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Thread: How to prioritize and anticipate aging parents' needs?

  1. #21
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    OP, I am the last one to counsel you to living your life in deference to what’s going on with your parents. In my family my brother in another state took care of our mother in the same town till she went to a nursing home.

    But she had all of her ducks in a row before she got dementia: she told us about money, our names were on her accounts, I THINK he had power of attorney and power of health attorney (csnnot remember) , and she also sold her house and downsized a couple of times, even though the house she and my dad lived in was just a little 900 square-foot ranch with a typical suburban yard.

    OP, it is hard to know from your first post what exactly you know about your parents plans. But I will tell you that you should be afraid, be very afraid, if they truly have no clarity on how they will get out of their house and they haven’t talked with you about their finances. That is a Time bomb with a short fuse since they’re in their 80s.

    You should have a talk with them about their plans if you truly don’t know about their finances and their next step in living. If they don’t want to talk to you about that, then you’ve done your due diligence and you owe them nothing when the time comes because I guarantee you the time will come when they will expect your help, and you may be off on a .european adventure at the time.

    It is always a mad scramble, getting elderly incapacitated parents into a living situation and dealing with their house. There are tight deadlines and big financial impacts and tons of things to do. If no preplanning has taken place, then it is 10 times worse.

  2. #22
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    My MIL was/is one of those women who always depended on others to figure out her life and take care of her. And even now that she is in an assisted living facility, she is still entirely dependent on her children to tend to her every whim. And now it must be decided what to do with her house since here derelict niece has moved out. None of us ever expected her to live to be be 87 but yet it drags on...

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    My MIL was/is one of those women who always depended on others to figure out her life and take care of her. And even now that she is in an assisted living facility, she is still entirely dependent on her children to tend to her every whim. And now it must be decided what to do with her house since here derelict niece has moved out. None of us ever expected her to live to be be 87 but yet it drags on...
    Isn't that good news that the niece moved out? Wasn't it a possibility for you to buy the house and move back?

  4. #24
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    Isn't that good news that the niece moved out? Wasn't it a possibility for you to buy the house and move back?
    I agree, that seems like the best thing. Why is it such a chore to decide what to do with the house? It seems like your husband’s family will clean it out and sell it As IS In a housing market that is a strong as it’s ever been and you will have no trouble getting rid of it. That money can go to pay her assisted living expenses.

  5. #25
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    buy the house and move back?
    We decided we didn't want to be in a house where we had to spend so much time unwillingly in years past. As with all family decisions about shared assets, this one is troublesome. DH and sibs are not close so there is no communication. He was initially executor but that was changed to his sister and brother by the family lawyer when his father passed. He takes that very personally and holds it against his sibs...another reason not to buy that house.

  6. #26
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    We decided we didn't want to be in a house where we had to spend so much time unwillingly in years past. As with all family decisions about shared assets, this one is troublesome. DH and sibs are not close so there is no communication. He was initially executor but that was changed to his sister and brother by the family lawyer when his father passed. He takes that very personally and holds it against his sibs...another reason not to buy that house.
    You are right that family relationship dynamics are always problematic.

    That is too bad that your husband’s sense of responsibility toward his mother is soured.

    As I watch DH’s sister handle their father’s estate (she is co executor along with the youngest brother of the 5 siblings) I am just relieved DH is not having to do that work. DH doesn’t mind not being the executor either, as the eldest and a son.
    His two siblings got the job because they live closer to their family home.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    I am sort of in the opposite train of thought. How do I arrange my life now in my 60s so that it works best for all as I get older and less able? . . .

    I wouldn't stray too far but perhaps have some getaways now while it appears they are doing OK.
    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    If your parents are in their 80s they are one slip and fall away from being incapacitated on a permanent basis.
    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I also hope my kids intercede only when medically necessary, or when I ask for help. I wouldn't appreciate being treated like a child by my children.

    That's why I'm tempted to say to the OP, leave it alone for now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    I would urge you strongly to live your own life fully and worry about their lives later, rather than trying to prioritize them and not living your best life now. Cannot say this strongly enough. We put off our lives to care for them, even to where we live, and what a mistake.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    Sometimes retirement feels a little bit like limbo because we feel we should be doing something more concrete with our time.
    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    But I will tell you that you should be afraid, be very afraid, if they truly have no clarity on how they will get out of their house and they haven’t talked with you about their finances.
    Thank you all for the thoughtful replies. The ones above echo my concerns -- how to weigh all these factors while living my own life vs. trying to remain available if and when needed.

    On paper, their affairs are reasonably in order. They have wills and medical directives and have done significant (50 percent) downsizing. I don't know all of their financial details, but I have access to their accounts and know where their files are.

    However, there is no clarity about how they will get out of their house. It's three stories. They could live on the first floor if they had to, and this seems to be their plan. If it's their deepest desire, I'd rather think about how to help them do this than try to persuade them otherwise. Maybe they will change their minds at some point, but I think it will need to be their idea.

    Re the first quote above, from pinkytoe, the other side of my dilemma is how to position myself now for possibly the next 30-40 years with no kids. I need to get real for my own benefit too. I'll be 55 soon and am already casually scouting senior communities where the typical age is over 70.

    To you guys who are in the thick of this already, thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm sorry things are so hard, and I wish you well as you get through it.

  8. #28
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball View Post
    Thank you all for the thoughtful replies. The ones above echo my concerns -- how to weigh all these factors while living my own life vs. trying to remain available if and when needed.

    On paper, their affairs are reasonably in order. They have wills and medical directives and have done significant (50 percent) downsizing. I don't know all of their financial details, but I have access to their accounts and know where their files are.

    However, there is no clarity about how they will get out of their house. It's three stories. They could live on the first floor if they had to, and this seems to be their plan. If it's their deepest desire, I'd rather think about how to help them do this than try to persuade them otherwise. Maybe they will change their minds at some point, but I think it will need to be their idea.

    Re the first quote above, from pinkytoe, the other side of my dilemma is how to position myself now for possibly the next 30-40 years with no kids. I need to get real for my own benefit too. I'll be 55 soon and am already casually scouting senior communities where the typical age is over 70.

    To you guys who are in the thick of this already, thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm sorry things are so hard, and I wish you well as you get through it.
    Ah! That sounds good, quite good. Their finances are in order and they’ve gotten rid of 50% of their crap.


    You may be OK then to think that they could live in the first floor of their house, with assistance.

  9. #29
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    My cousin and aunt live in a beautiful farmhouse in CT. They considered leaving years ago, but decided to do a reverse mortgage instead. Many will say that's not a good financial decision, but it enabled them to live in the home they had lived in for years. I don't think either of them are considering how they might benefit their heirs. My cousin never married. My aunt divorced my uncle and my uncle basically did squat for his children.

    Aunt J's bed is now on the first floor--that's where she sleeps. She's of sound mind, slightly hard of hearing, and slightly immobile in that she can't climb stairs anymore.

    My cousin is only a week older than I am, so that's to say 69, going on 70 in March. I'm happy they can stay in the home they've had for many years. Aunt J is 95, I think. so my cousin probably doesn't have many years left with her.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    Ah! That sounds good, quite good. Their finances are in order and they’ve gotten rid of 50% of their crap.
    Well, the half they kept is still a lot. They purged a few years ago to move to a much smaller home, then promptly filled the new place to their comfort level of clutter. But all in all it will be manageable. The sentimental stuff will be minimal (mostly photos), and the rest can be sold or donated. If this becomes my job when they are gone, it will be OK. If they have to do it themselves to move into assisted living, it could be mentally paralyzing because they are very attached to their clutter.

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