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Help parents and put own retirement at risk?
Old 02-14-2018, 03:45 PM   #1
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Help parents and put own retirement at risk?

My DH RE'd last year at 60 to help me take care of his parents. It became too much for one person to handle with them both in and out of hospitals and rehabs often at the same time (I have lupus so am limited physically). They're in their 90s, very frail and needy but have been able to live together in a senior living center. Rent (includes meals) is very high and purchasing additional services (incontinence care, etc) has almost depleted their savings. Throughout their lives, they never thought about saving for their old age and in fact, have given much of their money away to my ne'er-do-well BIL who blew it all and is now completely out of the picture.

Now we are faced with an ethical dilemma - do we sacrifice our retirement to continue to support them where they are now (cost is likely to increase with their needing additional care) or refuse, meaning they will probably end up in separate medicaid homes? Even if my husband could find a job, he wouldn't have time to work! He has to be at his parents five times a day (meds and meals - mother is blind and cannot feed herself; that service is not provided). They expect we will take care of it since we have savings. As they never thought ahead, they don't understand we will need that ourselves eventually and "we worry too much".

Has anyone else been in this predicament? What did you do? If we help we're screwed and if we don't, how do we live with the guilt?
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:07 PM   #2
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That is a very sad situation. You can't sacrifice your retirement for your parents otherwise you will probably find yourselves in the same situation down the road and if you have any kids I am sure you don't want them to face the same situation. I was good friends with a couple both dying of cancer and when they couldn't take care of themselves wanted to go to the same home. It is possible to get them into the same room if there are openings. The easiest way to do it is to go to a home that takes Medicaid once the $ runs out. So use the $ they are paying this senior home to secure a shared room in a nursing home. When the $ runs out the home applies for Medicaid with your permission. I understand the guilt but really it is misplaced and they gave their $ away instead of keeping it for their care down the road. My parents would have never expected or accepted any help from their kids if their $ ran out.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:34 PM   #3
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I had a similar problem. My mom was living at home, but had 24 hour care. Her funds were running low, but she did have a lot of stock. According to my sister, the stocks were promised to her daughters.
I told her in no uncertain terms that I was not going to subsidize my nieces and to sell the stocks. Then I contributed to her care.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:44 PM   #4
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You have already sacrificed your time and personal freedom, and DH has retired early, sacrificing potential retirement savings, to look after your DH’s parents. You have stepped up to the plate in a big way and have no reason whatsoever to feel guilty. (Of course, guilt is often not rational). You also have a responsibility to yourselves to look after your own financial security, even if they did not look after theirs. Do not let their judgment guide your financial planning, because they are not good judges of finance.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:38 PM   #5
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I'm sorry for your predicament. If parents are in their 90's and are running out of funds I think you pat yourselves on the back and say you've done more than most would. Do not sacrifice your retirement. At some point they will need to go on Medicaid and live in a nursing home. Best thing to do is make this transition as easy as possible. Would you want your kids to give up their retirement for you?
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:19 PM   #6
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I feel your pain as I am currently investigating options to try and avoid a similar situation with my 95 year old parents. From your post it sounds like your in-laws are in a 100% private pay facility that does not accept Medicaid. If that is the case, then they will happily drain your in-law's bank account and then evict them unless you can pay. If the costs are anything like what I am seeing in my area, they can easily put your own retirement plans in jeopardy.

My advice, which was also given earlier, is to find the best facility you can that accepts Medicaid patients and to move your parents into it while they still have some money of their own. Worst case, it might make sense for you to use some of your own money to subsidize this move because agreeing to continue to private pay where they are now indefinitely is very risky. Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:32 AM   #7
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I know you said "we" but the first things is for your and your DH to come to an agreement about what should be done. United front type thing.

Since you don't have unlimited funds, they are definitely going to have to move to a place that takes Medicaid. The question is, do they do this before or after you spend a bunch of your money...You can't force them to relocated before their money runs out but you can clearly explain what will happen when that situation occurs.
You say they never thought about saving for their old age, but they are past 90 and do private pay in a senior living complex? I don't think they have done too badly in that regard.

You'll find people that give their parents nothing in a case like this, people who give their last cent and people who give what they can without jeopardizing their future financial well being, so there is no "right" answer.

Unless you have clearly told them exactly how much money you have,after you and your DH come to any agreement it should be possible to say either, we have no extra, we have XXX a month or something along those lines.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:06 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your replies and understanding. My DH (a very loving, soft-hearted guy) says now that we won't sacrifice our retirement but I see how his parents 'guilt' him. "Family takes care of family". The only reason they have been able to afford their current living situation is because they sold their house. That money is quickly running out. Quite frankly, we never expected they'd survive this long. They both qualified for Hospice 3 years ago and have each had several life-threatening hospitalizations.

For the past 3 years my DH and I have been doing all we can to make their money last. They have told us that when they can no longer afford to live where they are, they are going to come live with us. That is their 'retirement plan'. We did take MIL in for a few months while FIL was in the hospital but the stress of it all landed my DH in the hospital too. I just had 2 hospital stays myself in the past month. We haven't even been able to go away overnight in all this time so we are just plain exhausted.

