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I was diagnosed with an inflammatory form of arthritis in 2014. Presently, I cannot do a lot of standing without causing a flare up, joints giving out, etc. I also have a hard time lifting heavy objects. This makes me concerned because I'm only 31 and an only child. My parents are in their 60s and have medical issues of their own. Father has diabetes and osteoarthritis. Mother had to have a hip replacement and double knee replacements. There is currently an issue with my mother in law. My father in law passed away unexpectedly and left her some life insurance money. It's going to run out in a few years. She's self employed but the business only covers it's overhead, not living expenses. She rents. My husband only has one brother, but he lives out of the country. My husband expects that we'd need to have my MIL live on our property. He thought I would be able to take care of MIL in addition to our kids. I reminded him about the disability, and we was like, "Oh yeah you have your own issues". I think the best course of action would be to plan on returning to work once the parents, and possibly MIL need caregiving, and then pay for a caregiver to do all the things I'd have trouble with (grocery shopping, cooking, heavy lifting, etc). That's expensive, but my previous job was a desk job that paid decently enough, engineering. Think this is a good idea? And I wonder if the brother in law should at least be helping financially with my MIL and not leaving all the caregiving to me and my husband? What do you think? Engineers only make so much and I'm on the hook for my parents care and they have no assets to fund their care. They are renters too.

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Why aren't your parents and in-laws making their own plans for their retirement?
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As someone who just endured fireworks over my non-cooperation with my In Laws assumption that they would move in with us for me to take care of them...... deal with the elephant now. There are others out here who can help you initiate the conversation. You should not have them live with you and you should not be financially responsible for them. There are programs to assist aged people - my mom has a beautiful 2 bedroom senior apartment for $350 per month (pegged to her income). She pays $2 per trip to grocery or doctor with a senior van. There are other options - start with this site - financial information etc to educate yourself. And help educate your parents and IN LAWS also.
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Wouldn't paying for your parents' and MIL's care mean you wouldn't be saving for your own old age and retirement? Wouldn't that create extra burdens on your kids?
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Both my mom and step mom had started with the Area Agency on Aging. They live in a small town of 3,000 people and found housing pegged to SSI, meals on wheels, local senior transport, in home visitors, etc. They also helped both apply for Medicaid - my dad when he needed nursing home and my mom because of her low income.
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Oh my. "Hopefully there would be money left over to invest in our kids and our retirement." Maybe, if you do the saving and investment necessary. But definitely not if you take on financial responsibility for two sets of parents. Have you looked into what in-home care costs? Assisted Living Facilities? Nursing Homes?

If you are able to work that might be an excellent thing for you to do, on many grounds. But I cannot at all understand why you feel responsible for your parents' finances. Can you explain that?
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arthritismama, don't be surprised if your parents or in-law refuse to talk about their finances.

I tried to get info out of my parents [in their 90's], but you would think they were in the witness-protection program. Once I was able to take over their finances, as Dad was thinking bills were junk mail [don't blame him] then I got a better handle on what net worth they had and what they could afford.

Also, sometimes our elders still view us as being quite young. I was in my late 60's when I was helping out my parents and sometimes they thought I was still that young 20 or 30 year old who could do everything and anything, like climbing ladders, or buying 30 bags of mulch and unload it in the backyard :P
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Your parents and INLAWS need to be making plans for their future and they are responsible for their finances -not you.
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Thanks all for your input. I started thinking about my parents finances since my mom, who usually does not want to think about these things, asked me if my MIL was planning to live with us when she was older. My father also started to fill me in on their financial situation in a more round-a-about way to figure out what are plans are. Everyone seems afraid to have an open discussion about it. I started to think about my families finances since my condition is getting worse and I may need to be able to afford getting help at home and fund my kids college later. That's when I thought about the potential need to fund my parents help too. Talk about needing a lot of money! It's looking like my parents, and potentially MIL, may need Medicaid when they need a lot of help. I hope they are aware of this possibility. My parents are starting to worry about my condition and ask questions. I'm guessing the elephant in the room is that my parents and maybe even MIL are relying on me to help them when they need that kind of help but my condition is getting noticeably worse. Currently my MIL is in better physical condition than I am.
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I'd make a firm NO now. Your health and retirement comes first. Then your kids' futures (I see a free college education staring at them down the road! That may be due to scholarships or online, but that still costs room & board!), and that drains everything. Parents are going to need to pay themselves.

My old pastor's inlaws from Korea were able to find a senior apt in an ethnic area of a big warm city, many miles away from their daughter. It was on the bus route, it was close to their choice of stores, and they were able to find a church with people from their home country. They did not speak a word of English when they immigrated (legally for all the worrywarts!). The Papa was in his 90's and still getting around the city to go to his prostate cancer treatments! The parents are just dumping on you.
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Many of my friends are in the sandwich generation and would like to discuss their elders' aging and end of life plans. No one knows how to broach the subject - meanwhile - it is sort of communicated somehow, not directly, that my generation is expected to take in and house the elders when needed. Especially the older ladies as they know nothing about the bank accounts etc.

Some have tried the "gee, a friend of mine had this happen with her parents.... we have never talked about your wishes for....." to open the door to conversation. Some parents surprised but understood that middle generation would not take them in. Some were angry or frightened - but at least the conversation started.

Good luck!!
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