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We’re into 28 months of Mom living with us. Mostly she cannot afford to live on her own – she lost her house and job when she had her stroke in 2011. She does have some cognitive disabilities and is vision impaired. But it is a mystery as to how she would do if I wasn’t there to cook meals and oversee her every day.

Shortly after Dad died in 2010, a friend of Mom and Dad’s started calling on Mom. About a year ago, he asked Mom to marry him and Mom was considering it. But I knew family members didn’t like him and Mom herself has mixed feelings about him – says she knows she couldn’t be a good wife because she can’t take care of him as a wife should (she waited on my dad hand and foot). She’s also not wild about his cooking and "he’s not Dad," she says. But he’s interested in her. At the time, though, I dissuaded her from accepting the proposal.

Now, he calls her nearly every day and talks to her for long stretches. She likes it but she also complains about it a little. She doesn’t like it when he expects her to call him back, for instance, and she doesn’t. (I think she forgets but they don’t seem to think that I the case.) I don’t know how much of Mom’s complaining about him is real and how much is for my benefit, if she thinks that’s what I want to hear. He lives over 2 hours away, so they don't see each other.

I have come to feel that Mom would be more independent and have more freedom and companionship if she lived with this man. I’ve stopped caring what others in the family think since they help out so little. And my husband’s growing irritation at Mom living with us is also motivating me to look for other options. But there aren’t any. AL is not possible right now for financial reasons. Maybe if she gets the widow’s VA benefit she can do AL, but that’s not for sure.

I have a feeling if I start saying great things about her friend and encourage her to reconsider his proposal (which still stands) that she might consider it. He is in his 80s and quite fit, so who knows how long they would have. Mom is in her late 60s. Thoughts?

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Hanky panky? At 80 the only hanky in his panky is in his mind.
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They could also live together like roommates (platonically) for a while (no hanky panky) to see how that would work, which should be OK religiously (shouldn't it?). But at his age, hanky panky may be a thing of the past anyway, I have no idea. I support you getting a break from taking care of mom, but pushing mom to marry this guy sounds like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire to me. Could you rent her a furnished apt (or at a extended stay motel) near him for a month? They could spend time together and see how things go with more contact.
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I live in a retirement community with older folks that have re-married. They do it in a church, and not through the state. There is no marriage license. Each keeps their own pensions, that way and the wife does not lose what she is getting from her long time spouse. Legally, they have no standing, but they have each other for the time being. They file taxes separately.
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I have a typo in my comment above. They have NOT taken any trips together. Neither one has much initiative, it seems. Which is another reason I am thinking I might want to push the issue.
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Blannie, you raised the same questions I had when this first came up. I told Mom they should at least take a few trips together, as they often talked about doing, before deciding to marry. That has happened, though.

I think the suitor thinks he will have someone to take care of and to "fix", quite frankly. He's into health stuff and exercise and often encourages Mom along those lines. I do not think he is fully aware of her limitations. And I think Mom knows she cannot be maid and cook to him and that was one thing that held her back. He may very well want her to do those things for him, too, not realizing she can't.

Mom has no resources or assets and if not for living with us would probably be on Medicaid and other assistance. She says he has money but I think by comparison to her he does. But in reality, it probably isn't that much.

I wonder if they would live together. They both have strong religious beliefs so I'm not sure. Maybe I can suggest a weekend stay - or a week. Mom has trouble understanding that my husband and I need a break from time to time and look forward to any visits she has with family. So I'm not sure if I tell her to stay with this man for a few days so we can have a break that it will make sense to her.

I guess I want to know if I'm terrible for even thinking along these lines! But when people age, companionship becomes important, doesn't it?
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If she deteriorates and he has medical issues down the road, if they`re married you may be stuck with caring for both of them. Let them live together then you can deal with her future issues and his family can deal with his. He may not be aware of her health issues and, sorry to sound harsh, many older men are looking for a companion, but mostly looking for a cook, cleaner & housekeeper.
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PS and they have a prenup agreement.
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My mom married a high school beau on her 80th birthday. He is a very sweet man. Sad but true I think part of the reason was so mom would get survivor's benefits under social security. But for that to occur, they have to be married for 10 years. I don't think either one of them will make it another 2.5 years. It has been a financial nightmare for him as his first 5.5 years he paid for everything including mom's doc, drugs, home maintenance, property taxes, you name it he paid it. When I came to care for mom when he had to have his hip redone, then mom started paying some things, but still not her fair share. My siblings were aware of the situation and just let it continue. Now they are angry because now mom's money is being spent, it won't be left for them. And another thing they did not think about is that when he runs out of money and needs care, he cannot go on Medicaid until my mom's funds are depleted as well. This has been such a drain on him emotionally and financially. There retirement incomes are approximately equal. I am so angry with siblings for letting this happen!
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I was married to Coy for 39 years. I'm 68 and not looking for another relationship, but if one came about I doubt I would marry again. There is really a big penalty on the spouse if either of us should ever need Medicaid. But I would consider living with someone, I think.

If Mom does decide to move forward in this relationship, perhaps they should see an elder law attorney together, to find out how marriage will effect them financially, and to see how best to protect each other in case of future disabilities.
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Pam the male friend is in his 80s - it's in her original post. I'm 63, so I'm not knocking anyone that age, but with everything else going on with her (her health and cognitive issues), I'd be cautious about rushing to get married.
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I am in my late sixities. What is wrong with that. How old is her man friend.
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Not to be rude, but what does the gentleman get out of the relationship? Your mom is much younger than him, but he sounds like he's in better physical and mental shape. Does he fully understand her limitations? It sounds like he'll be taking care of her more than the other way around. Does he get that?

Can't they just try living together first, to see how that works out - without putting it into concrete through marriage? Does he have his own home? I'd just be afraid that getting married without having spent a lot of time together (like as in living together) might result in some real unhappiness on one or both of their parts. And potential conflicts with kids/grandkids, etc. Why don't other friends/family like him?

I'd try to find out if your mom is eligible for some other living options that would get her out of your home, but maybe not as a wife with the suitor. Let her live near him for a while (even a couple of months), so they can spend more time together before considering marriage.
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If they get married, he would be her next of kin and would make any arrangements necessary for her. Are you ready to give up 100% of the say so.
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I agree! So what if she moves in with man. He loves and she loves him. See where it goes.
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Clearly she enjoys his attention, and she knows her limitations. Let them work it out on their own. Que Sera, Sera.
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