How many of you support your parents financially?

User Forum Topic
Submitted by zzz on October 1, 2009 - 7:17pm

Wondering how many of you have to support your parents financially? Secondarily, how many of your parents have been bankrupted by their health? What type of strain has this put on your life?

If you don't currently, any of you think its a high possibility you will have to support your parents? Even with insurance, several years of fighting cancer for instance could put max out the lifetime coverage limit.

Submitted by temeculaguy on October 1, 2009 - 7:42pm.

You should make this a poll or you will only get those who have supported their parents to reply, if you were looking for percentages, that would be the best way to find the answer.

This crowd feels uncomfortable talking about being fortunate. While I haven't had to deal with this issue yet because my parents are only in their sixties and comfortable financially, I can say that I did have it in the back of my mind when I bought my current house. Not for financial reasons but for potential medical reasons, I purposely made sure I had a spare room with a full bath on the ground floor, just in case, since I am likely to spend a decade or two here and it gives me the flexibility I might need since you can never be sure what will happen.

Submitted by ucodegen on October 1, 2009 - 8:46pm.

I am presently running the investments on my Mothers 403b's money. The people that the Teacher's Union had running it were really pretty bad. Beyond that, I don't have to, nor will have to support her. She has the Teacher's pension which is quite nice as well as almost full coverage for medical as part of her retirement (Blue Shield). Other than 2 hospitalizations, she is pretty healthy (I am trying to get her to be more physically active though). She is past median lifespan.

My father passed away a few years years back, and he was about 10 years past median lifespan. Initial thoughts were that he was going to outlive my Mother because he hiked regularly (and was as stubborn as hell). Unfortunately he decided to do 'holistic' tooth care instead of proper care. The result was gingivitis progressing to tooth loss. The bacteria ended up getting into his bloodstream and attacking the heart, resulting in CHF (Congestive Heart Failure). In his case, one side was more damaged than the other as well as increased turbulence within the heart (increased stroke risk). The result is that you need to take drugs to make one side beat stronger (to compensate for the CHF) as well as a blood thinner. Only one big problem was that he was inconsistent in taking the blood thinner. At that time I didn't know much about the drugs involved, otherwise I would have pushed him to take Aspirin instead of Warfarin/Coumadin. Aspirin is more predictable and has a longer life (almost 11 days compared to about 3 for Warfarin) within the body. If you miss a dose of Aspirin, just take it the next day.. with Warfarin, you have to be much more careful. Suffice it to say, he missed doses of Warfarin, resulting in more than one stroke. The last one did significant damage. He had to be placed in a Nursing home (was careful about which one, because some of them are pretty bad). He still had enough presence of mind to know what was happening and what had happened to his mind from the stroke. He did not want to continue, so about 1 year after the last stroke, he starved himself to death. He had sufficient funds to continue the Nursing home for more than 10 years.

We didn't order forced feeding because he didn't wish it. It was something we discussed as a family a long time ago. My family likes to 'go out' with our boots on. We don't like to having last memory of ourselves as being a barely conscious blob of protoplasm for our loved ones. When it is time to go, it is time to go!. We see continuing under a terminal, painful condition.. as torture. Living like that, is not living.

Sorry if the Father part is TMI (Too Much Info). I do want to emphasize that people pay attention to their health care, and not always doing exactly what a doctor requests without asking questions. It is your body, your health, your life - be involved. Dental care is surprisingly important. The bacteria that attack your teeth will attack your heart if it gets into the bloodstream. Also be aware of alternate drugs to what is normally prescribed. Sometimes an alternate is better, sometimes a generic or off patent drug will do just as well or better... and it won't leave as much of a financial dent.

Submitted by svelte on October 1, 2009 - 8:57pm.

Pop pays for his own senior living complex...we just made sure it was near a drug store and a strip club.

We pay for his Cialis and his "entertainment" fund...he stops by the drug store, spends and hour or two at the club, then goes home and does all the widows in the complex. He's a happy man...he'll never want to come live with us.

Submitted by temeculaguy on October 1, 2009 - 9:39pm.

