Parent health and finance problems

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
thrifty++
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Parent health and finance problems

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:10 am

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Last edited by thrifty++ on Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:43 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Ego
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Ego » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:27 am

I'm sorry you are going through such a difficult situation. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease.

How is your relationship with your biological siblings? Would it be possible to reach out to them and see if you could collectively decide on a united approach. That may help with the guilt.

thrifty++
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:06 am

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Last edited by thrifty++ on Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sclass
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Sclass » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:43 am

Wow. This is complicated. You need to figure out just what you are willing to do. You also need to figure out just what your step mother is willing to do as well as your siblings. What you want and what they want in terms of care level is critical too. If they want top drawer care they need to be aware of the costs and you’ll need somebody with the checkbook who isn’t squeamish about big numbers. What you don’t want is the expectation of top care at a free price. That’s a recipe for stress.

The clock is ticking. Whatever you do, do not wait around for somebody to step up. Even if you don’t want to step up you need to sit everyone down and find out just who will do what and get a plan in order. Stress honesty. Your two resources are family members’ time and your parents’ money. You’ll need to determine how those will be allocated.

Once you’ve decided your level of involvement, somebody must get a DPOA and medical directive in place. You’ll find yourself in a place in the near future where your dad will not be able to sign for himself and you’ll have a $2 million dollar home you cannot easily liquidate to pay for care. Your step mom may not want to lose it. You’ll need to have this power if you are going to take control. Alternatively you will be forced into a game where you have responsibilities without control. Been there done that. It can get ugly when befuddled dad is in the middle wallowing in soiled garments waiting for a decision.

So that is why it is important to get everyone to sit down and make a plan now. Everyone needs to state expectations. If you want to run (and given some of your details I would cut you some slack if you ghosted these folks) you should at least tell people you’re out. My brother did that to me. And, at least I knew not to wait around for his help. It was actually helpful to know who was on board and who wasn’t.

Good luck. What you will find is this is a changing path. A constantly moving target. Things that were important today will be irrelevant tomorrow. So to keep things short you need a plan. Who will do the work. Who will administrate finances and do the medical advocacy. How much care (the kind of care) you’ll need to pay for.

Once you have a plan you need to put it into action. You have a narrow window where your dad will be sentient enough to realize there is a fire burning. Wait too long and he’ll be blissfully ignorant of the problems ahead. Wait too long and the notary won’t validate his signature.

Good luck. This is really short and there is a ton of advice I probably haven’t given. First things first is sit everyone down and find out what everyone wants. Then you’ll know your role. It is really easy to procrastinate. Don’t do that.

There is so much going on in your post my head is spinning. The gay thing. Be careful about using this as a way to reconcile any feelings of rejection you have. I was the black sheep of my family and I craved acceptance and approval from my folks. It’s hard to admit but that is one reason I tried so hard to be better than my siblings. If that’s what you want, fine. But be honest with yourself about it and know you may not get what you want given what you’ll have to pay. At the end of the day it didn’t make me feel any better to show my mom and dad they were wrong about me. Even though I wanted that so much. I still sense my surviving father’s resentment for me. He may even hate me more now that I proved all the crap he said about me to be wrong.

Alternatively you can just tell your stepmom that she has marriage vows and her own resources and send her and your dad on their way. If your step mom is complaining that she needs help she may need to get up close to the reality she needs to give up her current life and deal with the situation.

I’m actually in that situation now with my step mom and father. Step mom is complaining she cannot handle physically caring for dad. Yet she wants to stay in their multi million dollar home and still have money left after dad is gone. Complaining to me currently. Reality versus expectation.

ffj
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by ffj » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:57 am

That's a horrible situation you've been forced into and if there is any good news or hopefulness, it's because you haven't explored all of your options yet.

