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Takinc care of parents


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I am not sure where to put this.  Please move where you feel it needs to be and for tags I should have put something different in the title but.....  suggest me a better title for tagging??? 


What do you to when you take care of your parents?  Daddy passed away in 2012, mom has lived with us since 2013.  It is getting to the point that I am going to have to have someone come in a couple hours a day and help cook, clean or something. 

What's the best thing to do?  So far we have never asked anything from her, nothing.  She pays most of her own stuff but until the past few months she has always paid something for someone else and has had no money left over on her own.  In other words she has always paid a relatives medicines or cable bill till they passed away in march and this past december. 

I am about to go to the VA and see if I can get some aid and dependence for her and that will come out of her check to pay for that but... should I have her pay us a little bit extra maybe 100 or so for food and such? 

We all love our parents but in the past 7 months we have gone in debt with the burial of my brother that we paid for and travel expenses and such. 

Is it too much to ask mom to pay rent? 

Seriously this all makes me feel guilty but it's time we are able to do something at the same time.  our kids are good on their own and we have always taken care of someone it seems.  How to afford mom getting older and keeping her at home without putting her in a nursing home? 

I would quit work and do it myself before I put her in a home....  

How do we handle all this?   


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It sounds harsh, asking a parent to pay rent, but the reality is every person in your household adds a little bit to your food bills, your utility bills....   asking them to help with a small portion of it is perfectly fine.   Perhaps your mom will actually feel better about it, paying her own way instead of feeling like she's just taking from you.  I'd certainly discuss it with her.    Your state/county/city may also have some sort of program for seniors and their caretakers.  Whatever your local human services office is called.... ask what's available.    Good luck, being the caretaker can be very stressful. 

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I agree with Radi8 and understand how hard that may be.  My mom lives with me.  She has SS only and her RA has progressed to a point where medical is getting expensive (most Rx are covered, a few are $$$).  My mom contributes each month out of her SS check.  She does this becuase it makes her feel like shes is contributing and not a burden (her words, not mine).  She is very limited physically so can no longer help much around the house or drive my son to appointment/lessons/etc, so by giving me some $$ each month, she feels like a contributing member of the household, and that is fine with me.  


Couple things that you may know already but I"m going to throw them out there:

1 Are you claiming your mom as a dependent on your taxes?  If not, you should.  If her only income is SSI and she receives over 1/2 her support from you, then the IRS considers her your dependent.  I currently claim my mom.  There is a income threshold, so check with a CPA or your tax person.

2 If your mom meets the IRS criteria as a dependent, if you have a HSA you can pay for her medical expenses with those tax defered dollars.  You can not pay for insurance premiums (like for supplemental insurance) but co-pays, RX, hospital bills - those can be paid out of the HSA.  I found this out so upped my contribution to cover out of pocket expenses for her while still putting some away for me (and it lowers my taxable income).


Do check out community resources, and also respite care for yourself.  This is important.  Many of the community services will still provide for her, even though she lives with you.  For example, where I live there is a Aging in Place committee.  One of the services is to drive seniors to appointments.  I got her on that list, as most times I can take her but there is always that 1 time I can't.  They also have a 'friendly visitor' program, which is to check in on seniors who live alone.  When my son and I were in Dublin in December, I arranged for someone to call her to check in, see if she needed anything, etc.  Even meals on wheels would deliver to her though she lives with me (I found this out at our local Senior fair.  There were lots of services available).


Good luck.  I know from experience how hard this can be (and I grew up in a house with my mother, her mother and her mother, so I've seen the multigenerational caretaker situation my entire life.  It's tough, but honestly, I'm so glad that I had my grandmother and great grandmother close, and now my son has my mom here)

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I never thought of the HSA, and yes, sometimes getting her to dr appointments is troublesome.  I will check on some sort of visitor program here also.  That's a wonderful idea!!  She is here alone most of the time during the day and gets lonely. 

Thank you!! 


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Also, check to see if your local library has something for seniors.  I'm in a small community so our library is a big hub for activity (no senior center).  They have a morning with friends hour, talks, dominoes, tai chi, etc.   If your town/city has a senior center, many times they will have pick up for a ride to the center and a ride home.  

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In San Diego and elsewhere I'm sure, our police dept has the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) that do welfare checks on seniors and the disabled that are alone for a substantial amount of time. This service is free. They will will engage and they are wonderful.

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