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January 5, 2009
When the Inevitable Moving Day Comes for Mom and Dad


December 15, 2008
Running Ragged in Caregiving Runaround


December 1, 2008
Getting a Handle on Your Own Stress


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Posted: January 26, 2009

Practical Caregiving

When Mom Wants to Break Up Your Relationship

Here’s a question from a reader about a circumstance that happens all too often. I hope my answer helps.

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Dear Jean:

 

My significant other, Sally, and I have been together nine years. We took care of her dad until he died three years ago. He was a peach to take care of. He appreciated everything we did for him. He didn’t complain or demand us to live our lives around him.

 

Now it’s time to take care of my mom. She became a widow after being married 60 years. She has not been happy since my dad died.

 

My mom is now 84 and in generally good health. But she is suspicious of her children and afraid of getting old and dying. She keeps asking me to leave Sally and move in with her until she dies. She doesn’t want Sally around. I won’t leave Sally. We are soul mates and we love each other very much. We intend to spend the rest of our lives together.

 

Two of my siblings don’t do anything to help Mom. They call once a month. The other one is even worse. She moved in with Mom and lives off Mom without doing anything to help her. She even hits her when she doesn’t get her way. She takes Mom’s money to drink, do drugs and whatever else she does. She lives a very bad life. Mom is afraid of her but doesn’t want her living on the streets. That’s why she puts up with it.

 

I asked my other two siblings to intervene to get my sister out of the house, but they did not want to get involved until "Mom asked them." Mom will never ask for that kind of help.

 

Sally and I have paid all of Mom’s bills since my sister moved in. We cannot continue doing it. Sally lost her job and cannot find another one. The economy is wrecking our lives. When Dad died, he had $91,000 in the bank. Now there is nothing. Mom’s Social Security is only $820 a month, and my sister takes most of that.

 

I have called family and friends for a loan, but they don’t have the extra money. What can we do? I want to make sure Mom is safe and has what she needs, while Sally and I have what we need, but I can’t find a way to do it.

 

Bev G., Santa Rosa, California

 

Dear Bev:

 

If your sister physically kicked your mother at one time, she might be mistreating your mother now. Perhaps that is why your mom wants you to move in so badly. You must do something to protect your mom, and do it now. Don’t wait another week. Call the National Center on Elder Abuse at 1-800-677-1116, or call 911. Explain the situation, and be sure to say that your mom is afraid of your sister. Their website is: www.ncea.aoa.gov/ncearoot/Main_Site/index.aspx.

 

You can also go to the Elder Abuse Foundation to get an explanation of what elder abuse is. Their website is: www.elder-abuse-foundation.com/.

 

Remember, you are obligated to see that your mom gets good care, but that does not mean you have to do it yourself. And you should not let your mother break up you and Sally. You are still committed to each other. Tell your mom you love her and want to help her, but that you and Sally are committed to each other the same as she was with your father. Also emphasize that Sally has helped pay your mother’s bills alongside you. Try to explain to your mother that Sally is a caring person that only wants the best for her. I am not sure she will understand, but you need to say it. At least she will know you are in a relationship that you want to last a lifetime.

 

Actually, you might be able to get paid by the government for taking care of your mom, but I cannot guarantee you will. Call 1-800-677-1116 to find the eldercare resources in your community. Payment can be possible under the Older Americans Act of 2006. It is sponsored by the federal government but administered by each state. Be sure to ask if there is some other way you can get help.

 

Run your mother’s information through these websites – www.benefits.org and www.govbenefits.gov. You might find something to check further to see if she qualifies for help. You don’t need to identify your mother.

 

Good luck. Please let me know if you find the help you need for your mother.

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Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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