Plus 1 for Ego's advice. You guys (siblings) need to get on the same page in regards to care as soon as possible, even better if stepmom is included in the discussions. Otherwise the most soft-hearted person will fall into a guilt trap (sounds like you at the moment) and absorb most of the responsibility, creating huge tensions with the other siblings. Fortunately, even though you don't care for step-mom, she is there for primary care at the moment as she should be as his wife. That's a huge benefit.

Even if the other siblings basically refuse to help then at least you will know where they stand and you can make plans accordingly. But you guys need to get ahead of this before it all truly goes to hell if there is no plan or course of action. This is going to require someone to step up and take charge, not an envious task.

You are also going to have to account for this unwanted stress in your daily life and goals. You'll have to accept that this isn't going away and make adjustments accordingly. Some of your siblings are going to bury their heads in the sand and ignore any acknowledgement of the situation, probably hoping that anyone other than themselves takes charge of the situation. Be prepared for that.

I don't know your family history but you are going to have to make a personal decision whether to let the sins of the past dictate your decisions going forward. Either let it go or factor it in, but make a decision.

Good luck. This is probably something I will have to face in my own life in the next decade if not sooner, and even though everything is good at the moment it still causes stress in my life when I choose to think about it. Hang in there.

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Ego
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Ego » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:43 am

The Alzheimer's association has a lot of excellent resources for US based people.
https://alz.org/help-support/resources

I seem to remember that you are a Kiwi. Is that right? If so....
https://www.alzheimers.org.nz/

Sclass
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Sclass » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:20 am

ffj wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:57 am
This is going to require someone to step up and take charge, not an envious task.
........
Some of your siblings are going to bury their heads in the sand and ignore any acknowledgement of the situation, probably hoping that anyone other than themselves takes charge of the situation. Be prepared for that.
This is an interesting thought. Stepping up and taking charge is what I suggested, but then again it may signal the other siblings to run off and hide their heads in the sand. This is exactly what happened in my family. Nobody stepped up and once it was clear I jumped in everyone else hid. I mean they freaking ran for the hills! And they’ve stayed there even after it’s over.

So there must be some balance. What makes taking charge mean getting the job? Yeah, that’s a tough spot. I guess I’d advise to get everyone together but be very clear about what your (@thrifty++) contribution will be.

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Ego
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Ego » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:18 pm

@sclass, I agree. There is a risk to helping at all as this type of situations has a very steep slippery slope. The first person to take action toward solving minor problems in the early stages of the diagnosis is unintentionally signaling to everyone else their willingness to be the point person for the entire process. At least that's how it worked out for my parents.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:23 pm

I feel for you. As I noted in my journal, I have found myself in similar situation with bi-polar mother with whom I have never had great relationship (understatement) who is now experiencing serious hip fail with 2 sisters located at distance and 3rd sister also suffering from mental illness. Nodding my head at good advice offered above. You really need to flow-chart your decision making starting now. I started out with take-charge approach in order to mitigate possibility of disaster while semi-consciously protecting my younger sisters and my adult children from burden and/or fall-out, and also simultaneous to undertaking assignment as 3rd teacher on board with a highly dysfunctional classroom. This was a mistake which led to:

Level 1 Burnout: Still confident I am "handling" it, but finding myself texting 3 sisters to share information and the grim reality at great frequency.

Level 2 Burnout: Realization that I definitely do not want to continue to deal with it on my own. Brainstorming and making 30 inquiries/day in search of help or solutions.

Level 3 Burnout: Desperate to hand off situation to someone, anyone, else. Manage to secure my mother in rehab facility under appropriate code for 3 weeks Medicare coverage. Meanwhile, secure semi-assisted senior apartment for her and oversee entire move on my own.

Level 4 Burnout: Inform my sisters and my mother that I am going off-grid and will not even be available by phone. Ignore all incoming messages.

