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HalB

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
Probably too late for me since it's been over seven years but I'm still smarting. I lived in the family house with my wife, paid bills and made repairs. For over 30 years, first me then my wife and I were care givers to my parents. When my mother died seven years ago she was almost 100. My only sibling (brother) lives on the other side of the country and did zero for my parents other than to cause problems.

A few years after my father passed away (mid 80's) my narcissistic brother talked my narcissistic mother into putting the house into an irrevocable trust with him as the trustee. That put him in control. He and I were the beneficiaries, each to receive 50% of the house upon mothers death.

My mother's and brother's position was that we were living there for free all those years and if we didn't take care of our mother as he wished my brother would throw us out and sell the house. My mother, who was nasty and spiteful would call my brother with every little problem which resulted in a call or email from him demanding to know "why are you doing this to mom?" It came to a point several times when we were ready to call his bluff and walk out to save our sanity and marriage. But we didn't.

So a little while after mom's death we get a knock on the door from my brother's attorney and an assessor. They of course wanted to determine the value of the property which got me thinking. What I owed him was nothing in comparison to what it would have cost for even twenty years of a live-in care giver. I would have been happy to settle for the property free and clear. So now I'm thinking if anybody has ever sued for care-giving reimbursement? If you are in a nursing home you have to pay. If you are on Medicaid they make you spend down then take your SS and pension. So why shouldn't a care-giver have the same right to take money off the top before the other relatives or beneficiaries get any?
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #2 
I have not, but your best bet may be to contact a lawyer.

I understand the resentment, but I ask that you consider a few things. If you decide to sue, make sure you are doing it for the right reason (to right an injustice) and you weigh how much aggravation you care to bring into your life. Lawsuits are messy and the true winners are often just the lawyers.

Having said that, your situation is definitely unfair. I think it's normal to resent a person who acts like your brother. I can't speak for you, but sometimes in these situations, the money doesn't really address the true need, which is to be appreciated for all your hard work and love. It doesn't sound like anyone ever gave you genuine appreciation. Narcissists generally don't do that. So if this is your true need, perhaps we can help.

You did an incredibly generous thing to take care of your mother. She was lucky to have you, even though she didn't appreciate you. To those of us who measure others by how much love they give, you are a man rich in kindness and generosity, a wealth that is far more valuable than cash. While it would have been a nice symbolic gesture for your mom and brother to acknowledge your sacrifice with a financial reward, know that you have the real reward in your heart. You know how to love and care for others.

I have cared for three relatives who have passed (my dad and two aunts), and since my aunts had very little and my dad left everything to my mom, I knew that I would receive no inheritance. When they passed, I think what I wanted most was for someone to acknowledge all that I had sacrificed. When that did not happen, I felt a bit used.

That led me to explore the whole issue of resentment. I think this feeling comes from giving up something important to us (time, affection, resources, etc.) with an expectation that someone else will respond a certain way to our sacrifice. When we don't get the response we hoped for, we feel victimized.

I think it is important to recognize that we really don't have the power to control how others respond to us, so we set ourselves up for pain if we sacrifice something important for the wrong reasons. The solution I think is to sacrifice things for the right reasons and to not sacrifice for causes that aren t worthy. So while I will still care for others, including my elderly mom who has a host of personality issues, I will protect what I value with boundaries and not expect anything in return for things I gift to others.

Your brother is a very blind man when it comes to matters of the heart. While it seems unjust that he received an inheritance for doing nothing, rest assured that your ability to love is far more valuable than the money. Having said that, if you think justice will be best served by suing him (and many times it is), talk to a lawyer.

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HalB

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you so much for the kind words. I've come to terms with this although any relationship with my brother no longer exists. Being the true narcissist that he is, he acts today like none of this ever happened. But for me, how my wife and I were treated will be with me for the rest of my life. It's not just about the money, although he is wealthy and what I like to say "he stole from us" was an amount he didn't need but something that would have made a big difference in our lives. It's also about the threats, intimidation and control he had over us for those years.

I'm not going to open old wounds by taking this to court but I was curious if anybody had gone that route. Just knowing that there is justice I think would help some in similar circumstances maybe feel a little better. I know I would feel better knowing that I could have sued the SOB's pants off. 

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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #4 
I totally get it.  The painful emotions that narcissists leave in their wake is sometimes very hard to bear. It takes a long time to get them out of our systems!

