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My mother suffers from hearing loss and I believe she is legally blind. She also has some type serious memory issue which I can't say for certain is Dementia. She struggles to follow conversations and can't keep track of time based in formation. She's also very insecure and quite narcissistic. (I know that is a terrible thing to say about one's own mother but its always been true). She demands to make all business decisions but struggles to follow the conversations.
I moved back to my home town to try to be there for her about 7 months ago, giving up my job in engineering management. She has a small business that was being badly mismanaged, so rather than looking for work, I took over the running of her business.
On a day to day basis she has a casual helper; A lovely lady who helps clean, was cloth and helps her run errands.
She also has a live in boyfriend of 15 years or so. They have never married so that she could continue to receive her deceased husband's social security. With her eyesight and hearing, he handles the finances.
Her boyfriend is hoarder. She may have had those tendencies as well but not to same extreme. Its so hard to watch him waste her money though I feel powerless to stop it.
I find myself in the situation where I am working full time. The business is an on call type of service, so it extends into weekends and evenings. Its going quite well but I work alone now. I do not take any payment for my efforts, a decision definitely do not regret. I am working to keep the cash flow going to support my mother but I am also supporting her decision to her resources to be wasted. It is beyond frustrating.
He seems to be feeding her negative ideas almost constantly. He seems to be poisoning the relationship between her and her caregiver. I fear what she will do on a day to day basis if that relationship breaks down completely. At this point she can not clean or care for herself properly on her own but will accept no help from me for her personal care.
There is so much more to this story but this is a good start. I honestly don't know to do to manage this situation any better than I have but I feel like I am loosing ground. I also don't know how long I can practically expect to work full time like this. Any suggestions would be welcome

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Thank you all for your ideas. I really appreciate the feedback and having a safe place to talk about my frustrations with this situation. I really want my mother to be as happy as possible for as long as possible. I will think about the ideas presented here and try to figure out what I can take on board
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surprise, I love this! You win the prize for evil genius answer of the day, hands-down! I think yours is the best solution yet!
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Whoops, wrong answer posted :) Oh, hoarders get into all sorts of messes. If she won't give you the business, then I'd take another tactic. I'd start my own business of essentially the same nature, and just transfer all the customers to you. You don't have a non-compete clause, and you can make a pretty seamless transition from the former firm to this one. You are a smart strong woman, and there is nothing to stop you. If she won't give you the business, put out your own shingle, same employees, computer files, and everything. Yes, you might need some loans for hard equipment, but I imagine that her hard business assets are not worth what she would sell them for. Again, you have no kind of non-compete, so the ball is truly in your court.
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Suzanne from what you have told us you are working to put money in Mom's boyfriend's pocket.
It is time for you to start taking a salary. If you choose to spend some on mother that is your decision. You say you will upset your mother if you try and take control. Look at it from the other person's point of view. Your mother is continuing to upset you. How right is that?
You have three choices:
1. Let things go on as they are.
2. Persuade Mom to hand over the reins to you. You are obviously capable of handling the business. You have already proved that.
3. If Mom and BF won't co-operate leave them to it.
You may have to come back later and clean up the mess but so be it.
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Other people are saying what I am thinking. If she isn't legally incompetent, you won't be able to control what your mother does. However, you can decide what you're willing to do. What you mentioned about them feeling entitled to your time and efforts rings so many familiar bells. Parents can be like that, particularly if we start doing something -- they'll want us to keep doing it.

I like your idea of trying to take control of the business. I wonder if there is any way that your mother would sign it over to you. You can give her a certain amount every month and maybe even help her manage her money. The rest you could put into savings in case she might need it someday. The only complication here is if she needed to go on Medicaid during the next few years. From what you describe, that doesn't seem to be the case.

I have a feeling there is something that you and your mother could work out that would fit the needs of everyone and help slow the flow of money that is being wasted. The money in the savings account would be yours when she passed. I imagine you would prefer that over having it go to the boyfriend. Good luck getting something worked out!
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SuzanneW,

An experienced counselor could help you draw up some boundaries for this situation and have your back as you put them into reality and come up with the consequences for when they are broken. I've been there and done that with my own family issues. Boundaries were new territory for me back then also. I wish you the best.
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If I were you, I would tell your mother and her boyfriend that you will only continue to run her business if you are given full control over the decisions and the money. I would not continue working for free so that someone else could waste the money.
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It's a shame if your mom's hard work and business will be lost due to her boyfriend's actions. If she's competent, she's free to allow it to happen, but, if she's really having cognitive decline, there might be an argument that she's a vulnerable adult who's being taken advantage of. Of course, you'll have to prove it.
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You said that you've seen an attorney. I'd get sound legal advice from someone who litigates these type of cases regularly in that county. This is because they should know what the courts look at, how they approach cases like this, what evidence you need, etc. Experience may help a lot so you get a true sense of what to expect.

I wouldn't expect to be able to intervene without some hurt feelings. Often if there is dementia, the patient is not capable of accepting they have it. They will continue to swear that they are fine, capable, no problem, despite evidence to the contrary. Keeping them happy and smiling while you protect them is not so easy nor likely. The upside is if you win. The downside is if you don't. I'd ask the attorney about all the options and outcomes.

I hope you find some answers and success in helping your mom.
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cmagnum, I get it what you are saying. I have been thinking a lot about personal boundaries today and over the last few weeks. I am trying to figure out how to draw them. This is really new territory for me.
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Without her being declared incompetent, I don't see any way that you can control her. If she's not incompetent, then she is free to make as many foolish decisions as she wants to. She must be told that she is going to face consequences for her decisions which you are not going to be responsible for. I don't see any way in which you are going to be able to not hurt her feelings, but you don't need to continue to allow yourself to be used. Often, being told the truth hurts. Maybe some boundaries with some concrete consequences are in order so that you can protect yourself.
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JessieBelle,
"Used". Yes this is a good word for how I am feeling. I am also feeling rather stuck and powerless to change the situation without hurting my mother. Its not the most important thing, but it doesn't help that they both act so entitled to my time and efforts.

The best situation I can envision at this point is to gain control of the business and perhaps her personal accounts to prevent his foolish wasting of her money. I think this could also help mend her relationship with her caregiver because it would take the issue of paying the woman out of my mother's hands which seems to cause my mother some negative feelings.
I don't at the moment see a strategy for this. It seems like any attempt to do this would destroy my relationship with my mother.

I have spoken to an attorney and the option of suing for custody and invoking a competency hearing would immediately alienate her and her boyfriend.
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So, basically you left your job and are working to support your mother and her live-in boyfriend, who spend the money unwisely. What do you think you should do about this? It seems like you are their cash cow at the moment and I know it can't feel good. What would you like to see happen? I know you want to care for your mother. I assume you have your own money, so can afford to do this. But I can tell that the things that are happening bother you. Are you feeling used?
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