So, based on my experience, I think what you should do is make use of the sort of advice offered by Harry Browne and actually write out likely to worst case scenarios based on each juncture of your decision tree and likely associated financial, time, social, stress, and emotional costs. These will vary greatly across the spectrum of what might seem like similar scenarios depending on factors such as your own personality type, the quality of your relationship with parent, parent's personality type and particular health problems, sibling and other familial relationships, financial and other assets, etc. etc. For instance, one thing I am dealing with now is the very different flavor of guilt or obligation when dealing with the decline of a parent of whom I am not fond versus previous experiences dealing with the declines/deaths of my father and my grandmother with whom I was very close. As my stress level increased in this situation, I very quickly came to the rational conclusion that my mother might actually be better off in the care of trained strangers rather than somebody likely to flashback on incidents of childhood abuse.

thrifty++
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:34 pm

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Last edited by thrifty++ on Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

bigato
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by bigato » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:55 pm

I’d have severed all ties for much less. I think you should move if it’s not going to cost you much. She has the control, she can decide to sell and she will not relinquish control. Let your opinion be clear to everybody about what you think should be done, and since they’ll not do it, you just make sure to put the necessary “distance” by any means necessary.

The Old Man
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by The Old Man » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:52 pm

https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/abo ... ts/stages/
Link has very useful information on the progression of Alzheimers/dementia.

As others have said and I will reiterate, you need to have a family conference to discuss a path forward. You have $1.2-1.7 million net available to put forward to caregiving. This should be plenty and should not require a financial contribution from children. Time from children should further reduce the financial costs of caregiving and may leave behind an inheritance - maybe. A family conference will address these matters. If the step mother is not prepared to use the house equity for caregiving, then you have to make your own decisions. However, in my mind this would be irresponsible and I would walk away from the situation - the step mother would be on her own.

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers and Vascular Dementia and my father is deceased. We had a family conference and it was very helpful in getting family buy-in on a path forward. Legal/medical documents have been drawn up and family responsibilities clarified. We also have a basic financial plan which is being refined. The worst aspect is seeing the mental deterioration.
Last edited by The Old Man on Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sclass
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Sclass » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:15 pm

thrifty++ wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:34 pm
I would really like them to sell that big house. And use that money to buy a small flat somewhere and have more freedom with money. But my stepmother doesn't want to do this because if they do apparently they will not be able to use any govt care if they have other assets.
Ok, this sounds kind of backwards. Maybe in your country the government doesn’t consider your house as an asset. But, in the US the house is considered an asset whether it is sold or not. We can get government subsidy even while owning a multimillion dollar residence provided we pay it back after the owner of the property passes away and the home is sold.

What I’m saying is for me it was the other way around. We owned a home, thus we looked too rich to get no strings support. We could still get support but Medicare would make us sell the home when it was all done. My folks had joint brokerage accounts which further complicated things. It all needed to be sold off one way or another.

It would have been easier to roll everything up and sell it for cash, spend the cash, then throw ourselves down at Medicare’s mercy at the very end when every penny of mom’s estate was drained.

But then that’s what we want versus what our parents want. In my case my dad didn’t want to sell his jointly held assets. Ever.

I’m going out on a limb here but it sounds like your step mother is being manipulative. She probably doesn’t want to leave her home. By getting you to help she won’t need government aid nor will she have to sell the place. Forgive me if I’m totally wrong on this. Just a suspicion because her explanation is upside down. Maybe things are like that in your parts but it doesn’t sound right. I guess if it is true you can buy the biggest house you can afford then draw state aid while enjoying a mansion.

If she’s the DPOA thats okay. She’s in charge and it’s her problem. I’m with Bigato. Run. It actually isn’t that hard. It is actually the easiest path for you.

You probably don’t even have to resort to fleeing. Your parents are on a collision course. Let things melt down. The home will be sold. The government will step in. All you have to do is keep your wallet closed till this happens. I may be totally wrong here but it sounds like step mom wants to have her cake and eat it too on your tab. Let things fall apart and then they can get state aid.

Good luck with things. Don’t get manipulated.

Edit - @The Old Man beat me to it. well said.

