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My husband and I took my mother in after a stroke and broken hip. She owned nothing and was living on her Social Security after my father passed away 6 months earlier. At first, we used her money to pay her bills and for medical expenses, but leftover money was hers. It wasn't much, maybe $400 or so. Then,after 3 months or so after her debt was cleared up, due to my inability to work full time, we started charging for "rent" which was about half of her income, plus a phone line and storage for her "stuff" which we had no room for in our home. She takes care of nothing for herself except getting dressed and keeping her bedroom in order, and using the bathroom. She is ambulatory with a walker. She needs someone around full time, but I can scoot out to the store now and again. I keep a video on and audio monitors throughout the house. I work for my own construction company but spend more time on my mother, so I have not been pulling a paycheck for about a year now. I help with the business as much as possible because it is a family business.
It has been difficult with my mother and my workload around the house is seriously increased because she is sloppy and dismisses the need for being careful or considerate. This means spills, broken dishes, lost items, etc.
I had been keeping track of a lot of expenses and was trying to just put her on a monthly allowance of $300 which would be for things she might want to get, whatever it might be. I want to keep the rest for her final expenses and to compensate us for the loss of privacy and upkeep, eating out, extra food, etc. I tire of writing this stuff down and trying to be honest about it, but the reality is that it would be much more expensive to go to assisted living for her (which she could not afford) and a nursing home would give her $100 and take the rest. I fee like her care is better with us, but I think that she thinks that we are "stealing" her money. I have 4 brothers and sisters, of which 1 keeps in touch but I get no help whatsoever with anything other than from my husband and adult children.
I guess I wonder what others do with parents who move in with just social security. I still cover everything she needs, winter coats, glasses, co-pays etc. She wants for nothing. I just dont want to have to make a listing of everything which adds one more thing that I have to do over and above the stuff I already do. I have her Power of Attorney, but not sure if I should have something else in writing too.
I am putting this under "Caregiver Burnout" because that is kind of what it is. Not only does does my mother take most of my personal time, dismisses my directives for careful behavior, does nothing to help herself or others, but I feel guilting taking the money that really should be going to her caretakers, my husband and I.

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Another things to consider is whether there is anyone in the family who would question what you have done with funds or not. You really should visit an estate planner and/or eldercare attorney and make sure that agreements are appropriate and based on fair market value or a little under, and what will work best to assure sufficient funding for the long run. It is generally OK to use Mom's money for the legal consultations, and as long as you find someone reasonable and scrupulous what you invest in that will most likely pay off in peace of mind and even financially for all of you too. Best wishes in this endeavor!
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Maybe instead of writing everything down.. save your reciepts, circle what is her part, and file it by month in a file folder. Then if you need it later you can pull it out (or pass the folder to who ever needs it for proof) this is also helpful at tax time. If you are paying her co-pays and dr bills you will want this at tax time anyway. My mom has been doing their reciepts this way for years.. we just give it to the tax preparer and off he goes.. may work for others as well!
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For two years my dad has been I'll in and out if hospital and rehab he doesn't live with us so i ran day and night for him even in the middle of night meantime my brothers and sisters would shut off their phones or not answer to him so now I have him in a senior group house so I don't have to put him in nursing home home cooked meals his own bedroom 2 person assistance 24 Hours a day I don't have to worry about him as much cause I have help but I still have to take him appts. Pay his bills look after his house so on.... so care agreement doesn't end
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I can imagine it being that way what palm tree says is often true but the lawyer explained to my dad everything that my husband and I am doing for him on a daily basis he signed the care agreement in front of lawyer and secretary in his bed hasn't asked anymore about it but I can imagine my brothers and sisters would have something to say about it if they knew but the lawyer says that's between me and my dad they don't do nothing for him they just picture everything is so simple they don't have an idea what it takes handling everything for our dad everyday
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In my mother's financial POA there is the opportunity for the POA to be paid for their services. Neat and tidy. However Mom automatically vetoed that! My poor brother, her Golden Child, will not be able to compensate himself for anything. She has already accused me of wanting money from her (not true) so that ship has sailed.
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As long as it's in writing and signed notary lawyer Its the best way to take care of things
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My dad's lawyer asked my dad to agree to a caretaking agreement with a reasonable amount every month taking out for everything that I do which was getting very stressful that way when medicaid was to take over they know it was for services which is fair my other sisters and brothers never helped with anything they didn't care my husband helped me fixing his house and his cars upkeep running back and forth from our house to his appts needs bills
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I did go back to my spiral bound notebook and began documenting all things. My mother had been in an out of the hospital for about a month and I ended up paying for a lot her expenses on my account, but later on transferred monies. I just got sloppy really; I had grown so tired of keeping up with it all. Things have quieted now and it is time to get back to "normal" again. I did review her expenses, and if she keeps on a budget, she pays us a bit of rent, also her phone, and her insurances, there's not much left anyway but that amount could go toward her final expenses. I do have paperwork into the VA for supplemental funds because she does need full time assistance and I believe they may step in and help. If they do, we could arrange for Assisted LIving. It would be much tighter financially speaking, but it may be the best thing for all of us. I do have 4 siblings, of which 1 occassionally helps. He really cannot do much other than keep in touch, and that is a blessing really. My other siblings wrote my mother off after my father passed away and they couldn't be bothered. She was a needy person and not the most honest, however, that was then and this is now. They cannot put the past behind them and as a result, I am doing double time trying to hold it together. All of you have had wonderful advice and I am truly thankful for just having somebody give me some insight on all of this. So, thanks so much!
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I moved in with my mom 4 months ago full time. Before that it was on and off. I heard that Medicaid looks back so many years and NOT to sell the house. If you live with your parent at least 2 years, they take that into account and won't (?) go after the house if she would have to go to Medicaid. I have POA for her health, finances, and also on her checking account.
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Donna, first and foremost, the business should be paying you for your work, because you will need your own social security soon.
Second, let mom build up some funds for her final expenses.
Third and very importantly, lay it all on the table with family and set a firm date for mom to move to assisted living. Find out what ALF's near you cost and what kind of financial assistance is available. VA? Medicaid Waiver? Split the extra cost five ways? Anyone who misses the meeting better not complain later. OH and Countrymouse is right, a POA cannot pay themselves, it is a conflict of interest and can get really ugly from a legal standpoint. Medicaid considers the money a gift and thus denies benefits to mom.
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All of this is very good advice. And I really appreciate that advice which is painfully hard to give and receive. However, I think I have a better idea of what to do. After the holiday passes, we will have a sit down together with my mother, my local brother, and my husband and I and just lay it all out there. I don't want to be dishonest at all with anyone, especially my mother and I want to do the right thing. I don't want my own burnout to be an excuse for questionable behavior with regard to finances. But, thanks to everyone, - lots of good advice here.
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Oi. You cannot just unilaterally decide that your mother owes you compensation for your time and trouble, and pay yourself out of her funds using your power of attorney. No no no. Frankly, that is misappropriation. Paying for her food, for example, is absolutely fine. But paying for your loss of earnings? - no, not unless you have a contract to provide her with care. Paying for your loss of privacy? Er… No. How on earth did you calculate the price of that?

