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Feeling trapped with hospitalized mother and looming debts

IanatorIanator Delightfully mediocre!Registered User regular
Late last year we discovered my mother had a brain tumor. Her physical mobility has steadily deteriorated over the months since and several days ago she suffered a serious fall which broke her arm and hit her head, causing her to slur speech and (more recently) become confused and overemotional.

Over the week I've become more of a sleep deprived, adrenaline infused husk of a human than before, having to act as mom's companion and "interpreter" with barely four hours' sleep and scarcely more than half an hour of respite each day. I think my presence might be the last stabilizing factor and greatest resource she has... But I'm also sacrifing my own happiness and mental well-being to live in this hospital room with her.

On top of that, we have.an issue with our homeowners' association in which they claim several months' dues from a couple years ago went unpaid. While our payments have been on time since, their threat of foreclosure has us both in panic mode... especially since we only received the notice after mom's earlier brain troubles. Fighting these claims has unfortunately fallen by the wayside and the late fees have escalated to the point that we can no longer pay them off outright without a ridiculously long term (and we're barely getting by on fixed income).

This is mainly me venting my anxieties but I do have a few real questions.

First: what avenues can I take to gain standing with mom's bank and the HOA now that she is no longer of sound mind?

Second and far more subjective: how do I decide if or when I should detach myself? On some level I want to to leave her with the nurses and other visiting family so I can recuperate, but my own experience with responsibility compels me to remain with her no matter the cost.

Heavy stuff, I guess.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited September 7
    You're doing a great job taking care of her, I commend you. This is tough, but you're handling it better than I would for sure.

    There are several resources you can try to find if your mother qualifies for. Try looking here https://www.benefitscheckup.org/ forr programs you might be able to apply to for financial aid. You can also be paid for being a caregiver to your mother, if it comes to that. Medicaid is another program that may be able to help.

    Contact a lawyer who specializes in elder care and see what services they can help you with. Sometimes it can help settle things like your HoA situation. It will cost money usually even just for a consultation, so look around.

    As for disengaging, no one would blame you for stepping away, you have to think about what's best for you too. Obviously try to help if it's feasible but don't sacrifice yourself to make things easier on her. You can look into assisted living arrangements and the possibility of getting help paying for that, too.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    So first thing is financial:

    Understand the following things. You’ll need an attorney, and may need to have her declare bankruptcy.
    See if her insurance will cover in home care (nursing).

    Understand that a nursing home will put a lien on her house, and use that to pay for her care. Medicare only 100% covers indigent care. Their rules make it so that the house is fair game. And even if it were gifted to you within the last 5 years, it still counts. In home care is vastly superior for that reason.

    Negotiate with the HOA. Go to the meeting talk to them about the fixes that need to take place, and try to get a discount on the fees. HOAs are often inflexible dicks, but there is no harm in asking.

    Some states will give you a stipend to take care of your mom.

    If you really need extra money while staying at the home, you could do some Amazon turking. It’s not a lot of money but there’s about 20-30 bucks a day in low hanging fruit, and I know a couple people who do a Hundo a day, but they put in a full day for it.

    If you are desperate for extra money, you can donate plasma, that pays 25-45 bucks (depending on area) a visit with a twice a week limit.

    Practical considerations:

    Have a carpenter install grab bars in the bathrooms (shower and toilet). This will help her help you.

    Make sure you take care of yourself. Often you become fixated on the care of another you don’t take care of yourself.

    Start exercising in the morning eating vegetables.

    This is going to be difficult, you may want to talk to a therapist.

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud bear with us as we do some "rebranding" Registered User regular
    Don't be afraid to get some temporary caregiving even if it's just for an hour or two a week so you can have some time to yourself.

    zepherinElvenshaeGnizmo
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    She's still in the hospital, right? Her social worker should really be guiding you through issues of placement, financial issues, home health aid, and so on. These are all common issues that are really the job of post-acute care like acute inpatient rehabilitation and sub acute rehab. Cancer rehabilitation (or more likely, a good traumatic brain injury rehab center) is a setting that can help deal with her emotional issues and possibly regain more functional independence so you won't have to do as much. Is she in that type of facility right now and can she be?

    Let her inpatient social worker know about these issues, especially if she is nearing discharge. Caregiver fatigue is something best addressed early, and from what you're describing, it's already a bit late. If you still feel like this is really not going to work out and you're heading towards discharge, ask for a family meeting regarding her discharge options that involves at least the social worker, the inpatient provider, your mother, and your family members. I don't know her goals of care situation, rehab resources, or her cancer treatment plan, and those have to be coordinated when discussing where and how she should go.

    Everything the posters above have said are good ideas, but all of them are things that her social worker should be helping you with and will help you with in a good inpatient rehab center. However, I am not your provider, and only they know how feasible this is. Talk with her social worker now if you haven't already.

    I'm sorry that this is happening to you. It is common, but that doesn't make it any less rough, and the anxiety and guilt of disengaging is something absolutely normal to feel. You are not disengaging. You can't make good decisions and have a healthy perspective when you are stressed like this. Taking care of yourself is taking better care of her. This is a team effort, and each team member should have a meaningful role. Hospitals have professional interpreters, social workers, and rehabilitation options. Your family has time and emotional connections. Everyone has something to meaningfully contribute. You aren't alone.

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  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    also, many of the symptoms following the head injury are textbook concussion. the emotion regulation gets all fubared and confusion happens. that should mitigate with time, though not sure that would be affected bya tumor.

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  • MrGrimoireMrGrimoire Pixflare Registered User regular
    I can't speak to the financial, but when it comes to taking care of someone, think of it like this:

    How much can you do for someone when you're flat on the floor, metaphorically or otherwise? The first step to taking care of someone else, is to take care of yourself.

    I assume there's a nurse with responsibility for your mother each shift. Talk to them before you leave, and make sure they have your phone number. Make an agreement with them for if/when they should call you. The usual is to call relatives if there's a worsening of the patient's condition. Make sure to let them know they should call you regardless of how many other relatives are around.

    My impression from your post is that you're the closest family to your mom and that it's you she depends on. As such, it's probably also a good idea to leave a message with her and/ or the nurses of where you're at, at least if you don't plan to be away for long. Nothing detailed, just stuff like "off running errands, back in a few hours" or "home sleeping, will be back tomorrow." It let's them reassure your mom that you've not disappeared and will be back. Particularly helpful in regards to head injuries, where people can be a bit disoriented at times.

    The above is based on my experience working Norwegian hospitals, so things might be different where you're at.

    I hope things go well for you and your mom, though. Take care and be good to yourself.

  • IanatorIanator Delightfully mediocre! Registered User regular
    Finally managed to get myself home for a night. She's been moved from the hospital to a nursing and rehab facility on the suggestion of insurance while she awaits her arm surgery next week.

    Responses:

    Aside from the HOA thing, we're finally starting to pull ahead on bills. Only our grocery credit card is really outstanding but we can chip away at that with time. The big "elephant in the room" is if something happens before I can get real employment. I do know there's a place near me I can apply to, getting paid to be mom's caregiver, but my resume has fallen by the wayside.

    We both got Medicaid.

    We had a grab bar installed before she came home from the first brain troubles but she's since degraded to full-time bed confinement. I'm going to call her neurosurgeon on/before Monday to get him in on what's happening.

    I should probably just Google it but what is Amazon turking?

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 14
    If you mean Amazon Mechanical Turk, it's basically a online micro-gig thing. Like you bid for a job to write a snappy one-liner for a takeout menu or you sort a bunch of items into an excel sheet.

    Edit: Link: https://www.mturk.com/

    Incenjucar on
    zepherin
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