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Met my 2nd cousin today

August 15th, 2015 at 04:36 pm

So my grandfather had 4 brothers. One of them, my late Uncle Tony, had a granddaughter about my age, and she's the one who came to visit my mother today with her friend.

When they arrived, my mother wasn't there. I was totally annoyed with Maplewood because last week I emailed the activities director and specifically asked her to make sure my mother wasn't taken on any shopping errands or other trips today because she had special, out of state visitors coming whom she hadn't seen in many years. The director wrote back and said absolutely, she will be here.

Except she wasn't. They had taken a group to Friendly's for lunch. As an aside, this means I'll be charged for that lunch despite the fact I'm already paying for her 3 meals a day at Maplewood. This doesn't make any sense to me when I'm paying $69,000 a year for her there!!!

Anyway, she eventually returned and had a very good visit with my mom at the assisted living place, from what my cousin told me.

They came here afterwards so she could pick out some art for herself. She also picked out some art for her 2 grandkids, which I couldn't really say no to, and then she asked if her friend could pick out some art. I was starting to feel a little put upon at that, but the friend did not pick anything out.

We did have a good visit and it was very nice to meet real "family" since I hardly have anyone outside of my immediate family. Both my parents were an only child, so it's just the siblings of my grandparents, whose children and grandchildren I can call family. And of my 4 grandparents, this is the only grandparent, my mother's father, that we even this tenuous connection to.

We promised to scan, copy and exchange some family photos and I invited her to come up again.

I was so annoyed with Maplewood that I once again began thinking about what it would take to have my mother live here. It would take a lot.

1. My mom has allergies; I would have to give up my 2 cats, which I don't think I could do.

2. I would have to renovate the downstairs bathroom and put in a shower so she could live on the main level, taking over my family room as her bedroom and using that bath.

3. I'd still have to hire an aide 8 hours a day to supervise her while I was at work. Even at a modest $20 an hour, which I think was around what I was paying before I put mom in Maplewood, that would come out to $41,000 a year vs the $69,000+ I'm paying now, so while yes, it would be cheaper, it would still cost quite a lot of money.

4. I'd have to defer my longheld plans to sell this place and buy a condo. Not to mention my total loss of privacy. Wouldn't make sense to buy a condo for 2 as I don't know how long I could care for my mom before she worsened and it got to be too much. Could be just a matter of a few years.

If I were going to do this, the time to do it would be sooner rather than later, if we assume I wouldn't be able to have mom living with me when she got worse with the Alzheimers. And of course, if i waited too long to do this, her money would be spent that much sooner.

In my heart, I feel it's not realistic and perhaps I'm just wishful thinking. I don't think it would work, if only because I don't have the mettle to be a full-time caretaker. I just wish there were other options.

4 Responses to “Met my 2nd cousin today”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    That's great you got to meet your second cousin! It does seem a bit pushy how they were wanting so many pieces of your mother's art.

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    It is galling that these retirement places bleed people dry when they're at their lowest point. I wish there was something that made the system better, like more subsidies or something.

  3. Dido Says:

    Glad you met your second cousin and got along well.

    Annoying that your mother wasn't there when promised, yes; but certainly not worth the cost to you to have her at your home. Caregiving is a MAJOR undertaking, and you would certainly likely undermine your own health and well-being by undertaking it (thinking here of your MS and the role that stress can play in exacerbations of that illness--I've had several friends with the disease and have seen this first-hand, and the research base now supports what I have witnessed anecdotally). Not worth it to your health. And not even worth the annoyance to Maplewood. Yes, you are paying a lot of money--but you have said in these blogs that you want your mother to feel some normalcy of life, and a $10-$15 meal at a Friendly's is undoubtedly giving your mother some of that. After all, what is money for? Is it really worth it to deny your mother the pleasures she has left to try to save money for her final days when the capacity for pleasurable experiences will be greatly diminished?

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Dido, thank you for your honest answer. You're right; sometimes I focus on the wrong things or overreact to certain things based on childhood experiences. Like, I know that when I feel I'm begin ignored (like when Mapleweood doesn't return my calls) I get very upset. Why? Because when I was a child, I was so shy that people often overlooked me or forgot about me. I didn't like it then and I like it even less now.

    When I react emotionally to certain things, I look to you and people on this forum to give it to me straight. ALWAYS give me honest answers. So many people don't, either because of what they perceive of as kindness or because they're scared to.

    I've had at least 2 MS exacerbations that I really feel were triggered by stress. Not the monetary stress of the hour kind of stress, but long-term, extreme stress. So yeah, we don't want to go there. I think I was having relationship problems both times that happened.

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