Mother has 3 children who for whatever reason seem to be reluctant to help in the care of their mother.

Who's *responsible*? The lady herself. If she needs help with care, or support generally, it is up to her to arrange it. If she is no longer able to make such arrangements, the responsibility falls to whomever agreed to accept it. If she didn't gain the agreement in principle of any one person to take this job on, for example by appointing POAs, the responsibility falls to willing family members or, if there are none, to her community and then to the state.

This sounds cold; but there is a lesson in there for all of us. We spend so much time discussing elders' current issues but perhaps not nearly enough recognising that those elders will be us in just a short time. And the fundamental point is the same: consenting adults, however aged, are responsible for themselves. We all know exactly when we'll be eighty - God willing - after all. It's not like it happens by accident.

For practical purposes, in the case of this particular aging mother, it is up to her (or her representative, if she can't) to ask for help. If her children are not willing to provide support she will have to look for other resources, and she would do better not to lean on siblings who are, presumably, in much the same age boat as herself. The relevant Area Agency on Aging will offer advice about where to start.
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Reply to Countrymouse
Midkid58 Oct 20, 2018
CM--You are such a fount of wisdom! I had assumed this lady was incapable of taking the reins of her own care.

Absolutely, the person in "need" should make the big decisions. Only if she is completely unable to voice her opinion should she be waiting on her kids to step up. Wish my mother had been more vocal and upfront with us kids.

We're there with my MIL. She simply expects her daughter to take her in and care for her. Daughter already has her OWN daughter and 2 sons living with her. This fact does not seem to dissuade MIL that her daughter "owes her" this.
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I generally don't post 2 discussion boards, but after reading some of the replies 2 this question thought it might be worthwhile 2 add w/ I learned from my personal experience as a primary CG 4 10 years.

1. My dad did not make any provisions 4 the end of his life. In the end, it was up 2 us 3 siblings 2 decide his fate. My brother agreed to step in and take on this responsibility, which he did, sort of. By that I mean, he accepted the responsibility, but did a pretty poor job of it. Without going into all the gory details, my dad eventually ended up in the hospital, where he stayed for 9 months b4 passing away alone in an empty hospital bed. Very sad, very tragic, but that's how the story of his life ended.

2. On the other hand, my mother, who was divorced from my father, did make provisions for the end of her life where she appointed me as the primary person responsible for all of her affairs. She did discuss this w/ me & I more than willingly accepted the responsibility. She also gave me a way out, by appointing my brother as her secondary person, in the event I should need to, or want to step down, which my brother also agreed to, but in the end REALLY did not want to do.

Fast forward 20 years, my mom is now in her late 70's and showing signs of alzheimer's. She sells her home; moves into a townhouse that is 15 minutes from me and lives there for 2 years. By now, I am married w/ 2 small children, 3 and 1. As the disease progresses, the daily, sometimes bi-daily, trips to ck on her are taking a toll. Each visit I find more and more disturbing evidence of the disease progressing. Eventually, we build an oversize garage on our property w/ a 700 sq. ft. apt above it. She lives there for 4 years. My children are now 9 and 6. My mother's disease has progressed to the worse stage, middle-middle to early-late. She now exhibits the "craziness" of the disease. My 6-year old is terrified of her and I am completely stressed, I ask my doctor for sedatives to help keep me from being crazy. Eventually, she's moved into a memory care unit where she stays for 3 years until her money runs out & we're forced to move her into OUR home. Fortunately, she is now on appropriate meds and her behaviors under control. She is still able to attend adult day care, but within a year, has several falls & eventually becomes bedridden; hospice and outside help are now required. She lives another 2 years (praise God hospice never pulled out). By this time, it's costing $3500.00 a month to care for our home. Her SS ck is $1700; we foot the remainder. When this became too burdensome, I asked my siblings to contribute. Neither of them do. I then contact an attorney to ask if the state would take responsibility of my mother and am told; absolutely not. She cited our state law, which clearly states it is the responsibility of the children to care for their parents and offers to write a letter to my siblings, 2 which I declined. I then share this information w/ my siblings & in the end my brother did contribute $400 a month until my mother's death.

What I learned: It doesn't matter w/ anyone else does. It matters w/ I do. I know I did everything I could to give my mom the opportunity 2 die at home w/ dignity, surrounded by warmth & love. The Bible tells us 2 honor our parents & that's w/ I did. We all have our demons & we're all doing the best that we can. I hold no animosity toward my siblings. It's very difficult 2 look death in the face & realize your next. The Bible tells us that there is no greater love than one who is willing 2 lay down his life 4 another. I was taught these words as a child, but did not fully understand them until I was called 2 live them. In answering that call, I drew closer 2 God & He transformed me into a much better person than I was before. Remember 2 turn your eyes upon Jesus and look into his glorious face & the things of this world w/ grow strangely dim.

Don't be bitter. I hope this helps.
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Reply to pinkietuscadaro
Godislove1960 Oct 20, 2018
Thank you for sharing God bless
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See if I understand this correctly: You have a sister who will need care soon. She has adult children but none of them seem willing (able?) to take charge of her care. You are wondering if you and/or your other siblings should take on her care, or leave it to her children. Is that correct?

