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Care of an elderly parent...postponing retirement
Old 10-21-2009, 02:39 PM   #1
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Care of an elderly parent...postponing retirement

Hello. This is my first posting but I've been reading threads regularly since I was turned on to them by my husband a month ago. I've always been a saver, and after tracking every expense for 3 yrs, and running the numbers using several differant programs, I find we're financially ready to retire now - both age 56. Our retirement plan is to travel around the US for one year, living out of our motorhome, then relocating from Colorado to the Texas Hill Country. But.... we have to postpone our plans because we have an elderly parent in assisted living and no other relative to take him to appointments, just visit, etc. Anyone else with a similar experience?
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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Hello. This is my first posting but I've been reading threads regularly since I was turned on to them by my husband a month ago. I've always been a saver, and after tracking every expense for 3 yrs, and running the numbers using several differant programs, I find we're financially ready to retire now - both age 56. Our retirement plan is to travel around the US for one year, living out of our motorhome, then relocating from Colorado to the Texas Hill Country. But.... we have to postpone our plans because we have an elderly parent in assisted living and no other relative to take him to appointments, just visit, etc. Anyone else with a similar experience?
Welcome! My gal's Mom - coming up on 95 - is still living in her own home. It takes a fair bit of input from my gal to facilitate that and give Mom the impression that she is independent. Lots of driving and doctor visits and shopping and house, well, and road maintenance. Lots of bill and bookkeeping and juggling of caregivers when she isn't on site. We would be happy to not have that care, and looking forward she has a couple years of dealing with her Mom's estate as executor whenever Mom does go.

The good thing is that her Mom is a really sweet lady and I figure that she put more than a few years into forming the gal I have the privilege of living with, so payback, in this case, is not a b*tch.
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:49 PM   #3
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The good thing is that her Mom is a really sweet lady and I figure that she put more than a few years into forming the gal I have the privilege of living with, so payback, in this case, is not a b*tch.
Calmloki, you are such a nice son in law!

Welcome, wishing4it (great name)!
I postponed a lot of living, but not ER, for parental care reasons. That's just what you have to do sometimes.
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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One never regrets doing the right thing. I wish my parents were still alive to afford me the privilege of caring for them. I try to be attentive to my only living aunt, my Mom's younger sister, aged 92, but she is very independent and resists help. She wants to be on the giving end, not the receiving end. I also have a 61 year old mentally and physically handicapped cousin, the daughter of my Mom's older sister, that I try to visit at least monthly in her personal care home. I will become her guardian when my aunt is no longer able to do this, and will need to get more involved. This is what might finally push me into retirement.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:03 PM   #5
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Wishing4it brings an interesting discussion to the table. Regardless of whether one wants to be the caretaker or not, many of us are the only "in towner" and will have these duties fall to us.

And given the fact that more are living longer, we will be caretaking for parents in our 70's when they are in their 90's.

We are facing this possibility in the future. When my husbands parents have fallen ill in the past, the claws came out as everyone in his family had an opinion. One even stated that "nothing is more important and we can all put everything aside to do what needs to be done". Of course, the reality, is that is not true. And he could not take his turn because he had other commitments.

I would be interested in hearing more from those that are in this role or have been in this role.

Does one postpone retirement- retire before ready to assist, spend their assets to assist only to be in jeopardy later, take in another resident.... please those with experience share their experiences, and perhaps lessons learned.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:41 PM   #6
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Wishing4it brings an interesting discussion to the table. Regardless of whether one wants to be the caretaker or not, many of us are the only "in towner" and will have these duties fall to us.
...... please those with experience share their experiences, and perhaps lessons learned.
Lots of different circumstances out there and as many choices. In our case my gal was a good friend to my mother and well in the forefront in making her last months as good as could be. Guess I got lucky with a very caring warm woman. We don't have any kids, so anything we spent on our folk's care does not steal from our children's mouths - we only need to be comfortable that our own needs will be met. Given that we are doing just fine financially and don't have any caviar dreams our choices are fairly easy. Also doesn't hurt that we are both pretty much service oriented (she more than I) - we both saw our jobs as being to exceed the expectations of our customers. As real estate people we also tend to take a long view on commitments - once on a path we tend to put our heads down and pull.

