March Questions and Insights


by Joy Loverde

As the author of The Complete Eldercare Planner and online elder care columnist geared toward people who are caring for aging parents, I’ve been asked some interesting questions. The depth of where our caregiving journeys will lead us never ceases to amaze me. This blog offers insights into the complex elder care process.

Question: My family and I believe my mother to be schizophrenic.  She has a cyclic pattern that is very disruptive for the whole family.  She can not keep employment, housing, or an automobile because of her disruptive behavior.  Presently she has no where to stay and my husband and I invited her to stay with us on the condition that she went to see a therapist.  She exploded and told us that we no longer existed to her and that she would go and stay in a homeless shelter.  I know that she won't do that because she is afraid to live by herself.  I would like to become her legal guardian to get her some help.  We both live in Louisiana - she is in Baton Rouge and we are in New Orleans.

Answer: For starters, contact the Elderly Protective Services (EPS) and describe your situation. This agency protects adults who cannot physically or mentally protect themselves. To pursue a legal guardianship, contact the Public Guardian office and seek advice on how to proceed. Another source of assistance will be the state area agency on aging.

No matter what route you decide, think twice about taking your mother into your own home. If she is as disruptive as you describe, your family will suffer dearly. The professionals at the local agency on agency can help you with housing alternatives.

Question: I moved in with my father four months ago. I moved a whole house full of my, my husband and my child’s things from Montana to California because he said we could stay with him. There never was any set amount we were supposed to pay him, but we have given him what we can afford (over six hundred so far) Now he wants us to leave but we have no money saved yet. What are my rights?

Answer: For a variety of reasons, it’s hard for any of us to return to a parent’s home. I’m sorry things did not work out between you and your father.  That being said, your father is under no legal obligation to keep his word regarding housing you and your family. You are an adult, and his job of raising you and being a parent is complete.

The problem you describe is not an eldercare issue, but an unfortunate family situation, and it appears as though your father regrets allowing you to move into his home in the first place.  My hope is that you can talk things out – rationally -- and that he’ll give you the time you need to pack up and make plans to live elsewhere. Your job is to get moving as quickly as you can. This is not a healthy situation for you and your entire family.   For the past four months, your father has taken you in. Move on, and thank him for all he has done.

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