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John Show full post »
Can't help but interject here...very interesting conversation with lots of good information!  I agree that the way the system works is somehow not right (but I have no answer to correct it either).  My mom is in AL currently and paying all out of pocket.  She is 91 and has saved all her life in order to pass on a decent inheritance to her 6 kids.  But now that money is rapidly being spent on AL while she still maintains her house.  We will have to sell the house and contents soon to cover another couple years in AL, or (maybe and) she'll have to use her savings, investments, etc.  Meanwhile, her "next-door-neighbor" who is about 20 yrs younger than her also has all the same facilities and benefits of AL, but Medicaid is paying for it all and I personally wonder, just for how many years?  20 or more?  while my mom will deplete an entire life's hard-earned savings in just a couple of years.  Not everyone can be frugal and save enough for extended nursing care.  Some have major health problems and well, the cost of insurance, medicine and so forth stand to put anyone and everyone in the poor house.
     BTW...Mom set up a trust (like those "advertised on TV") thinking to protect herself from the Medicaid spend-down thing, but fact is that the trust is a good idea in general if you have alot of assests, it just doesn't do what some lawyers want you to think.  It is just as suseptible to Medicaid as any other arrangements and still qualifies on that 5-year spend down.
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"Should the adult child caregiver receive a larger cut in a parent's will?"

Equality said:

I never want to hear the word "equal" said in the same breath as inheritance or in any discussion of rights, because as far as I am concerned There was nothing "equal" in a system that made me an unpaid slave, a victim of "status obligation" who enabled everyone in my family to have lives, while I saved an ungrateful government big bucks.

John said:

What some people fail to realize is that by the adult child either moving a parent or parents in with them or vice versa they are in fact helping to protect an inheritance.  When you're looking at 60K a year per person if the elderly parent were placed in an AL or a nursing home.

So there are many cases where the inheritance that was intended to go to family has been left well intact because one adult child did the hands on caregiving.

Equality, as usual, and now John, have said it all as far as I'm concerned.   Of course there is no guarantee of inheritance but when there is something left, surely the decent outcome should be that the one who lost the most in the process is properly compensated and those who remained unaffected, should not need as much compensation.   I'd still like to know exactly what a destitute caregiver of advanced years is supposed to live on, or is the honour attached to cleaning up "poop messes" supposed to be sufficient reward in itself?   It's easy to dismiss the strain and drudgery of dealing with the difficult stuff when you're never called upon to do it yourself, just a tiny bit like the proverbial tree falling in the wood.

And so the madness continues....................I guess I'm not the only ostrich left out here.
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Exactly Jan.

One child gives up a life and in many cases a job to take care of the parent/parents. The other or others continue on wth their lives earning a paycheck, increasing their Social Security, putting money into a retirement account.

Meanwhile the caregiver has to worry about what happens to them after the last parent is gone.

Any decent sibling(the KEY WORD being decent) should realize that whatever assests are left should be divided so that the caregiver child receives more. And if the elder owned their home the caregiver child should get the home to either live in or sell.
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We're in agreement John, on what the decent thing is but sadly, there's human nature to deal with and as far as I can see, the "me, me, me" factor in sibling rivalry causes blinkered amnesia in those who have their greedy little fists out.   Unfortunately, when there's hard and dirty work to be done, it's usually a case of "you, you, you" instead!!!   As the saying goes, no good turn shall go unpunished......something like that!
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Interesting discussion here about the non-interchangeable terms of "fair" and "equal".

I wrote earlier about how my mom got more when her mother died.  One of her brothers and she patched things up, the other brother remained a complete jerk about it.   I think that both brothers regarded this as "women's work" and that no compensation was necessary.  ARGHH!

In my husband's family, his mom wants all the kids to get equal $.  DH and I get the brunt of the work, the never-ending problems, etc.  One sibling doesn't even want to know what is going on with mom.  But will get an equal share.  Couldn't even be bothered to send a Mother's Day card. 
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Fair? Equal?

To me the bottom line is that the parent decides who gets what and how much. It is THEIRS until the time of death. After that you go with the will or trust.

Everyone chose their role......enabler, or let the parents live their lives unsafely as no one listens.

The caregiver should be paid in real time, real life, if not then accept the wishes/the will of the parent, period.

Heck my parents amended theirs so if bro died his 2 grandchildren not of BLOOD mind you would get his share......gee the man who brought movies as "help".......and 2 non bloods get the rewards??? Uh...yes my dad did that.

You don't "get more" cuz you thought it was the right thing to do. You chose to give up had a choice to not do that.

Neither of my parents or aunts and uncles gave up their lives to take care of THEIR parents....and all got equal shares. I don't know what it is about this generation that feels that they must be selfless and after death seem to demand and require more inheritance.

Didn't you know what you were walking into?

I did all I could for my parents. All I could.

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PS. I asked my sister years ago if she was getting paid, I said I thought she should. She said she was doing it "out of the kindness" of her heart.