I have read a number of books and spent hundreds of hours laboring over decisions in raising my kids. I've prided myself on their accomplishments, maturity, understanding and happiness. Until just now, I felt I had done a fantastic job, in fact, my first book is more than likley going to be a modern single dads guide to raising happy kids.

But then i read svelte's post and realized that no man ever did a better job raising their kids than svelte's pops, he should write the book because any man that raises their kid and that kid grows up and sets up that scenario for him should be given a medal. Some parents want their kid to grow up and be a doctor, lawyer or even a president, I want my kid to grow up and be svelte.

Bravo, keep spreading the happiness.

Submitted by jamsvet on October 1, 2009 - 9:44pm.

My MIL suffered from Alzheimers and we had to put her in a nursing home. She lasted 18 YEARS. We were private pay and it averaged 5k a month. That was for a nice place nothing spectacular, which we visited frequently at all hours to check on conditions. Hardest thing we ever did. Damn near destroyed my wife.

Submitted by Ricechex on October 1, 2009 - 10:44pm.

temeculaguy wrote:
I have read a number of books and spent hundreds of hours laboring over decisions in raising my kids. I've prided myself on their accomplishments, maturity, understanding and happiness. Until just now, I felt I had done a fantastic job, in fact, my first book is more than likley going to be a modern single dads guide to raising happy kids.

But then i read svelte's post and realized that no man ever did a better job raising their kids than svelte's pops, he should write the book because any man that raises their kid and that kid grows up and sets up that scenario for him should be given a medal. Some parents want their kid to grow up and be a doctor, lawyer or even a president, I want my kid to grow up and be svelte.

Bravo, keep spreading the happiness.

I anxiously await your book.

Submitted by Aecetia on October 1, 2009 - 11:38pm.

TG-
Go ahead and tell them about living on a cruise ship.

Submitted by CA renter on October 2, 2009 - 1:14am.

ucodegen,

Good post. Not TMI, and this is something EVERYBODY should discuss with their spouses, children and parents. For some reason, our society shuns any discussions about death and dying, to the point that people with young children refuse to get life insurance or set up a trust, will, guardianship, etc. It's like they think that if they can ignore it (death), then it won't happen to them.

As for the question... Like TG, we are looking to buy a single-story or a two-story with at least one bedroom/bathroom downstairs. We are really hoping to get a house with a guest unit (like UCGal), which would be ideal.

My parents have passed away, but I expect we'll take care of my MIL at some point, and want to be prepared.

Submitted by CA renter on October 2, 2009 - 1:20am.

One more thing...

For those who are elderly or who have elderly parents, it's a VERY good idea to have a "Vial of Life" on your refrigerator. When first responders come to a house, they will want to know if there is a DNR (do not resuscitate) order, medical history, medications used, family contact information, etc. They know to look for a Vial of Life, and it can be immensely helpful for all concerned. Technically, anyone can have one, but it's very important for seniors to have one.

http://www.vialoflife.com/

Submitted by dbapig on October 2, 2009 - 11:27am.

ucodegen wrote:

Unfortunately he decided to do 'holistic' tooth care instead of proper care. The result was gingivitis progressing to tooth loss. The bacteria ended up getting into his bloodstream and attacking the heart, resulting in CHF (Congestive Heart Failure).

Kinda totally unrelated but I was watching a PBS special about an archaeological dig done at Jamestown recently. What they found out from the graves dug up was that many of the settlers died from the exact cause. They would get a tooth ache, it gets infected and than the infection spreads to brain.

Sorry about your dad though.

I've been supporting my parents for a long time. Hence I don't own house yet.

Submitted by zzz on October 2, 2009 - 12:56pm.

jamsvet wrote:
My MIL suffered from Alzheimers and we had to put her in a nursing home. She lasted 18 YEARS. We were private pay and it averaged 5k a month. That was for a nice place nothing spectacular, which we visited frequently at all hours to check on conditions. Hardest thing we ever did. Damn near destroyed my wife.

Kudos to you for paying for her care. Did you have to give up a lot personally to make the 5k in payments? I don't know too many people who can sustain 60k a year over, much less for 18 years.

