My hubby parents are battling cancer and my brother in law quit his job to care for them. We are told to help take care of his family. How?

Follow
Share

My hubby's parents are battling two forms of cancer. They have three grown adult children who assist where they can including financially but only one adult child lives in the same city. Unfortunately, he gave up working due to wanting to be near his parents. So, he refused every job offered due to relocating. Let me remind you he’s married with 3 young children.


Currently, they are about to lose their house and they can no longer pay their bills...etc. The other 2 brothers (1 being my hubby) are employed with a family and have tried talking to the oldest brother about not neglecting his 1st priority.


My mother in law doesn’t want to leave her home and move in with her children; My father in law doesn’t mind but he won’t go against his wife.


What bothers me is my hubby and I have been made to feel guilty by family for not taking care of my brother in law's home, his wife & children while he attends to his parents.


I’m not sure what to do.

7

Answers

Show:
I believe family should help each other where there is need and help can be provided without harm. For me, that means helping a family member pay expenses or medical bills they cannot with money that I might otherwise use for a vacation or some new furniture I would like to have but do not need. I would not take money I needed for my basic bills - but I would reduce those bills as much as possible to free up some funds.

When my sister was dying of lung cancer, I provided enough money to cover her family's monthly bills and COBRA so her husband could take a long leave of absence from work and care for her. That level of support was not "expected", it was freely offered. My BIL was looking at working half time and my sister asked if I could help some because half time pay would cover the basic bills but maybe not some extra expenses for her care. One of the husband's sisters helped with some medical expenses but my BIL was still left with a lot of medical expense debt from the copays that took him a couple of years to pay off.

Your BIL's first responsibility is to his family, then to help his parents as much as he is able without permanently harming that family. I think it's OK to spend time taking care of a terminally ill parent/sibling instead of attending a child's ballgames for a period of time. It's OK to cut the family budget to the bone for a period of time. Kids need to learn that sometimes a family member has more need and will receive family resources in portion to that need. It's not OK to just stop supporting the family and expect someone else to pick up that entire responsibility without any prior agreement or regard for their needs.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

I've seen similar things happen to friends and family. The first is a family friend who had lost his job because of changing technologies. So his 97-year-old, wheelchair-bound mom lives with him and his wife. He is her 24/7 caregiver as he and his wife decided several years ago that it was more cost-effective to have him stay home with her than try to get a low-paying part-time job as that was all he could find in his early 50s without drastic retraining. Then, they figured, they would't have to pay a caregiver more than he would earn in wages. Anyway ... that was 7 year ago. No one thought sick mom would live so long. He will be 60 next spring. He has almost destroyed all hope of going back to work as his resume stopped when he lost his job 8 years ago.

So your BIL's decisions now should reflect the scenario of what if he doesn't get to go back to work for 10 years? This "cancer battle" has no time limits. You all cannot float his boat that long and somewhere in that decade the care will get beyond him -- as my family friend is discovering.

Second, my mother's brother spent HOURS and a number of nights every week taking care of their father in dad's own home across town. My partially diabled mom lived in California; her father and brother and family lived in Tennessee. She never asked him to sacrifice his family life. But after the dad died at 92, my mother's SIL resented her for the rest of their lives for all the time her husband had spent away from her and the family life sacrificed and all the money he spent on keeping dad's house functioning. Mom had paid whatever they asked, but he didn't ask for enough. (Mom's brother died in his early 60s, so he outlived his father only by about eight years.)

 So in my opinion, there needs to be clear thinking from all parties at a sit-down family meeting ASAP where the LONG-term future of this plan is discussed ... for BIL's career, mom and dad's financial ability and health concerns, and your boundaries on what you can and should feel obligated to do. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Maryjann
Report
anonymous832426 Aug 10, 2018
Thank you for the response.
(0)
Report
Your in laws have monthly income(s). They get SS and perhaps other $ each mo from pensions, retirements. If they have assets, then those can be drawn from as well to lay him.

Whatever.... there’s $ & inlaws can legitimately pay their son to be thier caregiver. And imo this should be done ASAP.