First, what kind of care is sis going to need? Is this temporary (such as after surgery) or more permanent?

Has sister named a financial POA and a healthcare POA? Who are they? Did they accept the assignment? Note that having POA authority does not require direct caregiving. It could be a matter of arranging suitable care, for example.

What is your sister's preference for care? How do you and your siblings feel about caring for her?

Give us a little more information about this situation, and perhaps someone can share some relevant experience.
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Reply to jeannegibbs

Who should do it doesn't matter one bit. Who will do it? That's the only thing that's important. If no one can be counted on to take care of you, how do you arrange your life to accommodate that fact?
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Reply to Marcia7321

No one who doesn’t want to be a hands-on caregiver should be expected or be assigned responsibility to do so. It’s darned difficult. There’s no training, no compensation unless you get paid from the person’s own funds, and it’s a thankless job. If everyone is passing the buck about Mom’s care, it would be best to call a family meeting and decide what’s to be done.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Just don’t put up with the notion that it’s always a daughter’s duty! It should never be the responsibility of one person, whatever the relationship. All available should do what they can. And, if possible,pool resources & HIRE HELP. And let the aging parent know two choices are available: accept outside some outside help or do without.
Been There
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Reply to annemculver
anonymous444729 Oct 20, 2018
absolutely! I hail from an older parent who has no qualms with expecting everything out of me and NOTHING from my sibling. However, since I am in charge of everything, that means I call in help and sitters. Got tired of being a doormat years ago. My own brother told me to F myself when I asked him for help!
Call me a rebel if you will but I do not believe that children should be responsible for the care of an elderly parent. A few years ago, I was horrified to hear a pregnant young woman say that she was having children "so there would be somebody to take care of me in my old age." What a horribly selfish reason to bring a child into the world.

None of asked to be born - so why should we be "punished" by our elderly parents because they did not plan for their eventual decline and demise? Also, many elderly parents and adult children do not get along and have never been close. Why should anyone want to help somebody they don't even like, let alone a parent who may have abused or neglected them?

Don't know if you have read about the growing phenomenon in Japan of a "lonely death." With so many couples only having one child - or no children - there is nobody to look in on an elderly person who lives alone. So, many are found dead in their apartments.

Perhaps countries need to hire people for the express purpose of looking in on, and providing some assistance, to elderly persons who live alone.
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Reply to dragonflower
JStatus Oct 25, 2018
I agree with you 100%. I didnt choose to be born so why do I have to make up for your poor life choices
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Everyone can't expect one person (usually a child) to do it. But that is usually what happens (often a daughter).

Most have reasons why they can't/won't help. Everyone has a reason, though, including the person everyone expects to take on the job. NO ONE should be EXPECTED to take on the job. Everyone has a right to refuse.

Society doesn't agree, though. A child (usually a daughter) is expected to be the martyr at the altar of eldercare.
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Reply to CTTN55
anonymous444729 Oct 20, 2018
my mother actually had a little saying that goes like this...
A sons a son til he takes a wife. but a daughters a daughter for the rest of your life
Maybe you need to wonder why the children are reluctant.

Is Mothera hoarder? Is she emotionally abusive? Has she rejected their efforts to help?

My mother has (undiagnosed) Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, probably secondary to depression. Which she will not acknowledge or seek treatment for, and which causes extreme issues in our relationship. To the extent that I have to set firm boundaries- to protect myself, my sanity, my marriage and my children.

For example, I am willing to help find doctors, fill out Medicare paperwork, make sure she has transportation to doctor visits. But I am not willing (and am not invited) to enter her home. Because protecting her hoard - a pile of trash and decaying junk - is more important to Hoarding Mother than allowing anyone into her home to bring groceries, help with laundry, do repairs or visit.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I read your post as judgmental of the children. I am sure many people who don’t know what goes on behind closed doors would think I’m a terrible person for “not caring” for my Hoarding Mother. In the way I would like to care for her, but in the way she flatly rejects.

Bottom line - it takes two to tango, so if kids are keeping their distance, I would ask you to consider that there may be a very valid reason.
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Reply to MrsC2018
Annie1967 Oct 22, 2018
How are you ? I am a carer and cleaner for elderly people in Western Australia. I read your message with much interest.
It feels like to me that our message filled with you taking 'the higher road: of you moving forward in aid of your poor Mum's fraility but she isn't.
I smiled when you write, "It takes two to tango," It reminds me of similar relationships that I have encountered in my work.

Congratulations to you for having boundries. I hope this situation gets more satisfactory for you as time goes on,
Kind Regards,
To JohnJoe and Country Mouse, by my estimate I am in year 12 of caregiving my elderly mom in some form or other. The last four years have been quite intense. I think children may be more willing to caregive if there is a specified time limit. For many of others, we don't know when the end is in sight. So I am very careful to judge the children involved without having all the details. Every situation is very, very different. Most people want to do the right thing.
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Reply to tornadojan

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