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9 yrs ago husband's brother offered to move in with their parents to provide care. Mom (at 77) had just been diagnosed w/dementia, Dad was 80. Dad recently died, and two of the siblings are now privately complaining that the live-in caregiver's lifestyle was being "subsidized" by the rest of the family, because he received food, lodging, and use of a vehicle over these 9 years. Mind you, this was not a lavish lifestyle -- their home is in a remote, rural area, and their daily life was simple and basic. In addition to doing all their shopping, cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring, my brother-in-law helped them maintain the property, including planting and tending the large garden his dad insisted on having, and then canning what was left over. As their health declined, he took on more and more responsibility with overnight wandering, incontinence, bathing, and feeding. He was never paid for any of this, and never asked to be paid for it. He was surprised to learn that Dad made him the beneficiary of a $10K life insurance policy, with no explanation. We feel he more than earned it by literally putting his life on hold for 9 years. The two sibs think he "owes" the family, because (in their opinion) what he received from his living arrangements far exceeded what he did for them. I calculated that a 24-hour live-in caregiver @ 4 days a week making a meager $5/hour, for 50 weeks a year over 9 years would have made more than $200,000. That also doesn't consider the quality of care, availability of suitable care in such a remote area, reliability and continuity of having a loving, dedicated caregiver. We are dumbfounded and think the sibs are delusional and mean-spirited. What do you think?

