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Aging parents and wanting to retire
Old 01-23-2011, 04:51 PM   #1
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Aging parents and wanting to retire

What is a person to do when you want to retire and move to that special place far away but you still have parents that are needy and living in the same town. It seems to be a choice between nursing home, which would consume any inheritance or feel guilty and move any way or just stay where you are and endure the situation? Feel that DW and I are FI and have been waiting for several years to retire but can not seem to seem to make the leap. I am 60 and DW is 57. Any thoughts? Thanks, fun in the sun (you can just call me fun)
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:22 PM   #2
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Welcome! I can somewhat relate to your situation. I am not yet FI but would feel very guilty moving away while parents are still around and needing my support.

I assume there is zero chance that parents would want to or could relocate to that special place with you?

I of course do not know all the pertinent details, but could you retire anyway if FI and take long vacations to that special place, while still having home base close to parents?
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:43 PM   #3
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Welcome ! How about a compromise ? Stay where you are but spend several months in the winter in someplace warm.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:45 PM   #4
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Welcome!

Not an uncommon situation. In my case, my mother needs more care than I can possibly give her, so she is in an assisted-living memory-care facility. It's a great place, and I'm very happy she can be there. It's close enough that I can visit her nearly every week.

Unfortunately, it's also quite expensive. She will exhaust her assets in about three more years at the current burn rate, and she has some serious longevity genes, so I don't know what the situation will be like then.

However, I never counted on an inheritance. My perspective is that it's her money, and if she consumes it all before she goes, so what?
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
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IMO, there are two important things to consider:

--Are you/DW providing actual daily care for them*, or is it more of just a 'peace of mind' of being nearby if they need you? (*i.e. if you relocated, would they immediately need to hire a home nurse or move to a facility if you weren't there) If the later, what is the expectation when they reach the point of 'needing daily living assistance'? Would they move in with you? Would you spend x hours a day at their place to help them?

While it is admirable to spend many hours with a parent to give care, it can take a big emotional toll.

--Was anything ever specifically mentioned over the years/is there a history of the children taking care of the elders when they grow older? A big difference with this is that as longevity has increased over the years, current 70/80 year olds didn't have many parents live into their 70s/80s/90s, so it wasn't as common of a problem for them to worry about.

I know that this would be an incredibly emotional subject to even think about bringing up, let alone discuss in a logical, straightforward - yet caring - manner. Just by bringing it up and having to ask, you can look like a heartless person who doesn't care about your elders and only you....but by not even bringing it up, you end up putting your life on hold to be 'on-call' for the parents. It will likely take a simple - yet very difficult - question to talk to the parents about what they would like and expect, and then talk to determine if there is any sort of compromise that could make both sides happy and feel satisfied.

I suppose the parents in question have just one child to count on?

Do you have any children that are in the area that can offer companionship/assistance to a limited degree? Perhaps have them be the "on-call" relatives in case of emergency? If something ever does develop, you could always come back to take care of them.

In my personal situation, I've ended up being the primary companion of a late 80s widowed grandmother, who's only child spends most of his time out of town (and even when he's in town, his attention/care is minimal). So when my parents reach their 80s/90s, I'll simply treat them with the same care he gave his mother. But, this likely isn't similar in other families, so I can't offer any personal examples for you.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replys. This my first post but have been a reader for some time. I agree the inheritance is not a big deal since as I said we are FI. It is more of an emotional thing. Do not think that our mothers would entertain moving to Fl and health might not permit it anyway. Like braumeister's mother they have good genes, which I am sure we will appreciate some day ourself. We do go to our second home for 2 weeks at a time about 5 times a year. You might think that would quinch the thirst but it simply makes it worse. I am self employed (small retail business). We would liquidate the business if we could get over the emotional part. Are we selfish and expecting to much at this time? Do we just need to settle down and let time solve the delima? Thanks, fun
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:18 PM   #7
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:17 PM   #8
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We told our children not to expect any type of inheritance. That being said, we're not going to cost them anything because we both have LTC that will provide enough money to put us in a very nice facility.

We've had the "end of life" discussion with each other, children, and pertinent relatives. We do not expect any of them to give up or delay their dreams in order to take care of us. They don't live near us now and we do not expect that to change. We're hoping by the time we need some assistance more programs will be in place that will allow us to have extended care in our own home. If there comes a time we can no longer live at home, we'll sell the ranch and move into a long term care facility.

