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I am the only sibling that lives close to my parents. Dad is 86 and no longer drives which leaves Mom (78) to drive him to all his Dr. apt's and everything else. Combined family of his 6 kids and just 2 of us for Mom. I do as much as I can and even lived with them for about 8 months while I was remodeling my home and lived there about the same amount of time 8 or so years ago while in transition. I include this info as I have invested in the upkeep of their home maintenance well beyond my siblings as well as their personal business and care, etc, etc. Since I am the only one who lives close (all others are in other states) I am the one to check in on them, come over for household issues, cleaning, I am the one who watches the house, dog and cats when they visit other siblings also. Basically, they can't travel without me volunteering to take care of everything while they are gone as well as getting them to and from the airport at whatever time my siblings book them. However, traveling is getting harder on them and I doubt there will be much more of it after this upcoming trip.


My blood sibling, sister, made a comment to me when I was last staying at our parents house that I should be paying rent because she and Mom shared a house and rent many moons ago in a much different situation. (they have a reverse mortgage so there isn't a house payment and I paid for many things while I was there). The audacity of her to suggest I pay to stay in my parents house while taking care of so much caused me to cut off communication with her. We have had a lifetime of issues with each other already but had a few years of peace until that conversation.


Anyway, so my parents need help with more and more, Mom is getting more tired of being the only driver in the house and having to do every thing around the house. Dad hasn't even taken out the trash in years and he is very messy so Mom has to do more. Basic housecleaning is challenging, let alone cooking dinner. I feel very guilty for not being there more to help and I know things aren't going to get easier for them. Siblings come to visit once in awhile but don't seem to understand that now means you should come to HELP not, 'be on vacation'.


We live in a pretty remote area, so I am not sure about local senior services in the home that might help with yard clean up, mowing or house cleaning which is basically what I am concerned with at this time. I know most of you have much bigger challenges, so I appreciate anyone who is still reading and not getting ready to throttle me for being a pansy. I know this is part of life, but I am worried if I am up for this and need advice moving forward. Maybe a little support in my concerns as my siblings say to 'just get Mom a wheel chair' without any notion on having to retrofit the house, who will help her get around in it, will she still be able to drive, etc. Who do you ask for help in moving through these transitions? How do you navigate emotionally when your the only one actually helping the situation?


Thanks for listening!

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Thanks everyone for your support and advice. It is so nice to be able to talk about this stuff here! Your attention is greatly appreciated!

A few details I l didn't mention are that I for sure don't ask my siblings for advice on this, I wouldn't trust their response as they have NO IDEA what the real situation is and trying to explain it to them is exhausting. I mentioned to Mom about what my sister said and she basically said it isn't her business and any decisions to be made about anything would be between the three of us (me, mom and dad). That was comforting.

There won't be any inheritance, I hope and think that they have enough to get them through till the end, but that is it. They will be supported by me even if I have to move back in if there isnt enough. The house will go back to the bank as it is a reverse mortgage and at least at this time, there is no equity in it. I'm a Realtor, have the facts and am confident about it. We have a short amount of time when its time, to remove personal belongings, then shut the door and done, basically. Great move Mom & Dad, seriously a good thing!

Mom and Dad also took care of all the end of life details in advance, I forget the name of the company but I know where to go and what to do when the time comes. Thanks Mom & Dad for THAT too!!

I did make a few phone calls yesterday after my post and got a response from a local Home Care team about what they do and prices for whenever we are ready. They do not do any yard work but weekly meal prep and house cleaning would be a big help for starters! I also looked into a local Senior Center for help. I haven't talked to anyone yet but there may be some help there for free! They might also do some yard work!

I am taking steps to be able to 'watch over' their finances to curtail any large issues. Pretty much everything they have goes to insurance premiums and Rx's for Dad. Although they aren't starving by any means. I have noticed a little more spending on their part lately however and so I will start keeping an eye on that too.
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No one who is doing the best they can to deal with a situation that has been thrown at them is a 'pansy'. (Although in retrospect, many of the things I did trying to figure this out with my sister were pansy-like. Lol) Sounds vulgar, but 'suck it up' took on a whole new meaning for me, because I was trying to keep the peace and do the best I could for my mom. My sister lives five, FIVE minutes from our Mom. But she tried to run the show from her house and her phone-telling family members all kinds of nonsense while I was running around like a maniac trying to keep things smooth and take care of mom at the same time. I ran through my savings-ah such a mess.  Until I finally got it, that it wasn't the best thing to do at all. I don't even have any advice, but just know there are other people, even 'strangers' that care and feel for you and your situation.
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Siblingstew Nov 2018
Thank you, Im sorry for what you went through. Yes, sometimes strangers have better advice and able to offer more emotional support mainly because they don't have ulterior motives in the case! Thank you for caring!
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When you are not sure about services available, find out, then hire help.

