Mom is 93, lives alone in paid-for house, drives, cooks (well, microwaves ready-made stuff) and is in good health except for some hearing loss. All her marbles, no falls so far, and still enjoys fiddling with her yard and plants. I see her about once every two weeks, when I take my daughter’s two little ones over to visit for a couple of hours, which she enjoys. That’s really all the interaction we have; she and I have never been close, and as she seems okay, I don’t feel any need to do more.
My younger sister adores her, calls her daily (sometimes more), and accompanies her to any doctor appointments that involve an out-of-town drive. They have always been much closer, and, frankly, that has been fine with me. I have been perfectly happy all my life with our assigned roles, i.e., I was/am the brainy, unsentimental one, Sister was/is the cheery, lovey-dovey one. Suited me then, suits me now.
Well. I recently learned that, unbeknownst to me, Sister took Mom to visit a retirement place—nice, good reputation, not one of the over-the-top, outlandishly-priced country-club sort, but certainly expensive. It is not a care facility; really, just old-folks apartments with a restaurant-style dining room. And, I guess, activities and such.
When I found out (Mom told me, after the fact, and mentioned the monthly fee) I called Sister and said, “You realize that a place like this will not accept Medicaid, and if she sells her house, she will have too much cash to even APPLY for Medicaid, and by the time she spends it down—“ that’s as far as I got. “She will NOT need Medicaid!” gasped Sister. “I would never, ever put her in one of those horrible places that accept it!”
”Well, if she has spent all her money on this apartment place YOU decided she should visit, then gets sick, falls, and needs a different place, where will she get the funds for something that meets Your Highness’ lofty standards?”
A few beats of silence. “Well, from US, of course. That’s what children do for their parents, isn’t it?”
This is not a problem yet, but of course, could be any day now. Mom could easily live to 100 (genetics strong and oh, Lord, medical science can keep the old darlings hanging on forevvvvver these days), and when her money runs out (house is all she has) she will HAVE to have Medicaid, or go private pay, and the bottom line is, I vote the former, and Sister is clearly going to be Hell-bent on the latter.
i don’t think there’s a compromise, is there? I am unwilling to ask my husband to dig into our own (ample) retirement funds to bankroll what could be a very long, drawn-out gig. If my sister wants to spend her own money, that is her business, I suppose.
I dread the next few years. Has anyone else been utterly at odds, philosophically, with a sibling about this issue, and how did it pan out?