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I am currently dealing with a very complex situation. I have a parent who is suffering from Alzheimers. The Alzheimers is getting very bad.
However what makes things more complex is that I have never had a good relationship with my family. I had a psychologically and physically abusive childhood. My parent with Alzheimer's and my step parent have never been a source of support in my life. My other parent died when I was young. I believe I have psychological issues as a result of my life growing up. Life is difficult for me. I have been extremely independent for a long time also.


Since leaving the family home I have not had much to do with my parent or step parent. Asides from the occasional meeting for a dinner or lunch two or three times a year. This has been in the nature of formality rather than an engaged experience. I have always remained distant from my family.


Now that my parent is getting bad there are increasing calls upon me to help. This parent has to be supervised at all times due to safety risks and cannot be left alone even for 30 seconds. I have spent around 8 lots of 4/5 hour sessions with the parent in the last couple of months since they got worse. There is increasing pressure upon me to assist and spend more time, supervising, entertaining, helping to toilet, feeding etc.


Now I am concerned about finances. The parent needs to go into care. There is some govt support but its all very complex. There is a fair amount of risk there might be insufficient support to cover it. I am concerned that I will be subjected to pressure to help fund it.


I am also very angry that the parent and step parent have been to blame to be in the financial and health state they are in. They have been reckless with spending for the last 25 years. Holidays, boats, dinners, drinks, parties, excessive travel, cars, non stop. And it still continues now. They have also been unhealthy and the parent undertook all the lifestyle risks for contributing to alzheimers: smoking, drinking, rich diet, no rigorous mental stimulation, no exercise.


I have very little in the way of time to offer. I work two jobs, 6 days a week 50/55 hours a week. I have some money but not a great deal. I don't have enough to afford to buy a home as a live in an extremely expensive part of the world. I live in an extremely frugal manner to try save enough for a deposit.


I am concerned about what little I have being threatened by my parent's situation and the pressure placed upon me after how I have been treated.


I am not sure where things sit with this. I am annoyed by advice from most people who have had a supportive family not have a dysfunctional and abusive childhood and family life like I had so they cant work it out. I feel like my family has caused issues for me and created psychological problems for me rather than been a source of support at any time.


It also difficult as despite all this I still place myself in the shoes of the parent and the anxiety they probable feel and want to help try and ease that.


So I am interested in thoughts as to what might be appropriate level of support I could provide or maybe none at all. I am especially interested to hear from adult children of abusive parents without much resources in a similar situation and what you have done.


In an ideal world what I want is to maybe visit once every three weeks for a couple of hours while there are staff who can take responsibility for feeding and safety etc while I just show them photos or something and also that all the care is covered but that I don't pay for a cent of it.
Thanks

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Their circus their monkey.. walk away and dont buy any tickets [guilt]
Obviously no one came to your aid as a child, so you do not need to be the crutch for these circumstances.
I played no part in my father's demise, and yes I do with my mother, but only have a few ounces of emotion to go with it.
It sounds to me that you should maintain that 3 times a year meeting as you have as a painful reminder, and thats it
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I don’t think you owe them anything. I certainly would not pay for any care. They can apply for assistance as I am for my father who is in a nursing home. I never really had a relationship with him..I will help out in terms of helping to apply for State assistance but that’s about it.
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marymary2 Jan 27, 2020
OMG (as the kiddies say), I finally just got it with your comment: my mother can apply for assistance. Just as she let me live on the streets and didn't care if I was dying all my life, I can let her do for herself as she did to me. (badly phrased, but I hope you get that I'm thanking you for opening my eyes. It seems obvious, but to me it was an eye opener. Thanks!)
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Spoke to another sibling who also seems to be willing to pay for some of parents care and thinks we should all chip in. It seems the basis of this other siblings willingness to pay is due to them having an interest in maintaining a relationship with step parent. Whereas I have no interest to maintain that toxic relationship. I can see that I am going to face continual pressure with this.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 26, 2020
So you get pressured. Nope, I am not willing to do that! Stop bullying me sibling. You can choose what you do but, that does not obligate me to follow suit.

You know what you are doing, don't let anyone bully you into doing things that you are not willing to do.