Thats the problem, how many of us can really afford to take care of our parents LONG TERM and at what cost not only in dollars, but in all the personal sacrifice. If you can't afford the nursing home, taking care of someone with Alzheimers has to be incredibly difficult. If you're single, how do you manage to work and take care of that parent unless you can afford a nanny for your sick parent?

I'm curious if anyone has good suggestions on how to overcome these dilemma's?

Submitted by zzz on October 2, 2009 - 12:58pm.

dbapig wrote:

I've been supporting my parents for a long time. Hence I don't own house yet.

Dba, what other sacrifices have you had to make and how has supporting your parents altered your life and decisions beyond owning a home?

I'm starting to realize I may have to take care of my parents for the remainder of their lives and that makes me wonder if I can handle having children as well. Tough decisions

Submitted by scaredyclassic on October 2, 2009 - 1:08pm.

long term care insurance.

also, suicide.

Since long term care insurance is expensive, I was planning the suicide route for myself when things looked bleak.

Submitted by zzz on October 2, 2009 - 1:25pm.

oh scaredy, that is awful, i hope it never comes to that.

i've struggled with the long term care policies and when they should be bought. see link. i'm more worried about chronic sickness wiping out life savings than i am about having to put them into a home.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money...

Submitted by CBad on October 2, 2009 - 1:30pm.

This isn't something I like to think about. I do support my mother somewhat and have for as long as I can remember. To say my mom is bad with money is the understatement of a lifetime. I have paid for various things for her throughout the years. It's better to pay some of her bills vs. have her inevitably screw up and ask for $.

She's only in her 60's but isn't the picture of health and has zero savings. BUT, my feeling is I will only help her up to a point. I won't sacrifice the life I've built with my husband and children because she has failed to be responsible her entire life. To make matters worse, she takes care of my brother who is handicapped so if anything happens to either one if them it's a big, big issue.

Basically, my husband and I have run through various scenarios and what we're willing to give via $ or actual help for each one and for how long. I expect little to no help from my siblings so I'm not counting on them. So we will have to see what the future brings and I plan to stick to the plans we've set forth. That may sound cold but when it comes down to it, this is a very emotional issue and I don't want my emotions to cause me to make an irrational decision that would jeopardize my immediate family. So for example, someone said a nursing home for 18 years at 5K a month? Kudos to you but that ain't happening with me.

Submitted by edna_mode on October 2, 2009 - 3:25pm.

I wonder if most of the participants on this thread worrying about their parents are of the post-Boomers generation(s)?

Over the years of trying to manage my relationship with family, I discovered that the concept of "boundaries" wasn't quite the right word for what needed to be maintained. I needed to describe a concept that did delineate, but not separate, because your fates are intertwined with your parent, who may become dependent on you. something flexible, and yet distinct, that allows for communication but is still protective and distinguishes self from non-self.

"Membranes" came to mind, and has stuck ever since -- I liked the concept from when i first learned what those were.

So with that perspective in mind, I figured out a rough estimate of how much resources I would need to survive and assumed that was a good start for budgeting how much another person would need (season to taste as necessary), and quietly planned to how make enough money to cover two people's needs without saying anything (and this may be a lot more, or less depending on your situation, basically whatever you can afford without creating resentment). Best case it would never be needed, and I would have a windfall, worst case I would be right and could spend it without fretting over my own fate. The reason I did not share this information is because it gave me peace of mind without turning it into a political football. I would turn the money into gifts of food, medicine, clothing etc. that I knew would serve needs directly. And by framing it as a "gift" not obligation, it helped mitigate the resentment that the parent didn't manage their own affairs well enough to be financially independent. So I wouldn't send money, but I would send useful gifts.

Anyway, just one more perspective from the voice of experience.

Submitted by ucodegen on October 2, 2009 - 3:47pm.

Since long term care insurance is expensive, I was planning the suicide route for myself when things looked bleak.

oh scaredy, that is awful, i hope it never comes to that.

Actually that is what I also consider doing, it is also effectively what my Father did when he felt he went past the point of no-return. It is also what my Mother hopes for when she gets to that point.

