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Supporting elderly parents who were insistent on 'enjoying retirement'

(1000 Posts)
Keeg Tue 02-Apr-19 07:31:44

NC in case I get slaughtered...

When my kids were young we could have really done with GP help, but there were very much (as is most of mumsnet!) of the school off thinking ‘we’re done raising kids’. I coped, I raised children and I knew it was my responsibility... but I’ll admit I had some
Unvoiced resentment. DH and I had similar jobs to them, but a higher level, but we never had been able to access the housing etc they had due to the much higher childcare and housing costs. They’ve lived nearby in great affluence whilst their grandchildren were wearing second hand, a bit overcrowded etc. Obviously not their problem, but on the flip side they had great capacity to help and didn’t chose to exercise it. They probably spent 6k-12k on holidays a year, whereas 1k for us would have meant for example being able to run a car.

They didn’t offer childcare bar very very occasional inconvenient seeings, for example 1-2pm on Saturday, wanting them dropped off and at a time of day with heavy traffic (turning an 8min drive into a 40min) and meaning there was no time to do anything else. I remember an occasion my son had a last minute amazing opportunity and they couldn’t help by watching his sister (I later found out it was because she wanted to go and see a film at the cinema, 15 min walk away and on for months multiple times a day). They retired pre 60 with big lump sums and pensions, very active and able. No issue with health.

I left them to it, never commented, it’s their life. But I’ll admit I was underneath jealous of every friend who seemed to have GP helping. BUT they are now older, they are needing support and I’m not feeling at all warm in rearranging my life to give it. For example dad can’t drive right now, temporary due to an OP, and he wants hospital lifts. I feel like saying ‘get a cab’ because of all the times I wished for help. It’s hugely local, and I being petty? Or have others felt like this. In the long run, although I get on with them, I don’t feel like every offering to let them move in. They didn’t help their parents (who did offer childcare). I guess I feel a bit heartless but a bit ‘you made your bed, now lie in it’. Being nice I think, we’ll they obviously raised me as a child, but then on the other hand I think their expectations were that links stopped at 18. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t feel hugely bonded to them either and more like people not related that get on

Sirzy Tue 02-Apr-19 07:35:47

Sounds a bit tit for tat and offering help shouldn’t be based on what you get (or got) in return

That said you are no more obliged to help them than they where you so do what feels right

ShitAtScarbble Tue 02-Apr-19 07:36:58

You probably will get slaughtered - such is the nature of AIBU - but I get it. When all is said and done you reap what you sow and it sounds to me like they were a pair of selfish fucks who actively chose not to help you out when it would have been so easy for them. Yes yes, before it starts, everyone knows they didn't HAVE to but that's not really the point is it.
I completely understand how you feel OP and I'd make myself unavailable most of the time. Help sometimes but that's all.

GirlRaisedInTheSouth Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:01

The baby boomer generation will go down in history as the most entitled generation ever.

We’re similar to you, OP. I work 16 hours a day, DH works 12. In spite of this we will never be able to afford to get on the property ladder. And we get no help at all from anyone.

It does make me angry, particularly when I hear about the ‘sacrifices’ that people made years ago to buy their own homes. Yeah right, fuck off.

TreadingThePrimrosePath Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:17

No, that sounds reasonable to me, and I write as someone supporting two elderly parents quite intensively. You could choose to help in emergencies, but if the GPS have the capacity, they should be encouraged to be as independent as possible for as long as possible.
Then they can buy in quality care as and when requred.
Don’t get pulled in by guilt and the expectations of others.

TirisfalPumpkin Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:44

No slaughtering from me. I think continuing the status quo of friendly and slightly distant is probably the way to go. Neither of you are wrong. They sound a bit self-centred, you sound nice and reasonable, or else you wouldn’t be asking.

EL8888 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:58

Not being petty. They can’t have it both ways, even though they clearly want it. You said they don’t have any financial worries, they can get a taxi to appointments. My mother has taken great pleasure in telling me she will never babysit and she wouldn’t want grandchildren to stay at her house. If we are to visit from the other end of the country, then we would need to get a B&B, Airbnb or hotel. She only has a 3 bedroom house 🤔. Fine, l won’t be assisting her much in her twilight years.

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Apr-19 07:40:53

YANBU. They have the money to pay for help, just as you were told to pay for help with the children.

idontknowwhattosay Tue 02-Apr-19 07:42:01

I understand your point and to be honest i would feel the same.
My parents haven't seen my family in 8 months, they never have time, even over Christmas..but yesterday my dad called to ask me a favour of a lift to the airport. He got told no.
MY only question would be, Can you see yourself regretting your decision in the future?

BeanBag7 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:43:20

I probably would help them in order to "be the bigger person". But the help would be limited. A couple of hospital lifts, ok. A hospital lift at 9am during rush hour, sorry you'll have to get a taxi. A hospital lift when you have other plans, sorry you'll have to get a taxi.
I definitely wouldn't be offering for them to live with you. I get on really well with my parents and they are really great with my daughter but I would never want them to live in my house.

CKCSQ Tue 02-Apr-19 07:44:28

So they didn’t help their own parents when they were elderly. They have never taken an interest in your children let alone offered to help or babysit (ever?!), just wanted to see them on their own terms and to their own timetable. They have plenty of money and have had a really nice life.

I don’t think you’re wrong to leave them to it. On one hand I wouldn’t do a single thing for them that inconveniences you or makes you change a plan. If you can help easily and infrequently you might want to just to be nice, but it doesn’t sound like you owe them much.

On the other, what did they do for you as a child? Did your education come at a cost to them? Did they sacrifice careers or holidays or freedoms for your hobbies and needs or did they just carry on regardless? Looking at what they did or didn’t do for you as a child might also inform how much you feel you should help them now.

