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Periodic Contributor

Becoming employee for mother, who has midstage dementia

Hello. I was wondering what people have done when a parent needs help managing money and has other needs in order to stay home. I do some housekeeping, all her shopping, and often act more like a social worker, filling out forms, making calls, etc.

 

After six years, I am starting to resent the huge imbalance between what I do and what my brother does not do. He avoids answering the phone because I think he wants to avoid my asking him for anything, like giving her a ride to an appointment. I have never guilt-tripped him on this. He never calls or visit our mother. (We both live under a mile and a half from her.) He has repeatedly stated, "I want to remember how Ma was." Well, she's not dead yet!  Other than the short-term memory deficit, she is still the same old Ma in personality.

She is just below the poverty line, and Medicaid and SNAP limit her assets to $2000. I manage her money so well that I have problems keeping her under that amount, meaning there is room to pay for a helper. And quite frankly, it is not a lot to fight over with my brother for money and goods after she passes, and there may be none if Medicaid LTC becomes involved at the end for hospice. When I called SSA two years after my father' death in order to get his benefits because my mother never did after repeated cajoling (may have been an early sigin of the Alzheimer's, looking back) SSA put me on as representative payee. I never asked for it. I fully understand given this current arrangement, I cannot be paid for doing anything. I have strictly obeyed this.I know all about IRS' booklet on household employees and would comply with doing the paperwork and reporting my earnings. 

 

I heard from someone locally sometime ago, and who is middle class, that she knows all sorts of people who do chores for their parents when they need help and they get paid. This has stuck with me.

 

I realize the issues are 1) the person minding books cannot pay herself, as a general business principle; 2) a person with short-term memory dysfunction, on top of all the recent daytime sleeping, cannot reliably say, yeah, my daughter was here and she did x, y,, and z for me today. There is no ready person who could come and see and confirm I did x, y, and z. 

 

I know the answer probably lies with an elder law attorney, but to limit time and $$ spent with the attorney, I would like to hear what others have done, or have heard was done. 

Recognized Social Butterfly

@cc84374458  You are a very well informed caregiver.  Most people have the caregiving fall into their lap and do not  have a clue about how to handle the financial arrangements.

 

My mom has short term memory loss since 2010 & has some problems w/comprehension.  I thought she was heading for Alzheimer's.  However, she has not deteriorated much in  7 years and I believe that her cognitive  loss is due to small strokes.  MRI seems to back this up.  She will not go to a neurologist.

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@cc84374458 wrote:

Hello. I was wondering what people have done when a parent needs help managing money and has other needs in order to stay home. I do some housekeeping, all her shopping, and often act more like a social worker, filling out forms, making calls, etc.

 

After six years, I am starting to resent the huge imbalance between what I do and what my brother does not do. He avoids answering the phone because I think he wants to avoid my asking him for anything, like giving her a ride to an appointment. I have never guilt-tripped him on this. He never calls or visit our mother. (We both live under a mile and a half from her.) He has repeatedly stated, "I want to remember how Ma was." Well, she's not dead yet!  Other than the short-term memory deficit, she is still the same old Ma in personality.

She is just below the poverty line, and Medicaid and SNAP limit her assets to $2000. I manage her money so well that I have problems keeping her under that amount, meaning there is room to pay for a helper. And quite frankly, it is not a lot to fight over with my brother for money and goods after she passes, and there may be none if Medicaid LTC becomes involved at the end for hospice. When I called SSA two years after my father' death in order to get his benefits because my mother never did after repeated cajoling (may have been an early sigin of the Alzheimer's, looking back) SSA put me on as representative payee. I never asked for it. I fully understand given this current arrangement, I cannot be paid for doing anything. I have strictly obeyed this.I know all about IRS' booklet on household employees and would comply with doing the paperwork and reporting my earnings. 

 

I heard from someone locally sometime ago, and who is middle class, that she knows all sorts of people who do chores for their parents when they need help and they get paid. This has stuck with me.

 

I realize the issues are 1) the person minding books cannot pay herself, as a general business principle; 2) a person with short-term memory dysfunction, on top of all the recent daytime sleeping, cannot reliably say, yeah, my daughter was here and she did x, y,, and z for me today. There is no ready person who could come and see and confirm I did x, y, and z. 

 

I know the answer probably lies with an elder law attorney, but to limit time and $$ spent with the attorney, I would like to hear what others have done, or have heard was done. 


You are quite a capable person, wow. Obviously, there are at least two issues here. One is your lazy brother. The other is money management, which includes an implied fear that your brother would accuse you of mismanaging her funds/his inheritance? Right? Ugh.

 

Perhaps what you need is an accountant. I worked with a family (i was the geriatric care manager) who managed the husband who had multiple disabilities and required 2 twelve hour shifts for caregivers. The wife had a great attorney, who took care of 'payroll' and taxes, workers comp, etc. You are the rep payee but you aren't the employee, i don't think. in any case, if you keep careful records on what you're being 'reimbursed' for out of your mother's monies, i don't see why that would be a problem. Of course, i'm a social worker, not a lawyer or accountant. I'm sure i'd drive a nicer car...

 

I'm also wondering if you could bring your mother over to your brother for say a weekend. Or even a full day. Make sure he's home, pack her up, and show up. He's a human being on two legs, he can entertain his mother for 8 hours. Or a week!  If he's married, whaddya bet he dumps her on his wife or partner. Whatever. He's her flesh and blood. Time to step up, dude.

 

Just thoughts i'm throwing out here. What do you think? What are you missing from your life that would really nourish your spirit? Caregiving does not equal martyrdom. I should have that tattooed somewhere...

 

Jane

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