“We don’t want strangers taking care of Mom!”
“We promised Mom she would never go to a nursing home!”
“If you really love Mom, you should be able to keep it up for awhile longer, anyway.”
Ah, siblings. Some are a joy. Some are helping the primary caregiver, as you struggle to find the right balance of care for your elderly parents. Some siblings don’t help with caregiving at all. And some, maybe more than we’d like to admit, have a less than admirable motive for their comments. Some don’t want Mom to have outside care, because outside care is expensive. And outside care will quickly eat up their parents’ hard-earned money – the money the family was to inherit.
While I didn’t have to battle siblings over money, I know first hand what happens to a senior parent’s estate when outside care and nursing home care is involved. We, as a family, wanted the best care possible for our parents. And for much of the time, I was the best resource. However, the time came when a nursing home was the only option. I still was the primary caregiver, going to see them every day, making sure their wants and needs were personally taken care of. I was their advocate and watchdog, their hand-holder and errand runner. But their home was the nursing home, and everything they had hoped to leave the family, financially, ended up paying for their care. That’s fine. It’s not what they wanted, but their care came first, and their money paid for it.
Would my siblings and I have loved to have a little inheritance? Of course. My parents desperately wanted to leave us something. But that was not to be. That’s okay. Mom had her private room. She had good care. Dad’s care was private pay, as well. My siblings understood that this is how it needed to be. My continuing to care for them at home was no longer an option.
However, I get e-mails from people whose siblings are happy to let the one adult child, the one who steps up to the plate and takes care of the elders and does all of the work, continue on with it. Yet these same siblings won’t allow the caregiver any money for respite care, or even nursing homes, without a fight. They couch their objections in phrases that show undying love for the elder. “No stranger will take the place of family!” is their indignant mantra.