Parents don’t want to think about eldercare. Backing me into a messy position. I don't know what to do.

Follow
Share

My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 6 years ago and last year with cancer. My dad is surprisingly in ok health. They are both 70. I have a sister. We all live in different cities each 5 hrs away. My mom is starting to progress from early stages to moderate stages of the disease. Most medicine no longer work and her motor symptoms interfere with her daily life. I’ve also noticed cognitive changes for a few years. My parents are both clearly scared and in denial and are down playing what’s going on to other family and friends. I work in the medical field and see the signs and symptoms and am worried she will need additional care sooner than anyone wants to admit. After my mom was diagnosed, my parents said they were going to plan to move somewhere with a better climate but unsure where. They've told my wife and I for years they are considering our city. Which has good healthcare options, cheap housing, and lots of resources in the community for elderly and those with PD. They also explicitly stated they didn’t want to move to where my sister lives as my sister hates it there and plans to move when she and her partner can both get jobs elsewhere. The town is very small without good healthcare or any infrastructure. The last few years we have watched my dad make questionable financial decisions and they have told us they haven’t planned future care needs since they are still healthy, and have said things that show they have no clue about the limitations of Medicare, cost of care, or eligibility rules for other options. My parents always vowed to not put us in the same situation my grandparents put them in and recently they’ve been saying things to allude we are headed that way. I’m concerned they aren’t thinking far enough in the future. We talked to a friend who is a licensed financial advisor and he agreed this was all concerning. I’m not even 30, my wife younger. We are building our careers and starting our own family. When the time comes we won’t be in a place to care for them or to financially support them. I’m concerned about my parents well being but even more so I know I need to protect my family and our future. My sister is older, a free spirit, not always dependable or responsible, and has also indicated she wants to move out west, so that would leave us no matter where my parents end up as the closest. Last time they were here I asked them to consider talking to someone about the future. My parents were dismissive but would think about it. A month later I asked if they had thought about it and my mom told me my dad was resistant. So I reached out to him and he said he is fully open to talking and would even sit down with someone next time they visit if I set it up. While all of this is going on my sister gives birth to her first child. After they went to visit the grandbaby, they call to say they couldn’t bear to leave and were considering moving there. It shocked me and I told her the plan concerned me based on lack of healthcare and my sister not wanting to stay and if there only pull was the baby they might want to think other factors. They said good care is 2 hours away and they will drive there for all doctors visits. And they were okay with my sister leaving. That this may be 5-10 years and they don’t think it’s their final stop. So moving when they are 75-80? We didn’t talk about it after that and 5 weeks later we get a call that they put an offer on a house. Just 3 weeks before they were to sit down with the financial advisor I called. I found out they told my sister 6 weeks ago that they weren’t considering moving but for sure moving there. She helped set them up with a real estate agent etc. I am hurt how this played out. We would be thrilled if there appeared to be thought and they were organized otherwise. But that's not what happened. My sister said she won’t leave town until my parents do make a plan or make sure my parents move near us. So to us it feels like everyone knows my parents care will be my responsibility in the end. It feels like a slap in the face. Like we want to spend our golden years with your sister and her kids and when we need caregivers we want you to shoulder this mess. I was honest and told them I thought it was a bad idea and the reasons why and what the professionals have said. They talked down at me, were angry and defensive, and told me I was controlling and jealous of my sister and niece. At this point I am at a complete loss. I asked my parents to give me space which my mom has refused to do. I dont want this to end my relationship with my parents but I struggle to see how to come back from this without pretending everything is fine and consequently my wife and kids and I pay the price down the road either by still having to care for them and pick up the pieces or be at odds with my sister and walk away. This sucks. I really don’t know what to do.

13

Comments

Show:
Oy vey! Judybug, what a mess! You have every right to be dismayed, worried,
angry and also protective of your family. Your parents childishness are putting
not only themselves but you and yours in jeopardy.

