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My mom has lived with us for four years. The first two in a house we own, but alone. Then my husband moved in and now I and our adult handicapped son have joined the party. We have quickly realized the house does not suit our needs and are searching for one that does. In the area we live, that’s going to cost a good bit more than we now own. Currently she pays water and electric and buys her own personal care and junk food items. That amounts to about $500 per month plus a $40 cell phone bill. She gets $1200 per month in retirement. When she lived on her own, her rent alone was over $450 so we feel she is getting a bargain. Her cable, groceries, transportation, etc are all covered by us, but she cries poverty constantly. There seems to be money for online shopping and trips to get junk food and a fistful of credit cards. If she did not live here; there would be no need to move but I don’t know what is fair to ask from her.

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Tluther- I do get your reasoning. If it's not for your mother, you will not need to look for a more expensive place or pay for many other things for her.

However, you said she didn't have money to pay rent for her own apartment, then she would not have money to pay for the difference in price between the current house and the new house.

The more you think she ought to pay but can't pay, the more unhappy you will be with her and the whole situation. The most you can do is increase her rent.

And you should definitely add the cost difference of the new house and current house to the first column of things she uses. That will further show her that she is benefiting a lot more than what she is paying for.

In the future, when your mother passes away or moves out to AL or NH, you can sell the new house and recoup your money.

Peace of mind is more important. Or else you will be angry, resentful and have high blood pressure.
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It’s not going to go well no matter how I approach it, but your plan seems like it’s something she would have trouble arguing with. And if she was not living here then I would not need a different house so I’m not sure I take your point on that. The cost to rent a 1 bed apartment here would be over $800 (which she could likely not afford), And then I could stay in the home I love. So we aren’t moving as a lark or r to trade up.
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When it comes to finances, you need to think logically and make decisions based on facts.

Your mom's cries of poverty are emotionally based and should be IGNORED .

Take out paper and pen. Make a list of things, one line per item, she is using being in your home: shelter, food, utilities, junk food, toiletries, transportation, meds, entertainment, etc. Then, next to the items you just list, put a value for each of them (for her share only) down in one column, then next to those values, put down how much she pays for each of them, in another column. Now total each column and you can see how much she is saving by living in your place. If she's helping you with the upkeep of the house, then you need to give a credit value for that too.

If she has not enough money to splurge on her wants, that is not relevant. You can decide how much more you would like her to contribute so that you think it is fair then you can show her your list of costs. Remain calm and unemotional is important when discussing money.

If HER costs go up in the new house then you can ask for more contribution. If YOUR mortgage payment goes up in YOUR new house then it is YOUR responsibility.
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