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I am the sole caregiver to my mother.I bought her a mobile home many years ago but she now lives with me and my roommate for 1 1/2 years. I have "spoiled" her the years but I love her. I took her on many wonderful vacations, all expenses paid by me; I bought her groceries when she lived on her own in another state; I bought her a car; I loved buying her things and I helped to pay expenses at her mobile home. She receives minimum social security every month and I don't keep HER money separate because frankly her every need is met. For example, I give her any catalogs that arrive and say mom, order what you want. Believe me, she does. I pay for the trip expenses to take her to her mobile home monthly to see her other family. I pay for her meals when we travel. I buy her groceries, whatever she wants. I pay for prescription costs. The list goes on and on. If she were in a nursing home, the home would take all of her social security check by $71.00! She has a son and she worries about him and her grandchildren/great grandchildren. This past Christmas, she order gifts for them and I never kept "track" of the costs because like I said, she is NEVER told she can't buy something, ever. Frankly it is just easier for me to put her little bit of money in with mine Believe me i am a selfmade woman who has on her own earned a good income i don"t need any of her money nor would i ever take it so last night she me honey i don"t mean to hurt your feelings but every month i want to keep track of what i spend as i want to have some savings! i said sure so i am going to get her a separate checking account and tell her you are now on your own write checks for the few bills you have and send money to your loser family if you want i hope the group can understand whey this hurt my feelings aM i wrong? I have spent thousands and thousands and thousands on her over the years. I have her in my home. She doesn't pay a dime towards rent/utilities in my home. I would never expect that. Actually, I am not only hurt I am angry. I bought her hearing aides for $3,000 and paid for them. When she was in facitlities for 2 1/2 years recupering from open heart surgery, I was the only one who watched out for her. I took off from work three months and slept in my car at a parking garage in Pittsburgh to be at her beckon call. Just last week she ordered about $150 from catalogs. Believe me, if she wants a separate record keeping, she will find that she is "short" many months. I just find the way she feels about this to be disrespectful to me. I would love other's opinions here. She contantly worries about her son. He once and a while checks on her mobile home, out of state, and you would think he hung the moon! I am 62 years old and honestly feel as though she takes me for granted. I have paid out of pocket for repair work at her mobile home. How do I deal with this?

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Musiclover, I think a lot of us have been to that place. I know I have. I am the one that does everything and get so tired, physically, emotionally, mentally... my mother and I have become like a grumpy old married couple... for the most part... and it always kills me when my brother who said he wasn't gonna be anybody's slave, comes bopping over, happy as a pig in slop, because he's retired and spends his days playing golf, or fishing... or whatever he'd like to do. He walks on water (he's' a minister). When she first came home, I tried to be cheerful and keep her spirits up, as much as possible. She was depressed, though, and wished that she'd died in the auto accident. When she was going on and on about "Oh Lord, why did you let me liiiive?" I tried to comfort her, bring her back to a better place, and reminded her of her faith, the faith she'd had all her life, and now was the time when she needed to remember that the most, and trust God... and she just looked at me, angry eyes... and said, "And what do YOOOU know about GOD???" Look, I'm a good person, I just do not attend church any longer, but my closed minded family passes some sort of judgement against me because of that... then top it off with , "but she's got a good heart" as if that validates the rest of the garbage they spew. (I love my family... going through a tough time, is all) Anyhoo... I know it hurts, but we have to jump that hurdle. I know I will never measure up to snuff with her (don't misunderstand, she wanted me as her care giver... still does). I just accept it, best as I can, and try to keep my resentments against family, who don't help out more, at bay. And I know she loves me and she loves my brother and sister no less, of course. All the good that I do doesn't change her respect for them. It's just too bad that the good I do for her doesn't at least elevate her respect for me... but it doesn't. Yes, I wish I got the respect that they do. From all that I've read, it seems the ones who are the closest day to day, doing for them the most, are the ones that get the bad end of the stick... and the other ones, well, there's not crap built up, from the day to day living with one another... it's fresh and new to them, each day... In the end, this can't be about sibling rivalry, though. But about caring for those loved ones, if that's what we chose to do. And I think there's nothing wrong with spoiling our loved ones. My mother has been spoiled since forever. I think my sister spoiled her the most, as she always had more money to spend and spend it on mother, she did. It seems cruel, in my opinion, to love them all up, that way, then pull the rug out from under their foot. My sister doesn't make many trips home, like she did in the days when she and my mother would take off on the weekends to some place where they could spend some bucks. She says it's because she doesn't like the way mother plays us against one another. All my mother knows is that she and my sister were once very close... and I think she doesn't quite "get" or understand the distance that has been placed between them now, and I know it hurts my mother.

