Should I avoid supporting my aging father?
November 13, 2014 3:14 PM   Subscribe

My father is aging, with heart problems and developing dementia. I am generally a conscientious person, but I'm staring down the necessity of supporting him like the barrel of a gun. Special snowflake details inside.

I live about 2.5 hours drive from my parents. Earlier this year, my mom died of cancer. I brought her into my home and my in-laws and I took care of her. Now, it turns out that she was basically taking care of my father: he clearly is not self-sustaining, but does not want to leave his home. I cannot move closer (he lives in my hometown, in the middle of nowhere).

So, until now (for the last four months, since my mom died), my seven aunts and uncles have basically been taking care of him. My two siblings are nowhere to be seen. I have been visiting every weekend since my mom died, handling finances, and helping pay for things where I can.

This week, one of the aunts started sending me abusive emails, talking about how my dad "is not her responsibility," and claiming that I'm not helping enough, and so on. Here are facts of my life.
  1. My mom raised me. My parents were separated from my birth until I was 16, when my mom and I moved back in with my father to take care of him after he had bypass surgery.
  2. My father was a "father" in that he provided a zygote, and he provided a token amount of money for rent to my mom. (Complaining about it every time, of course.) He was never a "dad."
  3. In his present location, my dad has 7 siblings and their (adult) children to deal with problems. If I take full responsibility for him, these will melt away and it will be me, my currently-38-weeks-pregnant-wife, and in-laws.
I am generally a very conscientious person, but at this point in my life I feel unable to take anything else on. I just don't think it's feasible, logistically: how can I work, deal with my dad's medical appointments and other issues, and actually have time to spend with my son and wife at this, the most incredible time that we can possibly share? All of my aunts and uncles and other relatives have their commitments, but their children are also grown. I was hoping to be able to help financially, providing pay for wear and tear on peoples' cars, buying meals, doing the finances and paperwork for my dad, and so on—but this is clearly not satisfying for the rest of my clan.

At this point, my instinct is to just "hang it up." I can't deal with abuse and disrespect on top of the other issues. I feel like I'm about to explode from stress.

Has anyone dealt with a similar situation? Am I a horrible person?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (39 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You are not a horrible person at all. It sounds like there are plenty of other people to deal with this. Let them.
posted by Maias at 3:31 PM on November 13, 2014 [26 favorites]

You are not a horrible person. It seems that you and your father weren't really family, and it is his family is who should be taking care of him.
posted by Specklet at 3:33 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]

Bow out of any perceived obligation gracefully, and do not engage with anyone who communicates in an abusive fashion. You only have so much to give in this life, and you have a wife and soon, a child, who deserve the best from you.

Now if down the road your father finds that he is open to moving into an assisted living situation in your community, you can explore that possibility when it comes. You might also, if this seems like a reasonable solution, present this to him and anyone else who is involved as the only way in which you would be able to help him. Of course, only offer/suggest this if it seems like something you could live with.

You are not obligated to blow up your life for a virtual stranger.
posted by Scram at 3:33 PM on November 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

You are not a horrible person.

"Dear Aunt,

I took care of the person who took care of me - my mother.

While I've been doing the best I can with Frank, caring for him is taking too much away from my Wife and Family.

It is time for you Frank's other brothers and sisters to sort out a plan to care for him. I am forwarding all info about his current expenses and a comprehensive list of all the chores I took over for my mother after her death.

As of X date, I will no longer be able to provide any care or practical assistance for Frank.

I wish all of you well, but I can no longer be involved.


posted by jbenben at 3:37 PM on November 13, 2014 [54 favorites]

It seems like there might be a fair amount of wiggle room between "full responsibility" and so-called "not helping enough." What have your relatives asked you to do? Is there something else you could do short of moving him? Like, hire a companion/driver a day or two a week? (My mom did this for her elderly mother, and it was inexpensive in the order of somewhere between minimum wage and 1.5x minimum wage, and it was a godsend.) Order groceries or food delivery? Take a long weekend once or twice a month to help with medical appointments? Find nearby subsidized respite care? If you talk to your aunt, she might be able to tell you what is feeling so overwhelming right now, and it might be relatively easy for you to help from where you are.

