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My husband and I moved 15 months ago, from our home in another state, to help take care of our parents. His parents were able to live in their own home. His mother had cancer and developed an aggressive brain cancer on top of the other cancer she had. Three weeks after diagnosis, she passed away. My husband has gone over several times a week for months to throw things out, clean and organize their very full and cluttered house. He has worked hard, coming home exhausted only to return the next day to willingly serve his father. He has never been offered a dime.


My mother is 93, had a concussion 3 years ago has TAI's now and has memory loss as a result. She was not taking care of herself, didn't like where she lived and refused external help. But, she enjoyed her 2 local children coming in every day to make sure she took her meds, bring her food talk with her a few minutes. Because of their own family issues, (spouse with Alzheimer's and grandchildren in need of a stable home), they couldn't continue helping Mom. We moved her into our house to take care of her. The facility where we moved her from wanted to move her out because she was unsafe on her own. She does not want to live here any more than she wanted to live in the apartment. Because we just moved her without asking her if she wanted to move in with us, I didn't ask her to pay us. She gives me a little bit every so often, maybe as much as $100, but nothing like even $500/month like my siblings think I should receive. They really think I should receive more but she only, ONLY has Social Security. We can't get her into an assisted living facility because she has just a bit too much money and can't get on Medicaid. She's not mean, sits in a chair and watches TV till I want to scream and still won't take care of herself (bathe, change clothes, lift a finger to fix herself a sandwich ...). She can hardly toddle across the room, but she packs her clothes at least once a week so she can move, which really stresses me out. I have DPOA for her. I wanted accountability for myself, so 2 of my siblings and I have full access to her bank account. No one has touched Mom's money, but her. I have not been able to force myself to ask her for "rent". My 3 siblings insist I should be paid and are willing to write a monthly check to me for rent and care. Is this acceptable, legal? I don't think I even have big girl socks.

I would use her money to get a consult with an elder law attorney. And while you work out the details regarding Medicaid and charging your mother rent, use her money to pay for her food, her meds, her clothing, her personal hygiene needs, her laundry, her transportation, etc.

Hold off on paying yourself rent until you get the green light from someone well-versed in that. Meanwhile, I see no good reason for you to not use her money to pay for her other expenses. She is not a child and you are under no obligation to support her financially especially not if you and your husband are living on a tight budget yourselves.

Also, I would hire a housekeeper just for her to come once a week at your convenience to do her laundry, change her bed linens, clean her room and bathroom, etc. Why should you suffer through this ordeal? $100 does not go far nowadays. Even $500 a month is a bargain!!!
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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DizzyBritches Aug 27, 2019
I agree that there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting with a good LOCAL lawyer who is well-versed in elder law at the federal and state level. She will be able to answer your questions authoritatively, and you can call her if additional questions arise.
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You can set up a care giver agreement that stipulates an amount you can receive, weekly, monthly, even a one time payment I think. This is important because if she could qualify for Medicaid at some time in the future, this agreement will cover those transactions and not count against her as gifts, which you would have to forfeit or delay her qualification, wonderful that your siblings are backing you.
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It is acceptable and legal for you to recover the money you spend on your mother's care and accommodation. E.g. her share of utility bills, groceries, her toiletries and other personal supplies - anything you get specifically for her, anything that she actually costs you. But don't pull the figure out of a hat: work out what it actually is and DOCUMENT everything.

I don't know this and I'm not medically qualified, but I think you need to look again at what is happening in your mother's brain. She had a concussion three years ago, since then she has had Transient Ischaemic Attacks, you want a further assessment done now to see whether she has vascular dementia. TIAs don't damage the brain - the whole point of them is that they are transient, they pass, they go away, by definition within 24 hours - but they are a heads-up to warn of worsening vascular disease that will be permanent.

And if that's so, if your mother does have dementia, then everything about her behaviour will begin to make more sense to you. And you won't be discussing rent with her, for a start.
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tdennisfam Aug 26, 2019
Thank you Country Mouse. Having Mom assessed would be a good idea regardless of any other issues.
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I would consult with an attorney. Changing the terms of her staying there after you initially didn't ask for rent.....I don't know. That might be tricky, especially, if she is not competent to enter new agreement. And, then paying yourself as DPOA? I'd get a legal consult for best route to go.
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When your mother talks about "moving," can you discuss "rent" for a new place vs "rent" at your house? Rent at a new facility might be $900 a month; "rent" at your house might be $500. Would that influence whatever choice she thinks she is naking? From your description, she does not really have the choice of living independently, but she may not understand that. Does your mother pay her own bills or do you and siblings handle her finances? If your mother thinks she is making a conscious choice to stay with you for a lower "rent," you might feel more comfortable accepting the money.
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tdennisfam Aug 26, 2019
Mom sure doesn't seem to understand she is incapable of living independently. Over and over again, I've discussed her with her, living alone and living here. It just doesn't stick in her memory or she refuses to accept the fact that she's unable to live on her own, it would not be safe for her or any one else living in the same building. She has no other choice than to live with one of her children. My husband and I are the only ones who are able to take her in. My siblings and I combined, could not pay for an assisted living facility for her, even for the short term.
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tdennisfam, let's break things down to figure out where to start solving this issue:

1) Has you mom ever been formally checked by her doctor for cognitive decline? I would start here. You can take her in on the premise of an annual physical, then hand the doc a note saying you want her mental functions checked and also for a UTI which can mimic dementia symptoms. Doc offices are very used to this request. Also ask your mom to sign the info release making you a designated person to which their office can release any medical info. You being the daughter does not automatically give you this privilege.

2) Does anyone have durable Power of Attorney for your mom? If not, that needs to be the starting point or no decisions on her behalf can be made. If your mom won't sign one or is mentally incapable you will need to pursue guardianship.

3) Your mom may need to go in to a care community. It might be better for her socially and medically. Many will post their experiences and suggestions here shortly. Please consider this as an option and don't romanticize taking care of her in your home...it already doesn't seem to be working for anyone.

4) Medicaid. If you go with transitioning her into a care community, make sure it accepts Medicaid as she will need it to pay for her care. Do not for one moment think about paying this yourselves. You won't be able to. She will get the same exact care as other private-pay residents but will have a shared room. My MIL is on Medicaid in a very nice facility and it was an awesome solution for her.

5) If you have siblings, everyone needs to be in on these decisions before they happen...transparency and consensus are extremely important to maintain good relationships all around.

Good luck!
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AlvaDeer Aug 23, 2019
There are siblings and there is POA, according to OP, but my worry with the "full access to her accounts" for all siblings is that this will get messy if there are multiple people withdrawing money for any reasons. I am assuming that she is the POA who pays bills, and the one who withdraws. I honestly have no idea about the legalities of Mom paying "rental" and "care" stipend, but if anyone does I hope they can answer. It seems reasonable to me that this would be a cost for her Mom that would be monthly and withdrawn from Mom's funds. OP also says Mom cannot go into care because she has too much. Then go into care and spend that down, and when it is gone, as you said, go on to Medicaid. I found most Assisted Living places won't go with that and want people to leave when their funds are gone, but that is perhaps just California for you.
I also think that it would be fair, if there are siblings and they are able to afford it, to help pay costs for Mom, but that is robbing their own retirement savings in a sense.
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if she gives you money... it's called gifting and you'll get a penalty when trying to get medicaid.... first contact an elder lawyer and go from there... don't do anything on your own.....
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worriedinCali Aug 25, 2019
No it’s NOT called gifting. Her mother can give her money toward rent and the other expenses related to living with the OP. Again it’s not called gifting.
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In my state, payments for room and board are allowed and are not divestments, as long as the payments do not exceed fair market value of the room and board.

Do research to determine the fair market value; don't just make up numbers. Then put the agreement in writing.
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Reply to Rosered6
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See an elder lawyer. Very soon. How you handle the transfer of rent payments could be tricky as you have POA. It may be better to have the payments come under the label of being a family caregiver and being paid to do that (and poa duties). It's good you have your siblings support but the gov't can be quite fussy about how money is spent if she ends up in care.
Go to the lawyer alone (or with a trusted sibling) first.
Talk about options.
Don't just write yourself checks from her account, it will be a problem later.
Also, if you have not done it already, set up payments for her final expenses. That you can write checks for with no problem and it's an allowable expense for medicaid.
Please do see the lawyer. Soon.
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Reply to StandYourGround
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tdennisfam Aug 29, 2019
I had decided I used the wrong term when I referred to it as rent. That is the reason I was so uncomfortable asking for money, I couldn't ask Mom for rent. Care giving is something I could do. Breaking it down, $100 to $125/month may not seem like much, but it is enough. Mom does give me some money at times, we had already determined that amount would be withdrawn from whatever the total/month would be. I'm good with that, too.
Mom set me up as her DPOA years ago, but I didn't know it until a couple years ago.
Mom's bills are paid directly from her account. Her funeral costs are part of her bills, already taken care of.
Truthfully, the times I feel the most stress is when she is determined to me and I have to say, "I'm sorry, but you can not move because we love you and want the best for you." That, hoping that being her is the best for her at present.
Thank you'll for your help.
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@tdennisfam I'm sorry this is so stressful for you, but I'm glad you have supportive siblings. You've received some good advice here and I hope you will feel free to make needed changes. (BTW, the last sentence of your post made me laugh out loud. I'll bet you can find a pair of those socks.)
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