My parents are absolutely broke. My father is now 83 with Alzheimer’s and my mother 67 and recently had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. My father decided to leave the USA in the 90’s to move back to his home country in South America. As a child in the U.S. I watched my parents struggle financially but I think my father’s reasoning for relocating to a poor country was a cheaper standard of living. The excuses for this decision vary but, in the end, they were unsubstantiated and was literally the worst thing. I was emotionally and academically stunted and our family’s quality of life was terrible and fraught with poverty and instability.

Both parents were dysfunctional, dad was controlling, aggressive and unpredictable, mother a raging co-dependent enabler. I was continuously unhappy, full of anxiety and hated every minute living with them throughout childhood and adolescence. Unfortunately, they both were estranged from either side of their families, so I was also totally isolated. My mother barely worked during my lifetime and accrued no SSA and my father changed jobs due to his personality.

By 18 I was so tired of being poor and unhappy and started saving in secret all I could from my job and put myself though design school. This was difficult as I did not attend school from the age of 11 to 17 which is when I decided to go to design college. By 23 I saved enough to leave and moved away to Europe. After 15 years of constant hard work I have peace and quiet, a day job and freelance as an artist on commission for extra income. I now have a partner and we are saving with hopes to have a family soon. I have very low contact with parents but I regrettably maintained the minimal as I did not want to cut them off as they cut off their own family. Oh I'm only 37 by the way...

Now they are old, sick and broke.

They live off Social Security in a foreign country with no other source of income or other than my 90-year-old grandmother and me wiring cash for a temporary house cleaner or food etc.

Since I have started helping, this issue has depleted my savings to zero and I will soon need to use credit cards to cover my own bills and needs.

They will not be granted an immigration visa to Europe where I live as they barely have any income ($850 total for both of them) and the fees for the application would cost thousands and I cannot prove I can support them without using any social services.

Moving back to a poor country with no job prospects and leaving my stable life is just unthinkable.

However, I do feel bad I can’t afford to help with more as I’m an only child of my mother and she has literally no options to get out of the mess her life has always been.

What do I do? What would you do?

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Stop giving them money. They need to find resources that they are eligible for. I would not bring them to live with me.

Establish boundaries.
Helpful Answer (12)

Please break this cycle of poverty and dysfunction. Do not equate establishing boundaries with their self-isolation; there is no equivalence.

Do not send money. They live in a poor country among other poor people. Their choice.
Helpful Answer (11)

Stop sending them money. Focus on your life and your future welfare. If you keep sending them money you will end up just like them.

You can ill afford to start a family in your current financial condition. Children don't need as much as they seem to get nowadays, but they do cost money and you must be prepared to support them on your own.

It's tough starting over at any age and for women, it's especially difficult once you're in your 40s. It only gets harder to regain sound financial footing once you're in your 50s.

Seek counseling for yourself and your own mental health because your parents are beyond help. They will die in poverty and you will too if you keep putting their needs ahead of your own.
Helpful Answer (9)

I agree with the answers. They made their (poor) choices - you are making better ones. you cannot afford to support them if you are having to tap credit cards. They can find help though government, religious institutions, etc. Stop giving them money.
Helpful Answer (6)

You know what to do. Why would you ruin your life and get into debt for these people who didn’t give a toss about you?
Why do you feel you have to support them? They barely supported you.
Helpful Answer (6)

Crumble81 you should be so proud of yourself!! I know I am so proud of you!!! Saving money to help YOU!!! Your parents weren’t good to you. You saved yourself literally all by yourself. Don’t give them money!!! It’s their mess. Not your!! I’m so proud of you!!!!
Helpful Answer (5)

I don't know anything about where they are located, but, I would be concerned that receiving funds could disqualify them for benefits. In US, monthly income must be below a certain level for certain benefits, in addition to medical need. Mercy if fine, but, just because your parents are older, doesn't mean they are better people who you are bound to bond with and sacrifice for. Plus, considering their dire needs, even working full time and applying all your income would not likely cover all the expenses. I'd work with a therapist to heal the wounds from the past and move forward with a happy life.
Helpful Answer (4)

You have received much excellent advice here. Please read these answers as many times as you need to until you can see that you need to take care of you. You have worked so hard to make a good life for yourself, please dont give that up Your parents made their choices, let them live with the consequences. Get counseling for yourself to learn boundaries. Im so proud for you for what you have accomplished!!!!
Helpful Answer (4)

Foreign country meaning the US or back in SA. They need to find resources where they are. By u and Gma sending money you may be keeping them from looking further for help. Mom may have Parkenson's but she shouldn't be to the point she can't find resources.

Do not change your life for them. If they had cared, they would have worked harder and saved. If both had worked in the US, they may have done OK. Both would get SS and could apply for health insurance thru Medicaid. There are programs they could have taken advantage of. Dad will eventually need more care than Mom can give. She too eventually. Can u do research in what that country has. Maybe setting them up with a Social Worker. But explaining you cannot cover their care.

Your parents made decisions without considering you. Please do not give up what you have worked so hard for for people who don't have the ability to appreciate whats being done for them. Tell them you no longer can send money, they have depleted your savings. If you can, send one more time or give them a date the money will stop.
Helpful Answer (2)

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