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We often write here that we do not want our kids to suffer the same terrible caregiving experience we are now going through. While we are still lucid, strong and healthy we want to ensure that we will not burden our kids in the future when we grow old. Precisely, how do we go about it? What steps can we do to avert this situation from repeating itself? Any ideas to share?

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As a famous poem states "Children Learn What They Live" If we want their life to be different with us when we get old that our own experience with our parents, then something has to be different about those relationships now.

In a very profound sense, children are precious gifts for in conception we co-create with God a new human being with a living soul. Then our responsibility, as parents or parent, comes not in living the life we wished for through our children or finding out emotional fulfillment in our children instead of working on our marriage so couples don't loose each other when the nest is empty. To a great degree, we are about raising a precious human being from a child into an adult, from being under our authority as parents to being under God's authority as adults or as I have heard it said, work our way out of our job as primary caretaker, so that they can take care of themselves and be responsible caretakers in their own families as well as when their parents decline. This is the ideal, which I nor several people with the worst horror caretaker stories grew up with. Nevertheless, it is a good ideal to aim for. If parents raise a slave or a clone of themselves, they will never have a genuine adult-adult relationship with their adult children because they never had a genuine parent-child relationship with their children when they were children.

All of the external advice is great, but from over a year of reading stories here, I see the greatest problems are rooted in the parent-child relationship which now has problems still in the elderly parent-adult child relationship.

Parents, if your children are young, then teach them about boundaries and if they get married, then buy them the book Boundaries in Marriage for a wedding present. It has a chapter on boundaries in marriage and aging parents which is great.

Parents, if are not sure about the whole issue of boundaries, then buy some books on the subject and if you are married buy the book Boundaries in Marriage.

Lastly, get therapy and if you see now that you made some major mistakes just like your parents, then get into counseling and encourage your grown children to get into counseling so that all of you can possibly have a better relationship down the road.
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I teach at a junior college. MANY of my students live on $1600 a month (or less), they are single parents, and they have children to support. They live in a small apartment in a poor section of town and take the bus everywhere. They ONLY have a cell phone, no land line. They have no computer at home - they use the one at school. They manage. The ONLY thing that is required to live is (1) simple shelter, (2) a small amount of clothing and (3) sufficient nutritional intake to prevent disease or malnutrition. Everything else is a luxury.
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I can't even fathom me, my wife, our two teenage boys living on 1,600 per month if I were still working or 3,200 a month if my wife and I both were able to work. I guess, we would be homeless or living on welfare and food stamps.
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$200 is a significant amount of money for a LT care premium when one is working a $10-an-hour job in gross wages. My friends who earn that kind of wage have NO money for anything extra at all, especially a luxury like long-term care insurance.
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I keep doing more reading about LT health insurance......and it still really only make sense to me if you have considerable assets that you are concerned about passing on to your children. If you have NOTHING at all, you will qualify for Medicaid. Many people have no liquid assets, no home ownership, no investments, etc. Some don't even have bank accounts!
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mhmarfil,

Thanks for asking this question. The hellishness of your own experience as a caregiver adds a lot to your question.

I applaud many of these technical and practical ideas which I'm cutting and pasting for myself.

I want to focus on process. Beneath many if not all of the horrific stories is most often a daughter and sometimes a son whose emotional life was tampered with in their early days with F.O.G. buttons which got pressed later on to instill Fear, Obligation beyond reason, and Guilt for trying to live a balanced life instead of being their personal slave.

Let's be honest people, many of us have been victims and continue to be victims of emotional child abuse or emotional blackmail very well known as F.O.G., i.e. Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.

So, if your children are young, don't set them up to be your slaves when you get old. If your children are grown, ask yourself and maybe even them if you are doing anything like your mother or dad who has enslaved you? Whatever your age and you can afford it, get therapy to work through your parent issues so they want come gushing out like a volcano when you loose it.

If you raise your children to spread their own wings and fly which means you have healthy boundaries, you will most likely have an adult child who will care for you with healthy boundaries as well. If that's not the case and they have distanced themselves, then all you can do is say hey, I'm sorry, I did the best I could and knew how at that time and then get yourself some help and choose a healthier path to walk in from there on. Your grown children will probably noticed the change.
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dragonflower,

While I realize not everyone can afford this, but from 1996-2009, my mom's long term health insurance premiums never went over $200 per month. They are way above $200 now, but she's not paying it because of the rider she bought.
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dragonflower,

While I realize not everyone can afford this, but from 1996-2009, my mom's long term health insurance premiums never went over $200 per month. They are way above $200 now, but she's not paying it because of the rider she bought.
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dragonflower ,

I'm sorry your research has led you against long term health insurance. My mom bought when she was still of sound mind in 1996 when her mother died and put it on auto draft. If it had not been on auto draft, she would have lost in in 2004 when she stopped being on top of things but hid the truth. She was wise enough to put a rider on it so that once she was in a NH or AL the premiums would stop. She has means in her investments and what she inherited from her mother that are not liquid assets but produce annual liquid assets. She also put home builder care and home health care rider in the policy but that along with the whole policy was a hidden reality until her major stroke, and her hip breaking. I went through the house like a PI and discovered all sorts of things hidden from me.
Now, she has been in the nursing home since May of 2009 and the premiums stopped being charged after 2 months. She has already received more in benefits than she ever paid in premiums. In 1996, she was 65 and now she is 79.
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dragonflower ,

