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siblings and elderly parents
Old 07-01-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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siblings and elderly parents

Not quite sure where to put this thread, but here goes.
Any advice on dealing with siblings and the health/disability cost of care for elderly parents? In my case it's not money its a control issue. The dollars are not critical, and mainly involve the enhanced costs of visiting after my parent was moved across the country to live with the sibling to make it "easier" on the sib with the legal control. So far I just grit my teeth and pay, but none of the other 4 siblings can easily afford to visit given the travel costs.

Broader issue is handling the health care costs for super elderly. My parent has a good government pension but has gone through all other assets. (some grumbling on how money was spent but it was spent on care directly or indirectly) There was never any question of spending an "inheritance", only whether Parent would eventually need medicare. Parent has non alzheimers dementia, good lucid intervals, bad times are increasing. We Skype a lot. Will be 90 next year.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:07 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear that she is not all there.... I have to admit that I am lucky that my mom, who is 90 also, is doing pretty well all things considered..

I do not have any advice for you... but give some more info for people who might..

It appears dad has passed... yes?

Who decided that the other sib was to be legal guardian?

If there are 4 other sibs... and you... and sib taking care that make 6... where do the most of them live? As an example, I live within a mile of one sister so Mom moved closer to us... there is another sister about 50 minute drive and another about 3 hours... so it was where it was easier for her to be cared for and visited...

Do YOU want to take full time care If not, then you do have to grit your teeth and live with the result... if you do... well, you are a lawyer and can make some changes if you want to press it.

Does sib taking care pay all the bills that are not paid by pensions etc.?


IMO, I would say that the primary care giver has to have the most convenience... and if that is Mom living at their place (which, BTW is NOT a picnic from what I am told by someone who does this)... then that is the decision.... nothing more you can do about it...

Good luck...
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:10 AM   #3
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Are you asking if you should offer to pay for your sibs' travel expenses? Many families do that. The closest I've come to that kind of thing was to split the cost of planefare so an old good friend could attend a wedding.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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Whatever you have to do is easy compared to the sibling who is taking care of mom. They have the real burden.

Yours is nothing compared to theirs.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:38 AM   #5
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Are you asking if you should offer to pay for your sibs' travel expenses? Many families do that. The closest I've come to that kind of thing was to split the cost of planefare so an old good friend could attend a wedding.
More my nephews and nieces. All in their late 20s but not really up to paying the cost
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:44 AM   #6
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Whatever you have to do is easy compared to the sibling who is taking care of mom. They have the real burden.

Yours is nothing compared to theirs.
I know, believe me I know. Sib writes about it every day on a Blog. But my tongue has tooth marks on it from biting it. I say nothing. I know there is a bit of sibling rivalry being acted out.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:50 AM   #7
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It appears dad has passed... yes?

Who decided that the other sib was to be legal guardian?
If there are 4 other sibs... and you... and sib taking care that make 6... where do the most of them live? As an example, I live within a mile of one sister so Mom moved closer to us... there is another sister about 50 minute drive and another about 3 hours... so it was where it was easier for her to be cared for and visited...

Does sib taking care pay all the bills that are not paid by pensions etc.?
IMO, I would say that the primary care giver has to have the most convenience... and if that is Mom living at their place (which, BTW is NOT a picnic from what I am told by someone who does this)... then that is the decision.... nothing more you can do about it...Good luck...
No legal issue. Dad died several years ago. Caretaking sib is genuine in desire to provide good environment. I don't always agree with choices but say nothing, not my call. current issue is really cost of visiting. Cost of care may come if/when condition deteriorates. Most of family live on east coast , where parents always lived. 14 grandchildren, none within 800 miles 5 great grandchildren, same.

Should mention that sibs spouse deserves medal or sainthood
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:56 AM   #8
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Any advice on dealing with siblings and the health/disability cost of care for elderly parents?
In my case it's not money its a control issue. The dollars are not critical,
So far I just grit my teeth and pay, but none of the other 4 siblings can easily afford to visit given the travel costs.
Broader issue is handling the health care costs for super elderly. My parent has a good government pension but has gone through all other assets. (some grumbling on how money was spent but it was spent on care directly or indirectly) There was never any question of spending an "inheritance", only whether Parent would eventually need medicare.
From what you've posted I have a hard time understanding the issues.

If dollars are not critical then money is not the issue.

If control is an issue, what is it that you want to control? Or what is it that you want someone else to control?

If you're unhappy over how the money is being spent then perhaps the dollars are more critical than stated. If the dollars aren't critical then you'd have a hard time caring how they're spent.

Or perhaps you're feeling that the dollars aren't being spent in the best interest of the parent. If that's the case then the best way to assert control would be to have guardianship/custody of the parent. Any other debate over how the money's being spent might be seen as interfering with the sibling who's on the line and making the day-to-day decisions.