It might be more fun if we could cut loose and cruise for longer periods - but it might be that we would be rudderless boats. Right now there is the possibility that the other sister might move in with Mom and relieve the gal after her 3 years of monthly flights and stays. If it works that would be great, but you can color me dubious - other sister makes NO commitments to anything and I think there will be more stress for us and less care for the Mom. We'll see.

Everyone has to chart their own path.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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... Our retirement plan is to travel around the US for one year, living out of our motorhome, then relocating from Colorado to the Texas Hill Country. But.... we have to postpone our plans...
It is not clear whether you are still working, or have retired but have to delay your travel plan.

My wife is taking turns with her siblings in taking care of her 90-yr old father. Per my signature line, she already retired. My FIL's condition had nothing to do with her decision to leave the workplace, but of course we have to delay my recent plan to go on an RV trek. I still have to get an RV yet, however.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:59 PM   #8
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My 90 year old father lives with us. He is healthy for 90 but has had boughts. We have a bus service out in the country where we live. After encouraging my father to try it he now likes it, gives him a social time. We try to limit our camping to 5 days. Monday through Friday when amatures are at work. ha ha I guess I encourage myself with the thought that it is a blessing to be able to help my father.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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I was almost retired when my Mom started needing more care and since my job was flexible I was able to be with her a month when she had her knee replacement at 91 . After I retired I took care of her when she her Carpal tunnel surgery . I was always the person for the medical care . My Sister insisted my Mom give up her apartment ( She was doing fine on her own with a nurses aide that I paid for ) ,She is now in Florida and I share her care with my sister . I usually have her every other month for ten days . So far it's okay . It has worked out that she thinks of my house as a vacation . So we go out for lunch ,shop ,go to the movies ,etc.. It really hasn't put too much of a kink in our lifestyle . We just plan trips for when she is not here . We would like to do a really long trip but that will have to wait .
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:59 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your responses. I guess many of us have had, or are having similar experiences. For now, I'll continue working, socking away more savings, and enjoy the time we still have with my DH's father. In his case, he appreciates what we do for him which wasn't what I experienced with my own mother. Some people get mean and nasty as they age.. I hope I'm not going to be one of them!
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:47 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your responses. I guess many of us have had, or are having similar experiences. For now, I'll continue working, socking away more savings, and enjoy the time we still have with my DH's father. In his case, he appreciates what we do for him which wasn't what I experienced with my own mother. Some people get mean and nasty as they age.. I hope I'm not going to be one of them!
I don't think you said how his health is, other than he is in assisted living. Be aware that you are putting off your plans for an potentially very long time - people can live a really long time! We have decided to go ahead and live our lives, and hopefully when we ER and move next year, my parents will move with us. Depending on circumstances at that point, either they will buy a house or move in with us - that will certainly have an impact on the size house that we buy! But putting off our plans until they are gone could take 20 years - we have a long-lived family! It may sound selfish, but we want to ER so that we can enjoy our health while we have it.

Is there any way that you can pay the assisted living facility more, so that they can take care of some of the day to day stuff? And you could plan to fly "home" every month or so - or just take shorter trips for a while, before the grand tour.

I hope that this doesn't sound callous - certainly not intended to be!
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:33 PM   #12
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Found this site (Brit I think) on various aspects of elder care. Do take enough sodium chloride along with it.

are old people expensive?

One of the letters to the editor at the above site:

Australian old folk
"It's unfortunate that your website is Anglo centric. We have a different type of old person in Australia these days. They all seem to be trim, tanned and driving 4wd Beemers. They've told the kids, grandkids and great grandkids to piss of and to forget about any kind of inheritance as they intend to live it up for as long as it lasts and they don't mean at the local bingo hall.
Most of them are buggering off to Bali every chance they get or heading for new age re-birthing events at Byron Bay. They wear a lot of brightly coloured Hawaiian shirts but do tend to paint their beachside bungalows beige probably in deference to your expectations.
Mostly they do smell a bit, usually of marijuana and have Jamie Oliver parties where everyone gets their gear off in their designer kitchen. I was allowed an escorted visit to one of their wine cellars recently to taste a vintage bottled at the year of my birth, 1981, and it tasted like crap compared with my hosts 1951 Grange Hermitage."
Kev from Oz
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:54 PM   #13
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OP:

Everyone's situation is different and yet the same. Usually, it falls on the daughter to do most of the care.