I have empathy for anyone who has not had these discussions with parents, siblings, and children. It's heart wrenching to read posts such as this and understand the feeling of helplessness of having to make a choice.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replys. This my first post but have been a reader for some time. I agree the inheritance is not a big deal since as I said we are FI. It is more of an emotional thing. Do not think that our mothers would entertain moving to Fl and health might not permit it anyway. Like braumeister's mother they have good genes, which I am sure we will appreciate some day ourself. We do go to our second home for 2 weeks at a time about 5 times a year. You might think that would quinch the thirst but it simply makes it worse. I am self employed (small retail business). We would liquidate the business if we could get over the emotional part. Are we selfish and expecting to much at this time? Do we just need to settle down and let time solve the delima? Thanks, fun
I dont think you are being selfish for wanting to pursue your ER plans. We are in a similar situation with my mother. I have a sibling in the area, but he also talks about moving when he retires.

Our plans are to travel a lot when we retire in 2(?) years. We may also move to where DD lives - 800 miles away. I will stay in touch as much as I can and help out when we come home....but the point of retiring early (for me anyway) is so that I can travel while I am young and still have my health.

**I should qualify all of the above by saying I have a lot of "unresolved issues" with my mother....so that probably helps assuage my guilt a little. That and she doesn't really seem to care much about any of us right now anyway. (Ooops - there goes an unresolved issue again )
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:58 PM   #10
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MoreBonds, Thanks for your lengthy reply. Your post is helpful. To answer some questions. Both fathers have passed and mothers are in their 80's and do not drive now. Our two sons are in the Navy and deployed a lot. Our siblings do not live close and do not show a desire to help much anyway. Think, like you said we need to have a heart to heart talk with mothers and seek solutions that will be best for all involved.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:11 PM   #11
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MoreBonds, Thanks for your lengthy reply. Your post is helpful. To answer some questions. Both fathers have passed and mothers are in their 80's and do not drive now. Our two sons are in the Navy and deployed a lot. Our siblings do not live close and do not show a desire to help much anyway. Think, like you said we need to have a heart to heart talk with mothers and seek solutions that will be best for all involved.
Are there funds available (either to the mothers or possibly you) that could provide some time of care to them in their home, grocery assistance, driving, home health care? If so, that may be a workable solution.

My own mother is in her 80s and she does still drive locally although not anywhere that is a long distance. I am an only child and live 250 miles away. She does have a nearby sibling (a few years younger) who is good health and drives so she does have some help.

That said, she is starting to forget things (no signs of dementia but just more and more forgetfulness) and doesn't take good care of some of her health problems.

She is fiercely independent and wants so much to stay in her own home. She would never consider assisted living. In our current house we have a guest house that we have used for her visits but we plan to sell it and are building another house. In building the other house we are building it with the possibility in mind that she will need to move in with us. We have told her that she can move in with us any time she decides that she needs or wants to. She doesn't like the idea because we are very different. She is a compulsive house cleaner, loves to watch TV (ABC, NBC, and CBS only -- she dislikes even having cable available as she gets lost on the channels), and is an earlier riser. We are more, umm, indifferent on cleaning (not dirty, mind you, but just not up to her standards), have pets (she feels they make things unclean), don't like TV (but the kids like cable...) and I sleep late and stay up late. She views living with us as a true loss of independence.

I guess I feel that obligation to provide a home for her and don't mind doing it. But, it is ultimately her choice whether to avail herself of it at all and while I will keep her needs in mind I also don't want to change my fundamental lifestyle.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:16 PM   #12
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East Texas, You are very unselfish. As a result of your post, we intend to have the same conversation with our sons. It is definitely a feeling of helplessness and guilt. You are kind to not put this on your children. KM, Thanks for sharing your situation and thoughts. I feel some better now.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:20 PM   #13
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MoreBonds, Thanks for your lengthy reply. Your post is helpful. To answer some questions. Both fathers have passed and mothers are in their 80's and do not drive now. Our two sons are in the Navy and deployed a lot. Our siblings do not live close and do not show a desire to help much anyway. Think, like you said we need to have a heart to heart talk with mothers and seek solutions that will be best for all involved.
Given that more than one family - and more than one child - is involved, one other thing to bring up at this point in time is her healthcare directives and durable power of attorney: does each widow have the above in place? If not, you can buy complete kits on-line for maybe $100 that will get all of that filled out and taken care of.

