Our hands are tied over our parents refusal to take care of finances. What do we do? - AgingCare.com

Our hands are tied over our parents refusal to take care of finances. What do we do?

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My sister just called me in a total freak out. She just came back from taking my Dad to have his bottom teeth pulled, the probable source of his sepsis. He comes home from rehab tomorrow after many weeks of treatment and therapy. The good news is he is doing well. The bad news is he and my Mom still refuse to do ANYTHING about their lack of finances (they have plenty of resources but nothing is liquid). They have no cash, none, not even to buy groceries.

My sister takes care of Dads medical stuff and my brother has been helping my Mom sort out the bills but he does not have POA. My parents keep sabotaging his efforts to help them get the ball rolling to bring in revenue from their assets. I have been going to the rehab a few times a week to spend time with Dad then back to their house to give Mom some time. We have all been working hard.

Anyway, my sister made it very clear that arrangements for payment to the dentist must be made ahead of time and she told my brother what he needed to do to help my parents procure care credit which the dentist had agreed to accept. He gave the info to my parents and my Mom told him not to worry, it was taken care of. Much to my sisters horror, when they went to settle out after Dads procedure, the dentists clerk told her nothing had been done and asked for payment in full. She said both of my parents just stared ahead with blank expressions and said nothing. My sister did not know what to do , she said she would have my brother call in later in the day Dads credit card info. When she called my brother he was livid and told her that all their cards were maxed out. Accusations flew and terrible things were said between my siblings. Whats sad is neither one of them are to blame. They are doing their best but my parents will not do their part.

My sister called me, furious at my brother. I let her vent then I carefully explained that our brother was also at his wits end. She calmed down and decided to call our brother and apologize (not something she does very often). I hope my brother apologizes back. We need to work together.

My sister and I are hoping that the three of us can get together to talk about moving forward. It is clear our hands are tied when it comes our parents choices. They will not listen to any of us and I have a terrible feeling they expect us to cover them financially which is something none of us can do. I talked to Dads case worker about setting him up with meals on wheels (which he says he does not want) and I can bring food a couple times a week but they need way more than that. They get social security but that won't even touch their monthly bills because they still have a small business which is not bringing anything in and still has overhead to meet.

They will not even consider talking to an elder finance attorney, as was suggested here, so that is out of the question. It is pointless for us to talk to anyone since we have no power. I don't know what to do. Do we just sit back and let the chips fall? Can I call elder protective services? What would I even say? At this point none of us want anything to do with POA even if they would agree. We are all fine with the state taking over when the time comes.

There are so many more details I could go into but I would be writing into next week...what a mess.

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I am having finance problems with my mum too i would suggest if they have no dementia then stop helping until they release some assets. You want food then give me money!

I have had to do this with mum and she has dementia she is over generous then wont even give me money for food until she wants tea and theres no milk!

I know i need to get POA but its hard trying to get her to understand. Its awful i have had to take money from her purse a few times as it was easier than trying to explain things!
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Thank you all again for your words of support. I will take your words to heart and try to accept this thing I cannot change.
I brought Dad home and got him settled in. He was so glad to be home and so was my Mom. I hate their behavior sometimes but I do love them both. I need to remind myself that they are damaged and doing the best with what they have. As dysfunctional as my upbringing was it was plenty worse for them, especially for my Mom. I am going to keep a safe distance but be there for them when I can.

And whats that about an Extreme Cheapskate show!!! Oh I gotta check that out. There is something weirdly comforting about knowing there are other people out there who are just as bizarre...
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It seems a sort of lifelong mental illness that both parents have - perhaps your mom is more a "ignore it and it will go away" type of person, while your dad is a miser. I suspect even professional help would probably not do much to help them, not that they would accept it. For sure, you and your siblings should avoid entanglement in their finances - if anyone hears that you're going to assume responsibility, they'll be on to you like fleas on a dog. And you definitely should not be paying their bills. The social worker's advice to let it all play out is probably best. Sounds like it is approaching that, with the credit cards maxed out. And I'm not going to even advise checking into stuff like have they been filing tax returns, etc. I think you are looking at a toxic swamp and don't want to even go near the edges, lest you fall in. Could I suggest holding onto your siblings like the lifesavers I suspect they will turn out to be? I know my sisters are my best friends, can trust them with my life without thinking twice and have found over many years that if we "hang together" we won't hang separately. I cannot help but suspect that a divide and conquer strategy may be occurring to your parents as they find they cannot stave off the falling financial house of cards. I'm not sure you actually have to have a formal dementia diagnosis, just a situation where they obviously cannot take care of themselves to get a public guardian involved. Bankruptcy may turn out to be your friend.
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You poor dear...and your siblings too. Although clearly your parents are mentally ill, ultimately they are so selfish not to consider how this impacts you all. Sadly, you will have to let something awful happen, that will require hospitalization. And then you will have to indicate to discharge planning that no, you and your siblings will not be helping because your parents won't give you the tools to help.
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I spoke with my Dads case worker and told her the short version of my parents situation and she told me there is nothing I can do, that my parents will have to deal with it. They have the right to make their own decisions no matter how bad those choices are. I said, "but what if something awful happens because of it" and she said they will have to deal with that too....and the consequences. I'm probably going to call the Elder Affairs office anyway. My sister and I are going to meet on Sunday to talk. I don't think my brother will come because he is still pretty mad at her.