I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has had any success as well.  This won't necessarily help you, but in some US states, there are programs in place to compensate caregivers, as they know it is much cheaper to pay family than to have elders go on Medicaid.  Here is a link:

http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-06-2012/can-i-get-paid-for-taking-care-of-my-mother.html 
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HalB

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #5 
Link doesn't work.
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Mastiffmom

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #6 
I have a feeling my 2 sisters are up to something in taking over my mother's finances.  She assigned my son and I as her POA, Medical POA and myself as her guardian.  We live in Texas where she lives and both sisters live in Michigan and have been NO HELP at all as well as they aren't involved in her life.
They took a road trip together this weekend and out of the blue I got an email requesting I send them an itemized accounting of all her bank accounts, whether closed, merged, whatever for 1 year.  That the 3 of us need to make an agreed to decision on what is going on with out Mom's money. (oh, and by the way, she said it wasn't a trust issue)lol!!!  Mom said it's none of their business and NOT to send them a thing.  Why should I have to ask permission to pay her monthly bills?  That's all I do.  If she has extra I move it to her savings.  
She has lived with us for approximately 6 months.  She has been hospitalized for various reasons and is now doing pretty good.  She wants to pay at least 1/3 of the bills but my son is a 100% disabled veteran and by law, HE must pay all the bills.  I'm his federal fiduciary so I keep detailed records of all our accounts.  We try to let her think she's paying 1/3 by letting her pay for groceries or helping out with things that aren't on his fiduciary.
One of her friends where she used to live told my sister right after my papa passed away that she had a large amount of money in a savings account.  She did.  Part was for his life insurance, my son owed her 7,000 from a long time ago and gave her that, part she kept on hand as cash and the rest she put in her bank account.  As she had so many doctor appointments in the town I live in, she always went to the bank to withdraw 500.00 because she never knew how long her stay would be.  Sometimes they would last a month.  My sisters want an accounting for that money.  How am I to tell them how she spent HER cash?  The neighbor said mom told her she was helping my son and I out. Not true. If I give them her bank records, I would have to give her ours too to prove we didn't take anything. We have our own income.  At times her and I borrow and pay back if it's close to our monthly pay. Maybe she used her money to donate towards groceries, gas, dining out, etc.  She always wanted to have cash in case of a roadside emergency but NOT giving us the amount.  There is another man in the park that said my papa went around saying my son and I would rob her blind after he passed.  If you knew my papa, if he felt that way, he would have never held back from saying that to my face.  I loved him with all my heart and I promised him I would do everything in my power to care for mom and I intend to do that until the day I die.
Since she can't drive I sold her car for the exact pay-off which my intention is to start putting any extra cash savings from the loan, insurance, gas, OnStar and maintenance into an interest bearing account that Mom elects.  She is very alert at this time.  The money saved will be used for future long term expenses since she has very little put back.  One small IRA from retirement which she has to take $ out every year and uses that for the annual lease payment on her lot where her mobile home is we haven't had the chance to finish clearing out to get it sold. 
She has a large coin collection her husband left her that is doing no good sitting in our safe deposit box so I inquired on what his plans were with it before he passed away.  I contacted the business and then conferred with Mom on her opinion.  She agrees that it is best to have them appraise them and buy them.  They won't charge the appraisal fee because they buy them as collector pieces, not for the metal value.  My sister says they will be worth more in a year.  She obviously has a hearing problem because it't not about the price of the gold.
By all means I "Could" charge a caregiver fee but I would never do that.  I do this out of love.  She offers to pay for certain things like helping to care for our dogs but a lot of the time, I transfer the money from my account to hers without her knowing it.
My middle sister wants to know why I'm trying to be proactive.  Duh!!!!  I have done EVERYTHING by myself.  From setting up a SAFE household.  That is expensive.  Making sure she has all appointments, home health care, meals, etc.  Mom not only has dementia/Alzheimer's she has COPD, CHF, AFIB and others.  She has gone though various hospital stays.  Neither sister have helped one bit.
I'm concerned since they both have the means they are going to try to override my POA's, and Guardianship. She has no intention of living in Michigan nor with either of them.  One works, the other does not have a safe environment for mom to live in much less a calm environment.  We are here 24/7.
If mom has to go to any long term treatment, I want it to be the best for what we can afford.  I love her and will keep her here as long as possible.  I am not God so I can't determine any surprise events, strokes, heart attacks, etc.  I've not had the $ nor ability to get the rest of her belongings moved up here to storage but I am feeling it needs to happen soon.  Mom has antiques she wants to sell for HER living expenses.  My sisters are thinking I'm selling them for my benefit.  I'm following mom's wishes.
One sister can talk to mom's neighbor and I'm sure she would let her in.  I'm concerned they will take mom's things without her permission.
I just have to pray.
What the heck is wrong with people?  My son ripped them a new one.  He told them to get off my ass and get down here and help.  If they couldn't leave me the F alone.
I would never take from my mom.  She wouldn't take from me.
Thanks for listening

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HalB

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #7 
Unfortunately it' all about the money. All they are worried about is how much is left that they can divvy up after your mom passes. If you are spending or taking it that's less for them. Your mom hopefully has a will. If so how does it treat her three children?

