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Old 07-24-2014, 11:06 AM
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Elder care

This is a question particularly for those who have gone no contact with your parents. Have any of you been faced with your parents declining health? If so did you get involved at all in caring for them directly or indirectly? This is the one area where I worrythe most. My mother has deliberately not taken care of her financial responsibilities. So, if my sister said she couldnt live with her anymore my mom would be in a bad.place. She has utility bills that are years in arrears. Her medical bills are also a year behind. After she had her cancer surgery and such she never bothered paying a dime towards the hospital bills or even tried to set up a payment plan. This could lead to problems later. The cancer center doesnt have to keep seeing her for followups.

Than there is the fact we live in a state with filial responsibilty laws and while there is very little case law with regards to it I cant helpbut worry. So, how have you guys dealt with these things or havent you had to? Or are you planning not to?
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:56 PM
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Hello there happy

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
This is a question particularly for those who have gone no contact with your parents. Have any of you been faced with your parents declining health?...
I went no contact. In theory, anyway. In practice it took me several years of slowly cutting back and inching away. Once I was able to _totally_ cut them off, and not feel guilty, the absence of "FOO-stress" was wonderful.

Years later they all started to go down hill health-wise. A cousin would call me once in a while, otherwise I would have never known. They were adults, fully capable of taking care of their own needs. They _choose_ not to do so, so then I chose to respect their decision. I don't rescue adults any more, only abandoned kittens and the ocassional dog.

In the end my father, uncle and aunt all died within a 3 week period, of complications related to alcoholism. By then I had plenty of recovery in my system and the emotions I felt were very mild.

There are untold numbers of alcoholics living on the streets with serious health issues. I don't feel any guilt over those strangers, I don't feel a need to rush out and rescue them now that I have plenty of recovery in me.

My biological parents treated me _worse_ than most any homelees person would. I know, I have given a few bucks to the homeless now and again, they always smile, say "thank you" and then move on so as not to encroach on my space.

My parents never did anything that respectful.

What I do now is contribute to the Salvation Army. I take my old stuff, send them a check on holidays, look around and buy whatever I might need. I got some good furniture and exercise equipment from them. They do the rescuing of alcoholics who _want_ help and are willing to make the effort to get sober.

When my now ex-wife became addicted to pain pills and our marriage fell apart I gave my wedding ring to the Salvation Army. I had no further use for the ring, and they could use the money. The best part is some young couple would be able to get a nice ring for cheap.

With the "Army", and a couple other charities, I can help people who are doing good in the world, instead of wasting my efforts on my FOO.

Mike
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:16 AM
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Well, that certainly makes sense. I just cant get over the feeling of dread where it concerns my mother's aging. I dont want to help her. She has deliberately sabotaged her life and refuses to ever consider the consequences. So, intellectually I know I should just leave well enough alone. But, I have always had an overdeveloped sense of responsibilty towards her and my sisters. I am the eldest daughter after all. Plus I cant help but think in some ways that perhaps I am over reacting. Maybe things werent that bad. Maybe I am just overly sensitive. It doesnt help that she has extreme narcissistic tendencies. People just dont SEE the subtle abuse, neglect, lack of real empathy, etc.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:34 AM
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First, you are in no way, shape or form responsible for your mother or her financial situation.

If she should pass way, the same applies. Family members are not obliged to pay a cent.

When my ex-husband died he left a house in the arrears, several credit cards, medical bills and utility bills. I consulted a lawyer friend and he told me that we did not have to do anything. I knew that I didn't but I wanted to make sure our children didn't. They were only 18 and 20 years old.

The one thing I did do was to take everyone of his bills and send them a short form letter that he had passed away with a regular copy of his death certificate. The letter just contained the basic information and I left a blank line to write in the account number. The lawyer told me I did not even have to do that but I did it anyway just so the mail would stop.

One time a collection agency called and suggested that we needed to settle his estate. I told them that we did not have to do anything and to never call again. I think they did once or twice but then gave up. I think our daughter got a letter once from a collection agency and it had a bunch of BS about settling his debt which I promptly ripped up and threw away.