Alternatively, think through the consequences of helping him more (fewer resources for your nuclear family?) vs not helping him (permanent rift with that side of your family?) and see which feels right to you. Nobody but you can answer that.
posted by instamatic at 3:40 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your responsibility now is to your wife and to your child. Period. You did right by your mother and you should feel very good about that. This man, though your bio parent, did not raise you or develop a parental relationship with you. You and your mother already did a lot of caring for this man even though it sounds like he didn't really earn it. Now, if his siblings and your siblings can't carry the load, you should look into what sorts of assisted care facilities are open to him (using his own assets or government support). While he may prefer to stay home, that preference can't be foisted onto your shoulders when you have your own responsibilities to take care of.

You should also reconsider whether it makes sense for you to pay toward his support and care. Can you do so without undermining your own future and the financial security of you growing family? Again, they're your first responsibility. You're not obligated to pay for his care or reimburse his own family members for their costs.

You are not a horrible person for putting your own very important responsibilities first. We all make our choices in life and he chose to abandon parental responsibility. These are the consequences. Let his many siblings deal with his care. Ignore their nasty messages.

Congratulations on the baby!
posted by quince at 3:40 PM on November 13, 2014 [22 favorites]

I amended that letter I a bit. You might want to refresh.

The minute you wrote that your wife was pregnant and that your dad's sister was writing abusive emails, my Oh-Hells-NO hammer came out.

You can't give in. There are too many of them. This is their brother. You've done your part.

Walk away. Protect your family.

Best to you.
posted by jbenben at 3:43 PM on November 13, 2014 [13 favorites]

If you're looking for permission from the internet to not support your father, then you have it. Do what you think makes the most sense for you and your family. No one will hold it against you and you are well within your rights and not a horrible person.

On the other hand - boy - I can't imagine walking out on a family member when they need me most. Other family members may be able to be relied upon - and if so, let them help! Ask, even! If they're not helpful or don't care, though, what are you going to do? Just abandon the guy? Life doesn't throw many of these situations at you but when it does, I believe it's your opportunity to rise above whatever he did or didn't do to you and do the right thing. It's one of those opportunities you have to give something of yourself without need for anything in return. I've heard that this is the 'good stuff' of life even if it doesn't seem like it on the surface.

I watched my mother care for my grandfather (who was a drunk and abusive and distant from her her entire life) when he got dementia. Now that he has died, she recalls the five years they had together, during his decline, as the most healing and rewarding period of her life with him. She cherishes that time she had and feels like their relationship was redeemed. Don't discount your efforts as simply a chore - think of them as the one last great thing you can do for your father - regardless of the kind of father he was to you.
posted by shew at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

I can't imagine walking out on a family member when they need me most.

Depends on if Anon considers this person to be 'family' or not. Sounds like they do not.

Anon: drop out of this obligation with no guilt at all. And congrats on the baby!
posted by thatone at 3:50 PM on November 13, 2014 [18 favorites]

My mother's biological father was a ward of the state for the last 20-odd years of his life. They didn't speak for 12 years because of his behavior from an improperly/untreated mental illness.
posted by brujita at 3:54 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your plans for contributing to your father's care are just fine as they are. With seven siblings and the history you don't have with him, his care should fall in their lap, not yours. But the abusive criticism you got from your aunt is just from one of those siblings - not all. I think you should consider which of those siblings might be the easiest to deal with and contact that person and explain exactly what (financial) help you're prepared to provide and explain that's all you can do.

Also, don't forget that no one has to take care of him financially, really. He'll have Medicare, which will cover most of his medical bills and his medications, and Social Security. Is his home paid for? If it is, his SS amount should be adequate for regular upkeep on the home, food and basic essentials, but you and others may have to help with larger home problems like plumbing issues, roof, etc. If the house isn't paid for, there are federal programs to help people stay in their own homes with housing subsidies, if their income is low enough to qualify - and SS by itself usually is. Some Medicare Advantage plans pay for cab fares to and from medical appointments, up to 12 a year or so, and he'll pay very little money for an Advantage plan, if anything at all. A person has to be really, really low income to qualify for food stamps, but with the housing covered some way, SS is usually enough to pay for food.

Every situation is different, of course - and not all are so easily handled by "the system" but there are resources to help - that's what needs investigation here. And the aunt who is complaining may be tiring herself and may be shouldering too much of the load - maybe contacting her with the idea of the two of you enlisting some actual help from other sibs might be a thought?

No, you're not a terrible person - you know that. You have a family of your own to put first - now and in the future. But honestly, with that large a family, your father can be cared for without too much effort on any single person's part. No one wants the responsibility, but in this case his siblings are going to have to figure it out.