Your dad made his choice, now he gets to live with the consequences of his choices.
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Don't start paying at all. That nursing home and Medicare can work this out. If there is an amount to finish spending down to for Medicare, then let the spouse of the patient come up with that. But I don't think that's what is going on here. There is miscommunication or something going on. Don't you start paying out of your pocket. A lot of us on here have handled a parent going into the nursing home and dealt with Medicaid. I did and spoke with an elder law attorney and the admissions office at nursing home and the Medicaid office (toll free number) AND went to Medicaid in person. Do not start paying. Something is amiss here. At the same time, you don't want to rope yourself into handling all of this stuff because it is a bear and I dealt with Medicaid for 4 years including the estate recovery after Mom died. The spouse & patient's bank amount will be checked by Medicaid anyway. They audited my Mom's accounts checking for "gifting" to anybody so don't get tangled up in that mess. It is aggravating and complicated. I hate to say this, but if you work a full time job, you need to sit back and let the spouse work this out if possible. If they aren't able, make one trip to admissions at the nursing facility and see what they need and tell the spouse and be done. I feel for you!
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elaineSC Jan 18, 2020
I said Medicare in first two sentences. I meant Medicaid.
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I agree with disgustedtoo. Take care of yourself first and NO GUILT!
If you have some time you could (not should) do a little research into financial and caregiver resources for them. My mother just received a Medicaid waiver which enables her to keep some assets and still receive benefits. We hired an elder law attorney to assist with the process.
Be kind to yourself and good luck.
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I haven't been in your situation and haven't read all the comments (too many came in since originally reading your predicament!)

Unclear where you live, but in general if the person and/or spouse have assets, they will have to give up a portion of it. In the US, Medicaid will require a look back of 5 years. They will not impoverish the spouse who remains in the home, but they WILL require any regular income the person needing care gets to be paid to the facility AND will require a given percentage of remaining assets be used (liquid or not.) The person remaining in the home gets to keep the home, a car and a percentage of the other assets. The rest cannot be "hoarded".

While there are still a number of US states with filial laws (these are the ones that try to get children to foot the bill, if Medicaid is denied), they are not often used and will not result in impoverishment for the children. There have been a few cases which required the children/relative to pay, but not many, yet. There might also be some exclusions for children like you who have not had good care/relationships. I would not worry about them requiring you to pay - spouse is responsibility of spouse!

I would let the process play out without getting involved. Visits are up to you - if you feel comfortable visiting, go for it. If you don't, then stay away and don't harbor guilt. I also noted you are feeling some responsibility because one sibling is providing some help and may pay, but again, this is THEIR choice. If you can't or don't want to contribute, it isn't your job. Especially true if there are assets - THOSE should be used first and if the children understand this and refuse to pay, the spouse will have 2 choices: pay up or keep the spouse at home. I would have a good discussion with this sibling, if biological and receptive, and explain that the parents' assets and hopefully government aid should be paying, NOT the children!

There is no way for children to bear all the responsibility, even in cases where the parents have no assets. Our mother's MC is now about 90k/year. When working, that would have taken all of my pay and then some, leaving nothing for me to live on! Now that I am retired, I couldn't even begin to pay for it! Split between the 3 children would still be more than I could do, whether I wanted to or not. Thankfully mom and dad were good at saving - when I took over her finances, we set up a trust and put all excess assets into it, including the net from selling her condo. Between the pension and SS, about 1/2 of the costs (all, not just MC) are covered, and funds from the trust are deposited monthly to cover the rest. Would we all like to inherit or use some of it? Sure. But, these are mom's assets and they are used for her care. If she keeps going and eventually needs NH, it might deplete it all, but for now all is good. The only "cost" I have is managing everything for her.

The assets your parent and step parent have are joint assets and your parent's share should be used. The "shortfall" you mentioned might be during the application process. For Medicaid, payment would be required IF they determine there are assets that should be allocated to the needy spouse and they won't pay until all of what they determine is paid. If the application is declined, all would have to be paid, BUT that is the SPOUSE'S responsibility, not yours, not your siblings. Do NOT take this crap about it being your responsibility from ANY family members. Step-family is probably in the same boat with step parent - keep it all so WE get it! Not your problem, not your parent's childrens' problem. IGNORE these family members. Even in the best of relationships we can't all be held responsible. In your case, spending a little on a small gift/treat, if you choose to continue visiting, would be the most I would suggest!

NO guilt!!! NO GUILT!!! REPEAT! (this applies to visits and paying or not)
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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In the US, this shortfall is called "Medicaid Pending" and goes away once Medicaid is approved. The family is not liable for that "shortfall" - If you are in the US, your folks don't have any worries there.
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Anonymous, are you in the US?

