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greetings to all. it's been a long time since i have been able to visit this board but i need some advise . . .

here's the situation . . . grandma came to live with us 2 years ago at her asking. she had fallen twice and after the second fall in 3 months, was laying on the bed in her apartment (i had just arrived) and we were waiting for the paramedics to show. as she is laying in bed waiting, she literally begs me not to put her in a nursing home and asks to come live with me . . . i said of course as she was always there for me growing up instead of my mother, her daughter. she said she couldnt go live with her daughter who is the only other family member living (not including my kids). she's been with us 2 years and has been doing great. she is now 94. here comes the question . . .

i closed my business after 7 years and took over a $20,000 loss in doing so so i could be home with grandma and lost any and all means of support. grandma realized this and insisted i take money out of a joint account we created when i sold her house for her. we met with an attorney for guidance but agreed it wasnt necessary to set up a living trust. he suggested a monthly allowance from grandma in the range of $2,000 to $3,000 for me monthly. i felt that was way to much and grandma and i agreed on $1,300 a month that i would take out of the joint account. this money is used to cover diapers, prescriptions, food and other items for her care while she is living with us and to allow me to take care of a few of my bills while i am unable to work. grandma is incredibly spoiled living at our house. tonight she had stuffed mushrooms, bbq ribs, rice, corn on the cob and cheesecake for desert. at her age and after the nursing home time, i tend to feed her only the best and pamper her like she deserves to be. when you break the $1,300 down, it comes to $1.75 an hour that i am getting for food, electric, prescriptoins, diapers, shelter and the like. i am looking for your thoughts on this amount. money is really not an issue for grandma (has $150k still in bank) and considers her monthly ss checks her "mad money" for the hairdresser, pedicures, lunch out with the girls and it also pays her aarp supplement insurance.

had grandma gone in to a nursing home two years ago, most of that money would have been gone. my issue is that my mother doesnt feel it fair that i am receiving that money from grandma and feels i am "robbing her blind". that is what she has told my grandmother. grandma means the world to me and my mother is a very vindictive and spiteful person who feels that since she is the daughter, she is "entitled" to it. grandma doesnt trust my mother and doesnt want her to get the money. i know this because every month i sit down with grandma and do her bills and she always tells me to take more than the $1,300 because i deserve it and she doesnt want her daughter to have it. grandma says the daughter doesnt deserve it because she doesnt do anything for grandma but create problems. grandma went with the daughter during the thanksgiving holiday weekend for three days and came back with two spinal fractures that prompted me to take her to the er for treatment. my mother is adamant that they didnt happen at her house . . . the doctors at the er say otherwise but my mother still insists it didnt happen there even though she called me saturday morning to say grandma's back was bothering her. my mother has only seen her one other time since then and that was for a two hour lunch about a week ago and she only lives 15 minutes away and doesnt work. she is not allowed in our home for all the aggravation and problems she has caused over the past few years but i have no problem with her taking grandma out. i don't speak with my mother for many reasons, one of which includes she is delusional and lives in her own world after drinking for many years and then finally quitting.

my mother is more worried about her inheritance being spent than the fact that grandma is being taken care of. her latest is that i "forced" grandma to come live with me. yeah, right -- that's a good one. lol. the woman begged me . . . my mother doesnt realize that if grandma was in a home, everything would be gone. my mother also doesnt realize that grandma has discussed her will with me that she made almost 20 years ago that doesnt give her daughter everything nor does my mother know that grandma made me the executor but that's gonna be another fight . . .

i would love to hear other's thoughts on this subject and what you might think is a fair amount . . . we all give up so much being a caregiver 24/7 and i don't want to feel guilty because grandma helps with household expenses instead of being in a $282 a day nursing home like she was when she first fell. love to hear your thoughts . . . thanks . . . my prayers and thoughts are with you all and we walk together in this journey.
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Wow, finding what works for the two of you is a blessing. I would say if you feel that you are getting suffecient funds to keep the household going then why mess with it. If you aren't sure it is enough, you know the budget and what the bills run. Add it up and see what it comes out to be.

