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Hi, I put all my info about the situation in my profile.
Long story short, Susan my neighbor is disabled and should ideally be
in an ALF. She outlived her spouse and subsequent partner, which is how I met her. Her only family are two much older siblings who live several hours away and she insists they would put her in a nursing home. I met them once, almost two years ago and pulled the brother aside asking him to step in and help. He agreed she is vulnerable, but nothing came of it.


I took Susan to our local Texas state elderly care services office and she sat down with a counselor who told her she being on Medicare and her income being $ 2,900 a month, she does not qualify for any state assistance. She would have to pay for home care service out of pocket. She is only eligible for nursing home placement. Susan owns her own small home outright, the counselor advised her to avoid the nursing home route as she seems okay to live at home for now. I got Susan on Life Alert because she uses a walker and falls sometimes. I cleaned her house of tons of junk and cleared it up for safety purposes. The doctor advised Susan to give up driving due to all the medication she takes. Susan has a housekeeper that comes in once a month to deep clean and someone else to do yard work.


Susan asked me to help her out in exchange for $250. I take her to Walmart once a month, prescriptions twice a month, dinner three times a week, scheduled doctor appointments which vary and any errands she needs, all using her car and I carry her credit card with me. I also collect her mail and take out her trash. The toughest for me are the dinners, she is a very picky eater and refuses to get Meals on Wheels. I only cook for her occasionally because she does not like the same kind of food as me and it is just too much work. She likes a particular flavored water that I have to go out and hunt down because it is not always stocked at Walmart. She insists the dinner be served hot between 5 and 6 pm. This led to me getting hit in her car from behind in traffic after a few months. The accident report, reporting to her insurance company, etc. I just blew up this summer and yelled that I can't be her damn Fairy Godmother all the time. I said it was too much, and she said she would pay me $ 500 so I stayed on.


I told her that I am having financial issues and that I need to get a full time job and that maybe a room mate would help. She asked me to find her a room mate, I placed an ad on Craigslist and have referred two women to call her, not sure how that will turn out. She called a church and now I have to take her to that church on Monday at 2 pm to interview a possible person to replace me. THEN Susan called me back and said I have to take her the next day, Tuesday to the hospital for a procedure. I blew up, frustrated mad because I need to work for myself to get money to pay my own bills. I do not make anywhere near what Sue makes and I have a mortgage. My own financial situation is dwindling and I am scared. I have no idea if she will find a replacement but I hope she does. She chronically complains she has no money, I have no idea what she spends it on. She refuses to ask a banker to sit down and help her with her checkbook. She would gladly keep the money she pays me if I didn't need it so much.

I'm going to be blunt.  Shari, you're being used and manipulated.    Your neighbor is a predator who senses your vulnerability.  

The only way to stop this one-sided, predatory relationship is to just tell her that you can no longer help her.  However, I suspect she's the kind of person who would retaliate.   You don't have to provide any excuses, but from your description, she's persistent and will try to out talk you to break down your defenses.  

So, If you think she'll spy on you and notice that your car is still at home, then tell her you have a new job allowing you to work from home, and that you can no longer have the time to help her.   If she ups her stipend, advise her that you need medical and other benefits.  In fact, you could even give her a list of every benefit you need, including that she'd have to be responsible for deductions and sending them to the IRS (and state, if applicable).    You might even focus on the fact that you need medical benefits of your own and since she can't afford to provide them, you need a real job.

She WILL try to manipulate and find your weakness and play on it, so be prepared.    

Think up rationale to counter everything she might say, and make sure that you keep receipts, etc. in the event she makes some kind of legal compliant or claims financial abuse, or whatever.   People this manipulative can't be trusted.

I suspect some of the problems she claimed are fictitious, and that she's learned over the years how to manipulate people.  

If you think of other justifications, use them, but remember that YOU are the only one responsible for you, and you're NOT responsible for her.