She now and has been since before they were even in their graves, (yes she had been taking and assessing all this time as a "caregiver") is back peddling and taking as much as she can, because all of a sudden she deserves more in her child like mind........back peddling is ever so wrong. Her executor fees are insane, legal, but geez...

Be a saint/martyr, or get paid in real life, but don't whine/steal/take after the fact.
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I think a lot of the problem is that everybody's situation is a little bit different. I've read your previous posts, and I understand why you feel the way you do. I would, too! Your sister is trying to take everything, and she's undervaluing the estate in the process of her greed. That's totally wrong, and I don't think anyone here is going to argue that.

It's kind of like comparing (bad) apples and oranges -- and your sister is certainly the bad apple. 

The situation I think a lot of us are in is based on something that can be seen in the answer to a question in your post: "Didn't you know what you were walking into?" No. I know in my case, absolutely not. And I believe that is true for a lot of people. I'll have to let them speak for themselves, though.

In my case, we brought my mother, who was weakened due to being unable to eat because of throat cancer, to live 300 miles from her home for the duration of her cancer treatment, which was projected to be three months long. Now, a year and a half later, we're in the dwindling days of hospice. The "stay in my spare room for a few months so you don't have to drive yourself to radiation treatments" my sister offered turned into a year and a half of escalating medical interventions that have threatened her job. She is now going to be caring for my mother's remaining special needs cat for the duration of his lifespan, too. 

I'm obviously in the minority when I say I don't mind her getting more of the proceeds of the estate. She has had more wear and tear on her home and her life than I have as a result of the hand-on caregiving she did. And she is probably going to continue to incur expenses for another 10+ years with the cat. 

I agree with you that it's preferable for the caregiver to be paid in real time. I mentioned earlier in the thread that's actually what I ended up arranging under PoA. But not every elder has liquid funds to do that. The sad truth is that promises -- or tacit promises -- get made, then aren't legally enforceable once it's time to divide the estate, and it leaves some caregivers looking back at their sacrifices and questioning them. 

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Your situation is not quite what folks here are discussing. Your sister, is an MD, who was not limited by funds or choices. Your sister did not have to give up her job. Neither did my SIL (she didn't btw)

My husband and I would have been thrilled to pay her a yearly salary, on top of what she earned at her full time job, to take care of her mother. We felt it was only "fair." Unfortunately, not only did she not take care of her mother properly she raided the estate left in a trust to the family to the point the family would have lost everything if my h had not taken over the finances about five years before his mother passed. It was not until MIL died that forensic accounting revealed the true extent of the pilfering.

We all would have been better off today if my MIL had sold her house to live in Al with a private concern managing the money instead of SIL. I suspect this might be the case for your family as well.

What many of us who have done "hands on full time caregiving " have done is managed to give our parent(s) a fabulous quality of life by giving up our own opportunities. Families of smaller means who find themselves in this kind of situation should make a concensus determination within the first 3 months how best to "recompense" the caregiver. It should be in writing and Imo it should be a performance based "job" with a yearly review done by a third party. Full time caregivers should be unionized as well. A caregiver should at least receive a stipend, medical benefits, contributions to an IRA.

I did not "walk" into anything. I literally was sucked into caregiver quicksand and once in, not one of my siblings raced over to throw me a rope to drag me out. There was never one discussion to "compensate" me while I did it all for my parents.

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Jean, I've been following your story for a long time now, I feel desperately sad for you, losing both your parents so quickly but I especially felt for you when you spoke about your Mum because I felt the same way about my own and I recognised my own love for her in your words.   I don't know what to think about your sister other than perhaps she could seriously benefit from some professional help at this stage but the emotional toll that the last years must have imposed on you hardly bears thinking about.   You have my sincerest sympathy for the grief and frustration that you have endured and continue to endure, I just wish it was possible to undo the havoc that your sister has brought about.   It would appear that she has much to be ashamed of.

