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Do Your Parents/In-Laws Intend for You to Provide Elder Care??

(105 Posts)
FixItUpChappie Thu 22-May-14 20:12:51

I don't mean accidentally because shit happens - I mean intentionally as in that is their retirement plan.

If so, are you okay with that? Is your spouse okay with it? Did you all discuss it in advance or was it just "surprise! we have no money!!"? How did you broach the topic? Do want them to contribute? What about physical care? Do you just send money or do you have them live with you?

More and more (for various reasons) I'm getting the impression that my in-laws spend above their means (think travel-lifestyle), live hand to mouth and have no retirement "plans" per se. They already do a lot of freeloading for lack of a better word. I see some behaviour that signals to me we are going to have an issue. That and they announced to my mother that they are so lucky to have children who will care for them in their old age confused. Well my DH would be the contender for that job and I know they haven't asked for his perspective (or mine).

Just curious to hear perspectives.

soundevenfruity Thu 22-May-14 20:22:21

I think your DM should stop stirring. But on a practical note it definitely should be discussed between you and your husband. Hopefully not in accusatory tone. I think all parents expect support from their children just you would from your family, not necessarily of material kind. Do either of you have siblings? Because if they refuse to participate you really have very little choice.

hamptoncourt Thu 22-May-14 20:32:41

I don't understand. Unless you are not in the UK, there are no laws to say you have to have elderly rellies live with you/gove them financial support, although I know this is the case in some US states. Why are you saying you have very little choice?

Most people I know whose parents need care, their parents are in a care home or nursing home.

FixItUpChappie Thu 22-May-14 20:36:07

My DH has 2 siblings - one doesn't have a good relationship with them and lives on the other side of the country. The other would be an emotional support but is unlikely to be a physical support. The topic has been coming more to the forefront as my FIL is 80 (my MIL is in her 60's) and both have some health issues.

FixItUpChappie Thu 22-May-14 20:38:02

No, no we don't legally have to help. They are my husbands parent though so aren't going to turn our back if they really come up in need. Its just been on our minds lately and I wonder how others handle parents/inlaws that havne't saved for their retirement.

Yama Thu 22-May-14 20:39:44

No, no plans to look after my parents or either dh's Mum or Dad (they are not together).

Dh and I have discussed extending our house to enable my parents to move in. They haven't asked by the way but are retired and without much. They no longer own a house. Anyway, I said no.

I will look out for them but I won't fall into caring for them.

MaliceInWonderland78 Fri 23-May-14 09:35:43

My parents moved to be near us, and I think part of the reason was that we're in a better position to look after them in old age. I really don't mind because my parents have only just turned 60, so will be helping out with child care for many years to come (god willing). So we have a sort of implicit arrangment.

My in-laws on the otherhand are a few (but not many) years older. They've already retired and have said that they'll move to be near us within the next 5-10 years. So we'd have had none of the help from them (on a day to day basis) but will be expected to help them out on a day to day basis.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 23-May-14 09:42:43

I don't plan on being a 'carer' if that's what you mean. My mum doesn't want me to be either and both her and my in laws are putting their own plans in place after having very difficult times with their own parents.

There's a big difference between popping round and helping out to actually caring for someone, which can be a full time job and shouldn't be forced on anybody.

jellygog Fri 23-May-14 09:49:30

My parents have never stated any expectation for me or my siblings to care for them, but it's traditional in our extended family so I expect one of us to do so. They aren't well off and they've been fantastic gps, including providing lots of free childcare, so I think it's fair enough. Both parents work hard but due to lack of qualifications/health have never been able to save much. I have three siblings though and we're not in the position to be the most likely to take on the responsibility (due to housing) but who knows what the situation will be like when the time comes.

My ILs are better off and financially have been able to put away savings for a retirement home. They spend a lot on travelling etc but are both still working and can afford it. They live abroad anyway and I don't think it's likely that they'd move here in order to get care from me/DH, they have other dc in their home country.

belagh Fri 23-May-14 10:32:55

My Dad has made his own arrangements. ... wish he'd tell me what they are especially as he's in France. My ils mmmm think there is an assumption my sil will but as she has more health problems than the il I really can't see how, she needs their help now and certainly isn't going to get better. My fil would rather walk over hot coals that have me help him but my mil I'd help in a heart beat

Sushiqueen Fri 23-May-14 10:42:23

My parents have made it clear that they will never expect us to care for them. They both had grandparents living with them as children and saw the toil it took on the family. So they have made their plans on that basis.

