This young Redditor cared for her old friend, who had dementia, so much so that she even offered to live together. When her friend died, she discovered she was set to inherit a substantial amount!
Finding a Friend in Each Other
OP (Original Poster) was part of a meals on wheels program for community service back in high school. Here, she met a wonderful, sweet, old woman who didn’t have any family nearby.
They had a lot in common, and since OP had been considering a career in social work and didn’t have any living grandmothers, they instantly became friends.
What the Job Entails
For the first three months of them knowing each other, OP delivered food to the woman three times a week as part of the community service commitment. The woman had fallen and was housebound then, so she needed the food delivery but was still mentally sharp.
An Occasional Companion
For four years, OP saw the old woman about once every two weeks to accompany her, but not as a part of an organization or any official capacity. At that time, the woman was already physically frail and having trouble breathing, but she was still as sharp as before.
OP said, “Mentally, as she appeared to me, totally on the ball, 100% competent, indistinguishable from any friend my age cognitively.”
Signs of Dementia
In the middle of year five, OP noticed little things started to happen to her friend, such as word-finding issues or scheduling confusion, which she thought was out of character for the woman.
OP wrote, “It was infrequent, but I brought it up to her, and she brushed it off as regular side effects of aging. I encouraged her to bring it up with her doctor and her family, and she assured me she had.”
Keeping a Lookout
Things continued that way until the sixth year of their friendship when dementia rapidly progressed without precedent over a few months. That’s when OP started to visit the woman more, about two to three times a week, because the confusion kept her from activities she used to enjoy and linked her to the outside world, like her book club.
OP said, “Toward the end of year six, things had gotten bad enough that she could not adequately manage her own affairs. For the last two months of year six, I went over almost every day and checked on her, making sure the fridge was full, utilities were functioning, that she was taking care of her hygiene, kept her company, etc.”
Memories Flying Away
After the last two months, her dementia reached the point where the woman could not recognize long-time friends. She would express who she liked spending time around or not, even if she didn’t recognize them.
In Need of 24/7 Care
At that point, OP basically moved in and cared for the woman in exchange for not having to pay rent and groceries.
OP wrote, “It was also out of my love for her, but I couldn’t have afforded to care for her full-time if I also had to make rent.”
A Friend in Need of Assistance
At some point during all this, the woman’s family brought on a professional caregiver. The caregiver would call the woman’s kids to update them daily.
In contrast, OP called them if anything notable happened or even when their mother would say she wanted to call them. OP noted, “She couldn’t have her own phone at this point as she kept calling 911, so when she wanted to call someone, I dialed.”
The Inevitable End
In the last three weeks or so of the woman’s life, there was only so much OP could do for her as she was already dying and had no more periods of lucidity. The woman’s medical care provider told OP that it would be good if she could stay with her in the final weeks because she liked OP, saying it would be good to have someone who could comfort her in times she didn’t know where she was or if everything was fine.
OP added, “Toward the very end, she started to have very frequent bouts of panic. In the final week, professional caregivers came on full-time, 24/7. I stayed in the house for this time because I lived there, but I did begin looking for my own place at that time since it seemed like the end was near, and I would no longer be of help to her.”
Goodbye, My Dear Friend
The woman’s doctors, however, thought she would be living several weeks more, so her children hadn’t flown out until things took a severe turn. During that time, OP had already moved her stuff to a friend’s place until she could find an apartment so that the woman’s kids could stay in their mom’s house for the duration of their time there, including planning the funeral.
It was absolutely heartbreaking when the woman died, especially since OP saw firsthand how she had suffered in her final days. OP said it was “bittersweet.”
Leaving Behind an Inheritance
After her death, chaos ensued between her kids and OP because they discovered that in the middle of the fifth year that they became friends, four months before the old lady started having signs of dementia, she added OP to her will. The woman’s children found out that she divided her will among them and OP equally, which OP clarified she never asked her to do.
OP never even asked the woman about the contents of the will, and that one time, they only briefly discussed the house, not her savings. OP was left with $80,000 and change, and the same goes for the woman’s two children, which is a “remarkable and life-changing” gesture for OP.
Against Her Wishes
However, the woman’s kids are contesting the will because OP was added to the will around the same time their mom’s dementia began. They insisted that she was confused and had only mistakenly believed that OP was one of her kids.
They even said their mother was not in her right mind when she did such a thing, so the will should be invalid.
Not That Kind of Person
OP is highly conflicted with the situation. Obviously, she would like to keep the money because it would be helpful, but she also doesn’t want that to cloud her judgment.
She added, “I don’t need it so badly that it would be worth doing wrong by her or her kids.”
The Community’s Thoughts
Redditors think that what’s stated in the woman’s will is entirely her decision. So, if it says that OP’s about to inherit the same amount as the woman’s kids, then OP is rightfully entitled to it.
The top commenter wrote, “If you genuinely believe she made the will in a sound state of mind, then not the a**hole. Her money, her choice. What were her kids’ views of having someone care for their mother so much when they weren’t helping themselves?”
“Not the a**hole. By how you phrase it, her children didn’t take care of her, and you were helping out someone in desperate need while their family didn’t. You have full right to that money,” another person said.
No One’s at Fault
Some people also understand where the woman’s children are coming from. But then again, OP was the one who took care of their mother for years, and her intentions were genuine.
A Redditor commented, “Not the a**hole. First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. A lot of this is really beautiful, and I’m glad you got to spend your time with someone like that, and they had someone like you to care for them. You are absolutely not at fault here. But I understand where her kids are coming from, even if it’s hard to say whether their feelings come out of greed or they truly believe you were pulling a fast one on them.”
The same person added, “You never influenced your friend to include you in the will, and not to mention you did care for her when it sounds like her kids didn’t. That doesn’t exactly make them look great, but in the end, I don’t think anyone is a real a**hole.”
What would you do if you were OP? Do you think she was wrong?
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This post first appeared as She Refused to Give up the $80,000 She Inherited From a Dementia Patient She Befriended and Cared For. Now, Her Kids Are Contesting the Will, Saying She Manipulated Their Mom! on Quote Ambition.