration costs.... and sometimes if you should lose the case, you may be required to pay for your Mom's attorney costs.

Oh, your Mom's therapist would not be able to testify due to client-therapist confidentiality, as your Mother is still alive.

Food for thought.
Helpful Answer (3)

For free legal help, contact a Legal Aid office. They can either help you or guide you to file your own lawsuit, or refer you to an attorney who will work on contingency meaning you don't have to pay anything unless you win.
Helpful Answer (3)

Hiho, cmag's response is standard for this situation. It is about the same I would say, so I won't. Caregiving is the most difficult job in the world, watching our parents decline, and knowing the end is coming. It is extremely stressful and the disease will not get better, only worse, much, much worse.

It appears you have not been on this site long. Unfortunately many carers find themselves in your situation. I did. I cared for mom and her hubby for four years. In my case I did sue as sibs had said mom would want to pay me and they did too. Yes I won the suit but was very costly to do so. Yes I came out ahead nut not as much as I would have liked.

The time for agreements is before the service. Unfortunately many of us do not think while situation will become as permanent as it is. I have been fortunate. My caring came to an end two and a half years ago. I was able to return to my profession but had to move 450 miles from my home to do to a less competitive market. I moved back closer to home after a year, that was a year ago. I am now about 150 miles from home and my kids and grands. This is still a less competitive market but a small town, lower cost of living and I am enjoying it.

Best wishes to you on moving forward.

Therapists can testify if you sign a release
Helpful Answer (5)

Without a written agreement and with no money, how will you pay for a lawyer, never mind win a case against your ‘mother’?

Possibly you could inquire if there’s a program that helps people without funds with their legal problems in your area. The only witness you have is the therapist and they can’t repeat private conversation they’ve had with patients unless a crime has been committed. I hope this can give you some ideas. Because frankly I’d like to see you get what the woman promised you.

Don’t worry about your mom. She lied about you to get rid of you so she wouldn’t have to honor her promise. So if her caregiver is dangerous and incompetent, that’s your mother’s doing. She got what she maneuvered to get.
Helpful Answer (5)

First of all, I'm sorry for your situation.
Second, as for practical advice, if I were in your shoes, this is what I would do.
I would contact the therapist and explain to her why you want to sue your mother and ask whether she would testify in your support. Hopefully the answer is yes, but you won't know unless you ask. Then contact a lawyer to file your lawsuit.
Then I would contact the local welfare or social security office to see how you go about applying for assistance for yourself such as Medicaid since you have no income, or food stamp, or any other assistance that you qualify for, maybe your social security benefits based on early retirement if you reach that age. You mention you are ill and can not work, so you can apply for disability. It may be difficult but worth a try.
For now, consider living rent free at your mother's place a partial payment from her until you can get assistance from the government and able to move out.
Good luck to you.
Helpful Answer (4)

I echo SnoopyLove's suggestion to talk to a lawyer. Most offer free consultations.

Your mother's therapist could be subpoenaed and forced to testify in court to your mother's agreement to pay you retroactively.

So you are still living with your mother and taking care of her? I know there is a live-in caregiver employed by your sisters. Why are your sisters paying for her? Why isn't your mother paying for her?

Are your sisters taking the proper taxes out of the live-in's salary? Or is she being paid under the table? (You could report that, if that's the case.)

I am sorry that you were taken advantage of. You still live in the house. What are you still doing for your mother?
Helpful Answer (2)

Hiho, I'm so sorry for the situation you went into with the best of intentions. It certainly sounds like your mother doesn't deserve the love and care you gave her at great cost to yourself. For some reason there aren't enough nice parents to go around! Not making a joke -- it's horrible and eye-opening to read on this forum about the suffering people with moms like yours go through. Again, I am so sorry for it.

Does your mom actually have any money? If so, I don't think it would hurt to talk to a lawyer and see what he or she says. I would certainly hope there is some way for you to recoup something, but unfortunately it seems unlikely to me without a signed contract. But why not investigate a bit -- at the very least you deserve the closure. Hoping the best for you.
Helpful Answer (2)

As I wrote above, "is the absence of a daily log plus the absence of a signed employment agreement going to make it impossible for me to sue her?"

FYI, if you want to help someone in distress, then please read the question thoroughly (you asked me about something I'd included), and please respond to the actual questions they've asked, which in this case is a request for real-world advice about a legal/financial matter. If you have no expertise in this field, then please don't post a reply that uses my time but offers no practical advice.

Perhaps most important: Please don't indulge in a form of "Told ya so!", which is pretty much what your answer is ("not surprised that your hopes crashed. People like that don't change and don't really want to change or really see the need to change") -- it's a little nasty, which is precisely what I don't need at a time of crisis.
Helpful Answer (0)

I'm sorry but not surprised that your hopes crashed. People like that don't change and don't really want to change or really see the need to change.

Did ya'll have a written contract? How are you going to afford to sue with no money? Just asking.
Helpful Answer (6)

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