I know I could not "care" full time for my parents or my in laws and DH feels the same. We will help all we can but could not cope with living with them.

tobiasfunke Fri 23-May-14 10:56:54

We are facing this question at the moment. I always thought it was my duty to help out elderly parents no matter what. Now I have come to the decision that if they take actions as 'rational' adults that have made things difficult in the present, past or the future then they may need to live with the consequences of these actions.

PIL's are in their mid 70s currently very active but DH and I see signs that MIL may be 'slowing down' mentally and FIL physically. They have money and good pensions but have made it clear they won't go into a home- ever- but will expect either DH or SIL to look after them. FIL in particular is a very difficult man.
They expend all their time and effort on SIL and her family, who live in hundreds of miles away. SIL is a raging narc and even PIL have realised that she will be unlikely to look after them. That leaves us. DH has always been a second class citizen and I have been less than that.

They retired to a town a couple of hours drive away, without decent public transport and no hospital services despite DH pointing out that would get older eventually and need help. They are making noises about me driving 2 hours to take them to some hospital appointments 40 minutes away.

So bearing this in mind I am coming to the conclusion that they are expecting us to run after them is a bloody cheek. Any moral obligation I felt has been negated by their 'rational' decisions.
I think in your case OP your DH should ask them how they are going to fund their old age. It's not an unreasonable question.

gotthemoononastick Fri 23-May-14 11:21:05

We love our family dearly and are getting on.

We would rather walk out into the snow than expect them to 'care' for us in any way as they are bringing up the next generation.

This is why we live frugally as discussed on the 'funny old ones' thread at the moment.

catsrus Fri 23-May-14 11:48:34

I do think it depends on your relationship with your parents - mine lived at a huge distance and we were not close but certainly not estranged. When they were too frail to cope in their own home anymore we moved them into a retirement complex near us (rented) - a good few hundred miles from where I had been brought up. They were bed blocking as both had been admitted to hospital at the same time and could only be released if there was someone at home able to help them. They had never been in a position to be able to 'save for their retirement' and had never been on a foreign holiday in their lives. I relied on old friends of mine to visit them in hospital and help arrange the move as I was working f/t with small dcs.

Best solution all round to have them round the corner where I could pop in and check they were OK and shop for dm once df died. At the end of both their lives I was calling in every day, before or after work, either to the hospital or nursing home. While this was stressful I think it was considerably less stressful than being hundreds of miles away having to deal with social workers and hospitals by phone. Actually it was rather lovely that my dad had the opportunity to be around his GCs at the end of his life and they developed a lovely relationship he supported them in their anarchy while supposedly 'babysitting'. My mother hated hated hated being dependent, she kept telling me she didn't need help and was fine - but the reality was she did need help and whenever she did things like call the ambulance (because she didn't want to bother me!) I got pulled into dealing with it anyway by social services.

The reality is that if you are next of kin you WILL get contacted by these service providers and you will be expected to make decisions and offer support.

It was a no-brainer for me, I watched my parents support my gm as she got older so I did the same. I will happily support my (now ex)MIL as she ages - there's nothing I could do that will pay her back sufficiently for what a fantastic MIL and gran she has been. My exH spent huge amounts of time supporting his dm and df before his df died. In functional families isn't it just part of the circle of life that we do this (cue Lion King music)?

venusandmars Fri 23-May-14 11:53:27

When they say they are "lucky to have children who will care for them" do they mean actually looking after them, or are they reflecting that having a loving and caring family is part of the wider support network?

In actuality it is quite difficult to plan and predict this. My parents planned physically, emotionally and financially for their future. When they were 75 (or so) they would have been horrified by the thought that we would be looking after them in any way. Ten years later and with deteriorating ability to make decisions, or deal with the complex world in which we live, and they called on us for help with official letters, trips to hospital (party practical and also to help interpret medical speak and ask the right questions), increasing levels of help so that they could remain 'independent' in their own home. And then when my Dad was very ill, he was scared about being in hospital again, and I was dealing with acute confusion and incontinence (his, not mine!).

I would have put myself in the 'never ever' camp when it came to looking after them, but I was surprised by how I felt when they actually needed help.

thegreylady Fri 23-May-14 12:01:44

My dd and her dh broached the subject with me (I am 70) and said that I would always have a home with them if dh dies before me (he is 78). We have discussed putting some of the money I would get from selling this house to what they would get and finding a new place with a granny flat. We will see.