I wonder about looking into some brochures about AL, medicare spend down,
other facilities, etc. (ie IL with some in home care) . Sometimes with the right
medical equipment, such as lift assists, raised toilet chairs, power chairs, adjustable
beds, etc. fairly disabled people can get by on a somewhat minimal amount of in home care. Maybe send info. to your sister with the warning that should your parent's situation blow up, you're sending them out to live with her! She might start looking into creating a team approach with you. Hopefully. Time for some tough love!!!

Your situation is not unusual. I've watched it play out several times. Sometimes
a miracle comes from behind and everything works out. Other times not, and it
is heartbreaking to see someone lose years of their life or living in squalor due to poor planning. In several cases, I was one of the people trying to talk some sense
into the soon to be very disabled senior, but the "fun" sibs and others talked them
out of doing any planning. Of course when the emergencies hit, I was unable to offer
any help, as I had warned many times. I was still chastised for being selfish?! And yet, previous to the "fun" folks coming on the scene, I had put in hours and hours of labor to set up our relative, and in one case good family friend, for independence and safety. The "fun" relatives often times mean well (although some were just hoarding their inheritance $ and didn't want to part with a dime for care) but they aren't planners and think "everything will work out" or my fav "the Lord will provide" . When it comes to disability and elder care, these are disastrous attitudes to have imho.

Best of Luck!! Hang in there . (((HUGS)))
(1)
Report

Your last statement " I’m not jeopardizing my marriage or my family’s health and well-being because they are being stubborn now. ", pretty well sums up what you need to do. You answered your own question. Good luck.
(2)
Report

Thank you everyone. I appreciate the support. My family has made me feel like I am insane and ridiculous. Like I am this horrible child. My mom called yesterday to chit chat since she hadn’t  heard from me all week...and when I asked her to respect my need for space she asked how could I still mad?

Bettina the comment about them acting like children is so spot on. The way my mom has been handling talking to us has been like a teenage girl saying that I’m not the boss of her. They aren’t actually listening to anything I say and hear what they want.

Yeah and the two hours from healthcare is only the tip of the iceberg. They have not sold their other houses. Yes houses. A few weeks ago I was told there would be no way they could be ready to even put on the market within 12 months. The other is a rental with current tenants in a two year lease if I recall. The new house is less than a mile from my sisters house. 

I have no interest in taking them in my home or caring for them directly. Ever. I know my family isn’t capable of that which is why I tried to start the conversation now. My wife has a disability and we are in the process of becoming foster parents, which comes with a whole other ballpark of special needs and unique legal circumstances (like at times we may not be able to legally leave the state with our children and no one can come stay more than 24hrs unless they are licensed foster parents aka no long summer grandparent guests).

That original conversation was sort of laying that out, look we cannot care for you and even emotionally and time wise checking in will be limited, like said my wife and kids come first. Talk to someone and plan it out.

They have already told me that they won’t qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits only based on assets/income. They qualify every other way. That was my hope for them to start planning now, so whatever needed to be done to get the most dollars would happen way before a five year look back would need to occur. And who knows how long it will take my mom to need additional round the clock care, she was diagnosed 6 years ago? It’s not impossible to think in 5-7 years she will need additional care. They didn’t know what the five year look back even was. And they believe Medicare will pay for things like taxis to the grocery store and the two hour drive to good healthcare vs the crappy local hospital. 

My wife has a family member in a good local AL facility. Our state does not cover AL only nursing. The prices in my area for AL range from 5-10k a month. And memory care is even more if she does develop dementia. They did not buy long term care insurance. I know their SS will not cover that. And I cant imagine they have the kind of money laying around to cover all years needed, so spending down and going to a Medicaid only facility will be their only choice. 

