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ive been caring for my 80 yr old mum for 6 years now.i cant work and ive missed out on lots of time with my kids.i only care for her 3 days a week.the other 4 days she is fine on her own and that's when my sister will call on her for an hour.just I get severe depression and it means I have day when I struggle to hold it together.how ever I did get better and I was meant to be going to work that's when mum fell ill and I was needed,my partner had a part time job but he stayed home o look after my kids while I saw to my mum.i have a sister who lives across the road from my mum but she didn't want to care for her. I struggled catching 2 buses from my home to my mothers and still do.my partner has a slipped disc in his back and cant work.he dosent get any extra money for this.anyway we and my partner between us just saw to the kids and we did struggle.even when I was ill I never took time of cause my mum would be crying wondering if she should look for another carer.problem ive got now is that when mum went back and fo to hospital I went to see her everyday and my finances were stretched and I had to dip into her savings amd as much as I regret it I cant undo ehat ivr done.then my brother was ill with cancer he needed things that I couldn't pay for so again I dipped into my mums money with the intention of getting a loan to repay it .only I feel so awful as I haven't done so yet and my mum is seeing that her finances are dwindling.shes never goes without ,it was either me do this or leave mum deteriorate in hospital because she wouldn't have me to see her.no one else would visit.she get a state pension and I pay her bills out of it and do her shopping but she dosent understand prices and she has been moaning to my brother about it.i feel so bad but im not taking from her pension and haven't been taking anything of late.still im so suicidal and I don't want to live knowing that she will find out.she is forgetful latel and when my brother died she forgot at times that he wasn't around.i cant tell her openly what ive done as I will be an outcast from my family.also when I said my kids were ill ori was ill I never could have a day of.i feel a failure and im so deeply depressed I feel as though they all know what ive done.i couldn't even grieve for my brother who ive lost a few weeks ago.i cant grieve because mum dosent seem to aware of whats happened and even the day of the funeral I wanted to go home to my family.she insisted I go to see her and was upset when I was going to go home.so I had to see her still catching 2 buses there and back and trying to be normal for her but it had an effect .I just need kind words right now.i know ive done wrong

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Okay... let's talk to the REAL caregivers. My family has "rainy day" accounts. For some, the rain never came and they simply passed away. The others live, with illness, and would prefer their families care for them in a home versus a nursing facility ANYDAY. Whichever "rocket scientist" accused you of stealing must have a pot of gold stashed somewhere for caregiving funds. I'm a kid of a baby boomer. My granny fell ill at the age of 89. Still living... and now 91, she can't live independently anymore.

I left a large city, earning 72k and now earn $800/month in the country . There is no way in the world, I'm going to let a rainy day account wait for the rain when there is a thunderstorm outside! Our families expect us to care for them and rely on kids and grandkids to care for them... regardless.
If your mom is concerned about her money, politely tell her to hire an external caregiver, and see how fast her money will dissipate.  Or worst, if she ends up in a nursing home!
At the end of the day, ask yourself this question: if what I spend is used for my family members well-being or quality of life? If I use my granny's money to pay my cell phone bill in which doctors and other call... should I feel guilty? NO. If I go shopping at Nordstrom with my granny money should I fell guilty? Yes indeed. Use sound judgement and keep it moving.
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I wondered if you're not working, your partner's not working, and you have children, how are you paying your bills? Do you think your mother would pay you to help her? I don't know how you're managing life at the moment. I was thinking that if your mother was paying you, you could put the money back into her account from the money she was giving you.

I know that you realize that life is not sustainable with the way that you're living. Your first responsibility is to you and your children and making sure that there is money for that. This means that someone needs to work to bring in some money. If your mother is not paying you, you need to find work that will pay. It may help to lift you out of the funk you are in. Do you have any skills? Would you be able to do housework or child care? There is always a market for that. If you can't work, could you or your partner qualify for disability?

