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I was at my GFs yesterday who is a good hearted person and would give you the shirt off her back. She has taken on the care of a husband, in her home, who she has been separated from for a long time. He is in rehab at the moment for a UTI and now needs to get his strength back. I saw him a few weeks ago and he could just about walk. She has promised him she would care for him and not put him in a home. Really, the reason they aren't together is because he is a "mean" drunk. Long story but I think she feels she owes him.


One thing I have learned here is to never promise. You never know where life is going to take you or your LOs. I would have loved to have had Mom living in her own home or mine till she died but that wasn't possible. I don't have the strength or the patience to be a caregiver. My brothers agreed with me. I never promised my parents I would keep them in their home or out of a nursing home and...they never asked. All we should say is "I will try my best".


Another thing that bothers me is children feeling parents owe them an inheritance. I have told my girls that money has been put away for our care. Thats what it is to be used for. I have "loaned" my daughter money and she has paid it back. They do not expect an inheritance and I feel I owe them nothing. My girls are strong independent women. They know we are there if they need us but don't take advantage of it.


What did these parents do that have children stealing from them? Why do these children feel it's OK and can justify it? Boggles my mind.


I hope that what we have all learned from this forum in never ask for a promise from a child. Its not fair to them to have the guilt that goes with not being able to keep it.

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My daughter has worked in NHs for over 20 years. She says she has no idea who is private pay or Medicaid. ALL her patients get the same care.
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Myownlife: You're spot on accurate!
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Jeninea, I do not think that is what cwillie meant. There are people who mean well and save and then through circumstances things change and they do not have the finances for long term care. But then there are also others in this day and age who spend money right and left and do not try to save anything... do you think that they should have the same as others who have spent a lifetime of saving and doing without? Should the taxpayers support those who have not taken care of themselves ???
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I never made a promise but I have to say that I am just trying to do the right thing. ...which is to honor my parents. This can be controversial for some. and everyone is in a different situation. I guess what we can take from it is to know just how very hard it is to be a caregiver and to provide for our kids if we expect them to do this
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Yes, cwillie, Regardless of who we are getting old and sick is expensive. Surely you nor her children would want the state she lived in and taxpayers to pay for her care when she was financially able. Surely you nor her children would want sub standard care for anyone not able to pay. It was her choice to sacrifice and save for her children but sometimes things happen in our lives that are beyond our control and our best plans don't work out. Those adult children know they had a Mom with a heart full of love for them. Aren't you all Blessed?
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Wow, thank you, JoAnn29, this post is thought provoking on many points worth seriously considering. I agree that care-giving is not a promise one should make quickly or easily, if at all. "I will do my best" is a great way to handle it, I love that suggestion. If one feels a promise is needed at least have caveats that allow for human frailties, "as long as I'm able to do us both good" or some such. Unless caring for a loved one brings you both more joy than pain, it's probably a bad fit for both of you.

As far as kids who think their parents owe them an inheritance I agree with you that adults should care for themselves. I did give my adult children permission to purchase life insurance on us if they want to get money when we die. LOL none of them took me up on it so far, they tend to take care of themselves and they know all our money went into helping their dad. Some people believe there is a biblical mandate to provide an inheritance to ones children hidden in IICorinthians 12:14. Some think it's in the marriage vows so must be done even if they both are in misery. I don't think that's exactly the intent of that verse or the best application of the marriage vows either. I'm not sure about adult kids who feel entitled to their parents money. My kids don't feel that way. I know many who do feel that way, I just figure it's the way they are and let it go. We're pretty loose on the finances in our family with everyone helping everyone else as needed. My adult kids have access to our accounts but never have abused that. I have access to some of theirs too just for convenience sake. Yes, we're an odd family. :) A fun kinda odd, but odd nevertheless.