This is what we don’t want to be responsible for later. Fixing their mess financially and legally and spending sleepless nights away from home if emergencies arise and they are far away and my sister has left. I’m not jeopardizing my marriage or my family’s health and well-being because they are being stubborn now. 
(2)
Report

I just want to say I would be hurt and angry too. I don't see that there is much you can do to influence them and your sister at this time. But I would be hurt and angry too.

Maybe get some professional help shoring up your personal boundaries. It sounds like you might need to draw strong, clear lines between what's good for the family you are creating and what's best for the family that created you!
(1)
Report

Between social security and Medicaid (if they have no assets) they will have a place to live. Medicare provides health insurance. You do not need to have them live with you. You do NOT need to provide hands on care. You do NOT need to give them money. HELP THEM navigate what eldercare options are available. That is what you can do for them.

You are not responsible for their (bad) decisions. Their bad decisions do not get to disrupt your life, your family life, your financial situation.
(2)
Report

Caring for your parents out of love does not mean they move into your house or you shoulder all the bills. It means making sure they are safe and taken care of, ie Assisted Living, Nursing home etc. If your parents do not have enough respect for you and your family now to even be forthright with you, it will only get worse as they age.

Let it go and if the time comes that you are called upon remember the above.

You are a man with a family of your own, they come 1st, PERIOD!
(2)
Report

Did they sell their previous house before buying another?
Do they even realize your sister is likely to up and move after they settle into their new home? I'm willing to bet the "free spirit sister" and baby are planning to move in with the parents, hence the secrecy. 
(1)
Report

Im sorry you're having to deal with this type of drama. Your parents appear to
be behaving impulsively, but like everyone has said it's their decision to make.
It hurts for them to be deceitful about it, and also imply they're assuming you'll be
there to clean up their mess once your sister moves away. And to add a layer to
the hurt and deceit, they're triangulating you with your sister, even though they
probably know that has nothing at all to do with your concerns. I mean the two
hour drive to the doctors alone is cause enough to worry. Sheesh!

I'd be tempted to think about AL facilities in area instead of at home care if they
come crashing back down on your lap. And know what you're going through
appears to be very common in families. The responsible sibling gets short shrift
many many times. Seems as if some parents get older and suddenly relenquish
their adult parental role and relish becoming one of the kids, forcing the most
responsible adult child into the role of the demanding parent. Really sucks and
is hair pullingly frustrating. Hang in there. Hope you'll get some good ideas
from this site. Sorry I couldn't add anything more helpful . Best of luck!!
(3)
Report

My state technically does have filial responsibility laws. But that’s besides the point. Because they suggested over and over they wanted to move to our city my wife and I have had those conversations throughout the years. Realizing how little they knew or wanted to plan impacted our own decision on how much we could provide if they did decide to move here. How unprotected we would be. Although not many states actually use filial responsibility laws. I know I would want to still protect them and care for them. So to me it only seemed fair to everyone to let them know where we stood if and when the time came so they could make an informed decision and plan. I didnt ask them to make a decision one way or another or tell them how I felt about their financial decisions or planning just to think about talking to a professional and that all we want is for them to be happy and worry free. Im thankful I had the courage to have that awkward conversation. I believe it was the right thing to do.

The way they chose to tell us they planned to move near my sister was hurtful because of how they made it seem so distant and only a possibility and literally the next time it was brought it they have a new house. They omitted the truth and told my sister and I two different stories. I’m not close to my sister and never have been. But I am close with my mom and talked to her often it’s not like we weren’t talking every day during all of this. They have tried to make it about me vs my sister when it’s not. My sister and her partner voiced the same concerns I had about healthcare and the fact my sister doesnt want to stay there.

The hurt will take time to heal. The problem is my family keeps suggesting this is not their final landing place and my sister has suggested the solution is that my parents move closer to us once they leave. No matter if she runs away and unloads them on me or leaves them behind Im not sure how to not feel that pressure to be there to fix their mess? Not out of obligation but out of caring and love?
(1)
Report

LIve your best life.
(4)
Report

Related
Questions