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My mom is in her mid-70's. She quit her job to be her mother's full-time caregiver. She did not have financial capacity to do this but did it anyway. She and her sister have made financial decisions during this time period that basically have ruined my mom - I've never been allowed a voice into any of it. Even getting my mom to talk about these issues is difficult as she usually just shuts me down and gets upset. She is still so depressed about losing her mom she cannot deal with reality. Housing they have chosen (both times) is waaaaayyyy beyond reasonable price range and she will be out of money in less than 6 months. I need to figure out how to help her. If anyone can give me a place to start. Please!

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Your mom was free to make her own decisions. Now she is free to live with the consequences. She chose to leave her job even when it was not a financially sound decision. She chose housing that was above her means. She acquired many items that she does not want to part with and you want to know how YOU can make if call better. You can't. She has to figure it out. If you get involved she will expect you to find a way that she stays in a place she can't afford with lots of stuff she thinks she needs. You know I would like a custom ranch on 20 acres of land but that is beyond my pay scale. Would it be reasonable for me to buy a place like that then realize I can't afford it and expect my kids to bail me out? No? This really isn't any different. Stay out of it.
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You know, thats what we have family for, to help them when they are down. Since Mom is in her Mid 70s than Gma was in her 90s when she passed. A nice long life. We all will die. We all grieve in our own way. But if that grieving causes problems with living ur life and being responsible for it, then its a problem. Maybe Mom doesn't know what to do with herself now she is not a caregiver anymore.

I will assume here Mom has Social Security. If not enough to live on, she maybe entitled to SSI, a supplemental income. Medicaid can be her suppliment insurance with Medicare she already gets. So then she is fully covered health wise. (Maybe some deductables or copays) Call your County Office of aging and ask what Apartments are HUD and what apartments are low income. The HUD apartments will charge Mom 30% of her income for rent. She can get help with food and electric. Low income has set rates. Like $700 vs 1000 for a regular apt.

Office of Aging maybe able to help with the Medicaid and other resources for Mom. If she doesn't drive, they may provide transportation, like a Senior bus.

Now the approach. You know Mom. You know she shuts down. Maybe take a nice dinner to her. Enjoy the time together. Then say "Mom we really need to talk, u can't go on like this indefinitely. You need to figure out the next step" Then you can mention you have found a place she maybe able to afford. But she has to get on the list. You maybe able to get Medicaid because of ur income. If you can get her that far, then maybe u can work on the clutter. Baby steps. There are Phyciatric Clinics that charge on scale. They have Therapists that may be able to help Mom. She may talk to a stranger before she will talk to you.

Now, if you go thru all this and she isn't compromising, you may just have to tell Mom, I can't do anymore. Then you have to wait until she hits bottom. We can help but we also need boundries. Your Mom is the only one who can change things. 75 is not old. I know an 83 yr old that owns 5 acres and does her own work. Travels goes on cruises. Mom needs to put her big girl panties on.

I had a friend who I called an "Eyore". Always poor me and always a reason why something you suggest won't work for her. She claims her application for Senior bussing must not have come thru. "Did u call" "no". I really don't think she applied. Too good to go on a Senior bus. Rather ask friends to transport her. I haven't spoken to her in 7 months. She left me a message asking (nastily) why I did tell her about a class luncheon. Seems no one cares that she would like to be informed and she needed a ride. I tried to call her back, I went to her VM which was FULL. So I texted saying I have no idea what ur talking about. Found out later it wasn't our class it was another ones. I am pretty sure she was informed her info was wrong, but she as yet has not called to apologize. And I refuse to make the first step. She always preys on peoples empathy. This time it won't work. That is my boundry.
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You are suffering from the most common disease of children where aging parents are concerned. The "Fix-it" disease. There is utterly nothing you can do to fix this. I do not have any idea of your OWN financial situation, but you are now in a place where you are coming to the time that you first priority is to see that none of this happens to YOU.
My brother spent his entire lifetime as a food server. He did/was lucky enough to buy a home with someone else which over a long life led to wise decisions in selling and buying and he has ended his life with enough to support his life until he dies, and to me it is amazing, but that was a life of care with how money is spent on EVERYTHING, and we often talk about how our lives differed from those today with all the gadgets and trinkets in every room.
When someone has made bad decisions this is where they end. Kids can try to help. Help pay rent on a nearby trailer in a park, help with groceries, and etc. But they cannot CHANGE things. It is time for Mom to get on a waiting list with her sister NOW for reasonable housing.
I am so sorry as this will be a constant fear and worry for you. And dealing with aging loved ones is bad enough without the financial worry. But as I said, the only thing this is good for is a lesson, and then do what you are able. I am sorry for this worry for you. You are good and you are loving.
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Rohana, your mom is a grown woman and not your responsibility. So nice try but no cigar Auntie.

I have a rule, if I am not consulted about an idea, I don't bale anyone out of their consequences. It enables them to do whatever they choose and not worry, because hey if it doesn't work out I can run to you to fix it.

I also don't force help on people, they do not appreciate it and you will hear how they never asked for your help, so why do you expect them to step up and handle things, because they would not be in this situation if you would have minded your own business.