Babygrey7 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:45:24

Surely they can afford taxis

Help when it's convenient for you, but I would not go out of my way to be helpful in this scenario

Saying that, I never felt that my parents owed me anything (money or help)

LL83 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:45:35

Why did you take them over for one hour at unsuitable times? I would have said "traffic is busy you can have them at xx or come here"
"Why did my son miss opportunity because you went to cinema??? I am hurt you dont care enough to postpone an hour"

The time to address those issues has passed. What you do now is up to you, asking them to get a cab they can afford is not unreasonable. But when you can manage a lift I would.

GoGoGadgetGin Tue 02-Apr-19 07:45:58

You are absolutely not being unreasonable! I'd just say sorry am busy, and no explanation. Agree with above the boomer generation is in my experience intrinsically selfish, however has this belief that as post war babies that they had it the hardest ever!

MIdgebabe Tue 02-Apr-19 07:46:23

It’s not terribly fair to compare their affluence at 60 to your difficulties much younger. As children did they wear second hand coats and live in crowded accommodation? How old were they when they actually bought a house? If so they may see your life as being just like theirs was, but with more stuff and activities that they could ever have dreamt of at your age.Makes you sound bitter and jealous

Ignoring that, there is no obligation to help anyone especially someone who you feel has not been there when you needed them. Yes they looked after you as a child, but they chose to have children.

Bagpuss5 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:47:49

Hospital trips are an absolute chore imv. People become obsessed with their health issues, it is all they talk about (usually disgruntledly as they didn't get the medication/ sympathy/ expensive tests they expected). You have to sit around hot hospital, you have to waste time touring the car park for a space - it's a chore and really people (barring being totally unfit enough to achieve it) should get on with it. Hospital tests, ops are part of ageing now (barring cancer etc) and people need to find their own way there (assuming family don't have hours of time on their hands).
Make it obvious to DF that this is difficult for you due to other commitments but as it is possibly a one off until he drives again do this one trip.

user1471462428 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:49:32

Really agree with you. My parents are like this. I’m on my knees with tiredness and they just comment but never help. I’m stuck in a abusive relationship and am desperately trying to find a way financially to get out. They regularly have 4-5 holidays in a year, cinema trip, weekends away and nice things. I will of course care for them when they need help but it will be tinged with sadness that they have missed out on so much of my children’s lives.
I plan to support my children as much as is possible, I struggled to conceive them and in my view every day spent with them is a bonus.

NabooThatsWho Tue 02-Apr-19 07:49:41

So they have chosen not to sacrifice and any time or money to help you out when it would have been easy for them to do it. Fine, their choice.

So don’t feel guilty for treating them as they have treated you.

You weren’t asking for hours of regular childcare, just the occasional bit of help when you were really stuck. I know the MN mantra seems to be ‘you chose to have children, don’t expect GPs to ever help’ but I think families should help out occasionally/in emergencies when they can. Being selfish comes back to bite you on the ass when you get elderly.

UnderMajorDomoMinor Tue 02-Apr-19 07:50:44

Sounds reasonable to me. Emergencies - yes; otherwise - no. If you’re free and willing fine but if you have work/kids then that’s enough reason why it’s a ‘no’.

Awrite Tue 02-Apr-19 07:51:26

Well, my parents help/helped me hugely but they won't be moving in. Also, I work full-time so hospital lifts not possible.

I'll help out in ways I can but right now raising my kids comes first. My parents wouldn't have it any other way.

womandear Tue 02-Apr-19 07:51:41

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Don’t usually do quotes but this one is so true. I’d help them out on the basis that it’s the decent thing to do, you can, they’re elderly, and they are still your parents even if they didn’t help you as much as you would have liked.
There’s still time to repair your relationship with them if you choose to. In the meantime - take your dad to the hospital. It’s not just about getting a free lift, he may be feeling vunerablenand would prefer to not have a stranger take him. You’ll get the chance to chat. I would do this for an elderly neighbour, or any neighbour actually if I could.
I think you already know the answer to your own question and there’s a big jump between giving him a lift and offering for them to move in. You can do one without the other.

WipeYourFeetOnTheRhythmRug Tue 02-Apr-19 07:52:15

No way. Don’t give in. They set the tone for your relationship, keep following that. If they can afford that much on holidays surely they will have some tucked away for home help and taxis etc.

dayswithaY Tue 02-Apr-19 07:52:26

This is my parents too. Fortunately they are still fit and healthy, no idea what I will do if and when that changes. I do know my DH has already said he's not happy about me being their carer after years of them living the good life and no offers of help to me when my children were small. I even got told once "Don't ask for childcare as we've got too much going on."

Alone and desperate one day with newborn and toddler I asked them to come over for some company. They said they couldn't as were planning on going for a drive. They ended up in a shopping centre buying a dressing gown. I know as they proudly showed me when I was at their house next. I started a new job and needed just one afternoon of childcare, Mum pulled a face and said "but what will I do with them all that time?"

Many, many other examples - I could write a book. Money splashed around on luxury holidays while I work for minimum wage. Anyway, trying not to think about the future. Hopefully they have made financial plans for old age but they have previously spent £20k on holidays. No real advice, you have to do what your conscience tells you. I have friends whose parents would give and do anything for their children - unlimited childcare, financial gifts, advice, support, companionship, emotional care, they are a tight unit. I have always had to stand alone but the one positive that has come out of this is that I will never be like this with my children. Ever. Oh and they had full support from their parents (my GPs) so not learned behaviour.

Tattletale Tue 02-Apr-19 07:55:06

I'm in a similar position as you OP. I will not be putting myself out to help either.

SpamChaudFroid Tue 02-Apr-19 07:56:48

They sound awful. Don't whatever you do let them move in with you.
From what you say, they should have plenty of funds available for care homes.

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