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He has lived with me full-time since his graduation from high school. He is not disabled mentally or physically, but I cannot bring myself to ask him to leave. He does little to no chores, has no social interaction with others at all, receives "universal healthcare" benefits, and refuses to work. I provide all his needs and am still working full-time. I have other children who have tried in numerous ways to encourage their sibling to move out, but all their efforts have failed. We've tried counselors, but my son will not even respond during discussions. After 22 years of my son living like this with me, he has no job skills whatsoever, and no social skills. I do not know what he will do if I would ever have to go into a nursing home, or when I die. I do not know how to provide for him after my death. I cannot leave him a lump sum because he would spend it quickly, and he would no longer qualify for medical assistance. I have heard that establishing a trust would be a good choice, but I also know that they are expensive. What advice do you have for how I can handle this situation? At 75, I want to retire, but I am worried that my finances and savings will not be enough to provide for him in the future. Everyone tells me I should make him leave, but I just can't do it. Your help would be appreciated.

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When - may you live forever, but - you die, you will be in effect forcing him to leave, won't you? Forcing him to leave the comfy space under your wing, anyway. So you know it's going to happen. I would like to know what he thinks about his future. What does he say about this?

Also. You're 75 and still working. Okay, good for you - my mother worked into her seventies, too, and would have been climbing the walls if she hadn't had a job to go to. But apart from wanting to retire, advancing age will sooner or later force your hand. Never mind your son for a moment: what provision are you making for yourself?

You could consider the option of moving into a retirement apartment. You sell the family home, set aside the funds that will be required for your long term care, and anything left over you can put into an annuity or some such financial product to provide your son with an income. This would be a half-way house, bringing home to him that at some point you won't be there to (I'm trying to keep to neutral language) provide for him.

I'm sorry to hear that he won't engage in discussion. I dread to think what state his self-confidence is in. But the world will move on, whether he cares to talk about it or not. Anything you can do to make him wake up to that is in his best interest.

I'm curious. Why aren't you angry about the impact this is having on you?
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I can only relate the story of a friend. When her son graduated from college he moved into her house. She put up with it for a few weeks. then she packed his suitcase and set it out on the sidewalk.

That was it. He needed to fend for himself.

Other friends have given a small amount of start up money to their sons and told them to go out and have a life. It worked.

This is a ridiculous situation. That you are still working is also ridiculous. You should not be taking care of him; he should be helping you at your age!

Sadly, you now have to acknowledge that you played a part in creating and maintaining this situation. Your son will not talk to the therapist? That is called passive-aggressive and it can go on, as you now know, for decades.

You played a part int his BUT YOU CAN GET OUT OF IT. You are not stuck or locked in or trapped.

It is time for YOU to see the therapist. Engage the other family members, come up with a plan, relay on their strength (I am sure they are sick of his attitude), and set this son free. Maybe against his will at first--but set him free.

Now, just in case you are worried about what will happen to him, remember this: for every helpless man in the world, especially at his age, there are at least a dozen dumb women who want to "take care of him." He will be fine. Trust me on this one.
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Excuse my bluntness, but you couldn't have crippled your son any more had you tied his legs together and let them wither away.

He desperately needs you to set a timetable for a job, start collecting room and board to the tune of 20% of his salary, and make him accountable for his share of household chores. That's 1-2-3. Give him ninety days for #1 and #2. For #3 he has til tomorrow after you've completed a list.

If he does not comply, evict him. Then the state and county will prepare him for life without you with a meager subsistence designed to keep him warm and fed.

You have enabled him because you haven't been strong enough to live with discomfort you know you'll feel when you insist your son grow wings and fly. I hope you can somehow find that strength and help your son have a life.
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Zoom, this is a difficult subject and this situation must be heartbreaking for you.

You say you've tried "counselors". Has your son ever had a psychiatric workup? Or a full better of psychometric and personality tests? Was a diagnosis made?

If you were to pursue one of these avenues, you (and the rest of the family) might have a better idea of what his issues are and what the best avenue is to help him gain some independence .

Your post reminds me of a young man who posted a few months back. He lived with his mother in her studio apartment. He'd never had a real job and had spent the 5 figure inheritance his father had left him on dvds. His mother had a stroke and was going to have to be in a facility for the rest of her life. Her apartment had to be sold to fund her care and "Scott" had no idea how or where he was going to live. So you are wise to think about your son's situation before "something" happens.

There are special needs trusts that you can set up, but of course, they need to be done by a lawyer. I would try to find out, mental health wise, what is going on with your son to see if he has a disability that would allow for one of these trusts. And of course, a proper diagnosis may lead to other treatment options like medication, specialized therapy or job training.

Best of luck to you!
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Dear All,

Sadly, Zoom has not come back to this thread. That is too bad because she has gotten a million dollars worth of therapeutic advice, and also because we would like to hear a happy ending to this story: therapy, eviction, job, independence, etc.

It may be that Zoom has heard this all before from family and friends. It may be that she does not want to hear it now just as she did not want to hear it then.

