Irresponsible Aging Mom
I wasn't sure where else to put this post, and sorry it's so lengthy. It's a long story. I'm not my mother's caregiver.....yet. I'm 44, and my mom just turned 65 last month. I'm the oldest of four siblings. And for many years, I have sat by and watched my mother make one poor decision after another. She worked for many years as a tech in the radiology department of a hospital. Around age 55, she was laid off. Even though she had worked there for many years, her pay was always very low. And up until that point, she had been living paycheck to paycheck. She was given a small pension payout, around $45,000. And that was all she had at that point. When she was laid off, she never looked for another job. She very quickly was unable to pay the rent for the apartment she was living in. My sister (who is a single mother and whose child at the time was six) took our mom into her two-bedroom apartment. The understanding was that this would be temporary and that she would look for a job. My sister, although she had a good job, she never got child support regularly from her daughter's father, and it was always made clear that she could not afford to support our mother. None of us could. This didn't seem to matter to our mom. She never looked for a job. She lived with my sister for six years. Toward the end of that time, tensions were at an all-time high in my sister's home. My sister wanted very much to be completely on her own with her daughter. She bought a two-bedroom townhouse four years ago. My mother tried intervening during my sister's search by finding only three-bedroom homes for my sister to look at...way out of her price range, an obvious attempt to get my sister to include her in her new home. My mom never offered to contribute in any way with the purchase of the home. The money that she had gotten six years earlier from the job she was laid off from had been put in an account and hadn't been touched, so it was still there. When my sister bought the townhouse, my mom fell to pieces. Instead of being happy for my sister, single mother, first home, huge step in her life, she laid a huge guilt trip on my sister. My mom went to her own sister, who sympathized with her. She herself had lost her husband a couple years earlier. She had two teenage boys, and my mom found that there was a need there for her assistance. My aunt quickly took my mom in, and all seemed well for four years. My mom took care of my aunt's kids while she was at work or out of town, and in exchange my mom had free room and board, a credit card for gas for her car, insurance for her car, and a cell phone. My mom also cleaned my aunt's house, and she would pay her a small amount a week (never enough, according to my mom), as she would be paying someone if they were to come in the home to do it. This was my mom's pocket money. Soon after my mom started living with my aunt, my grandmother, their mother, died. She left them some money, the amount of which my mom has never told us, enough for her to buy a brand new car outright, and there's still more. She never talks about what she has, and we don't ask. All we know is she never has money, doesn't even ever buy any of her eight grandchildren birthday or Christmas gifts, which is understandable considering the fact that she doesn't work, but gives me the impression that what she has isn't much. Well, to make a long story short, my aunt for several months has told my mom that she needs the bedroom that she's had for the last four years for her younger son who has developed allergies. His basement bedroom has contributed to his health issues, according to my aunt. She gave my mom until the end of August to find a job and move out. Well, she never found a job...she never even looked. She just moved in with my other sister, who has four younger kids. She and her husband realized that my sister could go back to work full time if my mom moved in. Well here's the thing. What's going to happen in five years, give or take, when they don't want her anymore??? She'll be 70 years old, completely unemployable for any job that would have even half a chance of supporting her. I just don't think my mom is being very smart here. My husband and I have three kids that we have to put through college in just a few years. And like everyone else, we'd like to retire at a decent age. My mom not having worked in 10 years, has nothing other a small amount from her pension and whatever my grandmother left her. She's lived with now three family members in the last ten years. And I just foresee a bomb dropping in the future, with her not being able to support herself when my sister grows tired of her living with them. She has a small 3 bedroom house with four kids. Where my mom is going to fit is a mystery to me. I tried talking to my mom on the phone about this the other day. When I asked her what's going to happen in five years when my sister doesn't need her anymore, she said she'll live in a nursing home, "Don't worry, I won't live with you." And she hung up on me. I'm just thinking she should be more responsible about her future and more considerate about what her lack of planning will do to her kids. How she thinks what little money she has will support her into her future years when she wouldn't even be able to support herself now, I can't figure out. Any input on what can be done here?