Planning and sharing care responsibilities.

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Our parents are in their 90s and 80s and live at home. I have two siblings who are older, their children are grown, one is retired. One lives in the same community and one is an 1 1/2 away. I'm 5 hours away, working full time and have three children under 16. Our parents really need 24-hour care because they are frail. Currently we're piecing together support for cleaning, cooking, etc. Lately I've been going there once a month but I get the impression that my siblings think I should be coming more, maybe taking off from work, skipping kids events to come down on the weekend, skipping family trips, etc. I am at least 15 years from retirement. I think we need to get together and talk about the expectations and set up a plan but when I go down, one has gone home for much needed rest and the other and I never seem to be able to get together to discuss this. Sure would like to hear some perspectives on this.


Do the three of you have access it the internet? Maybe you can have a three-way conversation using Skype. You all need a webcam for it but the program, Skype, is free to use. It will save you from driving down and everyone from vanishing. Just a thought. Blessings

I did notice that you laid out your siblings and your situation in such a way that sort of implies your siblings have more time and are more reasonably located to help with your parents.

Whether or not they are working, whether or not they have children at home, their lives and time are of equal importance and value to your life and time in this equation.

If you truly want to do your share - 1/3 - you might need to approach your siblings without mentioning how busy your working life is, how valuable your family trips are, how young your children are, and how far you are from retirement. Likely, they are fully aware of all these things.

Set up a meeting at a time that is convenient for them. Don't expect them to adjust their schedule to meet you when you arrive at your parents- without making arrangements in advance.

I think it is great that you want to do your share. Just keep in mind that the only reasonable share is a full share. Mom and Dad won't be around for the distant future. Your siblings will be. Resentments can build up quickly between siblings.

In my own family, shares of anything are only divided up between siblings EQUALLY. If you want to reduce sibling stress and there is something to inherit some day,you could sign it over to your siblings now. Money always seems to help such situations. The number one frustration in similar situations seems to be that all of the siblings that didn't help take care of the parents still want their share of household goods, beloved keepsakes and cash when the parents are gone.

Good luck, it is unfortunate that you are possibly far younger than your siblings, if that is the case, you should be grateful that you aren't stuck holding the bag on this one. Often the late in life children end up handling everything on their own as the parents age.

Just my perspective.
Thanks for the comments. I think I accidentally hit Report this Post. Sorry - I did not mean to. Just new to the site.

Skype's a good idea. I've also thought about setting up a teleconference but haven't done that yet.

I agree that the meeting needs to be planned. That is my intent. A couple of times going there I thought their intent was to get together for this discussion but when I got there, one had just left. So, we have to have an explicitly planned meeting. I'm not even sure the two of them and their spouses all have the same perspective. One says they don't need me to come down to help them and the other gets exasperated when I come but leave before they think I should in order to get back before work on Monday.

I have offered to work through a schedule of when I can be there. I've told them if they will let me know when they need me in advance, so they can attend special things or take a well deserved break, then lets work that schedule out, But that has not happened yet. So I've taken to telling them when will be able to come.
The drive can be anywhere from 5 to 8 hours depending on traffic through two large cities. I cannot drive at night safely.

I am deeply grateful to them for the efforts they put in to our parents care. I need to tell them that more. I really don't see how I can reasonably be there 1/3 of the time my parents need care AND keep my job. As the sole breadwinner for my family I am very concerned about this.

Maybe I am not as concerned about the money and inheritance as I should be. We've all been told how that will be settled and I am fine with it and if it changes because of this, that's ok too. I don't want to lose my siblings in the long run but I'm also trying to be a good father, husband and employee.

Thanks for the thoughts.
1/3 of the work doesn't have to be a 1/3 of the time. Handling the checkbook, phone contacts, communications with other relatives, medical billing follow up, holiday cards, these things can be tedious and may be disliked by your siblings. Is there a garage, storeroom, old papers, or attic that need to be dealt with at some point and everyone is dreading? Home maintenance? Tree trimming? Doing jobs others don't want to do is valuable.
Another way to look at it is this. Take a step back. Consider what it is that you do best - something that you are really good at, but that may be difficult or time consuming for threatening to the others. Perhaps it is bill paying. Perhaps it is providing for the legal powers of attorneys, eye. Some may be great at organizing meals. Some may be great at home repair. Look at what you can best offer, based on what you can do best.

3 kids under the age of 16 is not a big deal, hell I had four and they were planned tyvm. 3 kids under the age of 3 however. . . ROFL!

i'm lying of course. but only about parts of it. *VERY BIG GRIN* guess.
wacNTN, do you sense avoidance going on?
@PamelaSue - Not sure what you mean by avoidance. I think everyone's facing the facts and the inevitable in their own way and there are some differences of opinion there.
I think we are all gravitating toward what we do best. When I am there I do house repairs, yard work, etc. I could do the bills too - wouldn't mind that at all. But my brother's really good at finances, works in the medical field and is up on all the insurance and Medicare regulations. I will offer to help but I think it may be more trouble than it is worth. Sis is a great cook and the freezers are all full when we get there with food bought from a local church's fund raiser. There isn't much room for my or my wife to cook ahead for them and store it. But I think we should talk about that some more..maybe I'm not seeing something I could do.
wacNTN~set up the skype conference asap. All 3 of you need to be realistic about what you can and can not do. Caregiving 24/7 is very difficult and should not be put on one person to handle. Do not quit your job. Talk with your siblings about assisted is not throwing your parents away by placing them in a community. I am married and work, hubby works too, we live 5 minutes from my mom. I am doing most of the caregiving. Sis lives 45 min. away, works, is single, but she tends to take me for granted because I live so close and because I am married, she doesn't think my job is that important. I get very little down time for myself or as a couple. My brother lives 20 minutes away and he does not help, he has some health issues plus his 37 year old step son is on hospice care for end of life due to cancer. Sis is not as understanding as I am regarding our brother because she also has health issues. The bottom line is get together with your siblings to get things talked out. 24/7 home health care is very costly...equal to assisted living or more. Whatever you have in mind for your parents care, do the research so you can present it during the skype conference. As suggested above, figure out what you can do realistically and even suggest to your siblings to do the same so all of you have your cards on the table when you talk. Remember all 3 of you are entitled to a life, down time to enjoy your immediate families, take a trip or go away for a weekend. Take care and keep us posted!!

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