My husband and I have been having this fight for the last three years. His elderly father can't take care of himself yet wants to stay in his home. He can afford to hire live-in help but won't because he wants to leave the money to his grandchildren. Therefore, he expects his adult children to take care of him. All of them work and have their own families. They all take turns bringing him dinner one night a week and the unmarried son moved in with him several months ago. The son now has a girlfriend and wants to be with her over the weekend. The other children decided that when the live-in son decides to leave someone will stay with the Dad over the weekend. I resent my husband because I don't think it's his responsibility to be his father's caretaker and he does. Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.
When our parents was growing up it was often assumed children would care for them when they got old. The children, particularly the daughters, owed it to them. Why, I don't know. The thing now is that caregiving can go on more than 10 years and totally rob the caregiving child of her own retirement.
Does a child owe their parent this significant chunk of their own life? Of course not. But you can't convince the parent of this, because the parent is focused on their own comfort and security. It is not really that they want to save the money for the grandchildren. They don't want to leave their home and change their lives. If there are many grandchildren, the amount of money divided up wouldn't amount to much unless the elder was very wealthy.
I do think that now life is longer that children should help to make sure the parent is safe in a good community. 3% of adults live to 100 now, so when we think of caregiving we have to consider the number of years. I've been with my mother 8 years -- 12.5% of my life as a caregiver and counting. Personally I can't imagine how a parent would ever ask this of a child.
This was long before I knew about these forums here, and that I could set boundaries. What I was doing was enabling my parents to keep up their life style while I had to change mine. Thus, I did start to cut back on what I was doing as I was employed full-time, and getting up in age myself. My parents still viewed me as the "kid", someone with a lot of energy.... nope that ship sailed a few years ago.
My daughter has an elderly man as her neighbor. He lost his wife 3 years ago. His kids have been beyond amazing. One is there everyday for several hours, and he doesn't go a single day without hearing from or seeing each child (they're all in their 60's, but still). He actually gets a little tired from constant outings and stuff, but is too sweet to tell them he's wearing out (he's 91). They have maintained that for the 3 years and it is going well.
They are NOT the rule--more, I see one person handling ALL of the problems of an aging parent. And the anger and resentment that comes. My own family is fractured beyond repair, as 3 of my sibs are MIA & want nothing to do with mother's care. Initially, it was to be split up so no one got overwhelmed.
I think it IS our responsibility to make sure our elders are safe, cared for and in comfortable surroundings. I do NOT think it's our job to run and fetch and wear ourselves out for their comfort. A fine line and only you can answer as to what is right for your family member.
I don't think it's fair to EXPECT our children to care for us in our old age, especially when we can afford to pay for it. Bringing dinner one night a week is nice. Spending weekends for who knows how many years is more than I would agree to. Maybe occasionally but not on an expected schedule. How many siblings are there? Chances are, even if they begin this schedule they'll start to realize how difficult it is and how much time it takes away from their families. Especially as the father's needs increase.
The good news is that your husband is looking at this as HIS responsibility to look after his father and not as YOUR responsibility to take care of him.
Good luck with this!
If parent has the means to hire in care and assistance -- then they should do so. Unfortunately, I don't think parents understand today's world and how busy families are with their own children, work, and often being long distance and not living nearby or in same household with elder.
If you continue to provide these "prop ups" by someone living with FIL, providing meals, and stayovers -- they won't ever get hired help and as they age, it just gets worse and more skilled care is required.
Have a family meeting and decide what everyone is willing and wants to do. Fill in the gaps with references & costs for hired in help (grocery shopping, cleaning, meal prep, monitoring dad). Take the plan to dad and discuss with dad. Tell him the family can no longer continue as they have and hired help will start X day for 4 hours daily or whatever you decide. Stick with the plan whether dad tries to fire them or not.
Tell him if he isn't open to part time help, then the next step is assisted living at X dollars. Explain to him that this is how family wants him to invest his money; not saving for grandchildren or tell him he can gift $1000/child annually if he likes while he spends his own money on his own care.
I find this comment interesting... What about the non-caregiving spouse giving their best to their spouse?
I do not fill "obligated" to care for my mom... It is love and respect that drives me to care for her. I am blessed with a husband that totally supports this. We cared for his father, in our home, over 20 years ago when he had congestive heart failure. We care for his mother too although at this time she doesn't require the level of help my mom does. I have 5 adult children and am blessed that they help out too, with the support and understanding of their spouses. It is not expected of them, they simply volunteer when they see a need. That is what family is all about.
The quote I remember is, " one mother can care for 10 children, but 10 children can't care for one mother." I think that is a sad statement.
If you had a mommie or/or daddy dearest, ruined you life and theirs, walk away and don't look back.
Decent parents are at least owed supervision and management of elder care. And of course there's a wide spectrum of cases in between horrible and wonderful parents.
My folks drive me nuts with the inheritance argument. They're stuck in a 1950s mindset and can't imagine that basic facility care can be 5 or 6 K per month. They have this idea that they're just going to die peacefully during Judge Judy someday in the far, distant future.
So meanwhile they refuse in home help and won't hear of moving to assisted living. I do what I can, take care of finances etc., but I'm not going to enable their fantasy of no outside help by running myself ragged and sacrificing my life.
I remember very well many years ago when mom and dad moved my grandmother in. One week did em in. Off to the nursing home she went.
When a person is caregiving in the home, but vents something bad about her parent, it is, "You need to be more respectful of your parent. Honor thy father and thy mother."
Then if the parent is abusing the caregiving child, it is, "It is just they don't feel good. They're old and you need to learn about caregiving older people."
Then finally you get sick and it is, "I don't know why you didn't put them in a nursing home."
This is all written halfway as a joke, but we do hear these things A LOT. I've really come to believe that you can't please anyone but yourself. When it comes to caregiving, almost no one is going to be hapyy with you. None of the above statements really bother me. I still do choke on the "You owe them because they changed your diaper" statement. That is the dumbest statement on record.
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