Congratulations on your little one!
posted by aryma at 3:56 PM on November 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

Your first responsibility is to yourself-- if you don't care for yourself, you won't be able to do anything for anyone. Next responsibility is to your wife and (soon) newborn child. It's important for you to be with them and as you say, the early days of parenthood are a unique time. Once they're gone, you can't get them back.

I don't think you are a bad person at all. Shame on your auntie for trying to guilt you into taking on this burden. I wonder if the other relatives agree with her, or is she a Lone Ranger? In any case, I don't think you will ever get her permission to live your own life. You'll have to carry on without it. Remind yourself that you are doing every thing you can to be the father that your father never was. Your child will benefit from you drawing your boundaries with the extended family.
posted by tuesdayschild at 3:56 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I can't imagine walking out on a family member when they need me most.

Kind of like anon's dad did to him when he was growing up?

Not that I mean to suggest tit-for-tat, OP. But you have a responsibility to your wife and your baby. Sort of like how your dad had a responsibility to you and your mother, that he largely abandoned . This man did not care about you enough to cultivate a relationship with you. He is effectively not your dad. And your wife doesn't need the abuse from his family, either. I'd seriously copy+paste jbenben's letter and send it out.
posted by Coatlicue at 4:04 PM on November 13, 2014 [15 favorites]

So you have at least one jerk of an Aunt. What about the rest of your father's brother and sisters? Are they also that unreasonable?

Before you walk away entirely I think you should carefully think through what level of responsibility you are willing to take on immediately (just a visit a month and paying some bills to taking on power of attorney) and what level you might be willing to step up to 5 years down the line when maybe it becomes necessary for your father to move to a facility.

Once you've determined your boundaries, set up a meeting with the rational relatives and map out a care plan. Most importantly the family needs to determine who should take on power of attorney and be a healthcare proxy.

You say your father has "developing dementia" is he still able to weigh in on his wishes? If so, what does he want? Who would he want to serve as his power of attorney and health proxy?

Also try to connect with a social worker in the community;hopefully there is a county "senior services" bureau that can point you and your family in the direction of resources that are available (meals on wheels, visiting nurses, adult day care, etc...)

I think whatever level of involvement you decide to take on is fine and you don't need to feel guilty about walking away. But you should also think about what the long-emotional impact of either of your decisions. Maybe a therapist or social worker would be good to connect with so you can feel at peace with whatever decision you make. I know from experience that it can be healing to be with an aging parent who was not so great when they were actually parenting you (or supposed to be parenting to you), but it's also important to set boundaries.
posted by brookeb at 4:05 PM on November 13, 2014 [8 favorites]

My thinking is if your parent didn't raise you then it is absolutely not right for anyone to expect that you care for them when they need it, especially when it involves deep sacrifice, granted I think your situation could be much worse. But what feels right to you may be something different. I'm just saying I would be skeptical that you should do it out of a sense of obligation.
posted by Blitz at 4:19 PM on November 13, 2014

Did your aunt also send this letter to your two siblings? What on earth?
posted by jeanmari at 4:21 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

It did not even occur to me his other siblings might be more reasonable.

Based on the dad's life choices and the aunt's attitude, I was kinda assuming a pattern on that side of the family.
posted by jbenben at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

You don't owe your father anything. You've done the best you can and now, you're done. Write jbenben's letter to your aunt.

Old people who refuse to move to a place where they can easily be cared sound mean, but BOY are they selfish. Your father belongs in assisted living or a skilled nursing facility, if he and his family aren't willing to face up to it, and to put a plan into place, then it's on them to deal with.

Your primary duties are to your wife and child.

Feel free to walk away, as you wish.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:24 PM on November 13, 2014 [11 favorites]

A couple of ideas:
If he is hospitalized (or can be) then you can tell the hospital that he can't be discharged because there is no one to care for him. They will then find a solution.
Call the Community Organization for Adult Services... They can advise you.
Also contact the organization that looks out for Adult Welfare Protection.
You have done far more than you should feel responsible for. It is time to cut out the support.
He has to find a solution.
Your loyalty is to your family.
posted by JayRwv at 4:31 PM on November 13, 2014

Reply sympathetically, saying that you certainly don't think she should take on more responsibility than she can handle, but that you have absolutely no intention of contributing more than you are now.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:31 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is a phrase I've found myself using, regarding my father-in-law.

"He doesn't have any relationship capital left with any of his children. I'm his daughter-in-law. I bring him to doctors appointments because I don't have a history with him.."

