I'm the only caretaker for my Mom (88) who has General Brain Atrophy there's no way I can have any respite. What do I do? - AgingCare.com

I'm the only caretaker for my Mom (88) who has General Brain Atrophy there's no way I can have any respite. What do I do?

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I quit my job almost four years ago and have been her 24/7 caregiver ever since; have four sibs; one helps, watches her when I get groceries; no one else will help and I have asked many, many times. Mom is getting to where nothing is left of the person she used to be; she is now angry, verbally abusive, short tempered. I have PTSD (childhood incident), depression and anxiety. I am at the end of my rope, but my savings have long since been depleted and we cannot afford to pay for help. At times I feel as though I will literally go crazy, it is a never ending heartbreak to see my Mom slowly slip away from me. Any ideas for us? Thanks.

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Babalou is right - there is no reason in the world not to go after a Miller trust...other than the big pile of paperwork involved. Sorry about the "not good" part, didn't mean for that to sting! You love your mom and so you spent your 401k, no, you should not have/you were not supposed to, but you did it out of devotion. Understood.

Here is one source on Miller trust; it is exactly what your situation needs: You put the excess income into an irrevocable trust and thereby qualify for Medicaid. You put the excess income into an irrevocable trust and You can Google Miller Trust and your state for more specifics. It sounds like you already have POAs and all the critical paperwork ilned up, I remember when that was all unfamiliar turf to me in my journey with my parents; I'm a physician and people kept thinking I should know everything but I can assure you I didn't, and not just because I'm in pediatrics; when its your own family you just can;t see it the same way. Big hugs, and if you don't mind you could let us know what you find out and how it goes...
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Was your mother a member of a church that might have members willing to come sit once in awhile? Oftentimes, churches can be sources of support for members of their community.
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Mama3111, you need to go see an eldercare attorney about qualifying mom for Medicaid. You can do something called a Miller trust.

Why haven't you set up a caregiver contract between you and mom? Get the name of an eldercare attorney from the Money and Legal tab at the top. Se one tomorrow.

Everything that you've done so far is water under the bridge. Now you know differently, so take some action.
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Thank you, vstefans, for your input...you make a good point in that as a SW I got to see the not so good side of nh care. My depleted savings, 401k, etc. are now defunct precisely because of my Moms care, and had I been able to foresee the future then perhaps I would not be in this situation, but then that is a mute point, as i am also painfully aware that it is "not good". Also, she does not qualify for medicaid because she exceeds income guidelines by fourteen dollars and because I do not charge her any rent.
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Mama3111, bear in mind, that you, as a social worker, got called to deal with all the things that WEREN'T working, all the problem situations, not so much for the families whose loved one thrived and got good care and who were comfortable being involved and making sure things went as well as possible. And, as a social worker, with depleted savings (which you know is not good) and assuming Mom does not have assets either or you would have depleted those first, can you share what disqualifies her from Medicaid at this time?
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Babalou, I know you are correct when you say I am too tired to think straight...my own experience as a SW tells me I know the answers to my own questions, but honestly I just cannot remember at this point. If and when I ever can get a break, then I know I will be able to resolve all of this, in the meantime, thank you for your time and your concern. Blessings to all who share any portion of what I am going through.
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Mama, I'm curious what your plan for your own retirement is if you're not working and have apparently used up your savings. If mom doesn't qualify for Medicaid, there must be assets, which should be used to pay for her care, including of course, respite for you.

No nursing home is perfect. Neither is any school. We send our loved ones to both because the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. If all the nhs in El Paso are bad, perhaps you should investigate the ones that are closer to where siblings live, or in a suburb not too distant from you.

You sound as though you are too tired to think straight. Someone needs to relieve you and soon.
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Thanks again for taking time to answer....perhaps I should add that my last job, after thirty plus years in Social Work, was as a Legal Guardian for Aged and Disabled....so there is not one nursing home (in my city) that I did not work with extensively when placing and tending to my clients. This was not a good experience as I got to see and deal with much more than the average visitor, and I would not be at peace with myself if I ever placed her....the suggestion for consulting an attorney will.be the route to take if the family meeting proves to be just more wasted time and effort....again, thank you.
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Of course you don't want your mother in a care center. I'll bet you don't want her to have brain atrophy and dementia, either. Unfortunately we can't always have what we want and prevent what we don't want. That is the nature of life, and beyond our control.

If you have been able to provide her with the best care up until now, that is commendable and fortunate. When it reaches the point where the best care can no longer be provided by one individual in a private home, then I think it is still your duty as a loving daughter to arrange the situation so she can get the best care. And that is probably in a care center of some kind.

You say she does not qualify for Medicaid. Have you researched that thoroughly? Consulted an attorney who specializes in Elder Law? If she has too many assets and/or too much income to qualify for financial help, then those assets and income should be used to maximize the quality of her care. This absolutely includes regular respite for you and in-home help. And, it seems to me, probably eventually if not now, a placement where she can get professional care.

It is absolutely heartbreaking to see a loved one slipping away. My husband died at home, after a 10-year journey with dementia. My mother is now in a nursing home, also with dementia. But even while we are heartbroken we need to do the best we can to think objectively about what will result in the maximum quality of care.
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Thanks for answering my question. It does sound like now is time or past time for a serious, calm family meeting that will come up with a long range plan that impacts the present for both your benefit and hers. You don't want to join the statistics of the 1/3 of caregivers who don't live longer than those they care for and thus catapult your mom into a nursing home without you to be there as her advocate. Lay out straight factually of how life really is for both you and for her before your meeting with your sibs with no holes bared as far as telling them the whole truth, but don't make any holes while telling them. You should really not be expected to bear this all totally alone form this point forward.
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