It seems that the knowledge of the ability to extend life has outstripped the knowledge of knowing when to apply it. Staying alive even when you are not really living and there is no hope for improvement, just for the sake of being alive; is torture and not life. It also speaks to the fear of death.

Submitted by temeculaguy on October 2, 2009 - 4:23pm.

zzz wrote:
i've struggled with the long term care policies and when they should be bought.

I looked into it for the folks as well and found similar frustrations, hence the downstairs bedroom plan. Actually the downstairs bedroom plan has other benefits as well, I have a friend who's wife had a serious leg injury and couldn't get up the stairs for six months (unfortunately she wasn't a convenient carry sized wife). They didn't have a downtairs bedroom or shower, it was quite the unforseen ordeal.

I do have long term care insurance for myself but it is an employer sponsored program and they would not cover anyone but me for any amount of money, I bought it when I was about 30, paid the premiums for 10 years and now I don't have to pay again ever but it is in force for life. I know it is not cost effective insurance, I know I could have taken the same dollars and invested them elsewhere and probably made more money, but it didn't break me, from memory it may have been pre-tax and at least i know that 30 years from now my kids won't need to worry about this stuff.

CA renter, good tip on the life vial

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on October 2, 2009 - 4:46pm.

Aecetia wrote:
TG-
Go ahead and tell them about living on a cruise ship.

Aecetia: You never miss an opportunity to bus toss ole TG, do you?

Geez, does he owe you money or something?

Submitted by disimilar1 on October 2, 2009 - 5:31pm.

once my parents came to visit from another city. they both got the flu at the same time. I was a single mom then running a business. That was a real eye opener of an experience. a few years later they wanted to move here and were looking for a house. I was thinking how am I going to take care of my child, run a business and do their grocery shopping? Then, good luck! they found a place in a retirement home that had just been built. they bought in early for a low entry fee. they chose not to buy the unit. their monthly fees are $2,300 for 10 meals a month, janitorial 2x's a week (that's not enough), and occasional rides to doctor visits when the building can schedule them in.
I just bought a foreclosure with a seperate guest house (no kitchen). My daughter lives there during college. I figure if one parent passes and the other does not want to live alone they have a place.

Submitted by temeculaguy on October 2, 2009 - 5:42pm.

Allan from Fallbrook wrote:
Aecetia wrote:
TG-
Go ahead and tell them about living on a cruise ship.

Aecetia: You never miss an opportunity to bus toss ole TG, do you?

Geez, does he owe you money or something?

She's trying to give away all my secrets, but if everyone knows they will get ruined, O.K. I'll share the idea, I might need a wingman anyway. Long before piggington she asked me why I jogged, refused to eat sugar, took tango lessons and squireled away my money. My response, When i'm 70 and all the other old dudes are dead or broke, I'm gonna live on cruise ships and chase all the widows (the ratio is like 10-1 on ships, especially in alaska and florida and on longer cruises, single men just don't go much), then get off the boat, get on another and go until I drop dead. I figured I need about 2000 a week in todays dollars as my retirement income without touching my principal and that is how I have my finances planned. It's not just another of tg's crazy and funny plans, I have this one all worked out, hyperinflation or health problems can derail it however.

You've heard of the buckets of money retirement strategy, well this is different, I call it the "Cialis at Sea" retirement strategy.

Submitted by Aecetia on October 2, 2009 - 11:03pm.

I do not think TG owes anyone anything. It is just such a wonderful idea, I thought he should share it. I would never leave my pets to sail the seven seas, so it would not work for me, but for someone with nothing to weigh them down it is the perfect solution to aging with aplomb.

Submitted by lifeisgood on October 3, 2009 - 2:59pm.

Something interesting that i have noticed is the asian population has absolutely no problem supporting there parents financialy. Most of the asian families that live around me have, what I call, stay at home parents. I guess it works out since they have live in babysitters for free. I just couldn't deal without my privacy. I have a feeling that my wife and I will have to take care of her parents at some point. They are not very financialy responsible. They will have to live with us since I will give up my privacy over sucombing to the nursing/ elderly home pricing.

Submitted by fredo4 on October 3, 2009 - 4:05pm.

temeculaguy wrote:
Allan from Fallbrook wrote:
Aecetia wrote:
TG-
Go ahead and tell them about living on a cruise ship.

