I am a 53-year-old female and my children are grown and gone. I raised them alone, have no money and can't find work. How am I supposed to care for my mom?


my Mom's best friend who is 85 has been living with her for years. Now they both need help. Both deaf, her friend really should not be driving my Mom's car. Mom can't get out, on oxygen, congestive heart failure, legs have to be propped up all day...both minds are starting to go. Mom is very agitated and when not, sleeping all the time. Watches tv all day, and does cross word puzzles. Has fallen 5 times in the past year, pneumonia . has had lymphoma, cancer free for 10 years, but legs are always swollen. Last fall she took, got huge lump on shin,,cellulitis. I flew home cause she did not go to hospital. I took her,,,she was on antibiotics for 10 days. Lump is still there, doc says it's a vein. Has COPD, R Arthritis flares. and very heavy 200 lbs. hard to breath even with oxygen. Toes are turning white. I don't want to be living in her house. I find myself fixing the house, she does nothing to fix it. She won't eat properly, her friend still tries to cook,,,terrible. I am a chef, Mom would like me to cook more often, but her friend gets put out...A big dish of Ice cream every night. She knows all my furniture is in storage in another state, but I can't afford to get it. She won't tell me her financial situation, but I took her to get help with fuel bills, and they said she had to much money. The house is paid for, and I believe she lives off of her social security which is small, but takes interest off of CD's. I have tried talking to her about letting me invest some of her money, as I used to be a trader, she'll none of it. She says she can't help me, cause she needs the money to pay bills for the house and live. Her live in friend pays nothing, and gets a larger check every month as she worked for years. My mom never worked. They are both driving me crazy. I would like to go back to where I lived but don't have a job. I was making 10.00 an hour, and could not afford to live on that, and it was a part time job. In the past 2 weeks I have applied for 18 jobs, and got no response from any. I do not even have a car anymore, my ex husband who was paying for it, wealthy, took it away from me. I have to borrow my Mom's car when I have to go somewhere. I never get out of the house except to work out, which I do daily. I eat healthy, and they make fun of me. They were going in my room when I was not there, so I bought a lock set and installed it my self..My Mom lost it,,,she yells at me all the time. or ignores me. Can someone give me some advise on what to do? I am at wit's end..I need a job but I don't want to live here.

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You really need to get out there and look for work. You could check with any of the local caregiving companies...the ones you can hire to come out to the house that give in home care, and see if they would hire you to care for your mom and then you can get paid...but that would only work if your mom is on medicaid. Otherwise, you really need to move on with your life. Get a social worker involved or your moms dr. to evaluate her to see if she is of sound mind or not. If she needs more care than you can give, then do not feel bad about letting go and giving it to someone that would be more qualified like AL or NH. Your only in your 50's....don't give up anymore time being frustrated and in a place you really don't want to be. I know it's easier said than done, but you hold the key to your own future. Only you can get you on a better path. Hang in there, but keep looking for work....check craigs list....put an ad in there. Become a personal care worker yourself....and say some prayers. Don't know if you believe in god, but a few prayers can bring piece of mind, and when that door you've been waiting for opens, then you'll know he was listening the whole time.

Good luck to you....and remember...live the life you want to live...which will mean making some tough decisions!
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Are you asking for advice on how to help your mother or how to help yourself?
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Sorry that the arrangement of my response was above and below the ending. Didn't edit correctly. Again, Good Luck
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Hello Workingwires: First of all, I'm sorry your situation is so difficult. I'm not sure how long you've been living there, but I'm guessing since last Fall. Let me come at this from your mom's perspective. Possibly she is afraid that you are wanting to take over her finances. Asking about her money and needing financial help, plus suggesting that she let you invest her money may be getting her attention in a negative way.

How old is your mom? Is she in the same age group as her friend (85)? As you said, she and her friend have lived together for many years. It sounds like they get along fine. If you are making comments to your mom about what her friend does or does not contribute financially, that my be another irritation to your mom. Unless there is an intentional abusive situation between them, what your mom's friend pays for rent is really none of your business. Maybe she pays for food, gasoline, etc. and as your said, the house is free and clear.

You are the third wheel in this home, so it might be better if you made the effort to get along with them. How much care giving do you provide for your mom? Do you bath her or handle her meds or get her to bed at night and up in the morning? Do you do anything to help her friend? Maybe you could sit down with both of them and offer an apology for any unintended offenses. Maybe explain how scary it is to you to not have a job and not know how to change your personal circumstances. See if they can understand your fears and understand that you feel alone in the world. They do have each other, so maybe that would make sense to them.

