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Show ALL Forums  > Health Wellness  > Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice      Home login  
Joined: 12/7/2006
Msg: 1
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advicePage 1 of 1    
The past two years, at least, I have looked after my parents, who both had different health issues. In April, 2006, my Dad was admitted to hospital. I visited him almost every day. When I was able (he was over his infection briefly), I would bring him home for the weekend, even though his Parkinson's Disease and lack of balance made it very tough. My brother would visit him in the hospital maybe once every two weeks.

My Dad finally returned home for good in September, the day of my parents' 54th anniversary. He passed away two days later. I was the one who found him in his bed. Most of the service arrangements were left up to me.

I am still looking after my mother, who has Pick's Disease, a rare form of dementia. My daughter and I have shared responsibilities of caring for her since June, 2006, at which time my brother stepped out of the picture, totally. At this point, we are at the end of our ropes. My daughter is 23, and has been through some very tough issues of her own. As well, she is in a young marriage which has been put under tremendous stress since they have both taken on this burden as my Mom is at their house when I go to work. I work evening shift.

My daughter has reached the point where the burden is too much and she has regular breakdowns where she bursts into tears. The Health Authority (I am in Canada) has told me there is nothing they can do to place my Mom. There are no beds anywhere in a long term care facility, and no respite available for "quite some time" because there have been people who have taken their loved ones to respite and left them there. They are obviously desperate as well. This case is not new to the Health Authority. I have been asking for placement since last summer and was told the wait list was two years. Nobody is stepping in to help out, family-wise.

I have lived in my parents' house for 3-1/2 years, since I moved back from the US after my husband passed away. The intention was to save a little money for a year and then buy a house when I was able. Now there is no way I could afford a house at all in this market.

We are now at the point where the house will have to be sold so my Mom can go into care. I have told my brother that I would like to buy it, but can't afford market price since prices have skyrocketed in the past two years. I feel that I have done enough for my parents that if I can get a mortgage for half the value, that would be fair trade for all the time I have put in caring for my parents. After my Mom passes away, he would get the remainder of the money. There is money owed, but I also feel like my time is worth something and that had I not been here for all these months, the house would have had to have been sold for a lot less, at fair market value then. He and his fiance feel it should just be sold on the market now.

I have put a lot of sweat and tears into this residence, residents included. If the house just goes up on the market, do you think it's fair? There would be no inheritance, of course, until my Mom passed away, so I would have to go rent somewhere. What are your thoughts about this? I'm not sure my brother and I will ever have a relationship again after all is said and done. What would be fair and the right thing to do for both of us?

Thanks for reading all this, if you got this far, lol. I'm really at a loss of what to do at this point.
Joined: 12/21/2005
Msg: 2
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/23/2007 9:47:24 PM
Hi maybeachance,
Seems like your in an awful situation. Its tough enough when your Mom and Dad are so very ill, but overwhelming to have Money seperate Love in a family. I emailed you, and if you need a friend to "talk", feel free to write back.
Seems you have "over extended yourself" and your daughter as well!
Peace to you.... God Bless
Joined: 9/15/2006
Msg: 3
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/24/2007 6:31:59 AM
I'm just going to tell you my story, it's somewhat similar.

(To a degree anyway.)

After the death of my mom, everything went to my brother. I had to get rid of my animals, move to an apartment. Everything right now is in my brother's name. Chances are I'll never see my fair share and personally, I could give two shits. My mom is gone and my brothers are all I have left and I'll be damned if I let money come between us. (We've also lost our father as well.) It isn't my brother's fault what happened to our parents and I'm not going to make him responsible. He did what he had to do.

Now...I do have to say one thing. IF you getting a mortgage will take away your mom's ability to be in a home, I strongly suggest you consider not doing it. My grandfather had dementia and had lived in our home and it really was a major reason why we lost our parents at age 57 and 56. My father didn't want to put his father in a home so that he'd be able to get the money that my grandfather had and it pretty much killed my mother. I read about your daughter and taking care of her should be your first priority.
Joined: 12/7/2006
Msg: 4
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/24/2007 9:10:09 AM

IF you getting a mortgage will take away your mom's ability to be in a home, I strongly suggest you consider not doing it.

After re-reading my post, I should probably clarify this. Money doesn't have anything to do with my Mom being able to go into care. It is government subsidized and she would only pay a percentage of her monthly income. But there is a small mortgage and some other debts that need to be paid off, thus the need to sell the house.
Joined: 9/30/2005
Msg: 5
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/25/2007 7:13:51 PM
My mom used to work in extended care; many times she saw patients homes being sold to pay for care. And thats government subsidized. If she owns anything(in her name); it will be sold; and the family gets nothing. If you can, get power of attourney; if you need more info; see if you can get hold of a senior's advocate group; or something similar. The gov't doesn't warn you about stuff like that. After finding out about that; my grandma made sure that it wasn't just her name on her house.
Joined: 2/22/2007
Msg: 6
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/25/2007 11:31:40 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I don;t know how it;s over there, but my father passed away this July (FOrgive me for venting too) The only thing is I spoke to him and he was having dinner at his girlfriend;s place..four hours later he died from choking..That was the worst night of my life sitting with my father whom I was used to see him so full of the hospital on the gerni dead. I sat with him for hours until someone came to say a prayer.

My sister was pregnant with her second son and it on me to do the funeral arrangments from start to finish with the thank you letters for people attending. I can;t tell you how lonley it gets at ngiht only because he and I were the only ones that we could 100% count on to talk to if needed at anytime in the night. Anyhow, he was bipolar and I felt like the parent most of the time..even growing up. I didn;t want to leave Michigan even becuase I was afraid of what would happen to him..He always told me not to worry about take care of myself.