Unless your inlaws have mid six figures of savings or assets, if their health continues to decline then their level of care needed will get beyond what your BIL can reasonably all totally on his own do for the 2 of them in their home. Then the probability is 1 of 2 things will happen: both parents go onto inhome hospice with a Medicare paid hospice aide coming over maybe 2 or 3 days a week for 3-4hrs so bil still has to do everything when hospice isn’t there; OR they both go into a facility and become a dual (on Medicare and Medicaid) to get the facility costs paid for as BIL cannot do the level of care needed at home just on his lonesome.

And in order to ever get eligibility ok for Medicaid they are going to spend down till down to 3k for couples. To me it’s best they spend down now their $ to pay their son for caregiving. To do this without issues from Medicaid, it needs to be by a personal care contract between Sonny & the folks and drawn up by an elder law atty. All legit, notarized with taxes filed and paid. This is standard stuff to do.

If this has gotten out of hand already & foreclosure is happening, why doesn’t wife & kids move in with his parents?
Or are inlaws the always a martyr type? & used to being on the dole?

The nieces, so Auntie are you giving them $ or buying them specific things they need? I’d be concerned that if it’s $ given freely by you that it’s not being spent ahem “optimally”. What I’d suggest is like you go to Target & buy the list of school supplies needed for their school & grade, or you take them to buy their school uniforms; Or a gift card from the nearby Kroger.

Why someone with a job & a family with small kids would voluntarily quit job and place home into foreclosure is loco to me. Is he usually a sensible person? Is this unusual behavior? Wife is doing what during all this, does she have issues as well? Males quitting a job, leaving a wife and kids to move in with parents to caregive is not the usual posting on this site. There’s some odd backstory on why he did this....
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to igloo572
Report

It would have been nice if ur BIL ran his plans by his siblings before leaving his job. His responsibility was to his family and SIL is being unreasonable thinking its up to you to support her family. Her husband made a decision without thinking about consequences. I am assuming you are well off and he feels you can afford to care for his family. Even so, thats assuming a lot.

Maybe BIL can move in with parents.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
anonymous832426 Aug 10, 2018
Financially, my husband and I aren’t well off but we follow a strict budget and don’t live beyond our means.
Regarding moving in with his parents, I don’t see that happening. A plan was never discussed unfortunately.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
"What bothers me is my hubby and I have been made to feel guilty by family for not taking care of my brother in law's home, his wife & children while he attends to his parents."

how(what exactly) are you supposed to take care of his home, his wife and his children? support them?

who is about to lose their house/cant pay bills? the brother or the parents?

what exactly does brother plan on doing long term? live with his parents from now on or is it for one month or?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to wally003
Report
anonymous832426 Aug 8, 2018
My brother in law was “hoping” we move into his home, help pay the mortgage, and other home expenses since he’s unemployed.
My in laws have funds to maintain their basic living needs and mortgage. But we do help with their medical cost and car repairs...etc.
(0)
Report
I think you should provide what help you and your husband decide together would be appropriate for his parents. That could come in many forms such as arranging meal delivery for the two of them, help with paying medical bills not covered by insurance, arranging help with housework, etc. But you’re under no obligation, and need not provide any explanation, to pay for brothers bad choice to reject work and making provisions for his own family. It’s his choice if he wants to be totally available to his parents, that in no way obligates everyone else to pay for his choice. One day the parents will be gone, due to either this illness or something else down the road, and brother will be left behind on career and looking for someone to blame. Don’t let it be you
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Report
anonymous832426 Aug 8, 2018
Thank you and I agree with what’s being said.
My hubby and I do continually asist my in laws with what ever they need related to their medical bills and basic needs. We have contacted their insurance and seeked out senior assistant programs as well. Also, I have been contributing towards my brother in law children without being ask because it’s not their fault... Will not hesitate to help my nieces , but I don’t believe we must pay off adults debts.
(3)
Report
Did your BIL consult with any of you before he quit his job?

Who is laying a guilt trip on you?

Does your husband's family come from a culture that things of these sorts of arrangements as typical?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report
anonymous832426 Aug 8, 2018
My brother in law never made us aware what his plans were regarding not returning back to work.
Yet his wife makes me feel guilty for his choices. Then she expressed it to her other sister in law and so on.

There’s a bit culture difference but from what I’ve seen the parents would normally move into their kids home or have money saved up to provide extra healthcare services if they decided to live alone.
(1)
Report