CatsCantTwerk Fri 23-May-14 12:04:25

We are looking to move at the minute and we will be taking pil into account when we find our house. We decided a long time ago that once we found the perfect house (hopefully somewhere with a granny flat or separate annex) that dp's parents will be moving in.

thegreylady Fri 23-May-14 12:04:50

I think I would rather buy a small place very near them and retain some independence for as long as possible.

MumofWombat Fri 23-May-14 12:23:16

At Christmas FIL said something along the lines of "when mumof looks after MIL when she's old". I think I spat my drink out before I could get myself to try to not show a negative reaction. Our family is second in priority to BILs (way too many things to list - I'd derail the thread!) so in my view the favourites can do that sort of care if its needed. And there is NO way I could live with them. I'd research a decent care home and visit but I'll never be a carer for the PIL.

Clutterbugsmum Fri 23-May-14 12:55:26

To be honest my mum lives in a bungalow around the corner from me and we have already said that we can/will adapt her enterance onto the house. at the moment she has 3 wide steps into her front door, but we can make sure she has a secure entrance into the back of the house which only has one step. Or as she has suggested we shoot her grin.

As for the Inlaws I don't think for one second that they would ask DH for help. But we would if it comes to it.

ShineSmile Fri 23-May-14 13:13:08

I think there is an expectation that if they need help, then we will be there for them and provide for them.

I wouldn't want my PiLs or parents to go to a care home, and I hope it doesn't ever come to that, and I hope we will do whatever we can to accommodate them in our home.

MiL did tell me that she would like us to have a room for her in our home for when she gets old, but the truth is we haven't even got anywhere near buying a 1 bed flat! shock

4seasons Fri 23-May-14 15:17:03

Tobias....your PIL sound like mine ... are we related ?!
FIL refused to move any closer to either his daughter or to DH as he loved where they lived .... fair enough . But expected us to drive a four hour drive each way when they needed help. Again...fair enough whilst we were fit and healthy. Then mil became very ill and we decamped to their home for about 6 weeks . SIL was still working so could only offer limited help . When mil became worse FIL was adamant that she should go into a nursing home as he was very elderly ( although very fit and active I might add ) . A few years later with his health deteriorating we decamped again to his home as he was still refusing to move closer to us . He refused to even think about a nursing home and told the medical staff he was coming home with us !!

He died before this could come to pass but both myself and DH had talked about it all and were determined that we were not going to become carers . At one point my DH said that " if a nursing home was good enough for mum then it is good enough for dad ". We were both in agreement that as he had taken the decision to stay many miles away that he had to take the consequences . Fortunately for all of us the consequences didn't have to be faced .

I won't even bother telling you about my SIL ' s part in all of this ... such as it was !!

CleopatrasAsp Fri 23-May-14 15:32:49

The trouble is that, prior to doing any, most people view 'caring' for people in old age as popping in to do their shopping or take them a meal, arranging appointments and dealing with paperwork.

Unfortunately, particularly if there is dementia involved, this is nothing like what happens. You end up on call twenty four hours a day, often dealing with an aggressive, difficult person that bears no resemblance to your previously beloved relative and who often resists every attempt at help. Even if there is no dementia involved, dealing with things like incontinence, having no real life of your own and no time or energy for your partner, children and friends is soul destroying.

I am always very wary when people talk about moving their parents/in-laws in with them in order to care for them, particularly when they have no idea what this can (and does) lead to. I think it is about time we stopped all this and campaigned for better facilities and care for the elderly in assisted living residences and care homes. The truth is that once people reach a certain level of ill health it is not possible for them to be cared for by one person and the fall-out of trying to do this can really destroy a family without providing the caree with an adequate amount of care.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 23-May-14 16:09:06

Totally agree Cleopatra. Caring can end up as a full time job, not just doing a bit of cooking or gardening or making a cuppa, especially with dementia. It's not something I would want to take on having seen my grandparents with dementia and their deterioration.

tallulah Fri 23-May-14 17:36:26

My MIL told everyone when we were all younger that she'd had children to "look after her in her old age". I told DH there and then that wasn't going to happen. The ILs did have MILs parents to live with them for the few years at the end of their lives, so the expectation is presumably that one of her children will do the same. Luckily we are 200 miles away grin

My GPs were quite self contained and my Gma looked after Gdad when he got dementia. My mum did a lot of popping in and help with practical things but both lived to 92 without ever going into a home/ having to have FT carers.

My colleague has been on the phone today trying to get her mother into a care home. The going rate is £1000 a week. SS will only contribute up to £500 a week. How many families are going to be able to come up with £2000 a month?

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