Quote:
One sister can talk to mom's neighbor and I'm sure she would let her in.  I'm concerned they will take mom's things without her permission.


I've seen that problem with my wife's aunt. Her aunt gave the relatives a key and when she was in rehab they pretty much raided the house. First I would have a talk with the neighbor and tell them that under no circumstances are they to let anyone into the house unless it's the police, fire or EMS. If you don't feel comfortable with that change the locks. Hide a key outside or get one of those "real estate key boxes" that you put a key into and you need a combination to open. Pass your cell phone number around, maybe even put it on the front door. If there is an emergency and you are not there they can call you and you can tell them how to get the key. 
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #8 
Families definitely get strange when it comes to matters like this.  I think it sometimes is magnified even more in dysfunctional families, where siblings who may not have gotten the "love" they needed see the inheritance as a chance to make things "right".

In any case, that stinks that your siblings are doing this. 

(On another matter, I'm not sure why that link doesn't work, Hal. I'm going to try again.  http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-06-2012/can-i-get-paid-for-taking-care-of-my-mother.html  If it doesn't work, search on paying family caregivers.)

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Mastiffmom

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks y'all. We are definitely dysfunctional. I have to remind myself, even though I'm the youngest, not to allow their actions and button pushing to give them negative space in my life and making me resentful. That can be difficult as a caregiver when we have enough on our plates as it is.
I can be thankful it happened while mom is in a good place mentally and physically so I can ask her wishes.
One of you mentioned that it would be nice if someone would understand all we do from our heart. I find myself in this same situation. And yes, it would be great for it to be said (with meaning) that what we do is appreciated but by the nature of other's, we won't get it and by our own values, we don't do it for that reason anyway.
When buttons get pushed and I'm tired I want to sit down and cry because they just don't get it and never will. Even when mom gets upset with me while talking to doctors and she thinks she is okay and I have to tell them what is really happening, she gets so mad. That's when I know I need a break. Don't she/they understand I am looking out for mom because I love her???
I'm blessed she's doing okay right now. I do have a friend I can call for occasional respite.
Once again, thank you!
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Letting Go
Reply with quote  #10 
HalB,

I understand how you feel. It's totally unfair. My sister also did little, yet demanded that I do things her way and questioned everything. She lived out of state and only visited, at most, twice a year for a long weekend, and caused chaos when she did come.

I was the elder care manager for my parents for 9 years. Professional geriatric care managers charge up to $150-$200 an hour and I did it for free. I also spent hours and hours settling both of my parents' estates and received no fee for doing that (long, complicated story). Yet my sister was quick to take her half of the money that was left. I had hoped that she would come to the realization of how unfair it all was and decline at least a portion of her share, but that didn't happen. We no longer have a relationship.

I would have loved to sue her, but I worked in the legal field and witnessed multiple lawsuits over estates, and like Splotchy said, unless the estate is enormous, the only real winner is the attorney.
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Bee

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #11 
lMy mom and I bought a house together, She was 80 and I was 60.Some how I still felt like 14.Yes she was controlling and I was raised to be obedient and responsible  ect.  a care aide . I am 2 0f 9 oldest girl. I read some where on here fair dosen,t always mean equal. She didn't need that much care when we first started  living together in separate suites in same house.Over the first year she quit driving and became very dependent. she made a note and hid it in her top drawer stating that 50 % of the equity was mine , even though I didn't t put nearly down as much as  as she did. She acknowledged my contributions. she fell and hit her head and died . It was very traumatic.The rest of the sibs resented me for being chosen to invest in a house with her. Five of them lived three provinces east and three here in town. It went into my name as it was joint. Now I have done what she wanted , I sold the house two years later and kept 50% and gave my two brothers 40,000.00 after expenses. The rest of the sibs that contributed nothing for the last 2 years while she was alive and nothing while I took full care of the house .Well they all think I should have given the money to my brother to be divided equally. The way it is conveyed to me, is , if I value my relationships with them I will hand it all over . so the accusations fly , resentment , anger , and I guess if I want to be love by them I will have to buy my love. So much jealousy and resentment and rage . I just don't know what to do .If I give them more will it ever be enough , I will never want anything to do with any of them now . the relationships have been too damaged . Three of them ganged up on m and started saying it was my fault  that she died . I stressed her out because she didn't like my boy friend at the time.  I didn't have much of a private life .   Tomorrow I am going to find a counciller and a third  impartial party so tell me if I am out of line .I am pretty easily quilted but trying to be strong. I would certainly do things differently if I could do it again . but you don't know what you are getting into sometimes. Yes I felt unsupported and  unappreciated  like many .
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