Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The financial costs of caring $$$$$$

Mums illness has cost us a lot of money. I estimate it set us back at least $50,000 in added costs and lost income. My mum had run up bills, lost her entire savings to a con man and had given away assets including the home. Dealing with the creditors was a nightmare. And no, I can't get anything back.

I also had to close my business when all this started and DH was laid off work with a payout of <$4000 after 9 years of service. I had to take a lot of time off work with no pay when she was very ill.

Don't even mention respite care !!!  what an expensive joke that turned out to be!

After we used up our savings we turned to the credit cards and over the last few months that I've been sick and unable to work they have just about reached their limit. My once booming business is reduced to a couple of hours a week. So financially we are really strapped and most people would have no idea.

This morning I opened the mail and as well as our family bills I have Mums bills:  a chemists bill for $47 and a bill for incontinence products for $73.  Mum has put on even more weight and most of the new clothes that I bought her six months ago no longer fit, she urgently needs all new clothes for summer. I just can't pay for it all out of her pension, it simply doesn't cover it and I am very thrifty with her money. Her account has a total of $103 in it.

I feel like I'm watching my life go down the drain. Before all this happened we were not wealthy, but we had sensibly managed our money and could see that once our children left home we would be able to increase our retirement savings and pay off our home for a simple, but satisfying retirement. Now it's frightening how much debt we are carrying and how little we are bringing in. I wake up at night worried sick about finances. I am going to see mum in a few days and the truth is we can't afford it. I feel angry that this has happened to her and to us and that there is no solution or anyone to share this with other than the blogosphere.

sorry if this sounds depressing, but as I've said before, this blog is the only place I can share this stuff, it keeps me somewhat sane.  add to that I'm meant to be 'resting up' and not stressing.... yeah right. at least the weather here is beautiful and the garden is blooming, at least that's something good!

"a penny is a lot of money if you have not got a penny"  Yiddish proverb


karen said...

I am in the same boat. My mom lost all her money to a conman. "One of her sons." And I had to stop working to care for her full-time. Because paying someone to care for her cost more than I made. We could not get medi-caid because she still has to many resources I just can't find them.LOL! Anyway we have been living on my savings her savings and now her S.S.Check. I even cashed in my IRA and Teachers retirement .That killed me at tax time. Anyway I was at my last leg when we were able to get her on Hospice. Thank god they pay for diapers,medicine and Docters care. I now have food in the refrig. Frist time in almost 2 yrs. But I still feel your pain.

David Schantz said...

I was laid off on August 31 of 2008, company downsizing. In March of 2009 the company changed hands and I found out I wouldn't be called back to work. In May of 2009 I started working 20 hours a week. I get partial unemployment but that will run out sooner than I care to think about. At that time I guess I'll be forced to take early retirement. No matter how bad things seem we still believe God is going to get us through this.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

elanor said...

Hi Karen, thanks so much for commenting, it might sound strange but it was a relief to read that someone else genuinely understands where I'm at.

It's not something that I can really talk about anywhere else. I'm trying to stay focused on resting and taking it easy but some days are easier than others.

elanor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elanor said...

hi David,
it's good that you got the part time work, every every little bit of income helps. I'm planning on starting a vegetable garden soon to help cut down on our food costs.

Lisa said...

Elanor, I am so very sorry to hear of your struggles. When my mother was first diagnosed and came to live with us, I searched hi and low for every possible funding there was available to me. Have you checked Elder Services in your community, or applied for foodstamps for your mother? I am sure you've done all of this so forgive me. I just know that if you dig (and dig and DIG) there is usually money out there for help. (I was able to get $500 back for $1500 I spent in respite care from a "Fund for Caregivers" that Elder Services had...who knew??? No one tells you...I had to DIG.)

If you have any questions or would like me to share my experiences with you, PLEASE feel free to email.

Lisa said...

Elanor, I thought of something else...my mother has changed sizes as well. She has gained weight so rapidly that I have had to replace clothes 3x now. I went to consignment shops for this and would get entire outfits for $10. Have you tried checking those out?

elanor said...

Hi lisa :)

thanks for commenting. we're not eligible for any benefits as mum is now in a nursing home, I will check out the op shop for some larger clothes though, hopefully she stops putting on weight soon!

karen said...

Just wanted to check in on you. How are you doing? I hope things are going ok. I tried to get food stamps and Elder Choices. But we still have too many resources.That is what is on the letters every time we get denied for something. I am so sick of hearing that. Show me the resources so I can use them. Anyway have a great week.


elanor said...

hi karen,

I've been buying some second hand clothes from ebay which saved some money and I'm going to do some alterations on mums other clothes as well as make her some clothes in larger sizes. It will save some money at least.

I also got charged extra for incontinence supplies this month ( $73), most months this is covered, but when she uses a lot extra I have to pay for it which is frustrating as she just needs them!

I was going to go and visit her but ended up not going because of the expense, I just had more bills for her than I can pay so I'm hoping once I can get on top of this I can afford to visit her in the next month.

nice to hear from you :)

W. Latane Barton said...

My heart aches for you.... and for us all. I just hope that some help will come with new laws or something. Alzheimers is draining every family that has a loved one with it.

Several years ago I bought long term health care insurance. Could not talk my husband into it. 'Oh, he says, I have my IRA and that will take care of it'. Ha Ha. I am angry with myself and with him because he did not get the insurance and I didn't insist. Oh well.

Maddy said...

We're in the States and can't get medical insurance for my mother in law who lives with us - so I hear yah!

Sapphyre said...

Hi Elanor

I just finished reading your blog, and I wanted to let you know you have probably developed adrenal fatigue from the stress (as I did in my caring role).

I've got a vitamin regimen that definitely helps (got it from the Anxiety & Phobia workbook... lucky me, I got anxiety as well). Yes, it's more money, but I felt better within a couple of days.

How is your sleep going?

If you are interested in learning more about adrenal fatigue, I have some info on my blog, which you should be able to find from my profile.

karen said...

checking in again. Mom is about the same. How is it with you guys? It is raining really bad here. We are under a tornado watch. Hope you have a nice summer. And I hope your mom is doing good. And you too.