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Mom recently moved to an AFL, and she seems to have adjusted to her new living arrangements, which we are thankful for. The problem is that her income does not cover her expenses on any month. The family is contributing to her care, but I find that I, as her only caregiver in the area, am constantly having to subsidize her more than the others. She calls most every week with requests for "extras", which are not fitting in to the budget. Today, she telephoned with a list of items for me to pick up, some were necessity items, but most of the things were "snacks" for her to keep in her room. The list was lengthy....itemized, and how many packages of each that she expected, and where to shop for them! Now, I don't mind taking some treat for her when I visit, but knowing how tight things are financially, I do find myself resentful when I have to pay for these items myself. I guess, the question that I have is, how accommodating should I be? I should also add, that she is diabetic, and she gets very irritated when I show up with sugar free anything. I have explained that we are all contributing to her care, but I get the sense that she feels it is our duty to do this. After our Father died, my husband and I went over her finances, and we told her that if she would live within her means, she would have enough assets to live comfortably. When I observed later that she was overspending, and I cautioned her about it, I was told it was none of my business. The rest is history....now, I'm left to make sense of her finances, and try to make ends meet. I am nearing the end of my career before retirement, and I am resentful that I am having to fund her living expenses, when it should not have been like this. I know that this probably sounds very trivial compared to the problems that others are dealing with concerning caregiving, but I am frustrated with the financial situation. Are my feelings justified??

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It sounds like Mom needs boundaries-talk with you sibs and decide how much money within reason all of you can contribute each month and that is all you spend she is spoiled and is not going to change-it works for her-so she gets mad so what she will get over it and if dealing with her tantrums get to be too much ask the sibs to go to see her more often. If she gets less snack food she will appreciate what she does get more. What can she do if it is many phone calls do what I did leave the answering machine on low and do not answer the calls at the time placed-thank your lucky stars she is not living with you. She sounds like a narcisic women who only thinks of herself and will not change whil it is working so well for her.
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Jeanne, I appreciate your response to my dilemma. The facility where she lives was the only one in our area that came anywhere close to her income, and, thankfully, it has been a good "fit". It has a very good reputation, clean, and a caring staff, all of which were the most important to us.

I have a fairly decent understanding of carbohydrates/sugar/diabetic diet needs, but her snack requests consist of potato chips, popcorn, cookies and chocolate candy. Since moving into assisted living, her blood sugar levels have been great, but I'm not sure how to address her snack list. She will be angry if I limit the treats, but there aren't substitutions for the treats that she wants...She has always been in denial that she is a diabetic, and chooses to believe that she is "borderline".
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Is there anything you can make for her that she likes and can keep in her frig or freezer. Maybe something home cooked that is appropriate for a diabetic. I know it's extra work for you, but maybe less expensive and more satisfying for your mom.

I agree with Jeanne that your sibs need to understand the daily costs of mom's desires. Take a deep breath and be open with your sibs. Sounds like you are all working together to keep mom safe and happy.
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Why did your family decide on moving mother to a facility she cannot afford? Was there a plan in place about sharing the costs? If so, be upfront with the other siblings. Mother wants approximately $x in extras each month. Of that $y are really necessities, like shampoo. How shall we cover these expenses? Should I turn down her requests for the unnecessary extras, or do we split those, also?

And rent typically goes up. Additional care needs will mean more expenses. Have you and the sibs discussed how this will be handled? Having a mother who lives beyond her means isn't going to get easier, I'm afraid, so getting a handle on this "trivial" problems sooner rather than later is necessary.

Are there any less expensive units in this ALF?

And just incidentally, I'm diabetic and if my family brought me sugar-free versions of what I wanted I'd be pissed. I'm sure you mean well but the American Diabetic Association lifted their ban on sugar about 20 years ago. It is known now that it is total carbohydrates, NOT just sugar, that effects blood sugar levels. In almost all cases (except diet pop), the sugar-free version of an item has the same number of carbs. Some items with artificial sweeteners tend to give some people diarrhea. Are you also refusing to get her anything with white flour? For purposes of blood sugar control white flour and sugar are about the same. Sugar-free products are great for the companies who market them, because they can rely on people who assume (incorrectly) that they will be better for their diabetic family and friends. Next time you want to purchase a sugar-free something compare the nutritional label with its regular version. Unless there is a significant reduction in carbs it probably isn't any better for Mother. I took labels into my certified diabetes educator when I was first diagnosed and asked if the sugar free versions offered any advantage. Her answer was that the only benefit she could think of was that the sugar-free version was often more expensive and that might tend to mean you eat less of it! ("Treats" tend to be empty calories, and eating fewer empty calories is better for all of us.)
Back to the basic question, regardless of what mother assumes it is not your "duty" to enable her to live beyond her means. And you should not be so accommodating that you feel resentment.

I hope that you and your sibs can come up with reasonable solutions soon, before the issue grows and is uglier.
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