Siblings who live far away always end up complaining, not realizing the stress the son/daughter who lives the closest is going through.
ie. emergency calls, handling financial and medical questions, etc.

My wife and I have been through it, and still are. Life is not fair. Just follow your conscience.

One thought that helped us, was: " If your Mother / Father were mentally sharp, would they want you to stay and watch them 24/7, or take the vacation you had planned.."

Hope, that statement makes sense.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:57 AM   #14
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Wishing4it brings an interesting discussion to the table. Regardless of whether one wants to be the caretaker or not, many of us are the only "in towner" and will have these duties fall to us.

And given the fact that more are living longer, we will be caretaking for parents in our 70's when they are in their 90's.

We are facing this possibility in the future. When my husbands parents have fallen ill in the past, the claws came out as everyone in his family had an opinion. One even stated that "nothing is more important and we can all put everything aside to do what needs to be done". Of course, the reality, is that is not true. And he could not take his turn because he had other commitments.

I would be interested in hearing more from those that are in this role or have been in this role.

Does one postpone retirement- retire before ready to assist, spend their assets to assist only to be in jeopardy later, take in another resident.... please those with experience share their experiences, and perhaps lessons learned.
This is a very good question and it not a bad idea to add this situation to one's planning for ER.

My husband and I are in this situation currently with a twist. We also have two disabled brothers to care for. Further both my husband and I worked in the Long Term Care industry prior to FIRE, me as a nurse and he as a therapist.

Some history. My husband being an only child had the full responsibility for his mother's care until her death four years ago. This fell during the first three years of our marriage and was gladly done. My mother-in-law was wonderful to me and was like a second mother. We were able to keep her in her own apartment until the last two weeks of her life when she was hospitalized and then transferred to skilled nursing where she died.

We learned a lot from that experience however with one of the most important being not to postpone our life to care for relatives. These situations can and often time do last for many years and by the time you have seen to it that your relative has every thing they need you may be in need of care your self and life has slipped by.

There is no law that say we die in order or that the caregiver never gets sick or disabled them selves. My husband and I are very much aware of this. He is 67 and I am 54. We are aging too and there are health issues of our own to contend with so postponing our lives is not a option.
We have decided to do the things we want to with our retirement, the hobbies, the travel etc. and make it work with our care giving duties. The one thing that we did give up was the option of relocating to another part of the country or out of the country. We are staying put in order to care for my parents any my two brothers.

We do take extended vacation and will continue to do this. We do maintain our social, cultural and entertainment interests. We do take last minute trips.

My advice is plan your life, live it and do your homework re. assistance and support services in your area. This includes friends, relatives (yes even the distance ones) and neighbors. Caregivers tend to have a bad habit of shouldering the load all by themselves and not asking for assistance when there are people and services around willing to help. Caregiving should be a part of your life it should not be your life.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:09 PM   #15
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Our retirement plan is to travel around the US for one year, living out of our motorhome, then relocating from Colorado to the Texas Hill Country. But.... we have to postpone our plans because we have an elderly parent in assisted living and no other relative to take him to appointments, just visit, etc. Anyone else with a similar experience?
I guess I wonder why you can't modify your plans rather than totally postpone. That is, perhaps change the order of things. Perhaps retire and postpone the year long trip or the move. Or, if the elderly parent is in assisted living and has no one else nearby could he move to assisted living near where you want to move?

Could you get the motorhome and take some short trips and hiring someone to assist with appointments. I know people with parents in assisted living and they hire people to do these things when they are out of town. I agree that a year long trip might not be realistic but I don't see that you have to postpone retirement altogether.
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