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Elderly parent situation

(59 Posts)
mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 14:44:15

Trying to give all info in order not to drip feed. Will also try to be as factual as possible. I don't love my MIL so am always careful that my reactions may not be fair.
DH is from a family of 4, all now have their own children. Our family is the youngest. PIL moved abroad for retirement to a sunny climate approx 15 years ago. They own their foreign property and two rental properties here with no mortgage. They each have a pension, MIL's is small, FIL's is quite good and have the income from the two rental properties. They are frugal and always have the poor mouth. MIL is always talking about how expensive it is to live where they do (EU southern country, not known to be expensive but I can't refute her claims.) If you visit them, which I no longer do, she doesn't want you to use the washing machine because water and electricity are so expensive there.
FIL is suffering now from early dementia and also has physical problems which I won't go into out of loyalty to DH who wouldn't like it discussed. He was an utter gentleman and I am very fond of him. But his illness means that he now needs care in a daily basis. Not all day, just needs someone to come in each day for a couple of hours to help him wash etc. MIL has been dropping hints that the 4 children should pay for this care.
I spoke to DH about this last night and said that I felt MIL was preparing them all before she suggests they pay for the help. DH's response was that he feels that we should pay. He said if it was my parents, I would pay and he would not object.
He's right that I would pay if my parents needed it but the situations are very different. My parents own their house but don't have any income apart from state pension and they have given us every bit of money they have ever saved (many tens of thousands over the years, they have been very generous) so I feel if they needed it, it would only be fair to give back to them.
PIL have to have more disposable income than us. The income from their rental properties is over €2k a month (which is taxed). We have a mortgage and a child in private school and another child with SEN who currently gets therapies from the HSE (poor relation of UK's NHS) but there's a limit to what she can get and we will in the near future have to get private help for her. We have good medical insurance but it's still expensive. We are not on the breadline but not terribly high earners- combined income of approx €70k annually. We don't have enough left each month to save money.
i don't think it would be reasonable of MIL to ask because I think they are able to afford it, either now out of their income or by selling one of their rental properties. The other 3 children are all in different circumstances and I don't know what their responses will be but I can hazard a guess based on previous conversations. 2 of them are likely to not want PIL to sell a property as house prices here are rising and they already have an eye on inheritance.
So am I being unfair? Should we pay? I know this is coming. This is how MIL operates. She drops little hints and then waits for her children to pick up on them and offer.

I've edited so much of this post as I'm writing it because I'm trying very hard to not put my emotions into it. Im going to let DH read this post whatever the responses because I know I have a tendency to be negative about his mother and this is a big issue and I really want to be fair to them and to us.

mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 14:45:40

Sorry, I need to add a bit. Should PIL move home, they would be entitled to home carers so they would get this help free from the state. My own mother gets it and it is wonderful. But they don't want to move home.

savagehk Fri 10-Feb-17 14:47:29

Is the plan for them to stay in the sunny EU country long term? What is the longer-term plan - will he need to go into care full time?

savagehk Fri 10-Feb-17 14:48:04

Ah x-post. But still - what happens if he eventually needs full time care?

Witchend Fri 10-Feb-17 14:50:43

Personally I don't see why you should pay.
We're on a reasonable income, but after paying for 3 children and potentially care for 4 grandparents we'd be stuffed if it came to that.
If they don't want to move then that's their consideration.

I'd also be concerned that you might offer and the others not and so it's assumed you will pay the lot.

mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 14:50:45

I don't know what the long term plan is. I think MIL wants to stick it out in the sunshine as long as they can. FIL loves where they live and they have a good community of friends around them and are both very happy there. FIL spends most of his time sitting in the sun reading his paper and he loves this. He's only really relaxed when he's at home. To move home would be a big ordeal for him.

picklemepopcorn Fri 10-Feb-17 14:50:57

Tricky. Are the family culturally English? I think different cultures would have different expectations about who should pay. It's probably something for the DCs to work out among them, after you have primed DH to remember that they are not on the breadline and you have your own responsibilities.

mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 14:53:54

No, we're al Irish and this wouldn't be a cultural expectation. Just a MIL expectation. I want to add in more here but I'm trying so hard to be fair to DH!

Ilovecaindingle Fri 10-Feb-17 14:53:56

So they have several properties they could sell? Instead of expecting their dc to pay??
Think not.

ImperialBlether Fri 10-Feb-17 14:58:03

I don't think they're being fair to their children, but I think their other children who want them to keep their houses are being unfair, too. It's not right to expect your children to pay for care when you can afford to do it yourself.

mikeyssister Fri 10-Feb-17 14:58:34

Typical Irish Mammy, drops hints and drops hints and never actually asks for something, until the children are guilted into doing what she wants.

How much would the care cost, and would you be entitled to tax relief?

savagehk Fri 10-Feb-17 14:58:49

I'd be worried about this being a serious long term commitment. I'm not sure on funding in other EU countries for care, but this could go on for years, and if he does eventually need residential care, that's a lot of money - and the expectation that you will all chip in will remain. Would they be eligible for any sort of means-tested help, if the other properties were sold (once those funds had been used up)?

