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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Secondly, I can understand your husband wanting to be there and do the right thing..but until you actually step up to the plate and do it...you have no clue what in entails to take care of an aging parent...I have two and it is a full time job...along with all the other elements....that fall in to play, their aggression, medical issues..outside family interference...it is a never ending all day life consuming process.....do the appropriate thing...get him the help he needs..
why should the grandchildren benefit...absolutely not...his money should be for his care..your father in law has the money..use it for his health..not for his children or the grand kids.
This is not an easy road to convince your husband..but maybe if he looks at it through another perspective he may get a clear understanding of what needs to be done. and not take on this emotionally, physical and challenging battle..because .it will consume your entire life..
If anyone objects, why? It's not their decision to make unless they are going to take care of him..if all of his children are willing to do their fare share and take turns..then it can be worked out in that manner.... but if all the burden falls on you and your husband...then it eventually will become an issue as time goes by emotionally and physically.
Best of luck to your and your husband...you have a long road ahead of you.
Maybe there's a compromise in here somewhere. Maybe the father can be convinced to pay for a few hours of outside care each weekend day so that all the siblings can have some time with their families. As much as I believe that the father should pay for care if he can afford it and not expect his grown children to take care of him, I would feel the same way as the OP's husband because I would not want to be the shirker among my siblings. JMO.
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.
However , if the parent can afford health care this option should be pursued. This does not mean we are abandoning our parent as we should keep a close check on them and their caregivers.
Hope his is helpful.
So what you really, really object to is the old man's pigheadedly staying at home and being tight-fisted and expecting his busy adult children to pick up the slack? So you take issue with his wishes: 1. to live at home; 2. to economise on his care so as to earn his grandchildren's gratitude (mm. Maybe).
The thing is. From the average forum member's (i.e. my) point of view, your husband is being a Good Guy. He's sharing his siblings' work to fulfil your father's wishes to remain in his own home. And as long as they all pull together, the theory goes, the burden will not fall too heavily on any one person and they will each have contributed to making their dad happy in his old age. It's not really that reprehensible, is it? But you still resent him for wanting to do this?
I truly don't mean this as a criticism, it's just a question: do you have a well-established dislike of your FIL? Has he p*ssed you off substantially before now?
My question to you is: what if this was your mother or dad? would you feel the same way????????????????? I am the only child who takes care of my mom, and dad
24/7. I have four selfish sisters who feel its not their job. I cherish the moments that I have with them everyday as I don't know when the end will be. I take the good and funny of the day and delete in my mind the bad. my parents are still in their own home and 92 years old and I moved in with them. my husband supports me completely as my partner. I also helped care for his mom for a year and a half until she passed. My husband has parkinsons disease and he chips in as much as possible. my children also help out as much as they can. I am sorry but I can not agree with some of the responses given , its how I feel.
My advice is to go look in the mirror and see if you like who is looking back at you. If all your DH is doing is taking dinner over 1 night a week, why the big stink? If you don't want to cook for your FIL, let your DH bring him a plate from the restaurant.
YES, you deserve a life too. If it was you who became incapacitated, what would you want done for you? I married a man who took care of a bedridden wife for 2 years! I recognized that this man would also take care of me if I became incapacitated and I appreciated that thought.
I am one of 4 children, the youngest girl, and it was me who wound up assisting my dad - we moved him onto our property in a new mobile home, right in our front yard.
My DH didn't resent this - he would come in and tell me that my father looked lonely and I should go over and visit. He realized early on that anything I did for my father, I would do for him too when needed. My DH was 2 years older than my dad - and DH is still here but Pop passed on 6 years ago. We are not sorry for the kindnesses we showed to him.