I don't do promises in general. I don't ask my kids for promises either. I don't want them to care for me in my old age. I don't want to outlive my mind by any medical means. I don't want them to visit me anymore after I cease to know who they are because I want them to be free to live their life, their way. My adult kids know what my wishes are for when I am no longer able to care for myself, they will either honor my wishes or not as it suits them and I'm alright with that. At that point it will be out of my hands.
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While my father was dying (7.5 years ago), I told him that "we" would take care of my mother. I don't know what "we" meant. I had no right to burden my brothers. I'm very glad I never promised to never put my mother in a facility. (And, even if I had promised that, I don't think I would have held myself to that promise.)

My mother has LTC insurance, so supposedly she'd planned for that eventuality. Some years back, she told me she never wanted to live with me. Since I feel the same way, I'm holding firm to THAT desire! Haha!

But what does "take care of" mean? I've parsed it to mean take care of her needs (not wants). It's even difficult to do that, though, since everyone else is wrong and stupid, and SHE is always right. That's why she continues to live in a (somewhat) unsafe living environment. I can't take care of all of her needs (safety), if she's deemed to be mentally competent.

I'm very clear in that taking care of her needs does NOT mean taking her out multiple times per week so she can get out of her condo (which is what she would like). She's a shut-in, otherwise. But that's her choice, since she will never choose to use any other mode of transportation other than me, the Dummy Driver Daughter. 
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So good to have friends one can count on! I'm glad you have her. :)
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Teri, With my GF and her husband its a longgggg story. I have been told, even though they lived apart, they went out for dinner and he gave her money. His problem was drinking and is too ill now to drink. I know my GF, she feels an obligation. I don't agree and just gave her ideas to make it easier for him and her. I explained Hospice and told her an aid would be a help and that his Depends would cost her nothing as would some of the other supplies. She seemed to listen but this iscwhat she does and then does what she wants. Yes, infuriating but you want her there when u need someone. She is one friend I can count on.
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I agree with so many of you all. Here is my situation. My mom (92) has been living with me for about a year but it is "not permanent" because she still has her own home, which I constantly hear about as well as her money. She asks me every few days to print up her statements to show her. She is not rich but she and dad saved over the years and it and the house is what she has to "show for her life". She is npd and my only sibling has passed away. But she constantly talks about all this and wants to make sure I get it. And I, because my parents raised me and my brother the right way, were always independent with good jobs. I am still working full-time and am fine. As far as the npd goes, believe me, I haven't said this to her, but I plan to split $$ left, if any, between my children, and my nephew and sister-in-law, if there is anything left, and I only think about it because she always talks about it. Honestly, I wish she would not do so, and I try to pay her 3 monthly bills when she is not around as opposed to trying to include her when I used do it, but it always goes back to asking to print up her statements again. I keep telling her that she has plenty and not to worry so much and when she does not want to spend on herself, to do it, that it is her money and she should use it for her. But she comes from the time period in which she was raised post-depression, times that lent itself to cleaning one's plate, to saving every penney, and doing inexpensive fun family things as opposed to nowadays young families going to and staying at Disney and spending the inane amounts on that, or the latest and greatest electronic gadgets for each of the kids, iPhones for each of the kids, etc. I am actually going on a vacation alone soon that my mom would never have dreamed of spending money for something like that.

This is the rambling I do when unable to sleep and up at 3:30am... will close my eyes for a bit now before "tomorrow" is here :)
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I have vowed to never put my daughter through this.
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I don't believe that anyone owes an ex anything. My ex (who ended our marriage for one of his students; our kids were still fairly young) later tried to get me to promise to care for him. Your friend doesn't owe her ex anything, JoAnn29. Once those marital vows are broken she needn't be bound. She's still enabling him. He doesn't deserve her caring goodness.
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Promises? When we fall in love, we ‘will love you forever’. Just listen to the words of a few songs. When we get married, we make very formal promises ‘till death do us part’. These ‘promises’ are about how we feel at the time. They are based on what is happening then, and what we know then. We make them as adults, but we are not be bound by them for the rest of our lives, no matter what else changes. Even when divorce was impossible, no-one managed to enforce ‘love you forever’.