Now, having said all this, it could be that you are doing everything possible to help them both. At their age and with their health problems, there could be any number of reasons they are difficult. Just set in their ways and unwilling to be gracious or caring of your circumstances and assistance.

The only thing I can suggest to help you get out of their home is to find work and save your money. If you stay there rent free, then you do have a chance to save more and make a new start in time. This economy is hard on many and I can understand how difficult it is to find a job.

Here are a couple of suggestions based on your chef background. Go to every nursing home or assisted living facility you can find. Try to speak to the chef or make an appointment to meet with him/her. They need dependable people in the kitchen and while that job may start out at $10.00 per hour, turnover is high and someone of your age and caliber can bring stability that is much needed and appreciated. Your healthy cooking habits could in time be an asset too. You could move up and have benefits. Another possibility is to check into the National Park System and Resorts. Find out what company has the concession contracts and contact them for seasonal work in the restaurants. Many times they also provide room and board. It may help you get a little unemployment when the season ends.

I'm sorry if I have offended you with my initial comments. It could be that your presentation was not as clear as it needed to be.

Good Luck to you.

Some of your comments, for example, that you find yourself fixing the house and she does nothing to fix it, seem out of line. What could your mom possibly do physically to improve her home. Maybe she is afraid to spend her funds on a handy man or maybe the house seems just fine to her. Is it unsafe?

You are staying there rent free so why not help out by doing some repairs. And if your mom would like you to cook more often, then do it. Maybe she prefers your cooking to her friends. Maybe you could talk with them about what they like and find a way to prepare some meals all of you can enjoy.
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First, you are not responsible for your mother's financial well-being. She needs to use her resources to meet her own needs, and so does her friend. For her friend to be living there rent-free does not make sense, but perhaps it did at one time if she was providing caregiver support.

You are also not obligated to provide hands-on in-person 24/7 care. As a daughter, you probably feel some responsibility and concern (and love), and one way to exercise that responsibility is to see to it that your mother has the care she needs, without physically providing it yourself.

I suggest that first you bring in trained professionals to assess the situation. I would call Social Services in your county. An intake social worker can evaluate the situation and suggest what options are available, both financially and care-wise. He or she will know not only what is available through the county, but other options in the community as well. This is a great resource and, in my experience, a very good place to start exploring options.

Of course, once the options are explained, if your mother is in her right mind she is free to reject them all. But she should be fully aware of what your role will be. If you plan to move out and only help with the oversight and coordination of care, be sure that she understands that in no uncertain terms.

While you are looking into how to set up your mother's situation to provide her the best care she can have, also start reclaiming your own life.

I know it is a tough economy, but put as much energy and time you can into finding work. If you can locate a program for women re-entering the workforce, sign up for it. Sign up with state employement agency. Search online. Leave no stone unturned! Even if you have to take a less-than-ideal job at less-than-you-are-worth pay, it is a step back into the workplace. Then move out. Perhaps just rent a room. Don't get your furniture out of storage, etc., until you see how al the pieces fit together from the effort to find good care for you mom.

In short, I suggest a two-prong attack. Work toward providing options for your mother, and work toward regaining your own independence. There may need to be several interim steps along the way, but those are the goals I suggst.

Good luck, and keep in touch.
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Man, what a situation, you poor thing. If your Dad was a veteran you could apply for the Aide and Attendance funds to pay you to take care of her, or your Mom could pay you if she wants to stay home. Otherwise, she will have to pay someone , or go to a Nursing Home. The Nursing Home will attach all her income until its gone. Does she have a DPOA or Health Care Proxy person? Her house , CD's, etc are as good as gone if the house is in her name looking back 5 years , so she may we well make out a Trust, and pay you for care, if you want that. Either way, she needs help! As far as her friend, wow, she needs to pay rent and help with food and heat, etc. Someone has to take charge here or an incident will happen and your Mom will not be allowed to go home from the Hospital without fulltime help, they will put her in a NH. Talk with her, get things straightened out, If she wont talk, you know she will fall again and then it will be over as far as going home alone. I had to sign to take my Mom home after her broken leg or she would have gone into a NH, Keep in touch.
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