Just a quick question, I will post all the other details when I get a free moment. But I have to ask this one now... Social worker finally got back to me this morning. Dad qualifies for a few small things which may help, does not qualify for a number of others (too much social security $) but that's not the main thing here. While she visited, she noticed that my house needs a lot of repairs. When she got Dad a glass from the dishwasher, the dishwasher fell out of it's housing (again) - the countertop it attaches to is rotten underneath. I explained to her that most of my disposable income goes to provide Dad with transportation to all his appointments, extra heat and electricity, adult diapers, bed linen, you name it... whatever he doesn't pay for, I do. Well, long story short - she wants permission to call my siblings to find out why they aren't helping to support Dad? She understands that my older brother hasn't got the resources, but she said that people in my brother's income bracket have no excuse. She claims that often a call from someone like her will make them realize they need to step up... she said it would not be unreasonable for him to provide Dad with $1000-$1500 a WEEK (!). I am still ROTFL... I told her that if she got him to provide $100 -$150 A YEAR, she deserves an award. She acted like she didn't believe me. Anyway, I am tempted to let her try. I mean, at least my brother would understand that it really is serious... but I still think it is a waste of time. Any thoughts? Do you see any possible downside? I mean, beside my brother dying of laughter?

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If a social worker called me to tell me that i needed to contribute money to my mother's support, I'd call his/her supervisor to ask why s/he wasn't helping to identify public resources that my indigent parent could apply for.
Helpful Answer (13)

Erwin, I recently had an experience with a social worker who was far too controlling and intent on becoming more involved than I felt she should be. I suspect your social worker might be the same way. I also don't think she understands the dynamics between siblings who help and those who don't, or that her intervention isn't necessarily going to accomplish anything except irritate and offend your brother, or perhaps both of them.

And, actually, on what basis does she claim to have the rights to intervene in family dynamics? From your posts, I don't think there's neglect involved. And the house repairs aren't necessarily something your brother might be able to fix.

Perhaps you can redirect her to finding low cost or voluntary assistance for the needed house repairs?

Perhaps another question might be what else might she want to do to "provide assistance" to you? Would her intervention make your relationship with your brother more difficult? I think it might, because he can easily determine that she had to have obtained information from you on his lack of help. He might even be less inclined to provide assistance for you then, if he knows you told a social worker, a nonfamily member, that he's not helping.

I think I'd tell her that you've tried everything, he's not going to help and you've accepted that and moved on, and especially that you're not going to dwell on negative issues.

One of the things we caregivers have to learn is what help we can get, who will or won't help, not continue to make an issue out of it, and recognize that we can't change someone else's behavior.

I'm also p'm ing you with some details on other issues I encountered with the meddling social worker, as an example of how a runaway meddler can be.
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Erwin, I apologize if that sounded harsh. There is very little that is warm and fuzzy in caring for aging family members.

Your dad's " independence" is costing you your future. As we age. I believe we owe it to those around us to make our care easier not harder.

As an example, when my ex and I split up many years ago, i was 49. My kids were in college or out on their own. I had some idea of moving to the exurbs or to a fairly rural area. Given my age, i opted instead for a coop apartment close to transportation., healthcare and grocery shopping. If i had to stop driving tomorrow, my lifestyle would be little changed, and my adult kids won't have to sacrifice their futures for my "comfort".
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ErwinA, if the social worker is proposing to call your brother and browbeat him into coughing up actual money... ??? Well, I'd have to agree with Barb: what school did she train in? She has absolutely no professional business doing any such thing.

If, however with your father's and your blessing, she wishes to contact all his non-resident children and update them on the reality of your father's living situation and financial needs, there's nothing wrong with that. If she then has the diplomatic and negotiating skills to get agreement in principle to their support, that's wonderful. But since there is no way this could be made contractually binding, you can't rely on it. I'm not sure how much help it would be to you. Being certain of nothing is actually easier than hoping for help that might never materialise, and could screw up future claims.

So, yes, again I agree with BB - better get her to concentrate first on untangling his financial mess. And, by the way, she shouldn't be taking your money into account either. Your father is a self-contained economic unit in this context.
Helpful Answer (8)

freqflyer - I agree with you in principle. Adult children should not be called upon to provide financial help for parents. But in this case, one sibling is already doing it, because the parent can't function on his own. And in this case, the adult child has received a lot of financial help from the parent, in exchange for a promise to take care of the parent in old age. In this case, I think he should at least be approached, so he understands the seriousness of the situation. His sibling is being impoverished by the parent's needs, and it's not fair IMO to have that burden fall on just one.