Toska2
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Toska2 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:19 pm

I bluntly stated to my siblings that I want nothing to do with parental care or their estate. My parents' expectations and desires have the ability to sink whole people into the abyss. Talking to my parents before Alzheimers was hard enough.

thrifty++
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:53 pm

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Last edited by thrifty++ on Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

Toska2
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Toska2 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:32 am

I have seen enough to not ignore it. You are ahead of me in this journey. I am letting my feelings known in case the other siblings want the farm (which seems to be more sentimental that a house). Right now the relationships are good but neither side (parents, siblings or friends) are asking much.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:54 pm

All I can say is "I feel for you." On the good side, there's money and assets and people, so hopefully everyone will step up and do their part. On the down side, besides the fact that the situation SUCKS all around, you're probably in for a long haul, so gird your loins. Take a look at my journal entries about dealing with some stuff with my mom. The scenario is different, but... well, I can relate. And I totally get the impulse that you want to move far, far away. I did too... but ended up moving to be close. Seven years ago. And I won't be surprised that it'll be another 7 years for me. Your dad is young--this could go on for a long time.

What ever you decide to do, get some non-judgmental, non-"in the the thick of it," non-family and non-friend support. I have a shrink I vent to once a month, and not only does it help me, it helps my friends not have to listen to me vent. Judging from my own and my friends' experience dealing with aging parent issues, even if you move away, the whole thing may take up a lot more headspace than you expect it to.

I strongly urge you and your family to engage an eldercare consultant. I wish I had done it sooner. I was trying to navigate the whole process myself, and I realized I just couldn't do it, plus there were more resources (and more hassles....) than I was aware of. It may also help if you all engage one together (your family) that you may find it easier to come to an agreement when decisions have to be made. It's a lot easier to do what needs to be done when a professional is telling you stuff. "Thrifty thinks we should sell the house. What the hell does Thrifty know? Oh, the financial consultant laid out a nice plan about why we should sell the house. Hey, I think we should sell the house."

Good luck. Prepare yourself for the onslaught of emotions you're probably going to feel: angry, happy, frustrated, loving, pissed off, frustrated, frustrated, angry, unconfident, selfish, magnanimous, frustrated, angry, angry, and oh, probably angry. And remember this: you can only do what you can do. Even if that feels like nothing sometimes--it's OK.

thrifty++
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:35 pm

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Last edited by thrifty++ on Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

bigato
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by bigato » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:54 am

That's really great, so now you see through all the emotional smoke screen that she uses.
Remember that he chose to stay with her, and after years he definitely know what he was getting himself into and what is happening now are just the consequences. Consciously or not, this is the path he chose.

Sclass
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Re: Parent health and finance problems

Post by Sclass » Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:36 am

thrifty++ wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:35 pm
So I have come to a decision. I wont be giving them any money. I wont be spending any time on care. I will visit maybe once a month to help and spend time. But asides from that they need to make lifestyle changes. And if they don't have money because they want to keep an excessive house they can either sell it or stick reverse mortgages on it as I am not going to pay for any of it.
This sounds very sensible.

Stepmom sounds like a manipulator. How old is she? I think she’ll be forced to get what she signed on for. She’s already rehearsing to be a widow but it isn’t going to work. Let it all blow up, then she’ll be more receptive to alternative plans.

My advice is to come up with some good reasons to avoid involvement. The demands from your stepmother will become more intense. At some point it will blow up. It doesn’t sound like this is a financially sound plan. Of course that is why you’ve been approached...the system requires a new energy source to stay in motion. Don’t go around telling family your ERE lifestyle has made you financially fit. :D

I’ve recently started doing this to my people. When I want them to leave me alone I just make up some story that confirms their beliefs about my life choices. They actually feel sorry for me and go from attacking me to saying “poor Sclass, we warned him that it would catch up with him eventually and now it has. We need to pray for him.” Its amazing how their own prejudices can be used to manipulate them so effectively.

Good luck.

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