I am nearing 62 years old and planning to retire and relocate with my wife in the near future from a highly stressful career.

My elderly parents live independently in their own home fairly close to us. They are very financially secure as far as we are aware. However, our relationship has not been the best over the years. They have been very self-centered, secretive, cheap and refuse to discuss their future health plans with myself or my wife. My Mother has had some mental issues, but has always been very manipulative, selfish and has reacted very badly when we have mentioned our retirement plans and relocation. I have attempted to discuss my parent’s future health plans with my only brother who resides in another state, but he backs away from any productive conversation and involvement.

In recent years, my parents have had several health issues, however they stubbornly will not seek appropriate medical care and treatment. They typically ask me about their health problems seemingly seeking my input, yet will not follow through with my guidance to receive specialized care. One possible reason not outside the realm of possibilities is that they are too cheap to pay the health insurance copayments. My brother exacerbates the situation by ‘self-diagnosing’ my parent’s symptoms over the internet encouraging them to even further delay proper medical attention.

My parents and brother have long histories of being insensible. My wife and I are very frustrated and feel that we waste our efforts and energy trying to engage my parents in any productive conversations. In particular, I often feel guilty, burdened and responsible for my parents well-being. In addition, we are dealing with many of our own health, life and family issues thus feeling extremely overwhelmed. We want to feel at peace with what we are capable and willing to do regarding the future of my parents.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated, thank you.


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Your parents are adults and technically of sound mind.

It also sounds like they are their own worst enemies.


Retire, relocate, and let their health be handled in the fashion they choose. You've tried; they don't care to avail themselves of your help.

Their lack of common sense does not make their looming health emergencies any of your concern.

Their choices have consequences. For them.

If you'd like a long-running story of how bad choices lead to bad outcomes, read the "I'm so disheartened and angry" thread. It's a tale of a family making poor choices and one woman's quest to regain her life by setting boundaries.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Beatty May 26, 2019
Fantastic answer Barb!
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I sympathize with this question; my parents too were/are stubborn about their health. My father would not listen when I begged him to let me bring him a walker or cane; he kept falling and finally cracked his spine, landing in a nursing home, where he has lived for almost 2 years. Stubborn.
My mother is near deaf, severe memory loss, and will NOT listen. I have been to 2 audiologists only to have her return the hearing aids because she can’t stand to spend the money; I have gone to so many doctors that I can’t keep up, but she won’t listen. I finally understand that I cannot do anything, and I won’t be held hostage to her anymore. SHE has to live with the consequences of her inaction. SHE will be responsible for herself and I am absolved myself of the burden because it was affecting my health. I REGRET bringing her to my home to live. My privacy is gone, cant leave for extended periods of time, and spent so much time with her, my other relationships suffered. For what? So I have told her the first time she calls confused, she goes to assisted living. I am also thinking about selling my home just so I can get her out, because she won’t go to a condo where i am considering. I resent her for robbing me of my retirement. It wasn’t my plan to be a babysitter, and she does not care one bit. If you are looking for approval to walk away, then you need to do it. You ARE wasting your effort and time and it will affect your overall health and life. Said life is short, and your parents will NOT change. They are responsible for their decisions, so best of luck and good wishes to you.
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Reply to ML4444

I can certainly relate to your situation. It's a tough place to be. What I have done is to join a local support group and talk to a counselor about it. I've decided to make arrangements to move on, after I make a last ditch effort to get them to accept help. I am not going to continue with their constant doctor visits, ER visits and yet refusal to comply with doctor's recommendations. I'm done. So, it might not be easy, but, I can't live on a roller coaster. I have to make my environment healthier for my mental state. As long as parents are competent. They are responsible for their own decisions. If silly brother wants to hurt matters, let them call him when they need help.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

John, you have asked this question before and got 98 answers. What are you looking for that wasn't addressed in that other question?

It comes down to, seems like even if you stayed around, your parents will do what they want. So, nothing you can do. You have to let them make their own decisions, good or bad. Do what you want, make your plans. Call Office of Aging and find out what resources are out there for them. Give parents the info. Call them regularly so you can hear any changes. If u do, call O of A for a well check. Visit as much as possible but enjoy ur retirement. They will not change and it gets worse with age.
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Reply to JoAnn29
Johnc1 May 23, 2019
JoAnn, thank you for your answer. Please note that this is an entirely different question and topic than the previous one.
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I would tell your parents, "I don't know what to tell you" the next time they ask your opinion. Move on with your life as it sounds like they'll never listen and their entitlement and stubbornness makes them great travel agents for guilt trips because 1. They are your parents and 2. They may never change. But you have to if you wish to be happy in your golden years with your wife. Good luck
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to mmcmahon12000

A social worker and I had a long conversation as my brother was dying from stage 4 cancer. He was also too thrifty to see a doctor when he started having problems. Part of this may be due with the history of insurance woes when certain pre existing diagnosis meant increased rates, plus the affordability for people with low incomes.
Anyhow we both agreed that each individual has the right of making their own decisions even if they are poor decisions. Your opinion will not matter if your parents are of sound mind. Continue with your move. Some day they may realize that they need your support, but let them live on their own for a while to come to that conclusion
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Reply to MACinCT
NYDaughterInLaw May 26, 2019
Excellent advice, MAC.