If that doesn't put an end to any conversation about having him move in with us, I go on: "This isn't Walter Mathieu. He's an ex-con alcoholic with a history of beating women and children." And then I repeat "HE HAS NO RELATIONSHIP CAPITAL LEFT WITH ANY OF HIS CHILDREN."

He's lost his hearing, and refuses to wear hearing aids, so I don't *think* he's heard me say it.

I treat him with dignity to his face because it's the path of least resistance, not because everyone deserves respect in later life, or because I'm a good person - which is what some people think.

I think you should think about what you are willing to do, if anything, and offer it and no more.

If you lead with "my father doesn't have any relationship capital with me" it reminds people, in a short sentence, that there are efforts he could've made on your behalf, as a father, and did not.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:34 PM on November 13, 2014 [27 favorites]

Am I a horrible person?

Not at all. Your father doesn't seem like he ever took any responsibility for your need when you needed him. You don't have a parent child relationship with him. You don't owe him anything. You definitely don't owe his siblings anything.

You are apparently already helping out a lot. You don't have to provide any more help that your are comfortable with. If your paternal aunts and uncles have a problem with that, that all it is - their problem, not yours.

He's their brother. From your description, he is almost nothing to you.

At this point, my instinct is to just "hang it up." I can't deal with abuse and disrespect on top of the other issues.

You shouldn't have to. So don't. He has plenty of people to take care of him.

You have your own family, and your own mental and emotional health, to take care of. Those are your priorities.

jbenben's proposed response is really solid.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:47 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yay, another question where I get to start an answer with: So, my dad just died. I'm starting to feel a little dumb for that. But, anyway. That part was rather unexpected. But his health has not been great for awhile and part of the reason we were estranged at the time he died was the fact that he clearly believed that I, as the oldest child, was going to support him financially if he couldn't support himself. Never mind that I couldn't really support myself.

The truth was that at the end of his life, things were not very nice for him. I would not want things to be that way for me. But the decisions he made were the reason we were no longer close. If we'd been close, I would have done more, I would have wanted to do more. But, we weren't. I have regrets. I will always have regrets. But I would have had more regrets if I had given up my own opportunities to make his life more comfortable.

If I'd had an aunt send me a similar message, my response would have been clear: "No, you're not obligated to do this. Neither am I. If you don't want to do what you're doing, don't. I'm doing as much as my relationship with him warrants." If he isn't capable of caring for himself at home and nobody else wants to do it, either he can decide to move while he's still capable of making those decisions, or someone else can make that decision for him once he isn't. He is not entitled to stay living at home no matter whose lives it wrecks. My dad died still at home at 68. I'm glad in some ways that he was able to do that, because he always had a horror of nursing homes. But if he'd lived another twenty years--well, he probably would have ended up in a nursing home.

No, it's really not going to make your family happy to say this, but my new #1 rule of adulthood: you cannot indefinitely make the priorities of the elder generation your own priorities. It will make you miserable. Let them be unhappy, sometimes; they're grown ups and they can handle it. Your dad especially. Older people who've built up the resources (including relationships) get to end their lives in the conditions they dictate; older people who haven't, like at every other state of their lives, do not get everything they want.
posted by Sequence at 4:50 PM on November 13, 2014 [20 favorites]

You're not your father's keeper and you don't own him anything. It'd be different if he raised you but that's not what happened. This is a consequence of him not being there that he'll just have to deal with on his own.

He has options, you're not throwing him to the wolves, you're not tossing him under the bus. You've already done more than 90 percent of the population would in your shoes, abandoned or not. Use what you're feeling to be an even better dad to your kid.

Big BIG hugs meester.
posted by CyborgHag at 5:00 PM on November 13, 2014

Does it matter what he, or anybody, deserves? I don't think any of us can truly judge another.

What matters, in my opinion, is what you feel, and what you are able to give and to do. Because you are giving so much elsewhere, and because you feel resentment -- or nothing -- instead of love, you can't help him. Your feelings are your own, they are real, and they matter.