PlumsGalore Fri 10-Feb-17 14:58:53

It seems very unfair to me that in her head it is Ok to have a bigger income than you and with no dependents and that you should foot the bill. I am not even sure how that works in her head TBH. m

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Fri 10-Feb-17 15:02:35

It's unreasonable to even ask you to pay! They can afford it themselves, why on earth would you pay it for them, especially if it means you'd have to cut back yourselves to afford it. They own two houses!!

Bonkers. Just say no.

HaPPy8 Fri 10-Feb-17 15:07:20

If your husband wants to pay and you would pay for your own parents, im sorry but i think you should.

mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 15:07:21

Mikeyssister, that's exactly what it's like. Shell sit back until they suggest it to her themselves.

No there would be no tax relief as I'd imagine it would be a cash transaction.

Plumsgalore, there's no way she would ever admit she has a bigger disposable income than us. She always has the poor mouth. Always sits back and let's you pay for her lunch dinner, coffe, drink, whatever.

Imperialblether, I may be being unfair to the other siblings because I haven't spoken to them (and won't, this is DH's family business, it just affects me too!!!) I'm just going on past experiences and conversations.

One sibling definitely wouldn't be able to afford it but the other two could and they're the ones who in the past have said that when their (at the time very healthy) parents went on their final journey, that the 4 sibling should keep the house in the sunny climate between the 4 of them. I thought it was horrible at the time and still do.

DJBaggySmalls Fri 10-Feb-17 15:10:25

I dont think you are being unfair. But I cant see this ending well. good luck OP.

GrannyGoggles Fri 10-Feb-17 15:17:16

Ideally, there should be a full and frank meeting between your DH, his siblings and his parents. Things like power of attorney need to be discussed and as PP said long term plans considered. Having had experience of supporting frail elderly parents on both sides, it works best if siblings work together, which is not the same as saying everyone must be in exact agreement. It's difficult putting aside your own feelings, but you have to somewhat. You also have to accept that it's DH and his siblings' call ultimately, not that don't have an input, but that it's not your decision.
It is also possible, not easy, but possible if siblings work together, that family dynamics can change for the better. MiL sounds as though she's used to manipulating and playing off. She won't be able to do that if there is an agreed plan and open communication.

You have all my sympathy; it's a complex business. One thing we found was that sometimes you just had to wait for a crisis before the elderly would accept something previously unpalatable. That's when you're v grateful for the previous discussions, POA etc

Good luck: open communication, support DH, and you'll get through it eventually. One thing that helped me in my more homicidal moments was just that, this is not for ever.

girlywhirly Fri 10-Feb-17 15:21:46

I'd ignore any hints from MIL expecting you to pay. She has property to sell and raise capital for FIL'S care. Their other children should not have to pay for the care, nor should they expect an inheritance. Mil may need care herself one day.

mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 15:23:56

Sage advice GrannyGoggles. This is how it works in my family. My mother is suffering from dementia but my sister and I (and her two lovely carers) are managing well for now. My 88 year old dad has learned how to shop and do laundry and has been an absolute trooper. This is the man who until a few years ago didn't even make his own cup of tea. I have a brother too and while he doesn't help out, he doesn't go against us.

Old age is just shit. I don't like MIL but I do feel very sorry for her (and I feel for my dad too) because she has lost her husband already and it must be lonely for her. She would always have been the driving force in their marriage, she's a powerhouse but he was her able companion and in their day they were a great pair.

Dumdedumdedum Fri 10-Feb-17 15:24:26

Without going further into the ins and outs of it, OP, I agree with you, not your DH.

Kiroro Fri 10-Feb-17 15:25:31

I dont think you are being unfair. But I cant see this ending well. good luck OP.


mineallmine Fri 10-Feb-17 15:25:34

My fear about DH having a meeting with his parents and siblings without me there is that he has a tendency in life to want to be the hero, which is what I love about him too but in this scenario my fear is that he'll want to swoop in and 'save' his mother.

picklemepopcorn Fri 10-Feb-17 15:26:41

I can understand them wanting to keep the property in the sunny place, but the ordinary one could be sold to raise the money, if needed. I'd point out that it would make school fees and daily expenses really tight, that you need some spare to be able to go and visit them regularly.

This looks like turning into a rough ride. You might need to be a bit blunt with DH if you have received money from your parents over the years, but not his.

gleam Fri 10-Feb-17 15:26:45

I think they should pay. What's the point of them having money (or houses) if they don't spend it on themselves when they need to?
It's too much to ask you and dh to pay it - that would be like taking the bread out of their grandchildren's mouths.

The question is, is your dh strong enough to see what's fair and withstand the guilt trips?

Loving 'the poor mouth' - never heard of that before, had to look it up.

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