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The elder law attorney

The elder law attorney agreed to a phone consultation with me this past week. We talked for about a half-hour, and I got a great piece of advice from him that's going to help me move forward with John and his current living arrangement at mom's house.

He explained to me that the position I needed to get comfortable with was "doing the right thing" according to my own moral compass. But if I expected John to be happy, then I was going to be mightily disappointed. I realized that's what the problem is -- I'm trying to make him happy. To have HIM say, "Well, you're only doing what you have to do."

"No, Maggie," he said, "anything you do that changes what he has is going to be wrong from his standpoint. Get rid of that expectation, do the right thing by him, and be willing to accept that, no matter what you do, he's not going to be happy."

In order to move this along, I've put together a sheet explaining what I see as his options:

  • Move into an apartment that takes dogs. I'll help him find it; get his utilities set up; help move him in; help him train his dog not to bark all the while he's gone...or, failing that, give his dog a wonderful home for the rest of its life with him having 'visiting rights'. (Estimated monthly cost $800-$1000 a month)
  • Move into a very nice assisted living facility we know about where he'd get all his utilities paid except a phone, weekly cleaning service; all three meals a day. Plus the advantage of being able to add extra services as he'd need them. I'd help him move, set up his space, etc. (Estimated monthly cost $1600.)
  • Stay where he is and rent mom's home. (God, I'd hate this option.) (Monthly rental cost $1500 a month plus all repairs and maintenance.)
  • Stay where he is and buy mom's home for $134,000. I can't gift him any equity or it wouldn't pass Medicaid muster. But before he buys it, I can have a home inspection (my expense) and fix all but minor problems in the house. I'll buy him a 3-year home warranty to cover most repairs for a $100 deductible. I'll put him the largest sump pump PermaSeal makes to handle torrential rains. That all will probably amount to an expense of around $5,000. I had a Realtor friend put together a VERY conservative estimated sale price of $137,000. I'd give him the opportunity to pay $500 for a professional sale price appraisal, and agree to sell it for that price if it were less.

I recommended Option #2 above. He's 86 years old. *shrug* When I give him this, he's going to be unhappy. I care, but I don't. I'm going to listen to the elder law attorney. Unless everything is status quo -- him paying about $700 a month -- he's going to be miserable. Not that he's not miserable anyway, by the way. Might as well let him be miserable and I get what I need.
 

sangha

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you're a sweet lady Maggie, but your lawyer is spot on. John is a deeply unhappy man who has to believe the world is against him because, if he didn't, he'd have to blame himself for his own unhappiness. He can't handle that. As a result, he lives to find proof that life is unfair, even though he has it pretty good. No matter what you do, he will be unhappy.

So do what you think is right. I'm sure it will be.

PS - I would not offer him the option of renting the house. Sell it, no matter what. It's one more potential headache you do not need.
 

CanadaJohn

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Hi Maggie - you're doing everything right, from my perspective, and you need to simplify your life and reduce the "drama" from outside influences - the internal dramas will be plenty, as time goes on.

It's like a band aid - rip that bugger off and get on with your life. You're being used and your mom was being used before you, and you're too nice to acknowledge it in a public way. Do it now.
 

polgara

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Good luck going forward, Maggie. *hug* Since you already guess that John's probable reaction will be negative, you can always cite the law to him which should help your case.
 

DiAnna

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John is your cross to bear. The sooner you rid yourself of his victim narcissism, the better your life will be. I wish you all the very best, sweet one. *hugs*

Di
 

GBFAN

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I'm reminded of this .... "To thine own self be true." Do what you know to be right, and be comforted that you have done the right thing, no matter the reactions of others. You can't control them ... you can only control yourself.
 
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