If the will and trust are set up properly your mother will not be able to do anything about your grandmothers wishes and there will be nothing she can do about what she has determined to be in her (your grandmothers) best interest.

As for your grandmother it might be a good idea while she is still of the right mind to get her to her attorney and get things in writting that she wants to be with you, and what she and you have come up with as appropriate fees and such. This will in the long run protect you and her from your mothers prying hands.

That is about all I can say on the matter. I know it doesn't sound like much help.
Best of Luck to You
Ces
I don't know if I have any answers for you...funny, isn't it, that family members don't want the responsiblity of caring for someone yet they think they are entitled to the money??? I have a similar situation. I have two sisters and I am caregiver to my mom, who is 83 and in moderate stages of Alzheimer's. When it came time to move Mom from her apartment in with one of us, one of my sisters said she could not because of the layout of her house, and the other said she would take her, but would either want my mother to purchase the home that was for sale next door to them and live there, pay the mortgage and my sister would have her married daughter move in there with Mom and care for her FOR FREE...or,they would have an addition built on their home which mom would have to pay for. The funny thing is, our homes are about the same size and I did not build on an addition. So, mom's with us and has been for about five months and things are working out ok. I do have a woman that is here full time (7a - 4p) during the week, while I work. From 4p until she goes to bed, I care for my mom. The sister that wanted mom to buy the house next door doesn't speak to me anymore, but I've heard "through the grapevine" that she thinks I'm out of line paying someone to be here during the day...by the way, my sister is a nurse... What she's really saying is she doesn't want me spending my mom's money on a caregiver...quite frankly, I don't care what she thinks or says. I have no guilt when it comes to spending mom's money. Mom pays for the caregiver and gives us $200 a month for living expenses. We take her out to dinner every Fri and Sat nite and occasionally we let her pay for the dinner. Honestly, having family that could care less about pitching in and helping out, I hope that I spend every last penny of my mom's money ON MY MOM....
Hello CT,

As I read through your account, many questions popped into my head for which there were no answers.

You state that she came to live with "us" several times. Are you married? Is there another wage earner in your home? If there is, then I think that #1300.00 a month from your grandmother is very adequate. The fact that your grandmother is doing great and going out to lunches with friends, etc, implies from what you have said that she is really just living in your home, but independent otherwise.

I am not so sure I would have given up my job and taken a loss of $20,000 to care for someone who is 92 years old. With her money, you could have hired someone to come in for five days a week, or taken her to adult day care, etc. If your grandmother dies tomorrow ( I don't have any idea as to how old you are) but assuming you are in your late forties with no other income from what you have said, 150+K is not a lot of money...seven years at your old job would give you that. Her money isn't going to pay your health expenses, if you don't have any insurance, or for your care down the road. You asked our opinion...that is mine on giving up your source of income.

I have been taking care of my mother now for 18 months. She is 95. I am doing this out of love for her. I would have to pay all the utilities whether she was here or not, and what is one more mouth to feed?

I set aside $300.00 dollars of her money a month for expenses which are used solely for her needs: medicine about $100.00 a month. doctor's bills not covered by medicare, diapers, birthday gifts for grandchildren, etc. Often we do not use all of that money. When the excess reaches $1000.00, we buy a CD for the grandchildren.

Because there are so many questions left unanswered, I find it difficult to really assess your situation to give an honest answer to what you would like to know....but I would not have given up my job!!!

I hope your grandmother continues in good health. My mother is in a wheel chair and requires a lot more care.

I wish you well.

Anna
Thanks for everyone's reply. It was nice to be back on the board if even for a short time. I got many valid comments and appreciate everyone's 2 cents worth but did feel a bit slapped in the face with a post.