If they both have trustees, etc., then perhaps let the trustee take the charge of initiating this discussion and issue (if it's not you/DW ).

Since the other siblings are moved out and away, have either mother ever made comments about "oh, I never see so-and-so"? Or are they in the same state of her grace as you and DW, who have so faithfully stood by their sides? I'd imagine that if/when you do leave town, their attitudes may change if you spend any appreciable time with her currently, and they are suddendly left with no one (just as would happen with my grandmother - as long as I take charge and sacrifice myself, all is well...but if I moved out of town, hellfire and brimstone would raineth down upon everyone's head).

In the course of your discussion, I'd at least make the offer to see if either mother would be interested in looking into condos/apartments/facilities near the place you would be living - that way, in a sense, it is HER decision on whether she is content being left alone, or if being near a child is that important to her, rather than it being YOUR decision to 'abandon' them.

If one of them doesn't want to move, ask her what is keeping her there, since they apparently don't get out much - so the inside of a house in one part of the country shouldn't be that different than the inside of any other house/condo in another part of the country!
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:38 PM   #14
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Katsmeow, We are much like you and your Mother in terms of such different likes and desires. It would be a disaster to have either one move in with us but we would do it if we had to. They love for us to do the comprising and running and catering to while our good years slowly slip away. Guess us Boomers are unique in lots of ways.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:10 PM   #15
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Our only living parent is MIL who is 90, sharp as a tack, and will probably live another 10 years. Fifteen years ago, we moved (currently 1,200 miles away). She relied most heavily on the eldest child who recently had a stroke and is no longer able to do much of anything to help her. Her middle child lives about 50 miles away and she calls him frequently with a "to do" list. His health is not great and his patience is short, but he visits once or twice a month to address her list. DH is the youngest and MIL has gotten used to the fact that we are not there often, but he does call to visit every week.

The older two siblings have had "the talk" with her numerous times. Sell the house, move into something smaller. They have taken her to look at condos, apts. and even several really nice senior developments. MIL won't have any of it, meantime the lawn needs mowing, or the leaves need to be raked, and on, and on. MIL expects her kids (70 and 72) to do it for her. She still drives, goes to the doctor, buys her groceries, etc. Her position is that she's not leaving her house and that is that...and BTW someone needs to get over here now and do...you name it. DH doesn't argue with her. He is of the opinion that she's going to die in that house and that's the only way she's ever going to leave. He talks to her about hiring someone to take care of the yard and finding a handyman who can make the repairs she needs. She finally did hire a house cleaner. She does have adequate funds to hire people to help her.

We invited her to come visit us for a month or two to get out of the cold weather. We offered to buy her airline tickets. Turned us down flat...can't leave the house and her puppies. She plans to have knee replacement surgery in a couple of months and will check herself into a rehab facility until she is able to take care of herself at home. All three of her kids said no to her request to "move in with me for a few months and help me rehab at home". She had hip replacement surgery several years ago and never fully rehab'd because it was too painful. She planned to have both knees done, but the doctor will only do one at a time. My greatest fear is that the rehab won't go well and she will have limited mobility. Then what?!..."the talk" again?

I'm sorry that I don't have an answer for you, but I feel your pain and you have my sympathy.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:37 PM   #16
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Given that more than one family - and more than one child - is involved, one other thing to bring up at this point in time is her healthcare directives and durable power of attorney: does each widow have the above in place? If not, you can buy complete kits on-line for maybe $100 that will get all of that filled out and taken care of.

If they both have trustees, etc., then perhaps let the trustee take the charge of initiating this discussion and issue (if it's not you/DW ).

Since the other siblings are moved out and away, have either mother ever made comments about "oh, I never see so-and-so"? Or are they in the same state of her grace as you and DW, who have so faithfully stood by their sides? I'd imagine that if/when you do leave town, their attitudes may change if you spend any appreciable time with her currently, and they are suddenly left with no one (just as would happen with my grandmother - as long as I take charge and sacrifice myself, all is well...but if I moved out of town, hellfire and brimstone would raineth down upon everyone's head).

