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When we moved in 3 years ago to care for mother and my step-dad, we gave them $350/month to help on bills and food. When my brother found out that we were doing this, he told my mother we should not be paying her...that she should be paying us. This made her so mad. We stopped giving her this money because my brother thought it was just terrible. I continued to feel guilty and mother would make rude comments about us not helping out. So, we started giving her $200.00/month and we also buy groceries all during the month to help out and buy some foods that my husband and I like. The other day, she told me we weren't helping her enough. Her bank statements always shows an increase in her monthly balance. She is doing financially well. She's 83 and has a very negative dispostion, but she has lots of health problems. We will continue to give her the money because I get tired of her making me feel guilty. What do most people do...pay or not pay their parents?

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First of all , I commend you and your husband for stepping up and taking care of your parents , however, YOU moved in with her --- so that means you don't have mortgage/rent , electric/gas ,trash removal ,phone and etc... bills .Of course you should be paying her . If not to help with bills then just out of common decency . I took care of my mom through cancer and my father through his dementia and even though it gets hard at times we should never take advantage of our parents' age or illnesses.
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If your Mom had moved in with you, you could be charging her for room and board! So you should be able to be compensated for living with and taking care of her. Of course that all depends on how much you actually have to do for her. Does she have dementia and need constant care, or does she just want someone around so she is not alone? I agree that most of her $ would be gone in no time if she were in a nursing home.
Are either you or your husband also holding down a job? There are so many variables to consider. Please give more info on your situation.
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Isn't that the truth debmed1256? That was uplifting to just read that a sibling would stand up on behalf of the primary caregiver in such a way. That is one understanding sibling of what all a caregiver faces day in and day out. If only others understood as much about caregiving!
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Wow! I still can't get past reading that your brother is supportive in his position that mom should be paying you! Too few siblings like that.
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Amen, Lilliput!
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I had to read your post several times to make sure I was getting it right. If you are providing all this wonderful TLC...stop paying her now. Get some local estimates for in-home or paid caregiving and tell her that you are "even Steven." (in fact, you are probably still getting the short end.) Whatever you would pay in rent to live there is a pittance compared to the care you are providing if they had to pay for it. If she fusses, hand her the brochures to all the lovely assisted living centers and see how little they offer "for free."
Woweeee....I thought I had heard it all. Note to Elders: let's be a little more grateful for caring family members by honoring and respecting them.
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DJ - The two of you are selfless and have gone above and beyond for your parents. I'm sure all of us here admire your generosity but...perhaps it's time you and your husband started thinking about YOURSELVES and consider moving your living parents to assisted living. Once the health issues of parents start to increase the risk of injury to them and TO YOU increases. Can you get them up off the floor without injury to yourself? Can you get them in/out of the tub? For the sake of your own health when you are their age, perhaps it's best that someone else provide the medical care now. You can still visit regularly, take them out, tend to them but you'll be able to enjoy their company and spend better time if someone else does all the physical tending. The constant stress of such care giving, worrying about repairs and manipulating to keep mom happy (doing a major repair in 4 days??!!) ages us considerably - and we don't realise it until years later. If you lived in the same place for 43 years and gave it up, that means you're at last 43+18 or 20, retirement age. I'm not that age but realize now that I have bad sciatic nerve problems and bulging disks - all because I insisted that I could lift mom in and out of her wheelchair, the tub and car. I'll suffer with it for another 30 years.... it's okay to think of yourselves, your kids and grandkids need some of your time and attention too. Spend as much time on the future!
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Oh DJ you and your husband really are saints. You didn't mention it but it sounds like you both need a break. Please find home health that could come in for just a day like maybe 10 hours and go have some fun! I really think your Mom might change her tune if she saw what you do.
I don't know your financial situation but she really should be paying YOU if it doesn't create a severe hardship for her. Goodness what about your financial future? I know money is such a touchy issue for all of us.

Even if your mother never appreciates one thing you do, you will recieve your reward in heaven.

Please take a break for your own sanity! God Bless.
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Hi, Emerald4me and Susan63: I do everything here at mother's that I would do at my own home, clean the house, cook the meals, shop for groceries, take mother to lots of doctor visits, take her to the Senior Center and visits with friends, etc. I have to hold her hand or arm when she walks, fill her insulin needles several times a day, organize her medicine and now give it to her, etc. My husband does all the outside yard work as well as helps vacuum, laundry, grocery shops, trash, helps his parents during the week with some of their household, yard, and doctor's needs, too. So, we both are doing for two sets of parents. My mother, though, is the most needy because she has so many health problems. I'm tired just reading what I just wrote. Plus, mother is very negative. Thank you so much for your comments to me.

For Dee: Mother would pass out before she paid me anything for helping her. She does buy my $1.00 McDonald's hamburgers, fries, and a senior drink sometimes or gives my husband some money to help pay on our meal when we eat out, which is usually only on Sunday.

Hi, LynnPo: My step-dad did pass away from alzheimer's two years ago. We have lived here 3 years. We gave up everything where we had lived for 43 years...our home, our daughter and grandsons, our jobs, our church and friends...so they wouldn't have to go to a nursing home. Mother isn't able now to cook, clean, take care of her medicines, or do many basic things. She can't see well, her balance is getting bad, and she has seizures and insulin dependent diabetes. Things are getting worse all the time. Thank you for you response.