But I do agree with you that all elderly should try to be as self-sufficient as possible, and all of us should plan for that. A few years ago I was driving my mother through the downtown section of a nearby town and saw a man in a power chair riding around to do his errands. I said "Look Ma, if you lived here you could do almost everything on your scooter - dr visits, post office, pharmacy, groceries, etc..." She replied "Yes, but then I wouldn't have as much help." Meaning from me and my sisters, who lived in more residential areas. That was exactly my point, obviously. She wouldn't need as much help. She could get around by herself instead of us (mostly me) having to ferry her everywhere. Not a thought on her part to taking up less of our time and resources. Wrong wrong wrong!!!
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Erwin - I like your most recent suggestions. It isn't right for your bro to take money from your parents, while promising to care for them, and then renege on his promises, especially when he is well off. I say "Go for it" with all barrels blazing, You don't have much to lose. Kudos to you for looking after dad, and for recognizing the snake in the grass trying to get back into your life. I have no doubt he wants what he can get..
Helpful Answer (5)

I agree with all that has been stated above, but I'm sort of leaning in the direction of what Churchmouse said. Often the uninvolved siblings have no idea what the parent's care needs or financial needs are, and sometimes they prefer to keep it that way. Unfair as it seems (and is), sometimes the other siblings will feel fine just ignoring the parent as long as there is somebody there providing the care, and they don't take into account what the parent really needs or the costs to the involved sibling of providing the care. And they don't necessarily put much stock in what the caregiver tells them about the parent's needs or the lack of support services available, because they don't personally have knowledge of it.

Perhaps a knowledgeable outsider providing some information could shame an uninvolved sibling into coughing up some help, especially one who has welched on an agreement to take care of the parents. As long as the approach is not "Why aren't you contributing any money?" but is more along the lines of "I've reviewed your parent's situation and the public resources available, and because there's so little available that would genuinely help your parent, I'm reaching out to family members to discuss what they might be able to contribute for the parent's expenses."

Of course, there's no guarantee that the sibling would agree to anything, or that any such agreement would be kept. But I think it would be worth a try, anyway. The social worker likely has more credibility than the involved sibling in the other siblings' eyes. At least, I think my own uninvolved siblings would have responded much better to a social worker than they did to me. They saw me as having an axe to grind, and that gave an excuse to disregard anything I said.

Barring help from the family, I think you should investigate more having your parent move to an area where more services are available. Maybe even sell the house and move with him, to an apartment where somebody else is responsible for the maintenance. That's what I've ended up doing in retirement. Home maintenance costs are too unpredictable - I just don't have room in my budget for them any more.
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There seem to be some strange and/or unknown factors at play, here.

Your brother didn't hold a gun to your parents' heads. They gave him that money. If there was an 'understanding' that it was conditional on his caring for them in their latter years, well, what was that understanding? And was it understood by all parties? Because apparently not; and you don't have to have been born and bred on Wall Street to know that a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it isn't written on, to paraphrase Sam Goldwyn.

Similarly, you don't want your brother around because you suspect that he's after a legacy? Well for heaven's sake man! - If you don't want to name him in your will, don't name him in your will! He can't force you to do it by his mere presence, you know. He doesn't have magic powers.

Reading through, I just wonder if there is in your family in general perhaps a lack of frankness and plain speaking. When your brother drops these hints about invitations, is that not your opportunity to deliver home truths: you, brother, took this amount from mother and father in such and such a year and their understanding was that you would reciprocate when they were in need, so what about it? Provide dates and numbers, make specific claims for specific amounts.

I too come from a family where "beastly money, darling" is not something one talks about. Also one where "a good chap doesn't tell a good chap what a good chap ought to know." Now this is all very fine and morally upstanding and noblesse oblige and all that; but you know what? As a basis for sound domestic management and healthy relationships it utterly sucks. Home truths, plain speaking, frankness and practicality. These need to be your and your father's watchwords. Take brother by the ear and tell him what's what.
Helpful Answer (4)

Erwin, I typically read all the responses, and for this thread would but battling the state treasury department is on the agenda today so I'll come back later.

I did want to suggest contacting one of the Jewish agencies, such as Jewish Welfare Federation or Jewish Family Serivces, even if you aren't Jewish. They've always had a booth at the Area Agency on Aging expos and provided very helpful information, emphasizing that they provide this kind of assistance regardless of whether "clients" are Jewish.

One good social worker told me years ago that one of the Catholic agencies is similar. I don't recall which one it was though, and my notes are in the massive collection of medical records I have.

Another thought occurred to me - sometimes rural areas have their own types of assistance; I have some vague recollection of reading this somewhere. This might be worth some research time.
Helpful Answer (3)

Erwin, just for starts, let me say that you are a prince among men and your brother is a skunk.

My reasoning for thinking that adult children not being financially responsible for their parrnts is as follows:

There has been a huge transfer of wealth in this country to the generation of folks born before the Second World War. SOcial Security,Medicare, all of the safety net programs that didnt exist for my grandparents (who were supported in old age by my parents) were there for my parents. And private pensions. And "golden parachutes". My parents, who were middle class and frugal, retired with monies that I can only dream about. My mom is currently paying $12,000 a month in NH costs and has done so for the last 3 years. We just sold her house, so she's got a couple more years before we go down the Medicaid road.

So you, Erwin, it sounds as though your parents had some bad times, made a poor financial gamble in trusti ng Bro the Snake ( and yes, sue the PANTS off him!) and misunderstood the niceties of record keeping, what to pay, etc.

But here's the thing. What about YOUR future? Is your retirement funded?

Are you inpoverishing yourself by keeping dad in your home and paying for everything?
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