There is no independent person choosing who gets a nice, comfortable end of life, and who does not. Maybe if he had made different choices earlier in his life, his days would be kinder now, but this is not because someone stamps his forehead with a big "B" for bad.
posted by amtho at 5:00 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Your wife and you are about to have a baby. That is all you should be focusing on right now and for the next several months. Just announce that to your father and his siblings. Maybe in 6 months you'll be able to help a little, maybe not. Right now your responsibility is at home. That is sane and healthy, and it is definitely not selfish.
posted by mareli at 5:18 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

You are not a horrible person. You live a long distance away from your elder, and you have a family of your own to take care of. Tell your aunt while it will not be possible for you to be present in your hometown to care for your elder you can provide some financial assistance. That is a perfectly reasonable offer for a long-distance caregiver.
posted by Rob Rockets at 5:25 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

You've been working full time and driving 5 hours round trip on almost every weekend?
You sound like a good, conscientious person who will break this cycle and make a great father.
Start focusing on your wife and new baby.
posted by Mr.Me at 5:40 PM on November 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

If he actually raised you and did it well, you still wouldn't owe him care. In this case, you owe him nothing.
posted by flimflam at 5:58 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Focus on making the future better with your wife and child. Vow to be the father to your baby that your father was not. If you feel generous, do exactly for your father what he did for you--send an occasional check.

Don't waste time or energy interacting with any of the extended family--either basically ignore your aunt, or send the letter per the above post, and then wash your hands of them.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

How much at all, if any, are you willing and able to do for your biological parent? Decide that, then write to all his siblings and your siblings. something like this:

Frank needs assistance. He needs financial help, $X/ month, for groceries, and, ideally, 50/week for a housekeeper, or someone to visit, cook, and clean as well as someone to help get bills paid. He needs rides to doctor's appointments.

Those in Footown can help by recommending assisted living opportunities and/or housekeepers, and the availability of Meals on Wheels and other assistance.

I'm able to visit Frank every 6 weeks. I'm able to contribute 25/week. What can you do for Frank?

Please 'reply all' so we can get some idea of what resources we can muster.

You have nothing to feel guilty about if you choose to do nothing; and you can just ignore Auntie Vicious. I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom, and congratulations on the new baby.
posted by theora55 at 6:28 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

PS. DON'T get suckered into being the organizer for all the family. Betcha ten bucks if you do, you'll wind up in a group of one.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:37 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I just wanted to direct your attention to brookeb's excellent answer in case it gets a little lost in the mix, particularly this part:
"Who would he want to serve as his power of attorney and health proxy? Also try to connect with a social worker in the community;hopefully there is a county "senior services" bureau that can point you and your family in the direction of resources that are available (meals on wheels, visiting nurses, adult day care, etc…)"

Very important points - it is not clear that anyone has sought out what public services may be available to your father, and that might be really helpful in taking some of the burden off yourself and other family members. One service not specifically mentioned here that could be huge would be respite care. And having a power of attorney/healthcare proxy/his affairs in order is something really crucial - it's not your responsibility, but if you did decide to help with it, it could save some folks in your family (not clear who, but someone) - a lot of trouble later on.

If he is hospitalized (or can be) then you can tell the hospital that he can't be discharged because there is no one to care for him. They will then find a solution.
I expect you weren't going to do this anyway, but this is only an ethical option when it's true, which it's clearly not in this case.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2014

So here's the thing about train wrecks like this.

Your dad, an adult, did not come up with a plan about how to care for himself. Your dad and mom, together, did not come up with plans together about how to care for themselves and each other. Your mom, as she was ill, and knew that she was the provider for your dad, did not come up with a plan about how to transfer that support. Your dad, who suddenly did not have her support, did not come up with a plan to care for himself. All the key people who needed to come up with a plan did no do so.

One of the things that feels hard about caring for elders is that fact - that they fail to come up with a plan to care for themselves. And then something happens. And then *someone* steps in, though more often than not, it's like your situation. Family members sort of look at each other, and as the situation passes from an emergency situation to a long standing one, people's emergency strategies fizzle out. And then you stop hearing a peep out of some family members, and then others carrying the heavy load feel crushed by the weight of this adult person who isn't taking care of themselves, and rightfully wonder why they are doing it, and wrongly start accusing others of not doing more.

And then everyone starts to pass the buck.

So I say you think of it this way. Regardless of how amazing or terrible your parent was, as yourself: First what do you need. Then what does your wife and kid need. What's left? Anything? That's all you can offer your parents. Can't be the point person who coordinates? Ping everyone an email like theora55 suggests, but make it clear that war you can't be is the future coordinator of your dad's care. See how people respond. If they don't, offer the limited support you can, and add getting support - perhaps short term therapy to deal with the guilt and the stress and help you maintain those boundaries regularly.