Only thing I would add is that, if the day your parents realize they need your support ever arrives, do not give up your retirement life and move back closer to them. Either manage their affairs - as their medical and financial POA of course - from afar, or find them an appropriate community or nursing home that's convenient for you to which they can move. You parents have money and there are moving services especially for old people downsizing.
Does anyone hold medical power of attorney? Not that will be of much help as long as they are considered competent. Until they are diagnosed with competency deficiencies they can make their own decisions even if we feel they are not rational. Guardianship has benefits, but also leads to disgruntled people. It does allow their medical to be forced upon then, but, as I said it causes issues in the family dynamic.
Take care of your own health issues as it seems right now, you don't have options for making your parents see the light. If they are too cheap for co pays as you suggest it is their decision. Been going through this for years with not only my Dad, but with mother in law. I hope you get resolve, but sometimes it is a matter of a real health scare that awakens the stubborn ones.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8

Step away from the train wreck. You can’t force someone to do anything, even if you are right and it’s for their own good. Let your brother handle it. If they ask, tell them since they refuse to act on your suggestions, you aren’t giving your opinion.
It may make them see they are foolish but if it doesn’t, you are no further behind than you are now.
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Reply to Jannner

In caring for my parents, I’ve seen more “bad medicine” than I ever believed possible.

As a caregiver in the day-to-day trenches attending every appointment, I saw tremendous amounts of self-referral, over-medication and even instances where unnecessary surgery was recommended. It was clear that some doctors lack knowledge, do not read drug interactions (or even allergies!) before prescribing and are frequently guessing. Not all the doctors, just some. Hopefully they are doing their best, but even that can be questionable.

I found a couple doctors I could trust, who admitted that many doctors are not trustworthy. One doctor urged me to take my mother out of the hospital, “she’ll get killed by these doctors if she stays,” she said. I wasn’t really physically ready to resume 24/7 care, but I listened and got her out immediately.

If my psrents would have gine to each any every referral, their “golden years” would have turned into “fluorescent” years, sitting on stained couches in dreary smelly waiting rooms, waiting to have yet another doctor add something useless to their drug cocktail.

At some point, they picked and chose their appointments. When I started caregiving, they went to each and every appointment at my insistence. After time, I saw they were right—I let them pick and choose again.

My parents were right. Even if your parents aren’t, this is their life and they should decide how they want to spend it. If you start going with them to every appointment, you may get a different perspective.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to ACaringDaughter
1GivingUp May 26, 2019
You are right about the doctors and I too have seen overmedication of elderly who may have come from a culture, in my instance, that revered doctors and anyone with more education than their own. Thanks for inputting in this post, you have validated and given me peace. Letting your parents do what they feel is right, is best for their peace of mind. Getting them to understand that you have the same rights to live and thus leave is a lesson that they too will have to learn. Live and let Live.
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Oh, my... let THEM decide and accept the consequences. Some of us reach a point where we're simple ready to move on. Factoid: you eventually die. ...after which there is either "something" or "nothing". If there's "nothing"... no problem. If there's "something" (rebirth? looking down from above? punishment? reward? heaven? etc ...), well, let's get on with it. I've been around for 80 years, but I can't physically do the things that gave me joy before nor solve more than one mental problem at a time; I'm ready to move on. Speaking for myself, I don't believe in suicide, but I don't feel required to use medical assistance to go through every uncomfortable and, what I consider, useless stage of aging. And it would give me pleasure to leave some education funds for my grandchildren and spare them tending me in between doctor and hospital visits. NOTE: This is me, speaking for me, and urging you to be willing to listen to such talk from your own parents if that is the path they are also choosing. I still have my wits and can pass my driving test, but I visit in "assisted living" homes and I've also travelled in many third world areas (in Central America, Africa, Asia, rural Russia and areas of U.S. cities) and met old people winding down in their own way. And they smile.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Larida
cherokeegrrl54 May 27, 2019
Very sensible answer. In today’s world, the primary focus appears, at least to me, about keeping people alive no matter what their condition is. Im 64, and my body is paying the consequences of too many sports injuries and hard work, heavy lifting in my working years. I live in chronic pain from osteoarthritis and have no health insurance until December when i reach medicare age....some days i want to give up, however i am a positive person and i keep trying to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. When my body or brain no longer works properly i want to move on to the next plane peacefully. I have made this known to my daughter. These are my personal feelings, i know everyone is different. I guess i cant understand how people want their loved ones to b kept alive at all i stated, my opinion only...,
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