I tend to think if I was there I could have saved him or gotten help on time..I remmeber them giving me his belongings form him soiling himself..

Anyhow, he had his money little that it was put into a trust so it would go to me. It was enough to take care of the funeral and the cemetary plot plus one for me next to him.

MAybe there is even someone in the states that can help you protect your parents belongings if I'm understanding it correctly.
Joined: 4/1/2006
Msg: 7
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Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/26/2007 12:27:07 AM
Power of Attoreny is a very good idea. It gives you the power to sign financial matters...e.g....if your parent becomes unable to deal with financial matters...paying bills...signing cheques, are allowed to act on there behalf. Your parent must agree with this, and sign a statement saying so, before they are unable to. A judge (or someone similar) will decide whether you parent is of clear mind when they signed the document. If possible, please do it to your's not so much about the's all about the gov. not getting any of the money.

As to the home...have your parent agree to joint title....both your name, and theirs, on the deed. This way, when they die, the title is automatically transfered to you, thus avoiding any taxes that may occur. (sorry if it sounds cold...but the gov. is colder when it sees potential taxes)

Can you and your brother join together and pay off the mortgage and debits? In the long term, it may prove to be more beneficial when it comes time to sell the home.

The fair and right thing to do for both of you?

By any and all means....avoid the tax man.
Joined: 12/7/2006
Msg: 8
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/26/2007 1:12:49 AM
Thanks for the info regarding the government. I was unaware. But it doesn't surprise me!

My brother and I both have Power of Attorney. But, as for the house, it is only in my mother's name and at this point she is of unsound mind to make any decisions or sign any legal documents *sigh*. I guess we're too late on that one. Maybe time to consult a lawyer to see what can be done.
Joined: 9/30/2005
Msg: 9
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/26/2007 8:41:27 AM
If you have power of attorney now; you can do something now- including selling the house; and just buy a different one- in yours and your brothers' name. I asked mom about it again, she said do it now!!! they'll even show up at the door and assess her jewelry. Get your brother off his butt! Your mom doesn't have to sign anything; thats what power of attorney is for.
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Joined: 12/30/2006
Msg: 10
view profile
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/27/2007 2:12:36 AM
Is the house paid off? Get a 1st/2nd mortage in the amount you need to pay off your mothers debts and get her in the government assisted whatever and then things will be zeroed out there. Then you can pay off the mortage as your half of the home value.

How is your relationship with your brother?

Sure, you should get some thing for taking care of them. Taking care of some one elderly is hard work, been there several times myself. Grandpa, father, now mother.

Power of Attorney does give you the power to sign in their name. I have it for my mother and I have one for myself in case of an emergency, safely locked away just in the slim chance I ever end up in a coma and I have given the person my instructions verbally so they make the decision, hopefully according to my wishes, rather than some judge or idiot who does not even know me. Time for action!

Before you go to a pricey lawyer I would try to find another source. On talk radio around here they have experts on weekly about this type of financial stuff. You may even be able to receive it where you are at via the net. KSTP 1500AM, check their weekend schedule I would imagine you could find something somewhere on the net that would help you make wise decisions. Around here the house has to be in someone elses name five years before they are eligible for government assistance.

type in your zipcode above, see if you can receive them from where you are at

Here you can listen online:

Saturday at noon to 1pm Central Time, they have the mutual fund guy on. Hmm, its been awhile since I listened to it for financial info and it seems some of them have disappeared, but at the price of a LD phone call in to him I would bet he could guide you to a better source of info. I'd sooner trust these people than a lawyer!
Joined: 1/16/2007
Msg: 11
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 2/27/2007 8:07:02 PM
I just have a comment to add regarding Power of Attorney. I am not sure of the correct terminology, but there appears to be different levels / degrees of Power of Attorney. I speak from experience as I just went through this last fall.

My mom had thought she was so prepared for anything as she had a Power of Attorney written for me 10 years ago (I am an only child fortunately, so there is no quibbling between siblings). When she became unable to manage on her own, I moved her from her small town home to a room in a personal care home in the city where I live. Thus, her house and all of her belongings were left in the small town.

During the summer, she became very ill, and I was in the process of packing up her house and arranging to sell her house and belongings at auction. Long story short, it turned out she had a terminal brain tumor. When the sale was over in September and I was dealing with the lawyers to transfer the title of the house to the new owners, I found out that her Power of Attorney was not sufficient for me to do that transaction. It allowed me access and permission to handle her financial affairs only and did not include a transfer of property.

I had to have a lawyer come to the hospital to witness her signature on the transfer of title. While I could understand her perfectly, it was very difficult to convince him that she was still in sound mind, and was totally aware of what was transpiring. She was able to make a poor, but legal (because it was witnessed by a lawyer) signature and the transaction was completed. My mom passed away the next day.

Please be very careful with a Power of Attorney to make sure that the power it gives you is ABSOLUTE (I believe is the term). Many people think they have all their bases covered, and as I found out ours weren't. Had she been unable to make that signature the day before she died, all of her estate would have had to go through probate.

A very long comment, I know, but I can't stress enough the importance of knowing exactly what your Power of Attorney will cover.

All the best to you during this very difficult time.

Joined: 12/7/2006
Msg: 12
Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice
Posted: 3/5/2007 12:23:02 AM
Update: I have been to a lawyer, who told me we don't have to sell the house. I'm hoping he's correct! If anyone has different info, I'd like to hear it. Don't like surprises like that.

Also found out that we hold "enduring" Power of Attorney, which also includes selling the house if we found the need. But, since I hold P of A, I wouldn't be able to buy it.

Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Show ALL Forums  > Health Wellness  > Looking after elderly sick parent, need advice