The same is true about ‘promises’ that we ‘will care for you forever’ and ‘you will never have to go into a home’. They are hopes and wishes, but they do not control the future. When the future doesn’t work out as planned, there are regrets and sometimes guilt. However very few of us manage to avoid having to change our plans over a lifetime. ‘Forgive us our promises’ is a real part of ‘forgive us our trespasses’.
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I think it is a gift when parents have the ability to pay for their own care should they need it. Many, many facilities don't take Medicaid and we all know that caring for our loved ones at home can be devastating to our own health. To be able to place our loved ones (if necessary) in the best facility we can regardless of cost, or to be able to hire qualified help in the home is better in my book than any inheritance. My parents provided me with everything I needed while growing up. Why should I feel entitled to something when they pass?
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cwillie, your grandmother sounds like a very loving soul. Sadly, as my attorney said, most people blow their inheritance and don't manage the money properly. I have seen this so many times myself, new cars, cruises, and so forth until it is all gone.

On the other hand, why should the taxpayers pay for your grandmother's support when she has the funds to take care of herself. There is just no easy answer.

I envy you, I wish my maternal grandmother had been a great person. My paternal grandmother was a sweetie, but I never got to see her much.
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Very interesting post. My ex-husband divorced me after 38 years because he found a girlfriend that was/is (?) his "soulmate". It didn't matter that she was a year younger than his daughter from his first marriage, or that she is married with two boys. We have been divorced for many years now and I have remained on speaking terms with him because our (adult) son and I live in one of the two houses he owns. I suspect things have cooled with the GF because for the past 3 years he calls me almost every night "Just to see how you're doing." Once we were discussing our respective moms that we take care of - he spends a lot more time as his mom has dementia. He made the comment about taking care of his mom when he is old himself (he is 77 his mom 100) and he said "I wonder who will take care of me when I can't do it anymore." My first thought was get your GF to do it-she's a nurse. My second thought was "I'll do it because I still care about you." Thankfully my actual response was, "That's a good question!" And I left it drop there. I think he was very surprised. Who knows if the time ever comes I might but I am not going to make immediate promises to a man who broke every promise he ever made to me!
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Jeanne, good article. Liked this part

"If you put your parents in a nursing home, they still need you, the primary caregiver. They need you as an advocate. They need you to put the personal touches on their rooms and to be visible to the home staff and the other residents. They need you to help them settle in and make friends. The best part of this, if you will let the guilt go and think for a moment, is that you now can enjoy them again. You aren't tied to doing everything for them, so when you visit, you can do extra little things. You aren't too worn out to be pleasant. You can surprise them by bringing the children. You can bring their favorite chocolates or wine. You can make this their new home, and be the person who visits, without all of the exhaustion that used to make you crabby. And you can do it without guilt."

This is pretty much how I felt once Mom was in a NH. I still did her laundry and organized her closet but I was more relaxed. They were so good to Mom I didn't feel I needed to visit everyday. She was in her last stage of Dementia.

My husband and I discussed this post. He had a bad experience in a hospital as a child so a NH is a no no. I told him I would keep him home as long as i possibly can but he can't be stubborn. (He has the streak). But, I can't promise anything. Like my Mom said "when you take those vows for better or worse, they don't tell you the worse comes when they are old and you are too and don't want to take their s _ _ t anymore"
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I made a few promises to my husband that I fully intended to keep. And I did.

The first set was part of our wedding ceremony. It included words like "in sickness and in health."

Years later I made a promise and a firm commitment, when he developed dementia. "I will never abandon you." Sometimes, when he was particularly coherent I would expand on that message. "I will never abandon you. I will love you forever. I will always see that you get the best care possible. If I can no longer provide the best care myself, I will get help. And if that help needs to be in a care center, I will not abandon you. I will visit you often. I will always be your advocate. I will love you forever."

I never promised him I wouldn't place him in a care center. How could I possibly know what might be best for him down the road?

His hospice nurse was so impressed by this promise she wrote it down to share with other caregivers.

