My husband is struggling with the question of what to do about his parents. They are in their eighties, living alone in a large house on several acres of land. They live on social security and a bit of savings and their health is precarious. His suggestion for the past year has been to get a reverse mortgage and use the money to live and stop worrying. His mother refuses to do so The Keeper colescottphotos.comand this is at the crux of his frustration and fear.
Without going into details, he has a strained relationship with his folks. He has been a very good son, providing hard work, financial advice and emotional support. They are not easy people; too self involved most of their lives. There is no money. They spent it all years ago. His sister hasn't seen them in over a decade. But he has been there for them and now the decline is in full swing and he does not know what to do.
His mother claims she wants to bequeath the house to he and his sister; a nice gesture but not practical or realistic. Sadly, he cannot talk with her about it because she stubbornly refuses or claims she's too weak to discuss. We have talked about moving in with them but I just don't see me doing it. I think it would destroy our marriage.
I feel sorry for my husband because I understand the responsibility and sense of obligation he feels. I went through it with my father in his last years He was so stubborn. It was unbelievable!!!! Dad had money and he wisely gave my brother and I a series of powers of attorney to oversee it if he could not. But he was still a handful. Being 3000 miles away did not help. The year he turned 92, while he was still in fine shape, I found a beautiful level care facility of independent bungalows on an old estate with nine acres of trees. Dad refused to leave his home. He fired every home helper. He drove til he was 95 and my brother took away his keys. He ate little, refusing to spend money at the grocery. At 96, the cantankerous behaviour ceased. He was depressed and too feeble to resist. I was finally able to implement a routine. His last 18 mos were spent with 24/7 care by two loving sisters. He had good food to eat, lots of outings, his daily walk and was clean and happy. It cost $70k annually to take care of him at home but I had power of attorney and I felt it was money well spent.
My in laws have no such savings or hopes of this lifestyle. They refuse to give us power of attorney or any legal oversight. Without that, I am not sure what will happen. Everyone faces this. Few of us have the luxury to hire care for family members. If parents knew what a burden they place on us by refusing to give up control, would they still do it?