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He Won't Spend the Money
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I thought this phenomenon was just a peculiarity of my husband, but it turns out to be a fairly common phenomenon.

He needs help. But he won't spend the money to hire anyone.

I know that many seniors (17% is the figure I've read) live in terrible poverty, just barely making ends meet. That situation is a national disgrace, and the cost of getting any kind of personal assistance outrageous.

However, my husband is in a different situation. He has been given an award from the Veterans Administration for what they call Aid and Assistance. It is by no measure a munificent sum, but it would enable him to have personal help for four hours a day, three days a week. He can afford it.

I could probably chip in some of my own money (I've offered) to increase it to five days a week.

The person could help him shower, shave, dress, do his laundry, fold and put away his personal items, read to him, tote and fetch, take him out shopping or just for a drive.

He refuses to spend the money. He has two objections. Every time we discuss this, he has the same response:

1) No one he could hire through an agency would have a good enough education level to read to him, let alone help him write his letters of complaint and fill out forms.

2) He would be ripped off if he hired someone through an agency, because the agency pays minimum wage to the worker and pockets the rest.

Even when the VA contacted him and said he would have to pay the money back if he did not hire someone, he was unmoved (typical of him). Once he's developed a response, it's set in stone and there's no way to get him to modify his train of thought.

He's contacted a couple of family members (his family) to see if someone would be interested in becoming his aide. They, too, have no more than high school/junior college education, but they are native speakers of English. What's more important is that they meet his criterion of being of Irish ancestry--therefore worthy.

Of course he ignores the facts that one is a drug addict, in and out of rehab, with a criminal record of shoplifting and petty theft.

And the other is already working full time and has politely, time and again, tried to make it clear he's not interested in changing diapers and doing laundry.

After 20+ years with him, I've learned that once N's legal mind is set along a particular argument, there's no getting him out of it. If that's what he chooses to do, so be it. He hasn't spent the money, so he will just have to pay it back and accept the minimal personal care the VA staff can give him (the medical care is excellent).

Please don't let me be like that when I'm an old lady!

Now that I've written this entry, I just had a thought. I bet he's waiting for me to retire, so *I* can provide those services, four hours a day, seven days a week for free. He thinks he can manipulate me into doing it, so long as he doesn't have outside assistance already in place. Hell will freeze over first.

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