Are there any federal laws protecting the elderly from children abandoning them?


My siblings have refused to help with any care for their Mother who has dementia. It is left to me for all of it. There are 4 of us.

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Some states have laws protecting parents from financial abandonment. They have lots of exclusions, such as if the parents were neglectful or abusive, or the adult children would be impoverished by supporting their parents.

There are no laws, state or federal, that require adults to change their parent's bm pants. No laws that someone must provide transportation to all appointments. No laws about hand-feeding your parents. No laws about which holidays we are required to send our parents cards or gifts.

When you think about it, how could laws require hands-on care of one adult by another?

NES0001, it isn't really left to you. You have the same rights to make decisions for yourself that your sibs do. They chose not to be involved, you apparently chose to provide some care. There is no law forcing you to do this, any more than there is a law forcing your sibs to get involved. I know it FEELS like you have no choice ... we see that posted here a lot, "I had to move in with my mother." No. There is no "have to" about it. It is your choice.

1) Realize that you cannot make decisions for your siblings. Trying to do it leads only to frustration.
2) Remind yourself that caring is your choice, and also why you make that choice. (Love, guilt, conscience, pay-back, etc.)
3) You have a choice about how much care you are willing and able to do. As JoAnn describes, it is perfectly OK to arrange care by other people. Make choices and set boundaries.

There is no law that says you have to keep doing what you are doing if it is not working out for you.
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When I meant mental state I meant you are going to not get upset or angry they don't get involved. Just except that it's just you. My Mom was a good Mom. She did without so her 4 kids had. We called my brother her golden child but she really didn't favor more than the other but as the oldest more was expected out of me. Since I was the one who stayed in the same town, I was the one she relied on. You should never expect out of one child. You should raise all your children that you expect them to do certain things for you. When all is said and done, you will know you did for Mom. But, do what you are comfortable with. What you can't do let someone else do. I hired someone to shower Mom. Eventually, I found a Daycare 3x a week that bathed her while there. Fed her breakfast and lunch. Picked her up at 8 and dropped her off at 2:30.
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Sorry, but it always seems one who is left with the care. I wish parents realized this when they made out their wills. "Who is the one who will care for me". And, it usually isn't the golden child. Me, I am the oldest, a girl. I did get a thank you from my brothers for taking care of Mom and as POA they backed me up in my decisions. So, for your own mental state, tell them what you need. If they aren't forth coming then it's up to you to make the decisions and when they question...Tell them they didn't want to be involved. Hopefully you have POA. Spend Moms money on her. Whatever you need. Don't think that it needs to be there to inherit after her death. If she has it, place her in an AL so you can have your life too. Their inheritance is being used for her care. Explain, once, if they Can't be there, call. Send cards for every occasion. Remember birthdays and Christmas. If they chose not to do this...that's not on you to keep reminding. They r adults. My Mom didn't have much and what she did have is gone. If the house sells, it will just cover the Medicaid lean and unpaid taxes.
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How do your force people to care for their parents? Really, you can't. Some will throw money at the "problem" but won't show up for the hard stuff. It's either not in their makeup or it just never occurs to them that they do in fact have "some" responsibility to their parents.

Personally, of the 5 remaining sibs in my family, one (brother) has mother living with him. I do what I am allowed, but it's not much, Other 3 sibs might make a phone call once every 3-4 months. Two of them will throw any amount of money brother's way to pay for anything mom might need, but won't do "boots on the ground" care.

Sometimes (more than we'd like to think) our parent(s) were not great. We couldn't wait to grow up and flee the nest. And didn't want to go back. It is EXTREMELY hard to caregive for someone who was neglectful/abusive to you your whole life.

You can always try to get your MIA sibs to toss a few bucks your way and get some aides for you to have respite. A lot of people feel vindicated by doing that and not actually having to "do" anything.
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There are laws in some states that in certain circumstances will force children to contribute to their parents' care. They have been enforced in a few isolated cases where very well-off people have attempted to wiggle out of meeting existing financial obligations. It's been all about the money.

As far as I understand it, there is no law that can force your siblings to assist you in caring for your mother. She hasn't even been abandoned, because there you are - right there, holding the fort.

What do you want the three of them to do, exactly? Pay up? Get involved? Just not be such lowlifes?
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