Aecetia: You never miss an opportunity to bus toss ole TG, do you?

Geez, does he owe you money or something?

She's trying to give away all my secrets, but if everyone knows they will get ruined, O.K. I'll share the idea, I might need a wingman anyway. Long before piggington she asked me why I jogged, refused to eat sugar, took tango lessons and squireled away my money. My response, When i'm 70 and all the other old dudes are dead or broke, I'm gonna live on cruise ships and chase all the widows (the ratio is like 10-1 on ships, especially in alaska and florida and on longer cruises, single men just don't go much), then get off the boat, get on another and go until I drop dead. I figured I need about 2000 a week in todays dollars as my retirement income without touching my principal and that is how I have my finances planned. It's not just another of tg's crazy and funny plans, I have this one all worked out, hyperinflation or health problems can derail it however.

You've heard of the buckets of money retirement strategy, well this is different, I call it the "Cialis at Sea" retirement strategy.

This is hilarious and very smart. Any guy with brains should know that the best way to impress women is to be a good dancer (tango especially- very sexy). I always tell my single guy friend who are looking to meet women that you need to go where the women are. Pilates classes, dance classes, yoga.

Submitted by jficquette on October 4, 2009 - 12:44pm.

I have paid half my fathers rent since 1998. Fortunately he lives in a low cost area. One day if I get rich I will just buy him a house.

Now I know how it was for him to pay for me growing up. Especially every few months when he needs new tires or car repairs or whatever "off budget"

Our society needs to go back to how it use to be. The deal was your parents took care of you when you were growing up and when they get old you take care of them

John

Submitted by svelte on October 4, 2009 - 2:02pm.

temeculaguy wrote:

But then i read svelte's post and realized that no man ever did a better job raising their kids than svelte's pops, he should write the book because any man that raises their kid and that kid grows up and sets up that scenario for him should be given a medal. Some parents want their kid to grow up and be a doctor, lawyer or even a president, I want my kid to grow up and be svelte.

Bravo, keep spreading the happiness.

lol...I figured I would enrage the vanillas on the board...I forget how open minded piggs are. In many ways things just worked out this way. I'm not sure how often he goes to the strip club, to be honest, but he does go. He's told me about it.

And he's having the time of his life with the women - he deserves it. He was faithful to my mom during her entire life, spent all his free time raising his kids right, this is his time now. Kids are grown, wife has long passed, he deserves to do exactly what makes him happy for a change.

And if there is not enough change in his pocket to make it happen, well that's where we step in.

Submitted by temeculaguy on October 4, 2009 - 2:26pm.

I just spent four hours doing homework with my kids, missing all the football games. Then I read svelte's latest post, I actually have a tear in my eye. I'm printing this and giving it to them in 40 years if they fail to live up to the svelte standard.

Submitted by Aecetia on October 4, 2009 - 2:40pm.

Why didn't you record the game or did you? Stop being a martyr.

Submitted by CA renter on October 4, 2009 - 4:55pm.

jficquette wrote:
I have paid half my fathers rent since 1998. Fortunately he lives in a low cost area. One day if I get rich I will just buy him a house.

Now I know how it was for him to pay for me growing up. Especially every few months when he needs new tires or car repairs or whatever "off budget"

Our society needs to go back to how it use to be. The deal was your parents took care of you when you were growing up and when they get old you take care of them

John

Agreed.

Unfortunately, Americans seem to be some of the most selfish people on the planet when it comes to taking care of their parents. Maybe it has something to do with how spoiled and entitled they are as kids. From what I've seen, the harder kids have it when young, the better and more considerate they are as adults.

Submitted by zzz on October 5, 2009 - 4:30pm.

I absolutely agree you should take care of your parents when they are old. Sometimes its easier said than done. How do you do this if there are huge financial obligations that come with it? Let me pose a scenario. Lets say healthcare costs / illness has bankrupted your parents financially. How far do you go with your finances to support your parents? Do you allow their illness to bankrupt you? Short of bankrupting you, how much would you give up and sacrifice for them?

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