Who is telling you there is a shortfall?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Anonymous, if parent is in the US, s/he is going into care "Medicaid pending". There is no "shortfall".

Ask to see the financial paperwork that shows the "shortfall". Ask for financial advice on www.bogkeheads.org and see if it is legitimate m
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Anon, my assets are "illiquid" too. It just means that you have to sell your stocks/mutual funds/cds.

Do not fall for this $hit.

If you want, arrange down the road to reimburse sibling IF they have actually paid anything.

I feel really strongly that you are being played.

Say "no, my financial advisor says I can't possibly do that".
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Look at it this way. If you were asked to contribute, let's say, $500 to your father's care fund in total, would you be all right with that?

If yes, do it. If no, don't do it.

Thinking of it and presenting it as a lump sum, one-off, ex gratia contribution to tide your father over the funding gap would avoid the precedent-setting concern. You could consider offering it to Good Sibling direct, and asking GS to keep it quiet.

But I still don't see you're under any obligation. If GS feels differently, good for him/her and be happy for him/her; but you do not feel the same and this is not a competition.

And stop fretting over and resenting your stepparent's hopelessness. The pickle she's in is not your fault and it's not your problem, but it's also therefore not for you to criticise.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 18, 2020
Good points countrymouse. Thanks
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Ok in another tricky spot again. Parent is going into care. Application will be made for govt funding. This may or may not happen. In any event there will be a shortfall for at least a temporary period of time. For maybe 3 months. A request has been made by step parent to me to pay money. For this temporary period of time. Would be about $40 a week. Am in a quandary again. Step parent has no money. Has illiquid assets. I think the good sibling will end up paying for it all if I don't contribute and that sucks. Am tossing up whether to do it. And make clear its temporary and step parent needs to sort their sh*t out. And work like the rest of us and stop spending money like the rest of us. Am concerned that step parent will continue to ask though and if the govt funding is declind, step parent will have their hand out again continuously and the top up at that point would be more like hundreds a week. So there is a sense of holding the line. Not sure what to do. Ugh all this really sucks. It really sucks and its so unfair.
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Daughterof1930 Jan 17, 2020
My only thought is if you decide to do this, make the payment directly to the facility, do not give money to stepparent to do so.
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Coming from a home like yours was, please do not make the mistake I did and try caregiving in the home. Get out while you can! I’m rushed right now but would be happy to talk with you a bit later, if you’d like. ❤️
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Anyonymous1 Jan 17, 2020
Thanks Sandalina. It definitely wont be caregiving in the home. Now its turning more to care facility but its coming down to funding
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Karsten is very correct in his response. Your answer is in the last paragraph you typed. It says what you have to give in this. Do that and nothing more and never give an apology. Your dad is blessed to have your support in any way at all
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So apart from your father and your stepmother, who else is "family"? I'm wondering where this pressure is coming from.

And apart from calling on you to help, what else is your stepmother doing about finding care resources?

In the end, this is her problem. It would be his problem, except that his Alzheimer's exempts him from responsibility now, it's too late. What it isn't is your problem. Do what you can to put her in touch with people and services who can help, but other than that protect your own boundaries. No more free "Dad-sitting" sessions, for example, or not unless you happened to plan to spend a morning with him.

Fact is, you are not close to your father. You have formal visits a few times a year. There is no confidential, loving relationship there and stepmother cannot manufacture one from wishes and regrets.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 17, 2020
Thanks Countrymouse. Family is two siblings and a step sibling. And also extended biological and step family. Am getting some pressure from all. My biological siblings I am not getting any direct pressure but am getting some indirect pressure from the one good sibling who is offering to help the most and I get concerned for this sibling taking on all the responsibility and am worried they will pay for all of it if it comes down to it.

My step parent is going to seek govt care but there might be a shortfall and there is a possibility govt care could be declined. Don't know yet.
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Anonymous, your stepfather is the one who shoukd be consulting a lawyer.

Find yourself a good talk therapist who can help you through this.
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Let them put her in a nursing home. My mother-in-law was like a toddler for 10 years and was in a nursing home and had no problem. The only thing she could do was feed herself. She wore diapers, couldn’t bathe herself or change her clothes. Nobody could take care of someone in that shape unless they had help and had no other life.
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to quote, you said "in an ideal world what I want is to maybe visit once every three weeks for a couple of hours while there are staff who can take responsibility for feeding and safety etc while I just show them photos or something and also that all the care is covered but that I don't pay for a cent of it."