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Sometimes situations are not so cut and dried. In my case, it is my sister who is living with my 81 year old mother who has ataxia and incontinence issues (she changes her own diapers). She doesn't cook for herself anymore, though. She goes twice a week to a day center and a nurse's aid comes twice a week to bathe her. My sister has been living at my parents' home since the early 1980s - when both of my parents were well. My father has since died. My sister lost her job about 3 years ago. She has never paid any rent and my mother pays for all my sister's expenses. She resents living with my mother and brings it up on a regular basis. I had suggested a living arrangement many times that would have been beneficial to all of the family (including my mother's rescued dog). I suggested we move into a triplex so both my sister and I could care for my mother and all live together but still have our 'own space' (plus keep the dog!). I knew that my mother's condition wasn't going to get any better. My sister was not interested - in fact it got on her nerves to discuss the situation. Now it's not an option anymore because I lost my job last January and houses are too expensive. I am angry at her because of this. Also, I don't understand, for example, how my sister can justify going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning 3 times a year at my mother's expense but my mother went without seeing a dentist for 3 years! Same thing with the hairdresser and the eye doctor. I'm just finding out these things now since I stopped working. I help out as much as I can with visits 2 to 3 times a week/I call my mother everyday/take her out on occasion/and now I accompany her to doctor visits. I am married, I don't drive and have agoraphobia. It's not easy. My brother who lives 1 hour and 45 minutes away doesn't help at all. I asked my sister today to write down what she wants me to do to help. I think the only thing that would make her happy would be that I leave my husband to take her place so she can split.
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Sibs should be bitch slapped!!!!!!!! Repeatedly!!!!!!!
How dare anyone undervalue the hell we have gone through in the care of another!!!!!!
May they reap what they sow!!!!!!!
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Ditto what Ted said. Your Brother-In-Law is a SAINT. He will be rewarded ten-fold, eventually, of the 10K , and shame on anyone who tries to take one penny of it away from him!
We on the "front lines" are disgusted--when we have time, that is--with the "wicked step-sister" attitude when we are doing all the work. I hope you print out all of our responses here and Nail them--I mean mail them-- to the wicked siblings... and they can mow my grass-- as soon as it stops raining.
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And I'd like to add - "may he know how many people consider those 9 years of his life a "Job Well Done".
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My congratulations and best wishes to your BIL.
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You're all very kind, but *all* the praise and admiration goes to my brother-in-law -- we're just calling it as we see it!! I should also add that not ALL the sibs feel this way. It's a huge family, and (to our knowledge) it is only these two who have this opinion. My mother-in-law's stays in the nursing home have gradually become longer and longer. Now that her husband is gone, and my brother-in-law has (hurray!) recently meet a lovely woman with whom he may want to make a life, she (MIL) will go into full-time nursing care, and BIL will get his life back. She has enough assets as it is to fund a 6-9 year stay in full-time nursing care, and it's unlikely she will live that long based on her age and illness progression. For all these reasons, it's even more absurd that the two sibs are making an issue of this. I can't tell you (all) how helpful and affirming it is to have your opinions. Hope we never have to use them as "ammunition" ... but will if necessary!
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By the way, if your BIL IS still caring for his mom, and dealing with her and his own grief and all that comes along with it, please let him know about sites like this one if he hasn't found something already. and thanks again for your support of him. You are a rare and wonderful thing.
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If I read you correctly, he is not done with caregiving for your mother in law. Are these other siblings willing to take her in? How far to they think this small (for today) amount of money will go? Wish I had a sister in law like you and a brother like him and your husband.
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It always comes down to 'the love of money' doesn't it? Gee... I wonder where I've heard that before? Oh yeah, God said it.
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I agree with everyone here. They're are being greedy and delusional AND cold-hearted.
But they are also being extremely nosy because the bottom line is, what happened between his parents and himself all those hard and scary years is none of thier freaking business.
I'm glad you're concerned that they keep it to themselves because it would be very painful for him to have his love and caring treated so callously and crudely as to be argued in terms of an hourly wage.
Thank you for standing up for him.
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I think you are absolutely correct to believe that he earned everything he received and in fact I would tell the siblings that according to the meager wage assessed, they owe him!! I am caregiving with no help from my brothers. They don't even call to see how mother is doing!! I commend this son who was so faithful and God richly bless the rest of his life and provide him with care in his time of need.
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Sister - you must also consider all that your Bro-in-law gave up to care for his parents. He could have been earning and saving. There is a great likelihood that his own financial security in his "golden years" will suffer if he's missed on out pension or 401(K) savings. In my opinion - he deserves all that his parents had to leave - the land, the house, a $10k life insurance policy is a pittance. I'm so impressed that you and your husband appreciate all he did.
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Having cared for my own parents and now my in laws provided they were given good care, and it sounds like it, this man deserves the 10K and more. The siblings should back off.
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@BridgetW - so sorry to hear of your own struggles as a caregiver. We have always felt profoundly grateful to my brother-in-law for his devotion and the loving care he provided for his parents. And along the way, we always expressed not only appreciation, but concern for his well being, and awareness of his need to separate his role as caregiver from that as their son. Even at my father-in-law's recent funeral, this son spent most of the time caring for my mother-in-law, who is quite far along w/dementia -- taking her to the bathroom, getting her dressed, staying up all night before the funeral because she was trying to wander. It's just not fair. My heart breaks for you, and all you have been through, too.
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As someone who took care of her mother I can say my 5 siblings had NO clue what it took to care for my mother until it was too late. After mom was killed in a facility and I ended up in hospital with PTSD and sleep depravation, the doctor explained to them "just" what I had been through and what a long road it would be back. Amazing what support I have from them now, wish I had their support while I was in full care giving mode. I support and bless you for knowing what your brother in Law is doing and has done and ask that you continue to support him. Be there for him during and after, he will need time to heal and find himself once he has no one to care give for, his meaning and purpose may be lost.
Blessing for stepping up and supporting him.
Blessings,
Bridget
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It appears they think they are entitled for the mere act of getting out of everyone's hair. It's a bit like the extreme entitlement of believing you deserve to be rich just because you were always poor or the fools who believe they're going to "heaven" just because they never killed anyone.
Going through a birth canal is no guarantee of anything other than going through a birth canal. Maybe they need reminded of that. If I were your HB I would print up a couple tickets that entitle the barer the chance to stand in line to feel resented and hand them out the next family reunion.
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@DonnaG - I do plan to share the observations on this board with the others, either directly (printout) or indirectly (anecdotes), if they insist on pursuing this. To be clear, their comments were made in the context of how to proceed with caring for my mother-in-law, whose dementia is quite far along. My in-laws had enough money to live comfortably --nobody else was contributing to their bills. These two just think the caregiver brothers "owes" their mother the money back for her care. (even though there is enough for her to live on, in a nursing home, for 6-9 years) They are generally resentful of the caregiver brother's devotion and, as some of you have pointed out, feeling guilty. Your observations are a welcome reality check.
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when money comes in the horns come out- my bro now 49 has always lived withmom- he never paid rent but she would not admit it infront of him- she would cry to me I would confront him and he wuld say mom i paid u rent huh? and she would say yes,. This went on since he was 18 now he's 48yrs old. My mom started showing signs of alz and dem. after a surgery for galbladder in '07 -we live 90 miles apart- i called one night and he said let me talk to her she sounded horrible- like she was in pain- he said she was faking-i told him call 911- it was gall bladder- he got his name put on the house- she would smell like poop when i went to see her- so i have her stayng with me-now and have poa- he wants to refy the house because of upcoming balloon payment -needs mom cuz he has bad credit even though he has used up $80,000 of her equity-i need to get attorney to sell house cuz he wont so i can either put mom in home if she gets too hard to handle- or continue to care for her- she is 79 been here for 10 months--brother has lived there since third grade and i feel bad to have to make him move out- but im gonna have to i guess
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Boy that's familiar. I care for an elderly woman with no pay whatever except food and a roof over my head and tobacco that i use and even that I roll my own to save on expenses and yet her family thinks I'm taking advantage, but they have made a total of 2 visits here over the past 5 years. When she passes away my only justice in this is she got a reverse mortgage awhile back then blew it all eating out and other frivolous things so they'll have to sell the house for FAR less than the loan value and I have no doubts whatever the first order of business will be to throw me out on the streets when she's gone.
Ahhh, gratitude. What a completely foreign idea anymore.
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Show the siblings some of the comments here maybe. Do they disapprove of the care your father-in-law received from the brother-in-law? I wonder if that is their major gripe. If not, it's a money grab (or they're trying to help out less; it sounds as if the siblings help pay for the parents' household expenses?) I hope your husband has voiced his disagreement with his siblings' opinions. If not, he needs to. They need a reality check. They probably have some guilt going about not doing more, and that surfaces as anger at the one who IS doing something. It doesn't make sense, but I think that's what happens a lot of times with the non-caregiving children or siblings or whatever.
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Amen. I so appreciate the objective feedback from all of you about this. My husband and I are apoplectic over how callous and wrong-headed his two sibs are about the true worth of their brother's contribution to their parents' well-being. I just hope they continue to keep their opinions to themselves, and that the caregiver brother never has to hear how little they think of the ENORMOUS and loving sacrifice he has made.
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This is a slam dunk. The sibs are greedy and deluded.

