Dear Annie: Help a mother out
Dear Annie: I am the eldest of four remaining children of our soon-to-be 88-year-old mother, who has been sent home to hospice care.
She needs 24/7 care, and all four of us still work full time. A family meeting before her release produced a level of animosity and stress beyond imagination. I recommended a 90-day stay in a rehabilitation facility to get plans in order.
The doctor stated that Mom no longer has the mental capacity to make her own decisions. A family vote was 3-1 in favor of taking Mom home. Of course, I voted for the facility. It’s expensive, but money should not be a factor when it comes to her care.
All in favor of taking her home said that we could hire health care workers in addition to the hospice workers and that they themselves would fill in when needed.
It’s become apparent to me that my siblings are primarily focused on saving their share of the inheritance. At this time, among ourselves, we’re pitching in about 20 hours of care a week. Mom needs more help. We have a wonderful caregiver who is being limited to 25 hours per week. She would gladly work 40 hours each week. We also need to hire weekend help, which is available. This is Mom’s money, not ours. We need to spend what it takes for quality care.
But my siblings want to use only Mom’s Social Security income toward her care. They are putting extreme pressure on me to put in more care hours. It is exhausting to add this stress to full-time work. I personally don’t want to become a workhorse to save their inheritance. I’m extremely disappointed in their actions.
Annie, what advice do you have that might lessen the extreme stress and animosity of this situation? - Totally Disappointed and Stressed in Indiana
Dear Disappointed: When it comes to estate-related matters such as this, people often see sides of their loved ones they wish they hadn’t. Selfishness is ugly.
You’re absolutely right; it’s your mom’s money, and she’s still here. I’m sure she appreciates her golden child’s looking out for her.
You may need to appeal to your siblings’ guilt to shake them out of their stinginess. Remind them how your mom took care of you all practically her whole life. Now she’s depending on you.
However tense things get, keep the lines of communication open. Perhaps you could all sit down with an outside mediator to evaluate what your mom needs. Hang in there, and don’t neglect your own health.
Dear Annie: I am an Adult Protective Services investigator and disagree partially with your answer to “Defensive of Dad,” who wants his dad to stop giving money to a lady friend in her 50s. You stated that as long as his father is of sound mind, he has the right to make his own decisions. I would agree with that part of the answer. However, I do not think that your answer went far enough to protect his father, who at his age is vulnerable.
I, too, believe that this woman is bullying him. As you stated, it is important that his children stay involved. I would further suggest that they call Adult Protective Services in their state to start an investigation into the matter. In some states, they could make a report without the investigator’s revealing who the complainant was. Many children are afraid that their involvement will continue to push the parent away, but adult children of elderly parents have an obligation to do all they can to protect them.
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