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The couple have some assets and his wife does not wish to use them. Is there anything the adult kids can do? They have suggested: downsizing, reverse mortgage and/or paying for some home care. None of these seem viable. We were married for 25 years; they have been married 25 years. The children are mine and his. She has adult kids as well.

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Wow...sending you and yours blessings and prayers...Please do not get sucked in by guilt trips others lay on you. (Wish my own daughter would do this). Many biiiiiiig hugs. Oliveoyl
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Doesn't have to be a second wife, my mom and dad have been married for 60+ years, mom stayed home to take care of her mom from the time I was 5. She is 96 dad 92, both in pretty good mental shape but she wants to "cut dad off" from the money in the savings account. They are still married, dad does the driving etc. But to her the Dollar is the most important thing and as a narcissist it is all about her. Trying to get dad his VA benefits and all she can say is will there be money in it for her. These people are so sad. They have a revocable living trust and I am trustee but I live 5 hours away, my son is there trying to take care of them. Mom doesn't trust anyone with her money, when she gets cash she gets it in $1 bills so she doesn't overpay anyone. I had to throw a fit and tell her if my son was going to have to stay with her full time and not have a job she at least had to pay his $300 child support to keep him out of jail. He has no cash but she wants him to buy the groceries and then she will pay him. Which she does when she "feels well enough". Since I am trustee he and I have worked out a debit card for her account and he buys groceries with that. I was there a year last year, had to spend over $300 a month for child care so the grandson I am raising could stay home with my husband and go to school. She never gave me one red cent on that and I spent over $5000 on groceries and the like for her that never got reimbursed. I had to come home, we had exhausted our savings for me to be there that long, but I "owe that to her because she took care of her mother for 12 years" ???? Some people just worship the almighty dollar and don't care about anyone but themselves. She may have the best intent (the second wife) but then again she may not. Still hands are tied. Prayers for the situation.
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Do not encourage you children to go into debt to finance your ex-husband's nursing home care. you say the couple has assets. of course she does not want to use them but that is what everybody in their situation has to do hard as it may sound. Your children can provide support by allowing their stepmother respite time and maybe purchasing supplies or equipment but NOTHING they can't afford or jeapodize their own future. Comfort and support your children and council them not to make this a battle. They are innocent victims but at this point all grown up with responsibilities of their own. Your ex and his wife made their own decisions 25 years ago and we don't have any other details, so hard as this may sound his wife is responsible for his care
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Is it, really, that she doesn't want to pay for nursing home care or that she can't bear the thought of sticking him in a nursing home or that he doesn't want to go into a nursing home or a bit of all three? Or that she's just put the whole issue in the "too difficult" box and doesn't know what to do?

I.e. is she manfully (forgive the term, the irony pleases me) soldiering on or is she neglecting him while she whoops it up at the local hot-spots and spends all the money? Or, somewhere in between, is she too anxious about the money running out to take practical steps?

Clearly, there is a difference of opinion about what your ex's needs are, exactly; and how urgent it is to do something about the finances. You can't intervene anyway. Do you have the kind of contact with her that would allow you to discuss with her (very carefully, of course) what's going on with your ex? If all you're in a position to do is counsel your own children, without the benefit of more information, try to help them accept that she knows what she's doing (fingers crossed) and they must do their best to help and support her. That way they can avoid major fall-outs, which might lead to their seeing less of their father, or nothing at all, and things getting much worse.

I've just spotted another minefield, though: does she feel that her own children are more supportive of her in her role than yours are? Is it possible, perhaps because yours feel comparatively excluded, that this is true? Because, if things start getting stiff and awkward, this could all too easily turn into the distorted thought: "my kids do more for their stepfather than those ungrateful little swine do for their own Dad." God forbid things have gone that way or got so far; I'm just saying the seeds are there, they want to be careful not to let them grow.

I'm grateful to you for alerting me to the possibility of this coming up one day in my family's future, too. I get on very well with my ex's wife ("the present Mrs D_" as he calls her - it drives her up the wall) and step-daughter, but I have no idea what I'd do if I were anxious about his welfare; he has a severe chronic illness and has taken early retirement, she works full-time, God knows how she stays sane. I think I'd keep shtum unless I had something genuinely, practically helpful to contribute.

I'm sorry for your children, it's horrible for them to be worried about their father and unable to influence things. Keep pouring oil as far as humanly possible, it'll be best for them in the long run.
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Im...a little surprised the assests arrnt playing a role in any of this
Usually assets are all given up the second nursing homes are mentioned

(Sorry if spelling sucks, was typing from a phone)
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So let's play this out. She wants to protect the assets. She thinks she can care for him. He may not want a nursing home so no one can force him to go. This will continue until he falls and gets hurt and ends up in the ER. Eventually the MD won't let him return home, or she will get hurt too. It's agonizing to watch, but your hands are tied.
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