Your husband's brother helped the parents at an age when people start losing their mental and physical abilities. The fact that the father set up that insurance policy says it all.

However, status-wise, family male caregiver is just about at the bottom of the totem pole and leaves HB vulnerable to charges like "he wasn't working" or was being "subsidized".

Do you think the 2 complainers be willing to go back in time and take on his role instead?

Anyway the sibs don't understand that it is very easy to be objective about this matter. In Economics 101, one of the frist ideas presented is "opportunity cost". IOW, what would be the value of some income-producing activity that your HB could have been engaged in for 9 years?

As I suggested, family male caregiver leaves HB open to charges of being unemployable or "worthless" if the attackers are so inclined. HB could counter with, "I coulda been a contender..." in some job or career. But even that is not necessary.

In Canada there is a severe shortage of caregivers, and they actually have an official program to bring in workers from other countries - most the Phillipines and India, as I understand it. They are guaranteed to make minimum wage (7.25 - 10.00 or so, based on the province) and the government stipulates how much of their wages are to be deducted for room and board. It works out to about $375 monthly. (Google Canada caregiver program) They also get overtime, holiday pay, ect.

So we see that even at a rock-bottom exploited-foreign-labor rate, your HB would have been able to bank $10,000 per year.

The sibs are nuts.
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I totally agree with you. He more than earned this. He, as you put it, put his life on hold to care for them, and any care the family would have paid out for (to a professional) would have FAR exceeded this life insurance payment, plus his modest living expenses over the years. He won't even have these years for his own Social Security. The family got a bargain, in my opinion. Good for you for standing up for him!
Carol
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Congrats to you sisterinlaw it seems to me you have a pure heart and that is a great quality! The Son that is responsable for the love and care and needs of his parents apparently got his rewards by caring for them selflessly, and by not looking for anything in return lives with peace of mind and a clear concious, this is a greater asset than any amount of money will ever come close to satisfying. I have found that those who put themselves and money and material satisfaction a priority rather than the care and well being of others, are riddled with guilt and negativity due to the choices they made. So you should not waist your positive energy on those who are complaining and simply praise those who are satisfied with the choices and sacrifices they made for thier loved ones.
Oh and by the way in a facility it is $335 a day for 24/7 care one person,and after 9 years all assets and life insurance and anything they owned would have been gone long time ago and someone would have had to pay the remainder fees. Figure out that bill and ask those complaining who did who a favor.
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