It is the not knowing, being unsure, hesitating that makes it more difficult on you, and sets the whole thing up for failure, causing elder parents to be more vulnerable to exploitation.

You are right to ask now, get help, prepare yourself. I see some red flags if you fail to take action, or do not get the proper help and advice. See an elder law attorney, preserving their income and assets for their care.

Their care cost me money I did not have, but they had money. Thinking, I will be reimbursed, this is only one time, a small amount, then, it went on too long, not as temporary as I thought.
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Siblingstew Nov 2018
Thank you for the reply. Yes, I try not to be taken advantage of financially and am learning to say, 'ok, I need that money back now', especially when I see them spending on un-necessary 'stuff'. My sister charges them to be on her phone plan which un-nerves me as they were on my plan years ago when I was struggling to make ends meet. I never charged them and never cashed Moms checks when she did try to reimburse me. My sister isn't struggling like I did, but thinks we should all bow down to her because she is 'so busy' and has kids in college. I'm not sure why her life expenses/choices are my problem.

Luckily I am ok financially now and have access to check on their finances and will have a talk with them or take preventative measures if I see any red flags.
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Stop asking the siblings for advice. This takes confidence and energy away from you. Also, stop receiving advice from them, it will just confuse and divide you all.

Proceed with the caregiving that you know is best for them. Keep asking details you need on here, from experienced caregivers.

Part of being up for this is getting them paid care to come in-and at their ages-it is just in time-not too soon. I would recommend first a gardener; a live-in housekeeper, under your supervision. Trying to save money for inheritances at this time, would be foolish, in my experience and opinion.

Mom is nearing burn-out, and one hospitalization could undo the precarious dynamics the couple are experiencing. That would also bring all siblings running to give advice, not help. Saving their inheritance would be their primary interests.
Using Mom & Dad for a vacation has got to stop. But everyone is different, and has different experiences when parents are this age. I would not make Mom your Dad's caregiver at her age.

I say this from a true personal experience at those exact ages. Some good person must take control, treat them both with respect and allow them to keep their dignity while still getting help. However, do not isolate them from siblings.
Ask siblings to come and help, while you take that same time off.

Get Mom a driver, now. A smartphone app with Uber would be one choice.

Are you up for this?

Help yourself to make it easier on you. A gardener; housekeeper; a driver; then, a caregiver if needed. It is not too early to consider Assisted Living for both.

My people f a i l e d in all these areas, the couple had life-threatening illnesses at age 79 & and 87, now live separately, after taking advantage of chaos, siblings got their inheritances and stuff early.

I hope the people with good advice show up to help you soon!

Of course you will not be up for this if: 1) You are dependent upon parents for income or a place to live. 2) If you yourself have a medical condition or disability requiring less stress or limited activity. 3) If you do not have a support system in place.
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Siblingstew Nov 2018
Thanks for this. I certainly don't ask for their advice but I agree that it is all very dividing.

I think I answered some of the issues you brought up in a separate post.

I know they wouldn't be comfortable at this time with a live in care-giver and are still well ahead of that IMO. But, I have thought about it for the future if it comes to that.

Right now, Mom still is very able to drive and enjoys the freedom. It does wear on her to be the SOLE driver of the house but for now, she is ok. If I can get the senior center to drive Dad to an appointment here and there, it would be greatly appreciated. I have tried to get them to take a calendar to the appointments to schedule them in a group when possible as each appointment is at least 30-50 minutes away. Not successful with that one yet but I still try. I want them to continue as much independence as possible, and am careful to not get too bossy, but I will when necessary. Uber type services are not available where they live.

I don't see either of them going into assisted living, and I would move into their home before I did this, but I realize things could change.

There isn't money to pay for all the services you mentioned but I will find out if some of them can be provided through the senior center. Neither needs Home Health Care at this time, thank the Universe!

Your numbered criteria for being able to handle this is great! 1. I do not need their money or a place to live, which I am so grateful for! 2. This is questionable, and am conscious of it but still do more than I should often. SO something to keep considering for sure. 3. This forum is my support system. I wish that was different but it is my reality for now. So a heartfelt thank you for being here!!
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I really don't have any advice. Because I only have one sibling and he is a druggie so no help there. Therefore, I didn't have anyone to ask for help.

As far as my emotional & mental health, I go to the Lord and see a therapist who helps me keep me somewhat intact & help me find my way through this dark, crazy maze of taking care of my mother.

But I know it gets frustrating when you try to explain to people what you are going through and they just don't get it!

However, you have come to the right place. There are people who can relate to what you are going through and have some good advice.

Good Luck to you.
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