Anna - grandma is no longer "independent" as you said in your reply. I care for her 24/7 and do everything from cooking to cleaning sheets to pills to helping wash up, making sure she walks every hour to help her arthritis, shopping for her, keeping her on a schedule, meds and every other thing that goes with keeping her alive and healthy. I take her to her dr's and i am also the one that drives her so that she can still have lunch with her friends once in a while (i'm glad she has friends left -- i know mine have dissapeared lately now that i'm home ft). if she goes out, it is with me (with the rare exception of the monthly daughter visits for 2 hours). She also has a walker and a wheelchair (that she will not to use). I am the one for her that does everything. She made the decision to live with us when she realized she couldnt be on her own. She was a fall risk and wasnt eating or drinking, caring for her home, and many other issues.

As for giving up my business, that wasnt my choice. Grandma couldnt be left alone for the fall risk issues, memory issues (like forgetting to turn the stove off or taking her pills or even eating) among other reasons and hiring someone to care for her . . . well, she wouldnt have it and still has a hard time when the nurses aide comes in to give her a bath. she didnt want a babysitter and that would have cost $2,000 a month or more. I went from having a business and making $70,000 a year to nothing overnight and that is why grandma insisted on helping me out. Like she said, if she was living somewhere else with all the help she needs, it would cost her several times more and she wouldnt have family around 24/7.

I, like most ft caregivers, have given up my life, friends, and almost my marriage to care for her. I am the one who gets to clean up the diarhhea and also sit with her when she is not feeling well and making her drink so as not to get dehydrated. My husband and I get out once a week on Saturday for an hour while the aide is here. This was supposed to be the beginning of our life as our had finally grown up for themselves. I give everyone who has ever done this lots of credit ... you can never realize how hard it is or what sacrifices you will make until you walk that mile in someone else's shoes.

From Anna's post: " If your grandmother dies tomorrow ( I don't have any idea as to how old you are) but assuming you are in your late forties with no other income from what you have said, 150+K is not a lot of money...seven years at your old job would give you that. Her money isn't going to pay your health expenses, if you don't have any insurance, or for your care down the road. "

Anna - I have every intention of going back to work full time when grandma passes and really not sure what you were trying to imply in the above but i sensed negativity. The only reason i mentioned grandma's funds is for the overall post of my question. Whatever is left of grandma's estate will be split according to her will and her wishes. She tells me every month that she wants me to take more because she doesnt want her daughter to have it. She even wanted me to get a lawyer and change her will so her daughter gets nothing but i refuse to do that. It's not my nature.

I too am taking care of grandma because I love her and the way you wrote about how you are doing the same for your mother "because you love her" made me feel as though you were implying i was only doing this for the money. And yes, we have utilities to pay also whether grandma was here or not but they have doubled since she has moved in with us. Our electric bill has gone up because of daily bed linen and clothing washes -- never mind that the house uses more electricity now since someone is home during the day or that I am cooking times a day now. Our heating bill has almost tripled for the same reasons. She is anmemic and always cold so the heat is always on 72 in the house for her 24/7 and we don't have zone heating so my husband i sometimes have to put the ac on in our room just to sleep cuz it's so hot. My phone bill has gone up because when she calls her friends and the line is busy, she hits the code that calls her back when the number is open and free. I have asked her several times not to do that because it's $1 per time but she forgets. My food bill has gone up about $75 a week just for her and that doesnt include diapers, baby wipes, kleenex or other non grocery items i have had to start buying since she moved in. She doesnt like what hubby and i eat so i have to cook separate for her so it is more than "just one more mouth to feed" as you put it. She really only eats fish (salmon, crab, flounder, shrimp, etc - no fishsticks lol -- have you priced fresh seafood lately?), pasta or ribs so its extra there. So yes, my expenses have gone up since she moved in on more than just utilities. I also now have to subscribe to the daily paper and several magazines so she has something to read because I only let her watch tv in the evening. This doesnt grow on trees either.

