How do I divide the "business" of caregiving mom from the "loving duty"?

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I am responsible for my mom's finances and legal matters, as well as now managing her medical care. I just moved her to an assisted living facility nearer to me than her home of 40 years, which is 600 miles away from me.

I love mom (well, I love who she used to be...she's gotten demented and often mean!) and want to take good care of her, but so far it has been a huge drain on time, and a little drain on resources. I do pay for most of her needs with her money, but there are still things (like travel to and from facility, doing laundry, taking her to doc visits) that drain me a little.

Her lawyer told me that I should pay myself a salary for doing this work, and make sure to reimburse my costs.

I feel guilty taking money for doing what I always thought was the natural duty of children toward their parents, but my life is suffering to keep hers going!
For example, yesterday the ALF called me to tell me she had developed blisters on her legs underneath compression bandages that are supposed to be changed daily. That got overlooked in the chaos of settling her into the facility, even though they knew before she got there it was supposed to be done, and was written in the doc notes. So, when I got there to pick her up for the trip to urgent care, I had to re-dress her and take her to the bathroom...took me 40 minutes just to get her ready, and spent 5 hours taking her, sitting and waiting, going through the exam, dropping her back off, and straightening stuff in her apartment. Total investment in her yesterday? Seven hours! I had stuff I was supposed to do at home, and could do none of it. I was supposed to go shopping for clothing for mom (she gave all her clothes to the goodwill before I "rescued" her from her home) and couldn't do it.

I am perpetually behind because of her needs.

How do I determine what to pay myself for, and what to do simply as a loving daughter?

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I just contacted my mothers lawyer about the same issue. If you are the only sibling than by all means pay yourself for your time, but if there are other siblings you'll need to keep accurate records. You can take a salary just like you would pay any other caregiver.
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PS you have to record everything and you have to pay 30% in taxes on all of it, which dwindles it down to nearly nothing. IF you dont report it, you could get caught, especially if you have a sibling, and you will have to pay it all back. If you use it for foods, supplies, diapers, etc, there is no taxes so do that separate, you are your own boss/business person now.
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I took care of my Mom for almost 10 years every wednesday evening and weekend in her home and called 5 times a day, did the laundry, pills, cleaning, etc , while working as a teacher full time. I never got, nor thought of getting any money for it, shes my Mom. Then the dementia got worse, she had a bad fall and broke her hip and moved in our house to recover. Within 6 weeks she thought this was her house. I have stopped my life, quit my job, cannot babysit my grandchildren, nor leave the house without an experienced caregiver to cover for me. Mom cannot walk or talk and is incontinent, I have to puree her foods and each meal takes 2 hours to feed, also 2 hours to get her up and bathed. I decided it was time for a caregiver contract. The lawyer said $15 an hour for 8 hours a day and 10 hours a day weekends. Anything over that is considered "daughterly duties" and expected. Its sad when you say you loved who they were, they are still your Mom inside and need you more than ever. Sing to them, talk about the past, part of them is still in there, even if they cannot express it to you. Good Luck.
PS Moms money ran out 2 years ago, she is still with me and I do not get paid anymore, in fact, I am paying it all back in diapers and care for her so I can get help. Dont think of it as your "moms money" think of it as your siblings inheritance and if they are not helping , well then they dont deserve it do they.
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I only wish my father had the money to reside in an assisted living facility, as we suffer with all of the same things that you are going through, but in our on home.

Have you considered paying the extra fee at ALF to have them do her laundry and take her to the various appointments, if this is available? I'm certain there are things that you want to do for her as well, but you do deserve some time to yourself.

I am quite aware of what it feels like, as my father has been hospitalized 4 times in the past year and then had to recoup in an Assisted Medical Facility. The time and wear and tear are more on you than your vehicle!

Currently my father has not be hospitalized for the last 74 days! A real record! But it could be any day before we start all over again and his dementia gets worse every day.

My husband I care for him 24/7, except for his daily trips to the Senior Center from 0930 to 2:30 and then we have our grand daughter to care for, as our daughter has cancer. I do feel your pain.