Be very careful WHAT you promise! But I think promises between married people are entirely appropriate and consistent with what marriage is all about.
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I love what you wrote, JoAnn. Here is an AgingCare article on the same subject: https://preview.agingcare.com/articles/i-promised-my-parents-i-d-never-put-them-in-a-nursing-home-133904.htm
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Reading posts on this website has definitely made me re-think POA in the case I become unable to manage my own money...which is likely, considering I carry one copy of gene for late onset Alzheimer's, which afflicted my great-grandmother, my grandfather and probably would have afflicted my mother, but she died of colon cancer at 80...the age I am now. My ex-husband is now in his 3rd nursing home and he had no advance directives. My daughter and son argue constantly over how to spend his savings--which luckily turned out to be significant, but won't last over 5 years.....he is fairly healthy physically but has dementia, probably Lewy Body according to my psychiatric nurse daughter. I have two LTC policies and a good income from pensions, social security and IRA. I made my 2 children joint POA, but I can see this won't go well. I am considering making an eldercare attorney POA at the time I renew my will this fall (I do this every 5 years).
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At least with him unable to walk much then she can control his drinking down to nil - if he doesn't stop then that means she should show him the door because someone with mobility issues & drinking = an accident waiting to happen
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My favourite grandmother lived her life saving and doing without so that she would have something to leave to her children, it would have been hard to think of her lifelong sacrifices being gobbled up paying for care in her last few years... especially when you see those who gave up little and saved nothing often getting equal care.
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I am amazed how many are the inheritance thing.
I don’t want one. Dime.
Not one- of my mom and dad’s money. It is for them.
I am baffled when I tell someone that.... and they say, “well, I do! I don’t want my parents to go through all their money...”
😳 I don’t understand that thinking.
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For me Inheritance is a gift . My MIL passed away and my husband
never ask his sister what there was in the estate.
He just accepted what ever she gave him.
His sister took care of their mother .
My sister took care of my mother and I never questioned what was in Moms estate and just accepted what she gave me. It was a gift.
If you want the money you think you deserve go out and get a job..
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Never make promises you don't know if you can keep. Say you will do your best.

No parent owes any child an inheritance - if there is money left over after everything is taken care of, that is a different story.

RE: Honor thy parents: Respect must be earned regardless of who it is.

Children should not be abused is the unwritten commandment.
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JoAnn...love this post as well. When I took care of my parents there were no promises made on either side...it just happened and I do not regret the time that I had with them. I was single, but told Mom that if my brother moved in I would be moving out. (not an ultimatum...just a fact. Love my brother but we could not live under the same roof for very long). By the time he moved in I had met and fallen in love with my honey. We have never married nor presented ourselves as married. Though I am now my honey's caregiver, I would not trade the years I have had with him and hope that we have many more.

I have one daughter. She knows that there will be no estate as we live paycheck to paycheck. If there is, I have a will that if my honey is still alive all my possessions (real property, business etc ) will go to my honey for his and our fur babies care. If not then it goes to my daughter. I have put in the will there will be no debates, or disputes by anyone... it is set in concrete.

I can not understand why the kids think they are entitled. I had no idea what my Mom and Dad had or if they had an inheritance and did not care. Kids need to worry more about taking care of their parents rather than what they will get.