Anna, you say you wouldnt have given up your job? Well then, how do you work ft and still manage to take care of your mother? I wish I had those options. Grandma needed assistance 24/7 and not something pt and would not allow a ft aide in the house to care for her. Said that was just like being in a nursing home. When the only woman in the world who ever made me feel safe and loved growing up asks me not to put her in a nursing home and allow her to move in with me, I couldn't say no. So glad you seem to think there were other options. I didnt seem to find them. My mother also seemed to feel the same way and keeps saying I closed my business for nothing. Funny, she only has time to see grandma once a month or less for 2 hours. How the hell was I supposed to work 70 hrs a week and be a ft caregiver for a 92 year old?

Perhaps this post sounds a bit angry and I am sorry for that but this is the place to vent. Hugs and prayers to everyone.
Care giving is often a thankless job that we take on out of love for our family member. Unlike being out in the job market where you hear the occasional "nice job" if you are a care giver these words might be few and far between. My situation is very different in most aspects, but sort of similar in the "cost of living" aspect. My days vary from good to not so good, like most. I think if you are feeling so strongly about these monetary issues, you must address them with your grandmother, after all it is her money and if she is able to understand your concerns, she will meet you part way.

As far as your mother is concerned it is quite easy to get hung up on what other family members aren't doing, I tend to concentrate on what I can do, and that's simply take care of the job at hand. I too have family members that don't always understand the pressures and frustrations that come hand in hand with caregiving. However, I continue to hope that someday they will see that caregiving is a selfless act of love!
CT. I don't get embroiled in this type of thing. If I hit a nerve, I am sorry.

Your post implies much.

Your comment: "i closed my business after 7 years and took over a $20,000 loss in doing so so i could be home with grandma and LOST ALL AND ANY MEANS OF SUPPORT." was the basis of most of my comment.

Anna
Lost in Ct:

I can fully relate to your financial distress. It is difficult enough being a 24/7 caregiver, of which I am also, but to add money stress to the mix, makes the issue almost unbearable.

My mother (who is now 92) has been living with me on and off for 10 years. Then, 4 years ago, she became unable to care for herself, so I moved her in with me. I have not been working outside the house since, but haven't worked this hard since when I was mother of four children (all born within 8 years).

Initially, my mother gave me her (my father's) social security check ($700) and I cashed out my 401K and my savings accounts in order for us to live.

Living Expenses: I don't know about Connecticut, but I live in NJ, and $1300 is not enough money to put food on the table, a roof over your heads, pay the gas, electric, telephone, water, sewer, transportation costs, medications, etc. By the way, I don't have any health insurance. My mom has Medicare.

Heck, the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance fees on my condo alone are over $1300.

My only living sibling (11 years younger than me) does zilch, zero, zip, nada. He feels calling mom 2x a week is sufficient. He has a very good job and gives her chinzy gifts like plastic do-dads, or things people gave him and he didn't want. For Christmas, he gave her a set of KNIVES in a yellowed, crumpled box, which he probably got as a wedding present 30 years ago. And, she still looks at him through a mother's loving eyes...unbelievable. But, I digress.

When all my savings gave out, I started using my credit cards so we could survive.

Then, realizing the insanity of it all, I went to an ElderCare Attorney.

Perhaps you could go back to your lawyer and have a Caregiver's Agreement drawn up. My attorney said that when you are giving room and board 24/7, the amount to be given to the caregiver is between $3-4K per month. Then, set up a trust for your grandma, in case she does have to eventually go to a assisted care/nursing facility. If that money isn't used, it will then go to you.

I will add that in the Trust Fund, I did agree to split the money with my useless brother, if the money was not used. The attorney said I did not have to, but I chose to since my mother had him in her original will, and I want to honor it.

Please have a formal document prepared. It will help your peace of mind.

BTW, I am planning on getting a part-time job and bringing someone in while I'm at work. There is a great deal of inward guilt going on because of this consideration, but I feel I must get out and regain my life before I am totally lost.

You are in my thoughts.
---Margie

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