If you don't hire or pay someone to assist, at least pay yourself. Find out what it would cost and then you'll know how much to pay yourself.

Best of luck!
Hugs,
Suzanne
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Hi, I can feel your frustration. I help with my Motherinlaw.
You will never be paid enough for all you will do for your Mom.
If you have to do laundry anyway can you do hers at the same time?
I would keep a mileage book for her appts and things you take her to. I would also keep a log of all you do for her so when and if your siblings question things you can show them exactly where your time went to help your Mom and it is only right since you are taking on the most responsibility..... if you are buying things with your money keep the receipts and save them for your records..... we use our credit card alot to pay for my MIL meds and then she pays us back but I write in her checkbook why I am taking the money out of her account.
How much do you feel you could use to make it more worth compensation for you to do all you need and have to do for your Mom? I don't mean this ugly I understand I do alot for my MIL.... she gives me $400 a month which is for my gas, wear and tear on my car, I take her to the Dr., Adult daycare, pick up her prescriptions, take her to go get lunch, drop her off at Biblestudy, buy her clothes for her that she needs, do her laundry and so much more......BASICALLY IT COMES TO 1.25 A HOUR........
Some things aren't about the money. She needs your love and understanding.
She can not take care of herself just like my MIL.... she depends on me and us.
Do you have a fulltime job outside of taking care of your Mom?
Is there anyone who can help you? Does your Mom have insurance that you can get some help with her needs?
Are you able to go and see and help her maybe 2-3 times a week so that you can do what you have to do for yourself?
When my MIL doesn't go to adult daycare it upsets me because that is my time to do what I want, just wander, swim, see my friends, rest whatever.
Tonight I am missing out on seeing my Granddaughters in their costumes because MIL doesn't want to go out because it is cold....so I am here with her and hubby had a meeting to go to. My daughter lives 45 minutes away so sometimes you have to give up things you want to do. I have many times and some are harder than others.
I hope you will find the peace and answers that you need. I do understand.......
it is alot of responsiblity and takes time to care for a older person. My MIL lives with us........ and has for about 11 years........ she is 78.
Find a support group.......keep coming to this site to vent and ask questions and pray alot.............
take care.
Frustrated 2012
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jeanne, thank you. When I think about it that way it makes sense. I started thinking about how mom's estate will go only 3 ways, my brother my sister and me; then I realized I'm the one putting out all the money and time to take care of her...getting her to doctor visits, finding her assisted living, moving her, doing personal laundry, driving her around, managing her finances. I never wanted to think about any part of my mom's money being something I have a "right" to, but it also isn't fair that my siblings take a large share when they haven't put out.

msdaizy, I know what you mean. My mom also has dementia and though the memories she carries belong to my mom, she really is not my mom. Her character is so different now! As much as I've wanted to be her daughter and not her caregiver, it just isn't working that way. I hurt for you in this long, drawn-out loss of your mom. The same thing is happening for us.
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I have struggled with this same thing. I know mom would never want to be a burden and she was always pretty good about offering me money, even when I didn't feel the need. But these days this is not my mom. The dementia has made her so different. I have to seperate myself from being her daughter and making myself her giver of care. I know that sounds strange but after days of tears and frustration. I came to the conclusion that I can do more to help my mom if this is how I look at it. So now I am setting aside a monthly amount for payment. I will care for her as only that. I am no longer taking on a responsibility as her daughter but as a paid caregiver. I do love my mom...but the person I am caring for now is only a body. My mom is not in there any more. Sad but true.
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I agree with her lawyer ... you should be compensated for your work, assuming she has the funds to compensate you. Have the lawyer draw up a personal care agreement.

It isn't as if paying you were going to deprive her of taking a fancy cruise. Saving it for her old age is not relevant. So would it just be saved for your inheritance? Might as well collect it as you go, because as you well know, you are earning it!

Accepting money does not mean you love your mother any less. And if she didn't have the money, you'd do it anyway. But she does have it, and you are entitled to it. Listen to her lawyer.
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