I am posting this because of a response to this letter by a member of the DA forum. I thought the response was a good one. Response is at the bottom. I was given permission to use it.



MAY 27TH, 2022



DEAR ABBY: Everywhere, it seems, there are books and guides for caring for aging parents. But what about aging siblings? The age difference is smaller, so it can end up with the elderly caring for the elderly -- especially if there isn't a next generation of family members on whom to rely.

As we baby boomers hit our 70s, we can find ourselves caring for siblings in their early 80s, and they're even less likely to listen to us than our parents were. Frankly, some of us are already worn out from caring for elderly parents. We're at the point of concern about our own health and that of our spouses. When you've got a 73-year-old trying to take care of an 80-year-old who is childless and lives 700 miles away, and who says only, "I'll let you know when I need you," it's frightening. Any guidance? -- DAUNTING IN THE SOUTH


There are lots of “Elder Orphans” who never married and/or had children. There are options. My husband and I are both disabled and childless. I wouldn’t want my relatives to care for me. It’s a burden, and I’ve had enough of being “protected” by loving but misguided, bossy sibs. We chose to buy a house with lifelong disabled friends and live together. Our disabilities are different but balance each other - what one of us can’t do, another can. We’re independent thus far, but if and when we need caregiving we will pool our $ and hire a live-in person to look after us instead of going to assisted living or nursing homes. Lots of senior citizens are doing this and it might work for you too.

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Reminds me of the golden girls

Wow. There are many of us seniors caring for others more senior and not knowing who will become sicker or die first. Who manages the caregivers is a great question. My sister did when my parents were infirm but I think there are social workers or agencies who can do this for a fee. Choose aides from an agency where a substitute can hopefully be sent if your person is ill. We had a situation during a blizzard where nobody could get in but my sister managed. I made sure everyone in the family over 65 saw a lawyer, had a will, had a POA, and healthcare proxy. Now one warning, do not make your POA or healthcare proxy a fellow senior. They may not be up to the task when the time comes. Of course, you will have secondary names but do not name a senior. My Aunt 93 named my father 95 as will executor. He could not do what was required. So remember to name secondaries. In order not to burden my kids, my husband and I have long term healthcare policies, a cemetery plot and stone and prepaid funerals. Our kids have all the documents including information on how we would like our funeral services. I know this may sound ghoulish but I think of it as a final act of love for my kids and their families.

Thanks for sharing this JoAnn.

It is good to know that discussions about what to do are happening.

That's how things change.

Since everyone has shared expenses in the living arrangement, may have saved enough money that when they do have to go to assisted living, there could be a tidy sum to make it less stressful financially.
Also, schedule wellness checks with local police, fire departments, lawyer, neighbors. Caregivers could be managed by a social worker, nurse, or possibly a local area on aging run by the state. Especially possible, since the costs are being divided up amoung several people.

Another option is to live on a cruise ship and pack a bunch of muumuu's in your luggage! Eat at the buffets daily, get free housekeeping & concierge services, indulge in a drink package for all your fancy cocktails, use the pool and the other free services, have a doctor on board to see you if/when needed, see the world at the same time, and have it all be a lot cheaper than AL or a SNF! And when it's time to pass, have a burial at sea.

Innnteresting, JoAnn.

I would be especially interested to read responses from people who have actually done this.

What if one of the parties develops dementia?

Who manages the caregivers?

What happens when everyone is infirm, and a caregiver/aide calls in sick?

Just thinking about the future. My own mom hadn’t expressed her wishes before dementia hit. I was smacked in the face with having to try and figure this all out. I don’t want the same for my kids or for myself, if they can’t do the managing.

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