It really helps to just vent and I thank you for reading. I am going to look into the shared room option at a nursing home. I didn't even know that was possible.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:16 AM   #9
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I don't understand how BIL is out of the picture! Unless he is dead, he should be working to support his generous parents.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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BIL is incarcerated. When I took over my in-laws finances and cut him off, he decided to rob a bank (federal crime).
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:50 AM   #11
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I don't know what to offer other than prayers.

My own parents (mid-80s) have managed to cling to life despite multiple strokes and rapidly progressing dementia that landed them both in a nursing home about a year ago. It's hideously expensive, but they have sufficient resources to cover them for another 2-3 years. I don't expect them to outlive their money.

If by some miracle they do last three more years, they'll be wards of the state. All of my brothers and sisters are flat broke, and long before three years from now I'll be retired. Without the steady paycheck there's no chance I could contribute anything close to what it would take to cover parents' expenses.

And I know about guilt. In my family it's our most dominant gene. Some of us are emitters and some are receptors, but there's no escaping it.

As for coming to live with you, is that even possible? "In and out of hospitals and rehabs" sounds like they would require skilled nursing care, not just bunking in with family, especially family members who have their own medical issues.

Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:38 AM   #12
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You might want to check with a local "council on aging" nonprofit or government group to get advice on how the whole transition to Medicaid works, etc. You might also get help with explaining to them why moving in with you is not an option.

Completely agree that you need to protect your own retirement and health as a priority. Hope it all works out OK.
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:52 PM   #13
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My thoughts are with you. MIL has stated that her children are supposed to take care of her. I stated I did not agree, that was not well received...
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:58 PM   #14
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These are tough situations. When my father was on dialysis at age 84, we moved both parents to my sister's house 150 miles away. She put them in a luxury apartment with a maid. But she remained under a great deal of pressure organizing healthcare for both parents my father lived to 87 years old and my mother made 91 years old with a bad heart.

10 years later, my sister still hasn't recovered from those 5 years. The parents really needed assisted living and full nursing home care instead of an apartment and 24 hour caregivers at the end.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by tessaduncan View Post
says now that we won't sacrifice our retirement but I see how his parents 'guilt' him.
Some parents are masters at guilt-tripping their kids (ask me how I know) but objectively there is no reason to feel guilt if you have done what you reasonably could. Sounds like you've done even more than that.

Quote:
we never expected they'd survive this long.
This is a surprise trap that has caught a lot of people. One of my friends started taking care of his mom full time when that's what she needed at age 95. Unfortunately, she lasted to 103 and he was a wreck at the end. Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:28 AM   #16
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"Family takes care of family" by placing them at an appropriate level of care.

At this point, it's clear that is a skilled nursing facility, not where they are now.
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:33 AM   #17
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I agree that it's time for tough love! Like another poster mentioned, find a Good Medicaid eligible place but put your parents in under private pay option. This gets them in ahead of Medicaid only patients on the list. Then a month or more later or near when their funds run out, apply for Medicaid on their behalf through county.

We did this for our Dad and we put him in one place first (not a good fit) then moved him less than a mo later to a much better place (while on private pay). Once he was in new place for a month, we applied for Medicaid on his behalf and Medicaid refunded a good portion of the prepaid private pay money to our mom since the funding is retroactive to his first day in the skilled nursing environment.

You both need to protect your health. Even when they are in skilled nursing, they will still need your help. But skilled nursing on Medicaid means their doctor will be on site (the ones assigned to that facility).
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:12 AM   #18
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I agree that it's time for tough love! Like another poster mentioned, find a Good Medicaid eligible place but put your parents in under private pay option. This gets them in ahead of Medicaid only patients on the list. Then a month or more later or near when their funds run out, apply for Medicaid on their behalf through county.

We did this for our Dad and we put him in one place first (not a good fit) then moved him less than a mo later to a much better place (while on private pay). Once he was in new place for a month, we applied for Medicaid on his behalf and Medicaid refunded a good portion of the prepaid private pay money to our mom since the funding is retroactive to his first day in the skilled nursing environment.

You both need to protect your health. Even when they are in skilled nursing, they will still need your help. But skilled nursing on Medicaid means their doctor will be on site (the ones assigned to that facility).
Good Advice but don't underestimate how stressful this is going to be. So many hoops to jump through, along with the added issue of your in-laws probably not wanting to move. You can't make them move.

Don't kick the can down the road, articulate kindly but clearly and often that you won't be paying their bills and they won't be moving into your home.
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Help parents and put own retirement at risk?
Old 02-16-2018, 09:41 AM   #19
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Help parents and put own retirement at risk?

Having dealt with my own parents decline and ultimate deaths I have decided a successful life (and most certainly a successful death) has three fundamental aspects to it: a) die in your own bed (e.g. not a hospital), b) die with your own teeth basically intact and c) successfully have paid your (and spouse's) own way in life. I was exceedingly glad that my father and mother both passed "successfully".

I am sorry to hear stories such as yours as there are no good choices: only less bad ones. Good luck with whatever you decide.

And I would add that guilt, most likely, is not your friend in these situations...
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:54 AM   #20
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I have been going through the same thing with my aging parents, although they have the funds available.
They had made no plans for the later years and were hanging around in their house doing nothing for themselves being miserable. Just got them into a CCRC where they need to be.
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