I know these are not words of comfort, but your situation led you to steal from your mother because of need. The only remedy I see is to find legal ways to meet your financial needs. It's hard, but it's something that we all face, particularly when there are children involved.
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You can't change what you have already done, but you do need to accept responsibility for your actions. This will also relieve you of the intense guilt you feel. If you are only caring for your mom a few days a week you definitely need to address your financial situation because it will be too tempting for you to dip into her savings again, which is the same thing as stealing.
I feel for your situation. I live with and care for my mother, but I also work. I have missed a lot of work due to her health issues and I have missed on many milestones with my kids due to being with her in the hospital, but if I hit a tight spot I just said, "Hey Mom, I am running low because of missing work, could you help out"....she always has...sometimes it is a gift and sometimes I repay her. Honesty will go a long way in relieving your feelings of guilt.
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Whoa! We're crossing a line here. It is not okay to go into our parents' accounts without their permission. An agreement should be reached first and then the money taken. That is the way it works legally. If there is a caregiver agreement, it needs to be in writing and subject to tax laws, or it can be given as a gift with the permission of the parent. If someone is POA, they need to act under the rules of the POA.

There are many stories about children taking all their parents' money. Most caregivers are not doing that, but there are laws in place to try to prevent it from happening. It is better that a caregiver remain on the right side of the law. There are several ways to do that. Taking money without permission or authority is not one of the legal ways and could be prosecuted if the family wanted.
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I am a caregiver for my mother and she lives with me also, so it's 24/7. A social worker told me to write everything down that I do everyday and charge $20 an hour. She said my mothers needs come first and after that I can take her monthly checks for rent, food and caregiver. She said all I need is a verbal agreement with my mother, but I could put something on paper if it makes me feel better and it does not need to be notarized either. I live in the state of NY. Why should my life be on hold while my brothers do nothing? Why would I let her monthly checks build up and in the end my brothers make money off of me while I'm falling apart being the only caregiver!? The state would rather you take care of your own parent then put them in outside care and watch your families estate be taken away so quickly your head would spin. THEY take ALL of your parents estate. I never go into her savings and am very behind on the my caregiver payments that I probably will never receive. You deserve to be compensated for your time and careering. It is the most stressful time in my life that really isn't mine anymore right now!!! Don't feel guilty. Call Social Services and you will get support like I did. : )
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Do NOT feel guilty. I assisted my dad for 7 years after my mother passed.

He paid his own way; I didn't want anything but he helped in that I could use his car and he paid all the bills for the car. Later he decided he needed to give me something and he gave me $50 month. Not a lot of money and it did help.

My father needed to know he was paying his own way. He was a child of the depression and he simply couldn't have handled being a burden on anyone. (If he hadn't had enough income, I would have lied to him to allow him to believe he was self-supportive. Thankfully it never came to that.)

I'm not saying you need to be paid. I'm saying there is nothing wrong with using her money to take care of her needs.

Keep all receipts and make sure they are marked for what was purchased. This is to protect yourself later on.
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Just for frame of reference and the possibility of developing a pay-back plan, how much money are you talking about?
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Stop beating yourself up. How much would you have to pay someone else to put in the time you've been putting in? Why aren't your siblings helping out? Find out how much you would have to pay someone to do what you are doing, write down the hours you've put in & how much you would pay someone else for all you've been doing. Keep track on paper. I gaurantee you that you would have paid someone else more than what you've paid yourself. You need time for yourself, this is realling beating you up. How old are your kids? You need to talk to an advocate. Caring for a parent takes a lot of time & money & puts our own lives on hold. Trust me, I know.
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This is all good advice, tideoflife, and I hope that you will follow it. I am continually struck by those who ask "why aren't your siblings helping?" when the research shows that this is the most common situation. It's almost always ONE child who provides the vast majority of the care and helps financially. In my family, it's me. Asking why aren't your siblings helping is not very helpful feedback. Some people are better human beings than are others. Teri
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" Why should my life be on hold while my brothers do nothing? Why would I let her monthly checks build up and in the end my brothers make money off of me while I'm falling apart being the only caregiver!? " Exactly. There are too many examples of one sibling doing all the work while the others do nothing.

OP, I like jeannegibbs' suggestion to have a talk with your mother and ask her to consider the money you took to be payment for your caregiving. And I'm sure she would have wanted that money for your brother to be given to him? Ask her.
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