I think most U.S. citizens over 65 are eligible for Medicare. Perhaps you're referring to Medicaid.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:11 AM   #9
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From what you've posted I have a hard time understanding the issues.If dollars are not critical then money is not the issue.
If control is an issue, what is it that you want to control? Or what is it that you want someone else to control?.
My apologies.
It's not current money, its potential future custodial care expenses. I could be faced with the situation that my parent ends up in less than acceptable custodial care situation due to lack of long term financial planning. Planning horizon was the control issue. Sib with legal power assumed parent had short life expectancy and spent accordingly. When assets dwindled Sib moved parent out to live with Sib. Situation Ok at the moment, but future is very very uncertain.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:40 AM   #10
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My apologies.
It's not current money, its potential future custodial care expenses. I could be faced with the situation that my parent ends up in less than acceptable custodial care situation due to lack of long term financial planning. Planning horizon was the control issue. Sib with legal power assumed parent had short life expectancy and spent accordingly. When assets dwindled Sib moved parent out to live with Sib. Situation Ok at the moment, but future is very very uncertain.
Then I got your first post wrong...

I was thinking it was the cost of everybody else having to fly to visit...

If it is the future costs and who has to pay... well, the money spent is already gone... nothing can be done about it... IF the sib who has custody comes asking, that is when it should make a difference.... if they do not come... then I would assume they are fine with paying it themselves...

I don't think sib did anything with malaice.. they were probably thinking correctly that there would be a shorter life and wanted to have mom stay where she was at and enjoy her life as best she could... trying to save money just to spread it around between all the sibs is not the goal... having mom comfortable is... now that the money is low, things have changed and... they are what they are....
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:50 AM   #11
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Sorry to hear about your situation.

Posts like this make me so happy that my family gets along, and that my siblings are fundamentally polite, kind, responsible, good, intelligent, and financially realistic. We all considered my mother's happiness and wellbeing above all else during her declining years, and my brothers did a responsible, competent, and generally outstanding job in helping her with her finances.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:00 PM   #12
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Since your Mom has a good government pension this would go to pay for her care . Does she also have SS ?
My Mom is 94 and lives with my older sister .I have my Mom every other month so she can have a break and believe me I love my Mom but when that week is over I'm so glad she lives with my Sister .If something happens to her it's going to be rough .We also know my Mom is one fall away from a nursing home and hopefully her SS and two pensions will cover most of it . It's tough when your parents get old .
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:35 PM   #13
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My apologies.
It's not current money, its potential future custodial care expenses. I could be faced with the situation that my parent ends up in less than acceptable custodial care situation due to lack of long term financial planning. Planning horizon was the control issue. Sib with legal power assumed parent had short life expectancy and spent accordingly. When assets dwindled Sib moved parent out to live with Sib. Situation Ok at the moment, but future is very very uncertain.
Many of your posts have a writing style that seems to be very curt and somewhat cryptic. It reminds me of military SITREPS where every word counted against limited communications bandwidth, or a PowerPoint brief full of bullets. Of course the martial effort to be succinct also led to misinterpretations and confusion. Maybe it'd clarify matters to burn a few extra articles & clauses on the first explanation.

It seems as if everything has worked out "so far so good". Would you have cut back on the quality of the earlier care in order to have the prospect of a higher quality of future care? It sounds like the caregiver has recognized the issue and is now making up for it by boarding the parent. In this situation I'd be happy to write checks in order to avoid having to take my turn boarding that parent. Or even worse, having to assume legal responsibility.

Of course if control was truly that important to me, then I'd try to board the parent at my place or offer to pony up the extra funds to enable them to go back into a higher-quality facility. Good thing the money's not critical. Perhaps the highest quality of care would be whatever arrangement everyone could agree on without having control issues, or at least agree who's in charge and who's writing checks.

I've read that dementia/Alzheimer's make the patient's personality more of what it's always tended to be. Perhaps the family & caregiver's situation also makes sibling relationships more of what they've always tended to be.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:49 PM   #14
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More my nephews and nieces. All in their late 20s but not really up to paying the cost
I guess that would only be a problem if they care. Have any nephews and nieces expressed any desire to go visit their grandmother?
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:35 PM   #15
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Nieces and nephews should not be expected to contribute to the cost of their Aunt's care and from what you said they aren't likely to be able to visit often. It is what it is.

Your Mother's care is the responsibility of you and your sister (assuming that there is just the two of you). Your sister offering to take her into her home is HUGE! She needs respite resources, it is an exhausting task.

You and she should sit down to discuss this and consider allocating all of your Mother's income to her current care needs. At the same time you and she should start scoping out other care arrangements in you sister's community. Some require that a resident be able to pay full cost of care for a year and will not admit a medicaid patient off the street. Most private care facilities are nicer than the facility that admits a medicaid patient from the get-go, but not necessarily. Medicare has the results of state evaluations of facilities on the Internet. Look there to find the best on their list and take a look. Medicare and medicaid are not the same thing. Medicare facilities receive patients discharged from the hospital (say after surgery for a broken hip) so are 'skilled'. Medicaid is for individuals whose income/resources are insufficient to pay for custodial care.

The worst position to be in is to need to make a decision about a care facility for a frail relative tomorrow... and not having a clue. Been there, done than, and it wasn't fun. Anticipate the worst and help your sister make the best decision for your mother... and for her!
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