Overwhelmed by decisions | Caregiver Action Network

Overwhelmed by decisions

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Overwhelmed by decisions

Hello, all.I'm a newbie here. The "short" story: My mom is 79. She lives alone, about 20 min from my home. Her health issues are periodic bouts of debilitating arthritis, for which she refuses to take medication due to an overall aversion to meds with frightening warning labels,, as well as a sometimes racing heart. She's called 911 4 or 5 times over the past year and stayed in the hospital for a day or two while they ran various tests. Of equal concern to me is my mother's increasing forgetfulness. She also seems easily confused by things at times. (She is also hard of hearing but refuses to consider wearing a hearing aid.) Once I was talking to her on the phone and urged her to turn on a public radio station because i knew the music they were playing at the time was something she'd enjoy. She was unable to figure out how to use the tuner to reach that station. I helped her set up an air purifier recently to hopefully help with her dust allergies, but a few days later she returned it, saying it was too complicated to use. She couldn't figure out how to use the buttons. She did the same thing with a humidifier she bought. I can't talk to my mother about dementia or Alzheimer's. Her mother had dementia. She would probably deny that anything's wrong. My one sibling, an older sister who also lives nearby, has refused to contribute to care-giving for my mother, other than to talk to me. We've both had difficulties with the mother/daughter relationship over many years, but I have a lot of resentment toward my sister for leaving me with the caregiving burden. A good friend of mine keeps telling me I need to start making arrangements to sell my mother's condo and have her move in with me, but I often don't get along with my mother and while I feel tremendously guilty for being "the bad daughter," I am afraid having her move in here would be a disaster and we'd be fighting all the time. I want to find ways to help my mother without being swallowed up in the process and giving my life over to her care-giving. I am just now starting to research what resources are available and started reading an excellent book. Right now, she mostly could just use help with housework. She calls me daily because she is lonely and it often drives me nuts becus I have various other stressors in my life.. I am in my early 50s, single and have been either unemployed or underemployed since a job layoff in 2009. I am just scraping by now but unemployment benefits end soon and I'm working 20 hours a week making $12 an hour. I also get some work as a freelance writer and I charge $50/hr for that, but I don't have enough work to support myself, even though I paid off my mortgage last summer. I also have MS, which is mostly stable. While I would love to downsize from my high-maintenance home into a condo myself, I feel I can't move where I'd like to move becus it would put me further away from my mother. All feedback is welcome.

Dear Fern,
Dear Fern, Welcome to the board and caregiving. Many folks here have walking the road you are traveling. Dementia is very common in older folks but you need to talk to your mothers doctor. They can test her for dementia more than that there are some medications that can help. Whatever else you do deal with this first. Assuming she has some form of dementia there are a few different ways you can handle this. First your Mom can go into assisted living. The good news is that it is all encompassing. But there are several bad points. It is very costly it may destroy any wealth you Mom has to care for herself. Medicaid will kick in but only after your Mom has spent all here money. Quality can vary greatly among faculties you need to be careful. Lastly you may have to spend a lot of time being you Mom's advocate at the facility. The second option is is you Mom can afford it you can hire live in help. In addition to the cost you would have to either become an employer or pay an agency to handle this for you. Also trying to find a good caregiver is not easy. The last option is family caregiving by either you or your sister. You need to have a family meeting as well to make it clear that the caregiver will receive compensation for their efforts. Also they will have access to your Mom's assets to care for her. They need to be very transparent in this to avoid conflicts. Those are your basic choices. We cannot tell you the right one. Ultimately you make the choice that let's you sleep at night. Dave
If you dont want to pay the
If you dont want to pay the extra agency fees than I would suggest CareLinx. Its an online community of that helps match qualified caregivers with families trying to find care. This is a great resource if your family member needs care from as little as a couple hours a week to full weekly live in assistance. CareLinx has a full team of staff that is eager to help families navigate finding an experienced and compassionate in-home caregiver. You can view their services here https://carelinx.com/ Hopefully this helps! Anna
Consult a Lawyer


I recently moved my mom and dad in with myself and my husband.  Both are late 80s and are easy to get along with so it is a different situation than yours.  I would like to suggest you consult a lawyer regarding her current assets and what needs to be sold now and any money she has - figuring out with the lawyer what to do with it.  We recently did this and it was a tremendous help to get Power of Attorneys and Wills in place. 

My best regards to you as you figure out what steps to take.