I have not asked my daughter to promise me that I won't end up in NH. She has a life with her husband (who is a sweet heart) and my 4 granddaughters. I am a "big girl" and can take care of myself. If I reach a point that I can't then I will deal with it at that time. (actually before I reach the point I can't)
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Very well said Joann. People really have no clue what they’re doing when these promises are made. And I’ve groaned many times reading the inheritance topics. I’ve told my dad many times that he has no obligation to provide me with anything (there’s no real money anyway) his savings is to take care of his needs, not finance his adult children. I’m blown away by how many think otherwise
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Joann I love this post and agree with you. I’ve been thinking a lot about these type of promises because my FIL may be moving in with us soon. He has cancer-blood cancer, has been suffering from severe pain for a long time now and the Dr says it’s not from the cancer (which was stage 0/festering when he was diagnosed last September). Back in late April he starting having blood in his urine and needs to see a urologist. Anyway he lives 2500 miles away and the plan was for him to move in with my BIL & his family this summer, they just bought a house but it’s very tiny and there is no room for him. Plus they are trying to have another child! Yet they are heading out next week to pack up his stuff and bring him out here. My husband spoke to him last week and then told me it sounds like living with my BIL isn’t going to work out and he asked if I minded if FIL moved in with us. I really don’t think my husband has considered what that means. I did say it was fine because if it were my mother, I would want to bring here here too and I would hope that he would say yes. I don’t think my husband realizes that his dad is going to eventually need caregiving and that burden will probably fall on me. My FIL is in pretty poor health and he can hardly walk. Can’t really eat because his dentures are too big. He was supposed to get that taken care of before he comes out here but I don’t know if he did. Anyway I’ve been rethinking all of this and kind of regretting agreeing to it because I know what’s to come. And I think with everything going on with my MILs death and the drama surrounding the estate, that he has really thought this through.

I also agree on the inheritance issue. Seems a lot of people feel entitled to one. Or think they deserve more than their siblings. I can’t relate to that. My parents have supported my brother for 10 years now and will support him until he dies or they die, whatever happens first. I don’t think this entitles me to more than him. My parents don’t have cash but they’ve got some assets. They asked us each what we material items wanted and specified who gets what in their trust. All assets will be divided 50/50. My MIL split everything amongst her kids evenly but she did give my husband her brand new car because she had done quite a bit financially for his siblings over the years and nothing for him (because he never asked, never needed it). He wanted to sell the car and split the money, to avoid any issues with his siblings and she didn’t want to do that. I don’t my husband was entitled to more than his siblings. My MIL had the right to distribute her money, her assets and her possessions the way she wanted. So do my parents. So I really don’t understand a lot of the posts here from people unhappy over the way a will is written. Some donhave legit complaints like if their parent has dementia or altzheimers and someone comes along and fraudulently gets the will/trust changed. But for the most part it all seems like a lot of entitlement. Even with shielding assets so that they can get the money when mom and dad die.
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JoAnn, I share your feelings about greedy children. And I'm glad you raised it. There's a poster who was active in the last few days whose focus is so much on inheritance that it's really appalling. I feel sorry for that person's family, and especially that person's parents. It must be disappointing to realize that an adult child is only interested in what he/or she inherits.
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JoAnn, interesting topics, glad you brought it up for discussion.

I also never promised to have my parents live with me, or me with them, or any promises regarding a nursing home, etc. Thus my parents remained in their home, on their own into their mid-to-late 90's and me hearing "we can manage". Only once did my Dad asked me to retire from my career to give me more time to drive them places.... I asked my Dad if he quit work to take of his folks or my Mom's folks, I knew the answer was no. He never asked me again. Plus I was a senior with my own age decline, like who's going to pick me up when I fall?
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As for inheritance, I am appalled whenever I read that someone isn't happy camper because when Mom or Dad passed where was their inheritance??? And here the spouse was still alive. Usually one spouse passes, the other spouse gets everything which seems to be the norm. I realize it can be more complex if there are blended families.

I remember way back 30 years ago when my Mom's parents had both passed. My Grandparent's estate had everything set up. Us Grandchildren would get the bulk of the estate divided equally among us.

Then my Mom's parents had bankbooks for their own grown children. Well, it wasn't divided evenly. One of my Mom's sister was not a happy camper as she got way less then her siblings. From what I heard through the grape-vine was because my Grandparents knew she would bet on the horses and lose it all within a week.

So what did my Mom's sister do, she got her own Attorney, and when that didn't pan out, she got another Attorney, rinse and repeat. Probate of my Grandparents estate took almost 10 years with Attorney fees piling up and inheritance taxes climbing and climbing due to non-payment until Probate was completed.... [sigh]
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