Is your mother competent? If so, you can draw up a financial plan for her which - if your state laws allow - could include payment for your care of her, and gain her agreement to that. If she isn't, seek advice on how else you might go about 'contracting' yourself as her caregiver; but I think you might have quite a job on your hands there.

Being in a broadly similar financial position to yourself - I was self-employed but any idea of working has become a sick joke - I appreciate the costs. But I tell myself 'well, you should have thought of that before' and I'm afraid the same applies to you. If you are becoming burned out, then at least consider moving her into residential care and resuming your life. I also know how teeth-grittingly frustrating it is when you add up what ALF costs are, compare them with what at-home costs are, and conclude that she would be paying twice as much for half the care; but the fact is that you're not a nursing home, you're a family member, and the law assumes that we do it for love. Personally I'm beginning to run a bit low on that commodity, and I have to eat, and I should be trying to amass a pension fund - but I can't claim anybody ever told me this situation would be fair.

And document everything. Keep comprehensive accounts for her. Every cent of her money that you as her POA spend on her behalf must be directly for her benefit, and at some point you may well have to show that you have complied with that.
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In our experience having just compiled a large amount of information for a Medicaid application, keeping track of her expenses and showing how she paid her way in your house is important. It's also a great self-protection measure in the event a sibling or relative decides to levy accusations of stealing. There is nothing in your post that sounds unreasonable.

If, for some reason, you find it necessary to seek guardianship, these records will be invaluable proving how you've been acting as guardian for quite some time already and showing your competence in doing so.

This will also become necessary should you become a represenative payee for your mom's social security check. They will require an annual report of where the money went.

Thanks for doing a good job by your mom. It's hard. But you're doing the right thing and for the right reasons.
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My situation is probably more common than not. My parents never planned on anything and had no final plans in place for when either passed. They passed it along to us kids. There are a lot of things that bother me about this arrangement, as it was never my plan to be in this position at all. And really, I am the least like either of my parents as I was the "straight" one and they were the partyers. That goes for the sibs too. So, I know it's not easy for my mother because it has been a rude awakening for her also. Although we are dissimilar, she is well cared for and probably lives better now than she has ever lived. After almost 2 years of this, I guess I am getting burnt out of giving her my attention and then, not being able to work like I should.....and then her acting like her money is for her only and living here should be free.
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I think some others here may be better to advise you on the details of how to handle the funds of your mother as she lives with you.

What I will say is that even as POA, the Social Security Office will not discuss your mom's social security case, funds, or issues with you, unless you get it approved in writing in advance. For example, if anything should arise and she not receive her funds, they won't discuss it with you. Or if you have a question about her social security, they will not discuss it will you even as her POA. I would make sure that is taken care of in writing. I think there is a form from the SS office on their website that your mom can sign.
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