For Looney: Thank you for you email. My step-dad didn't like my husband doing anything at home, but he had alzheimer's, so we thought that was his problem with it all. Mother never compliments my husband's work in the yard, but the neighbors do and friends do. Plus, he is battling prostate cancer and we have that to worry about, too. Thanks for your response.
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djnorris, by asking her to "give you a certain amount," I meant asking her to tell you the dollar amount she wants from you. I didn't mean "give" in a literal sense.
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looney, you and your husband are saints in caring! You are so right about the care you rpovide being 24/7. The $5,500 figure causes me to break out in hives at the thought of how broken long-term care is for caregivers like you and me. Want to be a caregiver? First go bankrupt! That is the overarching social message to regular caregivers, it seems. It's as if unpaid family caregivers are penalized for choosing to take on the care of those we most love.
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Yours is a good heart, djnorris, and that is an ethical question you are asking of yourself. At 83, is your Mom still able to pay her bills, etc., without any concerns on your part that she is able to handle her affairs independently? If she is, that is awesome, and one less thing you will need to worry about.

If, on the other hand, you have any concerns that she is simply throwing money out the window, that would be a red flag to consider before throwing your hard earned money out the window. For me only, I don't see any right or wrong answer to your dilemma. You know what feels right and whether there is an underlying concern involved.

One way to determine whether your Mom is thinking clearly on her request that you increase your payments to her might be to ask her to give you a specific dollar amount. Also ask her how she came up with such an amount. If true, let her know that you are willing to make the sacrifice if you can see where the money will be needed, how it will be used, and whether there is something else you may do for her household to absorb a fixed cost yourself without having to increase your payment to her.

Also provide her with some hardcopy information about what it would cost her in your area to pay for in-home care in contrast to your current payment and assistive care to her.

Would she prefer that you moved out? May as well ask her and lay it all on the table so that you really know what you may be facing. It may be anger only, or you may both be surprised at what you learn in the process. Making a money demand is sometimes about the person demanding life control and setting boundaries.

You mentioned that she has lots of health problems. How those problems affect her ability to independently perform her major life activities is also important to your decision, I would think? Good luck in sorting through the layered issues and doing what feels right to you. Your brother is an awesome caregiver champion, by the way. What a loyal and brave thing for him to have done on your bnehalf!
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My parents had a live in caregiver through a agency, $5500.00 a month. It was either that or a nursing home. My husband and I are now the caregivers. We rented out our house and left all our friends, church, basically our life, to care for them. My husband is slowly, because my mom hates change, repairing the house. Once when she was in the hospital for 4 days he tore off the leaky, moldy family-room roof and ceiling. By the time she got home he had already reroofed and was starting the drywall. She would have never allowed it if she had been there but we didn't ask we just did it. My dad, who is now passed, must have really wondered what all that racket was from his hospice bed. And i do all the cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, watering ALL those potted plants (they never planted anything, just in case they moved), driving mom to dr's, watering (oh yea I said that). This is are FULL TIME job, 24/7. And my mom pays us, not what the agency charged, but there is pay. If you have taken on the care of your parents then you should get a salary in accordance to the amount of care you give. It sounds like they think they are providing for you, If you weren't there would they have to go to a home? Good luck but you and your brother and parents need to talk and get it all worked out.
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It depends - are you saving your parents from spending all of their funds on assisted living or a nursing home? Are you able to meet all of their physcial needs? How much help do they need? Have you given up most of your time to stay at home and care for them? Do you still get out and about? If you're sacrificing to keep them in their own home, then I'd say it's all equitable - pay for groceries and the increase in electric/gas, pay for your own car, insurance and use grandma's money for grandma.

If your mother and step dad are well enough to make meals, do housekeeping, etc... then why are you living there? Are they really so bad off that you HAVE to be there 24-7? Having additional people living in the house means a higher water bill (more showers, laundry, dishes and flushes), a higher electric bill (more lights on, more heat, more appliances, hot water) and more groceries. If you buy groceries for everyone and contribute to bill AND help them - then it's all good.

As for your brother - tell him to mind his own business! You and your mom worked out a deal and that should be enough for him unless he suspects grose abuse of mother or her funds.
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If you are doing what I do (like Emerald said) dr apptmts, grocery shopping, cleaning, errands, then you shouldn't give her anything. I don't live with my parents but I do this stuff and they give me gas money and $10.00 here and there. It is WORK!! Not to mention stressful!

But if you are just hanging out and making sure she is OK everyday then maybe 200.00 is OK but I highly doubt that is what you are doing!

Maybe she would feel better if she read these comments. :) I would be really interested to see what others have to say. I wonder what my time is worth somedays!
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I have to pay 17.75 an hour for 8 hrs a day for someone to "help" my 86 year old mother with housework, preparing meals, washing her clothes and helping her with toileting. Perhaps $12 an hour would be more fair unless you do any hands on personal care.

Have her cost out what it would be or what you do for her and she can tell you how much your room and board adds to her cost. Then subtract and see who owes who.
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What do you do to help her out? Take her to doctor's appointments? Do the grocery shopping? Clean the house? I say the $200 is more than fair. How much have their bills gone up (like water, electricity, etc.) since you have been there?
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