My mother and I have separate accounts, but she put me on her checking account several years before she came to be in this condition., as she had gotten to where she was making too many mistakes in her checkbook, so it became my job to keep her checkbook sound, and pay her bills from the account. It will be the best thing for you and her, both, to let her have her own account, but maybe your name should be on it. That way, if she ever gets to that really ugly place, it will be easier to see that you are not taking advantage. I hope you won't really just leave her hanging, I think you may have been hurt when you said that, just like I've said I was gonna move out, during hurting times... she will most likely need your help with keeping things straight. But at least if she tries it she will get the picture. My mother always ran short (long before the accident), but she just can't seem to remember that these days, and tells people, "I don't know where all my money goes." I can tell you one thing, I'm sure not out having fun with it, because I hardly ever get to go anywhere. She used to have a few CD's and she'd take the interest from time to time and go have some fun. She can't do that anymore. But now, my brother and sister both have passwords to her checking, so they can go have a look see, from time to time, if they so choose to.... and we have passwords to the other account my brother maintains, where the last little bit of CD money is.

Good luck. Lotsa good advice on the boards. :D
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Dear Musiclover1: I think by now you see the general consensus of opinions here is that through your unbridled generosity and caring, you have 'enabled' your mother to behave as she has done. Is she even aware of her limited personal income? Setting up her own personal checking account is probably the best thing you can do. Once she realizes that her own money doesn't stretch that far, she will become aware of how much you have been laying out, and hopefully be appreciative toward you. Hopefully, she will rein in her spending out of concern not to continue spending so much of your money . Better yet, maybe she will ask her son to chip in a few bucks a month to help her out. One thing I would do is actually keep a record of all your expenditures on behalf of your mother, including room and board, since you are providing more than half her support. Also, if you have POA, it might be a good idea to set up the account in both your names, with POD, POA after your name. That's what I did with my Mom, and eventually started signing the checks to pay her bills when she no longer could do it herself. Debralee made a good point also - you need to assure your own financial future while you have the means to do so. There are no guarantees who will be able or willing to take care of us when our time comes.
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You have been way to generous. Separate your accounts and let her pay for her bills and extras out of her Social Securty Pension. You may be financially well off now, but what about your future? Your mother is taking advantage of you, but you enabled her with your excessive generousity. Time to be generous to yourself!
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Your mother takes you for granted because you have taught her to take you for granted. You are always there, even sleeping in a parking ramp to be available. Naturally she has come to expect it. It is no fair spoiling someone and then being surprised when they act spoiled.

Older people, especially older people who have never really handled their own finances, often have a very unrealistic view of expenses. My mother is sure she can't afford anything. True, she qualifies for Medicaid and doesn't have much money, but she really can afford a new set of sheets and a bathrobe! We need to almost bully her into spending her own money. At the other extreme are those who have no idea that they are overspending their income. You mother's money is all combined with yours. You tell her to go ahead and order from this catalog. You do not say "you can afford to order up to $65 from this catalog." It is very obvious to us when you lay this all out that you have been subsidizing her forever. But is it obvious to her?

If she hasn't been keeping an eye on her own finances she probably has no idea how much of what she spends is really her money and how much is a gift. With her own checking account that should become much clearer. I'd say that is a good thing.
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Wow.....what a good daughter you are. My hat is off to you for all that you do. Any mother would be proud to have you as their daughter and caregiver in their old age.

Does your mother ever go for extended visits to your brother's home? I am guessing if she did that occasionally, she would soon see the light....in a manner of speaking. Also, living on $500 a month is not a walk in the park, and I sincerely doubt she will be able to save anything. However, you let her have it her way. Let her pay for meds, gifts, toiletries, the salon, co-pays, subscriptions, etc. She will come to the conclusion very quickly that you are worth your weight in gold. Will you be my daughter?.....lol. Best of luck to you.
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I can understand the sting of your mom placing your bro so high on a pedistal. All the years I've done for my mom and even built up a heavy debt with credit cards and such to make sure my mom had everything she wanted or needed she still spoke so highly of my bro. What a wonderful person he was. He called her once or twice a month and visited for a few hours on occassion. But I did everything by spoiling her. It hurts but I think because she always saw me every day she missed my bro and sis. I know she didn't realize it truly hurt my feelings but I just had to let it go. I am sure your mom is so very grateful for all you do and have done. But my mom never realized that her small SS check wouldn't and didn't cover nearly what she thought it did. Maybe with seperate finances your mom may come to realize that she isn't paying for everything you have done and she can't afford the luxuries you've provided.
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musiclover, it sounds like you have gone beyond the call of being a good daughter, but actually I think your mother's need for separate finances is good. I strongly believe in separate finances if for no other reason than things like applying for Medicaid were she to need it. I am glad you are setting things up separately.

I also understand why it hurt your feelings. It hurts my feelings, too, when my mother accuses me of spending money like crazy. We lives like monks with nothing fancy around us. I haven't had any new clothes for the longest time, because caregiving consumes so much time that my own business is faltering. I give and give without pay of any type, then she says ugly things to me that I am squandering her money. (She has a few thousand more now than she did when my father died last year.)

I try not to let it sting for long. In my mother's case, I know it is just the dementia and personality. IOW, it isn't me. I don't think it is you, either -- just your mother's need to feel some control in her life. So if a separate checking and savings account makes her feel more in control, it is a small price. It is actually good for you, too, because it helps to separate your finances. This may be important in the future.

If you have financial POA, having accounts separate should be no problem. You can just help her pay bills from her account if she needs help.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.
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