His house was foreclosed on and was auctioned off later.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:56 AM
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Actually in some cases you can be. Here in NJ the filial responsibilty law allows.the parent, an institution or even the state to sue an adult child. A feww years ago a woman successfully sued her two sons for monthly support because she was poor. While NJ has never sued themselves they could in theory sue to recover any monies spent including their share of medicaid for the care of an elderly person. The only defense against it is if a parents rights were terminated and the adult child grew up in foster care.

In Pennsylvania a man was sued successfully by a nursing home for his mothers unpaid balance.

A women in Connecticut tried to sue her son for support but since he was a resident of NY and they specifically got rid of their filial laws she was unsuccessful.

The reason I know all of this is because I read an interoffice news letter published by a local law firm that specializes in Elder Law. While it is still rare the concern is as the populatio n as a whole is getting older and the burden of caring for them is increases it is believed thatthis law will be used more and more often in an attempt to lessen the burden on tax payers
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:23 AM
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I should add I am not looking for legal advice regarding the filial law. I mentioned it more in the context of what my worries are. I am though very interested in what anyone is willing to share regarding caring for their elderly parents
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:05 PM
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When my dad was taken into hospital, I had built up I would call it a friendship rather than father/son relationship, it wasn't known whether he would come out again or not, so there was me, my aunts and uncles as a group to keep things like bills ticking over.

It was actually quite frustrating as everything ended up being left to myself, and I learnt a lot about the lack of organisational skills some of my relatives have.

I'm not too sure as to why I got so involved in it all, but the rest of the family weren't doing much and when the social worker asked for a contact name no one else was to be found.

So for about 3/4 months I focused on getting everything sorted, I was made what's called an appointee here in Ireland/UK, which basically means I had authority to open a bank account in my name and have all his welfare benefits paid into it to enable me to pay all the bills, this was all signed off by doctors and social workers.

In the end it was a lot of work, social workers seem to have meetings about meetings most of the time, and the volume of paperwork for everything was insane, right down to endless doctor and consultant appointments. I would definitely say it's an all or nothing thing, if you're not up for the commitment or the giving up of your own free time then don't get involved.

In the end my dad died, I didn't feel much about getting involved in keeping his affairs while he was in hospital, don't think he even knew, but I guess something inside me can be happy I did a good job, the best I could!!
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:42 PM
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I have to confess. I have been reading on a forum for caregiver support and the lengths people go to help their parents even when they are horrid boggles my mind.
I really dont understand sacrificing everything to care for an elderly parent. Just doesnt make sense. When I say I dont want to be a burden I really mean it. If my mind is gone, I cant feed myself, I cant control body function than honestly I wouldnt want to be kept alive. Whats the point?
I read these caregivers stories and they sacrifice their lives, time with theiir own kids and spouses and I just dont get it. But, I do understand expense is a huge factor. I think the average nursing home cost is over 100 grand a year
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:56 PM
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Don't get me wrong, I kept going to my job everyday, my life continued on and I never paid a penny of my own money towards my dad's care, except travelling expenses to get things sorted out.

My situation was probably easier to be fair, my dad from the time he went into hospital to the time he had died was all within a year, so I just kept bills and his affairs ticking over in the meantime.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:47 PM
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This is exactly what's happening to me too, my mother's health is bad. But she is only 68 and it's bad because of the drugs and alcohol. Last time I saw her she was looking frail but I have to remind myself that she chose this and does not want to change. She won't consider going into a treatment center (probably because she knows they would regulate her drugs and no alcohol). So I have distanced myself and heading towards complete cut off as I know if someone doesn't want help getting involved is just a spiral downwards for all involved. But it's difficult, last time she was in the hospital (pancreatitis of course) the nurses couldn't understand why I wouldn't take her home and take care of her. It's a pervasive mentality that we as children are somehow responsible for parents no matter what. <sigh>
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