My husband's brother lived with and cared for their parents until their dad died. Now the other siblings think he owes them....

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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?


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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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!
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.

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.
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.
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.
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
@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.
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.
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.

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