If there was one intervention that was most useful, it's to ask your dad's MD for the name of a social worker to set up and coordinate care for your dad, which if he's in the US, he could be eligible for all shorts of short and long term help under medicare or medi-cal. And definitely get support to help you deal with the feelings you're going to have with the boundaries you're going to have to continuously set up.
posted by anitanita at 12:11 AM on November 14, 2014 [10 favorites]

Your aunt is complaining to you because you have involved yourself in the situation. I'll bet you a dollar to a bag of donuts that she hasn't complained to your two other siblings, who are no where to be found. You have a lot of legitimate obligations on your plate right now, and a less dysfunctional family (we all have them!) would be trying to figure out how to help you and your wife as impending parents, rather than heaping more on your plate right now. Couple that with your history with this person - No, you are not a bad person for not wanting to get involved in this.

I had a slightly similar situation with a family member years ago (not a parent though) where everyone expected me to take care of the family member because I lived very close while everyone else was at least an hour away. I had a lot on my plate at the time, so I had to call a couple of key family members and tell them straight out that I was not available to take care of the person and that they would have to put their heads together and make a plan. One of the family members understood, the other never forgave me and didn't speak to me for years. So be it. My responsibility at the time, and your responsibility now, was to take care of myself first. If I had let myself sink, the person needing care would have sunk anyway, and then I still would have gotten the blame and bad feelings from the family. I have absolutely no regrets for the way I handled it. And you should have no guilt for putting your wife and new baby first.
posted by vignettist at 4:45 AM on November 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Hi there, I think you might be a male version of me. I went through a very similar situation when my estranged father was dying of prostate cancer, except for one crucial difference. I was in my early twenties, and my father's siblings knew I was barely supporting myself, and that my dad and I had never had a familial relationship, so they stepped in. I'm sorry that your father's family doesn't understand that you are also not in a place to provide almost full-time elder care now.

Please don't feel guilty about having to make this decision. You've already had a ton of people tell you that you don't owe your father anything. Let me add my coin to that pile. You aren't a bad person if you decide you can't care for your father. You have to do what is best for you and your wife and child.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 10:51 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

My husband was in a similar position with his father although "Dad" was in his 60s. Our situation was that "Dad" blew through a couple of 100k shortly after he re-married. We'd told "Dad" we would not contest his receiving the income from his wife's estate [Dad receives ~$500-$800/mo which legally would not go to him IF we had contested.]
"Dad" and his wife had been living on $100k+/year [trips to Vegas, selling the house that'd been paid off, buying a new house and losing it due to not paying the property tax...and buying ever up-grading Winnebago-type recreational vehicles...running 2 huge gas-guzzler Escalades.] That's none of our business but we watched it all as we struggled financially.
All ok UNTIL "Dad" had a massive heart attack.
Then Daughter1 insisted "Dad"+wife be placed in a VA-subsidized apartment AND WE GIVE DAD ANOTHER $300/mo. We said, "only if there's absolute transparency with "Dad"+current wife's finances. [A $5000 moving cost to the VA apartment was actually less than $500 for a small u-haul. The rest was to go to Daughter1 and Daughter2 who flew their families in, so they could see "Dad's" new place.]
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IS PERHAPS WHAT WE RECEIVED: being called names and worse.
"Dad" is secure but sure would like more $$ and we would give it BUT not for extras that we don't have ourselves. We've had to hang tough. It seems to be working. The name calling by family members, who did not have their vacations paid for, was hard to take. That stopped after less than a year. It's tough.
posted by Twist at 12:31 PM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, in addition to my comment above. One thing that got me through the name calling by family members ..." When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first" in James Astucher's Blog
Not to beat a dead horse but we drive a 10 year old car (singular, hey it's paid for!) Giving an extra x$s a month would mean opting out of our 401k, or putting off needed dental work. That COULD be done but not for "Dad's" wife's cigarettes. Be Strong.
posted by Twist at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2014

RUN. Feel no guilt about doing so. If the sibs complain tell them it was nice knowing them and RUN MORE. You do not owe your parents anything, particularly an absentee parent who was a stranger when you were growing up.

Of course the sibs are going to try to guilt-trip you into pitching in. That's a lot of money and time they want you to save them. The harder they PUSH, the faster you should RUN, and make it very clear that's a cause and effect thing. They will either see sense quickly and accept that you will only give what you can afford, or they'll push hard enough that you can truly guiltlessly quit the whole situation because #ASSHOLES.
posted by localroger at 6:15 PM on November 14, 2014

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