Mom was left with nothing but a mess after Dad passed, what am I to do?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Help...We lost dad last December. I was hurt that mom could not attend his memorial service...seemingly due to her continued anger for the hurts in the marriage along with her own mental state or signs of paranoia. Here's the immediate issue...Because mom is paranoid it is very difficult to assist her. The home is a mess and my brother and I will be left trying to sort out everything...and speaking of my brother, he is very passive even though he lives with mom and I live 6 hours away. I am grateful he is here to help her as best he can...what we really need is someone to come in at least a couple of times a week to help mom bathe, clean and prepare her meals. I really dislike that I have to be on guard when I return home to care for mom. I forget she has emotional problems and I mention cleaning up and sorting through documents and she becomes very suspicious believing I am there to steal from her or to find bonds, etc that dad left or told me about but failed to tell her. It is so frustrating...I either have to allow the situation to continue to deteriorate or try to intervene knowing I will have an uphill battle with her and possibly my brohter...reality is that everything is a mess! We have no money. I have been out of work for 2 years and so has my brother. According to mom, dad left no funds or social security behind to care for her. What am I to do?

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Taking care of a frail, aging parent is difficult under any circumstances but your case is very trying. You need to call the Social Security office and see if your mother is getting S.S. Depending on where you are, you may need your mother's permission to talk to an agent. You can explain that she is paranoid and has mental illness, and may not know she is receiving funds. If the S.S. agent will not talk to you, maybe they will check to make sure that her checks are being deposited, or at least being sent.

Next, you are under no obligation to clean your mother's home, especially not since there is an able-bodied adult living there. Why are you doing that? If it's okay with the occupants for it to be a mess, then it should be okay with you. Spend the time looking for another job!

The situation will probably get worse, no matter what you do. Save your energy and patience for the crisis. You'll need it then.

Community Answers

Astewartd answered...

Thank you for your sound and comforting advice and wisdom.