You can tell your mom that you see she is in a financial situation that will become a crisis if she doesn't do something and offer to help her find a place to live that she can afford, but that is all. She has rights to drown herself financially and you can't force anything. That is the toughest part, by law if you force her, you can get in trouble.

If she uses emotions to manipulate you to not address the elephant in the room that is a HUGE RED FLAG that says DO NOT LET HER LIVE WITH YOU! You will regret having her in your home, running things to her liking and if not, making your home a battlefield until you just let her do it her way.

Depending on how much retirement income she gets, she should qualify for social services and those can help her to survive.

You can find out what is available in your area by contacting the local area on aging, Google it and it will direct you. You can start finding out what is available and how to qualify so that you are prepared when the situation becomes a crisis.

Has she sought any grief counseling for the loss of her mom? If grandma was on hospice they have counseling and it is a good start.

She is probably fully aware of her choices and she is staring the consequences in the face and I would think that she is scared senseless. I think I would be if I was facing the future in her shoes. She lost her mom and her sister washed her hands of her and she will be broke in 6 months, ending up homeless with too much stuff that she will lose every bit of it.

You may have to use tough love and get in her face when she gets ugly so she doesn't have to face it. Because we all know that she will be facing it, with a plan or without. Your goal should be to help her find a plan. Give her the real options from your research and let her decide. You paying or you being her new landlord are NOT an option.

This is so difficult, best of luck. Great big warm hug!
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Look for section 8 housing. If she has health issues apply for Medicaid and place her in AL. As far as her mental issues, hoarding, inability to embrace reality therapy might be needed.

All I know is don't have her move in with you, this will never work.
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FloridaDD Nov 30, 2019
In many places, there is such a long wait for Section 8, they may not even add names to the list, but agreed, Op and her mom should investigate.
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Can you get her on a list for senior housing?   It wont be a resort, but many are safe and clean, and rent will be 30% of her income.
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Rohana, she sounds like a hoarder, or the beginnings of hoarding. This is a mental disorder/mental illness that is usually brought on by trauma and requires counseling by a professional therapist to cure. Do not waste any emotional energy fighting over it and DO NOT "clean up" her house -- she will only fill it back up if she hasn't dealt with the hoarding. She may need meds for depression, as well.

1) you are NOT responsible for her chaos and cleaning it up. Your first responsibility is to your own immediate family. Your mom made her choices and now she has to live with those consequences. I know, easier said than done.

2) If your mom does not have mental decline (like short-term memory issues or dementia), there's not much you can force her to do if she's not on board with it. Just don't go visit her at her hoarding house, don't enable her hoarding and don't allow her to think she's "independent" when she is not, especially financially.

3) If she is willing to discuss her finances you can (calmly) point out what her options are in the future (Medicaid and selling her house). But your family should not contribute. There are resources to help her (she may not like it but that's too bad). If anyone starts helping her in unhealthy ways, they will go down with her ship. Boundaries is the word of the day.

4) If her house is becoming dangerous and/or disgusting she can be reported to social services as a vulnerable adult. Or, you can report her to the city to get her on their radar for legal action which may move her needle to get help. She really needs counseling for her hoarding as nothing will change without it.

5) DO NOT take her into your home, no matter what.

6) Does anyone have durable PoA for her? Has she made out a Medical Directive? This should be done before as long as she is in her right mind.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this stress and 'watch the sausage being made'. My employee's MIL is doing the same thing and is now in counseling for hoarding. It's extremely common and will only get worse without proper help. I wish you peace in your heart as you set and keep boundaries so that you and your kids are in the healthiest place from which to give your mom the best help possible.
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TNtechie Nov 30, 2019
Why would you say OP's mother is a hoarder?

There's nothing in the OP's statements indicating hoarding or even a dirty house only that "she has SO MUCH CRAP in her home and doesn't want to part with any of it". My assumption is the "crap" is furniture, bedding, dollies, china, crystal, nick knacks or something like my SIL's rooster collection which sits on top of the kitchen's upper cabinets, the window sills and little shelves hung on the kitchen walls. Lots of people have well packed clean homes containing a lifetime's "treasure" that even thinking of packing makes a move seem impossible - that's not considered hoarding.

Hoarding is when someone is keeping the pizza boxes, multiple 6 foot stacks of newspapers, 100+ plastic butter containers, 25+ bedding sets and other items normally discarded because they have little to no usefulness and/or are inhibiting the ability to use areas of the home (stacked in hallways, bathtubs, chairs, etc). Hoarding is not a condition suffered by anyone who doesn't embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
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Can you give more info about her finances? Does she own a home, what is her income per month? If she owns she may be better off selling and finding a rent controlled senior apartment. If her income is low she can get on Medicaid. More info would be helpful.
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other info: grandmother passed away so it is just her now. She was caregiver for about 6 years. her sister has pretty much washed her hands of the situation now that grandma has passed and has told me basically that this is all my responsibility now - have a brother but im sure he will be no help as usual. she has SO MUCH CRAP in her home and doesn't want to part with any of it. I work full time and have 2 kids. I just don't know how i can figure this all out because i feel abandoned by everyone including my mom who cannot face the reality of her situation - or refuses to do so.
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