And, though it always pains me to say it, "Oh, well..."
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I've been following this because I'm interested in what can be done to help someone with unacknowledged mental health issues, it seems to me the answer is "very little". We've done all we can to get our family member launched, thankfully with our assistance he has a job and bought a house, but he lacks any initiative to care for himself and blames everyone else for problems of his own making. He'll sit without food all weekend because he won't bother to go out to the store, he quit paying his phone bill because he couldn't figure out how to download the new app and can't access his online banking and e mail accounts because he forgot his passwords. When he was in school the psychologists only seemed to focus on ADD, which he clearly doesn't have, but came up with no other diagnosis or help (with my research on line I wonder about the possibility of aspergers).
Sorry, I running on, I just wanted to say I understand how heartbreaking it is to have someone that can't/won't take care of themselves. I wish there was a solution that could "fix" him, but I'm afraid unless he recognizes he has a problem it will never happen.
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This is an unusual circumstance. If he had Asperger's or had a schizoid personality it would help to explain his failure to launch. It can take special methods to help launch some personalities out of the nest so they can build their own lives. Your son is fortunate in having a mother with enough funds for him to live out his life without working. But I wonder if he finds any meaning in living.

Does your son have anything that he enjoys doing? Does he like raising plants or doing anything that there is a market for? I would spend this next couple of years trying to get him ready to launch from the nest if at all possible. It would be good for him and his siblings wouldn't see him as such a lost cause.

It is very hard for a mother not to enable her son. We often here that it is better to push them out of the nest -- fly or fall. But many mothers gather their offspring back in when they flounder. No, it's not good for them. But it is hard to watch them suffer.

Still I would do my best to launch him once more. I don't envy you.
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I certainly agree that your son needs a new physical and mental evaluation and right away! From what I'm reading, it certainly sounds like he has some type of mental illness. If he gets the right diagnosis, other doors will open to help him, such as supported living and supported employment.

This is a really hard situation, but I would say that if he refuses to be evaluated or go to therapy, start the eviction process now! That way, once he understands he has no other choice than to start taking steps to be independent, you will be there to support him as he gets started on his new life. It's just like when he was young, he will fall down but he can learn to get right back up again.

You have not done him any favors by letting this go on so long, but I kind of understand how you feel--I have a 24 year old son with Down and I still am having a hard time letting go of the desire to protect him and be in charge of every detail of his life, I, too, worry a lot about what will happen to him when I am no longer here; so I have to let him grow now so I know he will be OK later. He will always have a guardian and has a special needs trust, but he is learning to advocate for himself and to problem solve when he needs to.

Everyone above has given excellent advice. Please take one step this next week to start helping your son be independent (give him the choice to get checked out physically and mentally or contact a lawyer to start the eviction process). You are not doing yourself or him any good by letting this continue as is and you need to get yourself and your son some help right now. Peace and best wishes!
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Hmm. So without a diagnosis, I don't believe you will be able to set up a Special Needs Trust. You won't be able to shelter the house for him unless it can be shown that he was your caregiver and that his care kept you out of a NH (at least that's how Medicaid recovery works where I am).

You certainly are between a rock and a hard place. What would his reaction be to eviction?

Eventually, you will be gone and he will have no home and no income. Will he live on the streets or will he live in a homeless shelter? Will the State of Maryland find a diagnosis for him when he becomes their ward?

These are the questions I would ask the doctor's at his next psychiatric evaluation, in an appropriately desperate tone of voice.

I would also seek out a therapist for myself. This is an unbelievable burden and worry for you.
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You broke my heart when you said you know you created this situation but you don't know how to get out of it. All I can do is feel for you. And your boy.

But here you are, 22 years later. What do you do?

All I can think of is: comfort yourself. Continue your life as you wish to. Let him be, let things happen.

When eventually you either change your own circumstances, by selling up and leaving, or have them changed for you by dying, the world will change for your son. Perhaps what you can let go of is hoping to create his future. I appreciate - and I expect they do too - that you want to protect your other children from any obligation towards their brother; but I have a feeling they'll do a better job of it than you, to be blunt; and I also have a feeling that once your protection is no longer an option he will stop relying on it and be more motivated to change. Your protectiveness, you see, ironically undermined your children's previous efforts - their brother had the option of resting mute and refusing to consider change. Sooner or later, he won't.

Well, I expect you've already pointed that out to him so clearly it hasn't changed his mind. But as things are he ignores his future and refuses to change because he can, and because it's easier. When he can't, which is going to happen, there will be change and he will have the option then of making the best of it or not.

If you want to be around to see (and perhaps support) positive changes, then you will have to remove yourself and remove from him the option of living with you. But you don't have to. You can admit defeat, you know, and still go to heaven. The worst that would happen then is that his wellbeing will be in the hands of Fortune, his siblings, whomever you have entrusted with what funds you are able to provide for him, and - critically - his own; and that wouldn't necessarily be a terrible fate.

On second thought, that wouldn't be the worst that could happen. The worst that could happen is that, given his physical condition, he has a stroke and becomes dependent on you for nursing care and *you go along with that* until you die, which will happen quite quickly. Make up your mind now, while it's not a crisis, that should he become dependent on physical care you will not take it on: you will place him in long term care. Otherwise you could end up throwing the rest of your life away.
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