We did arrange meals on wheels so that is good news.

In answer to some of the questions asked. My parents work alone. They have a shop and they deal in a specialized collectibles market. Mom doesn't know much of the business she goes mainly to be with my Dad. She has not been going in while Dad has been sick. Their business has been going downhill for quite a while because the market has changed and they are not willing to change with it. That happens to a lot of old time business owners.

Even if there are books they would never in a million years let us see them.

No they are not losing weight, not yet, up until now they have been buying their own groceries because they had some income coming in from the shop although they have also been using credit cards which are all maxed out now.

I'm off to bring Dad home now. I'll be praying for patience and if that does not work I have lorazepam :)
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Oh my they are an accident waiting to happen. Like I said before I would love to understand what makes some people so cheap. Have you ever seen that TV show Extreme Cheapskate? Now that is crazy run amok.
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Tryingmybest -- Meet with your siblings and figure out the steps to take to wash your hands of this and walk away. It sounds like a lifelong nightmare for you, and these are the natural consequences of your parents' actions -- and inactions.
I think, if you can make the calls this week, and get some answers and a plan in place, you will feel SO much better. Let us know how it goes :).
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Thank you so much for understanding palmtrees. My Dad is the cheap one and he controls all their finances. My Mom on the other hand has always refused to get involved. She has told me many times that she hates dealing with bills and money, it gives her a headache.

My parents both believe they are going to resume their old life, including their business. They are really in denial. As for inheritance, I seriously doubt that has ever entered their minds. I have been asking them for years to please liquidate what they have to do things like put in a safe shower (they have a claw foot tub) or get a new stove because their oven has not worked for years. They live with questionable wiring all over the house...on and on.

Once when I was told they don't want to spend the money on something important I got really exasperated and said "you can't bring it with you". I told them to please use what they have now because us kids sure as heck don't want it in the end. Mom just sneered and said "oh you don't have to worry about THAT happening" I don't know or care what she meant by that but after, I just gave up trying to talk to them about it.

I did not mean to go off on this. I work really hard on letting go and staying focused on the important stuff. I guess I'm just feeling a bit lost right now. Thank you again for understanding.
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Wow and I thought my parents were cheap. Is one parent the really cheap one and the other codependent? My mother is the cheap one, dad just let her be. We too did not receive the proper care, never spent a dime on us. Mom does pay for a few things around the house now that dad is dead but she grumbles as if she were a poor, poor widow. We are estranged because she told my brother I wanted money from her, to feed my kids! Total lie, just an excuse to keep me in the dark about her finances. My husband has plenty of money and always has. I have no need to ask her for anything.

I know you love your parents but they are beyond selfish. What they want is you guys to pay their bills and for what? To save a business, to pass on an inheritance. I would love to do a study on the psychology behind excessive cheapness. My mother is beyond cheap and I married a very cheap guy( you marry what you know). He will struggle and struggle with paying for the things we need. Yet he has many investments and accounts (all his of course). All of our friends laugh at him as do I and his family. He is getting worse with age as your parents have. With my husband it is about the security of "having" the money, not using or enjoying it. Believe me it boarders on mental illness.

These types will wear you out and cause enormous stress for you if you let them. That is unhealthy. I am sure someone on here will give you good advice about having a guardian appointed at some point. It sounds as if that may be the best thing for your family. Don't let them destroy your relationship with your siblings. My brother and I barely speak now due to mom's manipulative ways and he being very much like her. Good luck to you.
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Thank you. I hope to have a meeting with my siblings this weekend. I will think about all you have said. Today I pick my Dad up from rehab and bring him home, I will try to talk with his case worker at the rehab before we leave and see what she says. We have no money for lawyers so I think I will call Elder Affairs in Massachusetts to see what they say.

I do know one thing, untreated mental disorders often get worse with age so even if it's not dementia it could be that as was mentioned. I will try to find out about a psych evaluation.
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