In the meantime, find activities that build your self esteem as it's been depleted by your neighbor.
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sharibari Dec 7, 2019
Thank you so very much. I never thought about the legal implications I was getting myself into. I will heed your advice, and I appreciate it so very much.
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This is not a situation that can go on. I am sure you know that. This is not even a relative. This isn't a matter of money. You are correct, that you DO need to get a job lest you end up where poor Susan is at this moment. You need a job and a life. If Susan cannot function now to get herself the care she needs she will have to call in her family to help her seek placement. This is not your job. Please call Susan's family, let them know what you have been doing, and that you cannot continue. If Susan will not give you their phone number, then she shall have to call them herself. Tell her you will continue to function as you have for a set amount of time. Say first of the year. Then step away and do so completely. It will get all fuzzy and messed up again if you try to step away slowly. This is not right, should not have happened, and we have to recognize that getting yourself into this position was your doing and your choice, albeit it kind of just crept up worse and worse.
If you must leave on the 1st and you are certain Susan is along than provide her with the number of Adult Protective Services in your town.
I am very sorry you got into this problem. But it is a learning experience. You cannot fix everything and not everything can be fixed. So sorry for all you are going through, and all she is going through, but this is no answer.
Meanwhile, it is time to get out and get that job. For this is a mutual dependency that is going nowhere good.
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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.agingcare.com/articles/amp/207367

Get her an eldercare attorney. She can set up a Miller Trust to become eligible for Medicaid.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 7, 2019
This is so smart! This will help her out long term.
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Sharibari, you have allowed yourself to be not only manipulated and placed in potential legal jeopardy, you have been bought and paid for basically as a servant to this woman. Get out of this situation immediately. You should call adult protective services in your city and report her situation. That so the best you can do for her. Good luck.
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OP you would be prudent to bear in mind that this woman has outlived a husband and a partner. If you get sucked in to caring for her she may well outlive you too.
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mommyskids Dec 10, 2019
lol
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sharibari, place by the telephone a printed out card that says "I cannot possibly do that" which is an easier way of saying "no". Even practice saying that in front of the mirror until you are comfortable saying that. That way you can win your power back.
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sharibari Dec 7, 2019
Thank you so very much. I struggle with my self esteem daily. My mom was very dutiful, she spent all her weekends off getting in the car and driving out to have sit down visits with her elderly mom, then aunt, then my older sister who was in prison and mental hospitals. She had me in tow, which I hated. But the imprint upon me was to be dutiful toward shut ins. I am so grateful you answered me so nicely, I have no one to turn to tell me the truth and I knew something had to be wrong due to my anger toward the situation. Advice taken~ and appreciated so much.
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Begin your job search now! The working from home excuse covers you for all snooping, observing of your car coming and goings. This person is a neighbor, not your spouse. Take back your power. You are not obligated to arrange your life for your neighbor. The nerve to expect to be taken to dinner several times per week. The nerve to expect so many chauffeured errands. I can’t fathom the constant demands. I gather this situation came on so gradually, you hadn’t a clue what she was doing. I bet if she had to pay for a cab or Uber for all those errands and dinners out, she would suddenly be going out much less.

Please move on with your life, and allow her to use some of her time arranging her own life.
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You mentioned that you need to find other work. I agree that you most definitely do. First of all, I know that you want to be satisfied with your job. You are not currently happy being employed by her.

Someone always needs a job. She will find someone and you are off the hook!

Have you told her that you will stay until she hires someone else? Set a time frame, then leave.

I read your profile. Codependent relationships never work. They are unhealthy. You are miserable.

She needs a lot of care. You do not have a compatible relationship. You eat different foods. She is impatient and unreasonable when you are running food errands for her.

I understand her frustrations of being dependent on others but as you say, you do not have the capability of being someone’s fairy godmother. Fairy godmothers live in fairytales.

I am sorry that your neighbor has no one else. You said that you have tried speaking to her sibling and all he did was acknowledge her situation. He did not offer to help.

I don’t think it is her siblings responsibility to help her. They are elderly themselves.

If her siblings wanted to help they would ask what she needed and offered help so that is most likely a dead end road. It’s nice if siblings care for one another but most people can’t rely on their siblings.

You are right to want to resume your ‘real’ life and hopefully she will realize that fairy godmothers are only in a make believe world so the next caregiver will have a more pleasant atmosphere to work in.

Stick to your guns. Don’t allow her to convince you to stay even if she increases the money like she did before. You don’t want to be her caregiver. Find work that you enjoy.

Best wishes to you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Your neigbour requires a lot of assistance to live her life.

You wanted to assist but her needs grew & keep growing.
Now she relies on you. You are overwhelmed & feeling resentful. You find yourself providing her assisted living arrangement, in her home. This works for her. This does not work for you.

Time for a new type of assisted living for her.
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Reply to Beatty
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So you can see the problem, too much for ONE carer. Susan needs a whole team. Do you think Susan sees this?

Firstly, do you want to keep assisting her? Be a small part of her team? With more boundaries & clarity around what you will do or won't do? Eg: be her driver ONE affernnon a week. (Susan must arrange the rest of her week?)

Or do you want completely out? Back to just a neigbour?
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