I'm sorry your research has led you against long term health insurance. My mom bought when she was still of sound mind in 1996 when her mother died and put it on auto draft. If it had not been on auto draft, she would have lost in in 2004 when she stopped being on top of things but hid the truth. She was wise enough to put a rider on it so that once she was in a NH or AL the premiums would stop. She has means in her investments and what she inherited from her mother that are not liquid assets but produce annual liquid assets. She also put home builder care and home health care rider in the policy but that along with the whole policy was a hidden reality until her major stroke, and her hip breaking. I went through the house like a PI and discovered all sorts of things hidden from me.
Now, she has been in the nursing home since May of 2009 and the premiums stopped being charged after 2 months. She has already received more in benefits than she ever paid in premiums. In 1996, she was 65 and now she is 79.
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sskape1,

mhmarfil's question does not read to me like protection from care giving, but protection from the abuse, destruction and other collateral damage that so many stories here include. That crap I do not want my life to experience, thus part of the reason I'm in therapy, and that crap, I don't want my children to experience.
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(1) Have documents drawn up NOW in a revocable living trust that allows your adult children to step in when you become incapable of managing your affairs.

(2) Alternatively, you can also add them onto your house deed so they are co-owners......that way, a nursing home cannot tap it. But do it NOW, because there is a 5-year look-back for assets. However, the RLT is the best option for real estate.

(3) Get your headstones laid NOW, draw up your funeral desires and give a copy to your adult children.

(4) Update your will and make sure your adult children all have copies.

I don't agree with the long-term care insurance after investigating it. The monthly premiums are cost-prohibitive. It only is in effect as long as you are paying the premiums. If you get too confused to pay the premiums, the insurance lapses....and you will have thrown money away.

Parents are NOT obligated to leave their adult children any kind of inheritance. Also, Medicaid will not pay for NH care until you spend down your assets. Better to go out of this world "owning nothing, owing nothing."

In another vein, it is selfish to expect that adult children are going to provide "taxi service" to elderly mom & dad, driving them around to appointments and things. They have their own lives and responsibilities and are usually working full-time jobs and putting children through college. They did not ask to be born - it was a choice by the parents - so they should not be "punished" in middle age by having to provide a baby-sitting or chauffeur service for their elderly parents.
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If we are willing to be placed eventually in a "nursing home" (which I am ) we can tell our children that now. I'm only asking them that they make sure the "home" is clean and doesn't have terrible odors!
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I agree - get long-term care insurance. Write down your wishes and go over them with your children. If it is what you want, make sure they understand that they have your blessing NOW to put you in an ALF when needed - no matter what you say THEN.

Also, prepare your children to be self-sufficient. If you have the means and can leave them a (financial) legacy - great. But if you can't, make sure they understand that your money is going to take care of you and, if you have a catstrophic illness, there may not be anything left for them. Make sure they are saving for their own retirement and not expecting you to support them later.
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Long-term care insurance is a must!!! OMG!! My grandparent's generation knew NOTHING of this. As far as they were concerned, having a life insurance policy to handle burial costs, a Will to divvy up whatever they owned and collecting social security would cover them in their senior years which is soooooo painfully not the case.

Also, the more and more I think about it, I can't help but feel that once you get to a certain age, major assets, specifically property/real estate should be moved into a Trust or some other "untouchable" medium. If I knew 10-15 years ago, what I know now, I would have advised my grand-parents to move their home into a Trust when they were in their early 70's. Certainly the (NJ) Medicaid 5 yr look-back (recently someone mentioned it used to be a 2 yr look-back) would not have been a concern making in-home care a more feasible option initially.
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We are in our 50's. Our children are being taught to get their life straight so they can take care of me and daddy. This is premeditated. Otherwise, get a small Paid For Parcel property and get your priorities in order. Get the Wheel chair ramp in place, bathroom grab bars, stock up on wheel chairs, walkers, potty chairs and prepare for transportation. You may want to consider moving closer to the children and buying a vehicle that you can get in and out of at old age or disabled that is Paid FOR and the kids can drive you to the doctors office in it. Sell everything you do not need, go through your personal belongings and give them away or box and label them. There is also Long Term Nursing Care INsurance if want to be bold and live in a nursing / Assisted Living Center. I would stock up on Depends and Metamucil. Seriously we are.
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I'm starting to change my mind about protecting our children from caregiving. I think I should have encouraged my sons to help out more and be more responsible. Although, I'd like them to be involved in the caregiving and not run away from it, I'd like it to be fair, not one person doing everything. By the time we need it, some other condition will probably evolve anyway.
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Get long term care insurance now!!!!!!!
Don't try & hang on forever when your quality of life is gone & put the quality of life for your children to an early end.
Don't let the doctors use you as a cash cow & prolong your life way past a reasonable time.
Get a living will & stipulate scenarios & instructions.
Prepare yourself & truely love your children.
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