<sigh> Sherry (and Gail, Stuart, Cook, Caleb, Charlotte, and anyone joining us late) my mother has advanced dementia, as in, to the point of being unable to carry on coherent conversations. She’s on medication that makes her pliant and agreeable (mostly). My father is half-blind and forgetful, but not bad enough to be non compos mentis. Both live at their home in Illinois. My sister (who has power of attorney over our mother’s funds, but not our father’s) has been flying back and forth between California and Illinois to help; she’s successfully gotten our parents to accept outside assistance. Five times. Each time, it’s lasted a day or five, then my mother freaks or gets irritated or something, and my father fires them.
My parents are rich. Not 1% rich, but they could get $600K for their house in a fast sale, easy, plus hundreds of thousands in assets and investments, plus real pensions. But my father has gone into asshole mode in his old age and refuses to spend money on care, and he freaks when he sees the cost of anything he doesn’t like (while buying anything his heart desires that he does). [To be fair, this is standard for early-stage dementia cases — they don’t understand how much money they have, and they’re terrified of running out.] So “the family” (me and my sister) has been covering the cost of outside assistance, which actually hasn’t been bad because nobody stays long.
Meanwhile, although I was ready to help pay for care for Deb’s late parents (ex-pastor & wife, NOT rich!) I never worried about mine, because they’re rich. So a couple weekends ago Deb and I scouted out a local retirement home in Pennsylvania. Beforehand I thought we were in good shape, financially, enough to retire and travel. Well, not to the top-tier housing, it turns out. Middle tier? Um, probably, but it might be tight, and we won’t be going on more than one cruise in retirement (Alaska for our 20th anniversary, in the plans since before we got married, separate savings fund since 2010). But, okay, I think I can make it work (I think). Because my parents won’t cost anything (or not much), because they’re rich.
Then yesterday my sister got my parents into a lovely assisted-living community. It will keep them in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. It’s near where they live now, so they can see their friends. It has memory care. It has a price tag more than triple the “top tier” retirement housing Deb & I looked at. And my father freaked. But it’s cool, said my sister, “the family” will pay for it.
’Cause yeah. My sister has little liquid cash, plus a kid in college and another on the way (she raided the kids’ college fund a few years ago when times got tight). But hey our Alaska cruise fund is just sitting there, doing nothing. And I’m almost 60, so we’ve got my retirement funds available to suck down. And if we keep my parents in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed, and we manage to pry money out of them after we’re burned out, and they die at the right time, maybe there might maybe be money left in the estate. Assuming my sister hasn’t spent it in advance. And maybe we’ll find some nice county-run charity ward that will let us share an efficiency flop, and we can end our days talking about the places we could have gone.
So I’m a little down right now. Sorry.
Deb says we’ll figure something out.
Thanks, folks! I’ll be better tomorrow.