We have been exchanging views on this thread, on a subject that is not an easy one to broach, it comes with a kind of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" outcome and it's a subject that affects people's lives in the most fundamental ways.   I feel that much of what you said is really aimed at your sister but she's not here, we are and honestly, I don't think that anyone who goes to the trouble of taking part on this board fits the bill as you have described.  
  • Of course our parents are free to do what they wish with their own property but some of our parents see us as their property too, to use as they see fit and in whatever way suits them.   Personally, I don't think that's acceptable.
  • Some people who take up the caregiver role do indeed choose to do so; perhaps it's easier for them if say, they have a spouse who's earning enough for everyone, or maybe they themselves are already retired and therefore financially stable or perhaps kids are grown and gone and it's not such a juggling act.   Many others, like me, are none of those things; we didn't get to choose, we're not financially stable and we have no one to help us cope.   If by "having a choice" you mean it's acceptable to turn one's back on sick, elderly parents and walk away, then I'm sorry but I couldn't possibly disagree with you more.   Maybe some people can do that but I'm not one of them.   There was no choice, for many, many reasons, especially if being able to live with oneself matters.
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    Neither of my parents or aunts and uncles gave up their lives to take care of THEIR parents....and all got equal shares. 
         Obviously, I don't know how your grandparents lived out their later lives and how they managed but it seems on the face of what you say, that all went smoothly in their case.   On your behalf though, I really wish that it wasn't skipping a generation and making you so desperately unhappy in the process.  
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    I don't know what it is about this generation that feels that they must be selfless and after death seem to demand and require more inheritance. 
      I doubt that many of us who are caregiving at the coalface see ourselves so much as selfless as sacrificed and that's a pretty gruesome situation to be in.   I don't hear anyone "demanding" anything and I don't feel that wishful thinking, stemming from longterm physical, emotional and financial hardship is "requiring more inheritance".   Unless the powers that be plan to cull redundant caregivers in the future and spare society the discomfort of having them around when their care is no longer needed and they're too old and out of step for proper employment, then yes there is a need for money to live and we shouldn't be shamed for not being able to conjure up an income and a retirement fund out of thin air during the 24/7 caring years.
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    Didn't you know what you were walking into?
        Frankly, no.   Without a crystal ball, I don't know how anyone could.
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    I did all I could for my parents. All I could.
    We know that Jean, and the same applies to all of us.   You only have to read the posts here to see that we're all doing, or have done in the past, the very best that we could for our parents.   The fact that it's not easy and can slowly drive us around the twist is partly why we come here to share moral support; I don't think any of us means to moan about things here but jangling, twitching nerves may be the cause of moaning, if we do.
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    Be a saint/martyr, or get paid in real life, but don't whine/steal/take after the fact.
    I'd like a forward button for this one 'cos I'd send it to your sister myself. 
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Jan and Equality great posts.

I for one am appalled at what Jean S wrote.  From her posts her sister did the hands on care, not Jean S.

In regards to her parents not taking care of their parents, HELLO, people are living much longer these days.

In the old days 65 or 70 was considered being old age and the end of the run, today you have people going well into their 80s and sometimes 90s.

As Jan said "no I didn't have a crystal ball", what started off as a temporary situation became a permanent one.

Many of us start off as part time caregivers and as we all know the situation gets worse and worse.

You know it's funny, when you talk to people you can always tell the adult children who WASN'T the caregiver. You get the same attitude that Jean S has.

And for many caregivers it's not about some pot of gold, some big pay out!

As Jan said many haven't worked and if they had to go into this awful job market wouldn't get arrested.  How do you cover on a resume a 5yr gap in employment??????

Many have damaged their own health being a caregiver, they can't physically or mentally even do an outside job on the off chance that they could get one.

They just want some security that they have something to fall back on, a house to live that is paid for, some money left over to tide them through.

The entitled ones are the ones who sit on their hineys on the sidelines, but the minute the parent is dead.....HERE THEY COME.

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 Many others, like me, are none of those things; we didn't get to choose, we're not financially stable and we have no one to help us cope. If by "having a choice" you mean it's acceptable to turn one's back on sick, elderly parents and walk away, then I'm sorry but I couldn't possibly disagree with you more. Maybe some people can do that but I'm not one of them. There was no choice, for many, many reasons, especially if being able to live with oneself matters.

The above words were in Jan's post but I felt they needed to be repeated and put in bold.

And what if everyone choosed to walk away and ignore the situation???????

Like anything else in life someone has to step up to the plate.
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Jan, Equality, Sideways. I do apologize that my post didn't fit what was being discussed here. I tried really hard to stay away from this thread and say nothing. Unfortunately I weakened last night, as yes the parent estate thing is still going on, coming to an ugly closure, and I still keep getting blindsided. So I am highly sensitive to this subject. Thank you for understanding.

I am grateful that you do know "my story" and the story of my parents for those last 3 years of insanity.

The latest is that I was informed by the lady who I hired to tend to the parents grave that my mothers bday flowers and laminated card  I sent were taken/

I'll keep my mouth shut regarding this thread now. I look forward to peace for myself in the next month or 2.

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PS. to John. Grandpa lived to 99 in a NH. Both grandma's were 90 something. My situation is very different, I am sorry for bringing Apples (rotten) to an Orange thread, I apologize John.

I did spend 4 years with my parents trying to help them.

Sorry for missing the mark of this thread.
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Jan to JeanS
Jean, no apologies are needed as far as I'm concerned; I know where you're coming from and I understand your deep frustration with your sister, I just needed to clarify where I'm coming from on the subject so it wasn't an argument for me anyway.

Do you know how long your flowers remained at your Mum's grave before they disappeared as I'm wondering if the cemetery has a "length of stay" policy in regard to groundskeeping?   Hopefully it was nothing more sinister than that but a phone call to their office or a letter might answer the question.   I don't know too much about the management of cemeteries but I do know that they can be quite particular about containers for flowers etc., how some can be blown around in bad weather and lead to a very messy clean-up.   Just a thought but I am sorry for the distress it's causing you.

Please don't keep out of the discussion Jean, "two heads" are always better than one. 

Puppy-Dog Hugs to Sidekick and Friends Hugs to you, Jean.


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