Tuesday, July 19, 2011

we don't talk about money

We don't talk about money, just like we don't discuss religion or politics. It's bad form to talk about money. But seeing as how on this blog, and many other caregivers' blogs, we talk candidly about everything from love to poop, I guess I will talk about money.

For many years Mom didn't want my help with her finances, "keep your nose out of my business."
Then very reluctantly she started to accept my help, paying bills and coordinating the visit to the accountant at tax time. And then very quietly, I took over all of Mom's financial tasks.
When she moved into assisted living, I took her check book, ATM card, and credit cards out of her purse. I left her a pile of one dollar bills, and took the tens and twenties.

"I need new shirts, I have nothing to wear, I want the ones with the smiling face, I want you to buy them, I know my mother has lots of money, she told me."
(Oh boy, Your mother never had two nickels to rub together and she's been gone for 55 years.)

When my brother and I first started talking about Mom's demented situation, and the necessity of getting in-home care or moving her into assisted living; my sister-in-law told me to start with the money. I took her recommendation seriously, as she is the sibling responsible for her two elderly parents. She has twice the chaos that I have.

Find out Mom's financial picture. Then I will know what she can afford and how longs she can afford it.

Yup - I said it. Hey Mom, how long can you afford to live?
I'm budgeting your life Mom.

At $4100 a month you can live for another X years. At $7600 a month it will only be for Y years. When the money runs out, what do I do with you then?

Mom is very fortunate, Mom has a monthly pension. She worked at the same job for almost 30 years. She also gets a small widow's pension from my father's employer, where he worked for 30 years. How many of us have pensions? How many of us have worked for one employer for our whole careers?

But the value of her monthly pension is nowhere near enough to pay her monthly bills. Her pension is based on her earning levels of a job that spanned the decades of the 1950's to 1980's. Way back in the 1980's when gas was $ 1.25/gal and coffee was only $0.40/ cup. Way back in the 1950's when my father could fill his gas tank for less than $1.00.

Mom's monthly assessment at the assisted living residence is more than the cost of her first home; and she had a 30 year mortgage on that.

Yup Mom, I'm budgeting your life. Is it a race to see which runs out first?

1 comment:

Debbie's Garden said...

So many people have less than what your Mom has too! What do they do? My parents both have good pensions TO LIVE AT HOME. But the care for an alzheimers patient is so expensive.

Its a very scarey thing to think about.