While I think that is even overly generous given the other demands on your own life, this is exactly what you should do. You have no responsibility to provide for their finances.
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You owe them NOTHING since they lived recklessly with their finances and now expect you to step in? Wow - that's unacceptable. They didn't take care of their physical or mental health. They'll have to find facility living.
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As far as you doing tasks for them, that's up to you and what you can live with. It would appear the past relationship and comments here indicate you prefer not to be involved. So, as the child, seek an attorney who can help all three of you make a plan for the future. Attorney will know what they should apply for, financial issues, and who will oversee them when they no longer can. Then let it unfold.

If they won't go to attorney, then go when they call with a problem or don't go - up to you. If you see the situation is putting one/both in harm's way, your obligation at that point would be go and get personally involved or call the authorities who will evaluate and place them somewhere as needed.
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You are under NO Obligations to do anything you do not want to do. While I understand the entire "honor thy parents" - I believe there should be a commandment to "honor thy children" too.

When my mother passed away, my siblings refused to take in my father. I was left to assist him and I am thankful for the opportunity because I never truly knew my father, we always gravitated to Mom.

What I learned in the next 7.5 years is that my mother was no paragon of virtue - and my father had put up with a lot that us kids knew nothing about. Mind you, he never complained; he loved my mother with all his heart and soul. With his dying breath, he still praised my mother!

Decide what you can do and what you cannot do - and try to adhere to your guidelines. You are not responsible to pay for their care, but you will be pressured to do so. I would not have been ashamed to make my parent a "ward of the state" had it become necessary. I am thankful it never came to that as he had enough funds and good health insurance as well as the VA to handle his needs.
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Look into State aid. Just because they are your "parents" does not mean you have to be caregiver! Like I said look into State help. Good luck...
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You are not legally expected to provide monetary help for your parent's care unless you sign paperwork that says you will.......so don't sign anything. It is clear that you aren't comfortable spending your money for the care of your mom. That's perfectly fine. Money doesn't equal or represent love, by the way. If deep down you still feel love for your parent, there are ways in which to show that. Your presence by visiting her is worth quite a bit. Also, try to differentiate regret from guilt. What you may think is guilt, could actually be regret. You may regret not being able to help because you either don't have the money or don't feel comfortable due to a history of abuse, but you are not guilty of doing anything wrong if you don't contribute money to their care. Do you see the difference? If you have a good relationship with one sibling and chose not to help financially and she does, you can show your appreciation for her hard work in other ways directly to her. Those affirmations might help her embrace your decision and nurture your relationship with each other.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks for this Lynina. Yes I think regret could be possible. All of this also brings up my dysfunctional family life and childhood so I am feeling regret over that also I think. My internal tensions over what to do and resistance to help makes me think of the reasons why which is painful. Most of the time I just go about my life and don't think about my family at all but this being thrust in my face forces me to think about it all the time. I am also grieving over the effective loss of a parent, although I never had a good relationship with them, and that it means the loss of a familial line - the other parent being deceased also
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First, this situation is incredibly hard for someone whose parents were terrible at parenting. However, the path forward is much the same as it would be if you had a great relationship with them.

Ignore whomever is pressuring you. It is they who do not have your parent's best interests in mind.

By providing care, you are enabling your stepparent to avoid what has to be done. Your parent belongs in long term care .

Be unavailable for hands-on care (to avoid confrontation, fib if you have to - new work demands is a handy reason). Make it clear. Especially if your parent winds up in the emergency room, make very clear that they do not have caregiving available at home.