In the course of your discussion, I'd at least make the offer to see if either mother would be interested in looking into condos/apartments/facilities near the place you would be living - that way, in a sense, it is HER decision on whether she is content being left alone, or if being near a child is that important to her, rather than it being YOUR decision to 'abandon' them.

If one of them doesn't want to move, ask her what is keeping her there, since they apparently don't get out much - so the inside of a house in one part of the country shouldn't be that different than the inside of any other house/condo in another part of the country!
We do have POA for each mother and I know what you mean when you say things are good as long as you are giving it your all but the whining and guilt loading starts when you miss a visit or simply do not have the time for them. This has been my first day to post and I want to thank everyone for being so straightforward and kind with their advice and sharing. I just learned how to use a different spell check (ispell), which I had to download since it is different than I use for e mails. Hope there were not too many misspelled words in previous posts. Off to bed, fun
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:06 PM   #17
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Fun in the sun: How involved are you in the lives of both of your mothers' today? You said "they were needy" but is that an emotional need or are you guys performing chores for them (doctors visits, grocery shopping...etc., visits to keep them company...daily, weekly....etc.? ).

Are you able or do you think you would be able to coordinate from a distance for the less serious stuff if they needed it?
The critical juncture given otherwise reasonable health for their age is when they can no longer drive.
How important is that inheritance to you? There is nothing wrong in not wanting the doctors, specialists and nursing homes to get rich off of our parents. I have several friends who tell horror stories about all the costly procedures and attempts to keep their parents alive far longer than was necessary...to bill, bill, bill. It is also true it is your mothers money to spend. If you are not there who will be and do you trust them? I had a situation with my mother where one of her sitters was writing checks out of her check book. Had I not been here, I would not have discovered it and no telling how far it would have gotten.

My siblings and I took care of both parents in their home. My parents had people to keep up the yard. We didn't have the primary care taking role in that we arranged round the clock sitters......but we did visit daily, run errands daily, drove to doctor visits, arranged for nursing care, kept up with their meds, hired and managed the round the clock sitters, food, took over their finances paying bills and making deposits as well as any legal work they wanted done......etc. There were multiple hospital stays over a two year period of time. I had the primary role for my mother and my sister had it for my Dad. Even when my parents could afford all the care they needed....our roles were difficult enough. They wanted to die at home. A nursing home or assisted living facility was not an option - and they could afford it. Doing it the way they wanted was almost like running a small business. I had to have 6 to 10 sitters on the payroll...to get thru 1 week of 24 hour care. (depending on who needed time off).

In my case it was a labor of love to be able to do this for my mom. I realize not everyone may feel that way.
Good luck to you with your decision.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:14 PM   #18
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Katsmeow, We are much like you and your Mother in terms of such different likes and desires. It would be a disaster to have either one move in with us but we would do it if we had to. They love for us to do the comprising and running and catering to while our good years slowly slip away. Guess us Boomers are unique in lots of ways.
One thing I've toyed with was if my mom needed help but didn't have to absolutely have to live with us is renting her an apartment or even a small house very close to where we live. That would enable her to have more independence but we would be close enough to help on a more regular basis.

I wonder if that might be an option for you...move and let the mothers move into some place close to you. How do they get along? Could they move in together?
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:28 AM   #19
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When my Mom still lived up north and we were all scattered she started leaning heavily on my sister that was the closest . I suggested we hire a home aide and she would not hear of it because that was our job . I finally did it anyway . It cost $17.50 an hour and the woman would do anything . She drove my Mom to the hairdresser ,out to lunch , to the doctor's . she would grocery shop and do laundry and even clean closets . My mother loved her and it worked out well and relieved some of the pressure on my sister . I would leave town for a few months and go this route .
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:18 PM   #20
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When my Mom still lived up north and we were all scattered she started leaning heavily on my sister that was the closest . I suggested we hire a home aide and she would not hear of it because that was our job . I finally did it anyway . It cost $17.50 an hour and the woman would do anything . She drove my Mom to the hairdresser ,out to lunch , to the doctor's . she would grocery shop and do laundry and even clean closets . My mother loved her and it worked out well and relieved some of the pressure on my sister . I would leave town for a few months and go this route .
That's a great idea. How did you find someone to do this?
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