Next step can either be a planned move to long term care (wether they have the ability to private pay or not) or your stepparent (and you) can just wait for a fall or other crisis that would trigger a trip to the ER. From there, it can simply be a matter of demanding a full work-up (the dementia needs to be expressed as the underlying reason for whatever caused the ER visit). Then, if it is made clear that there isn't sufficient care available at home, the discharge planner will work through the options (in a much more stream-lined way that you would be able to_.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks Isnteasy. yes I think a living facility is going to be necessary. And I don't want to fund any of it
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First, I agree that your parent's spouse is responsible for providing for and obtaining proper care. And they, not you, are responsible for the consequences of their choices. Secondly, please invest in counseling for yourself. You must find a way to forgive them or it will affect the rest of your life. I've learned that forgiveness is not so much for the one being forgiven as for the one doing the forgiving. Also, it's a process, not a one time act. It's also an act of your will. Trust me on this - I was also physically abused and emotionally neglected as a child. I lived a self-destructive life for many years. Thankfully, I found forgiveness in my late 20s and was then able to start the process of forgiving my parents. My mother has lived with me for 10 years, and even as a Christian, some days I tell God - I don't want to do this anymore!!! And then I find His grace is sufficient. I've learned as well, that honoring your parent is doing for them what they CANNOT do for themselves, not what they WILL not do. Again, they must suffer the consequences of their choices - that's not your responsibility. I do pray that you will find a great counselor that you can afford and be able to live a healthy, joyful and fulfilling life! God's blessings to you!
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elaineSC Jan 17, 2020
Nonnie, I have read in the Bible where Jesus said to take care of your mother. Well, we did as long as we were ABLE to and until she got worse. Then, we had to place her in a nursing facility because she needed 24/7 care. My sister and I checked out the nursing facility and did all the paper work and
visited her and checked to be sure she was being cared for properly with meds, that her clothes were being taken care of and everything but then we would go home. Neither of us were able to handle a bedridden parent with dementia on top of it and it was bad. I still feel that we did the right thing and still did what the Lord said to do. We just had to do it the best way that we could. I had a bad shoulder and my sister was seeing a chiropractor. Dad had congestive heart failure. So there you have it. Sometimes a nursing facility is the only reasonable answer for everybody concerned.
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I also want to respond to the biblical quotes that someone posted.  No where in the bible does it say that you have to run yourself into the ground physically and financially to take care of a parent and if you don't some how you are dishonoring God and will be punished. 

Making the decision to place your parent in a facility that has round the clock care can be one of the kindest things you do for them and yourself.
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lealonnie1 Jan 16, 2020
Well said James. As if placing a parent in a care home is 'neglecting' them or 'dishonoring' them or any such nonsense. Just another way to cast guilt upon us for doing what NEEDS to be done. I wonder what 'the bible' says about THAT?
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Look up under YouTube Aging and the narcissistic parent. You are getting set up to repeat a different form of abuse from what you went through as a child.
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Most people do not have the money, time, physical fortitude or the desire to take care of a dementia patient 24 / 7.  It sounds like she needs to be in a nursing home / memory care unit.  Your mother and her spouse will need to deal with Medicaid and the five year look back and all that entails.  Financially they will just have to work it out.  As an adult, you are not responsible for her financially any more than she would be for you as an adult.
Strongly make the suggestion to your step dad that she be placed.  Strongly state that you don't have the money or time to be a caregiver.  Period.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks James. Yes I think it really is time for a care facility. And I am not going to pay for any of it.
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My dad is an alcoholic and lives in another state. Per law in that state, I am not responsible for his debts. If he reached out, I would make sure that he is cared for: probably with Medicaid and in a state-run facility. My mom lives near me and is currently independent. When she needs more help, she already knows we will have a small cottage built on our property for her. My hubby insists that she'll have sitters or adult day program and sitters at night.

What I'm getting at is - as their "child"- you are responsible to make sure they are cared for.... but not for providing the care or the expenses or the time. Those areas are up to your discretion on how to use them. Do what is prudent and makes sense. It would help if you had POAs for financial and medical. If not, then enlist the help of your local government agency.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 16, 2020
Sorry Taarna, as their children you are not responsible when there is a spouse involved.

The spouse is responsible to ensure that the proper care is provided. Otherwise you are fighting a losing battle from the word go and this is hard enough without trying to intervene when someone else has ALL the authority and final say.

BTDT and recommend that it is avoided until you see that the spouse is derelict in their responsibilities and then you call in the authorities to take over, but you personally stay removed from the situation.

I understand what you are saying and I think there are situations that it is 100%, not when there is a stepmonster though.
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I have similar situation. I’ve gone as long as 10+ years with zero contact with narcissistic, cruel and mentally ill mother. At 90 years old she needs everything and remembers nothing, just another poor lonely dementia patient. I have almost no involvement as my sister looks after her. I do occasionally see her and I do feel sorry for her as I’d feel sorry for anyone in this condition, but I’m not inclined to go out of my way to do anything for her. It isn’t about paying her back, karma, or anything else really. It’s more that I simply despise her.

I think you just do what feels ok for you, no more no less, and don’t let yourself feel pressured to do anything that you feel is revolting. You owe her nothing.

it is what it is, you are not responsible for her life or her care.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks LakeErie. The parent does still know who I am, for now, but I am certain that they forget I have been there within half an hour of me leaving. They certainly forget anyone else within that time when I ask.
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