The Sprint to FI

The Cost of Long Term Care (Part 1)

This is a rant post. I will be posting a more exhaustive breakdown of long term care costs shortly, but I want to put out there why I am focused on long term care and why it has importance in my mind.

In my previous post about financial mismanagement I mentioned that my parents are old, infirm and require care. At the time of writing I am living with them in the UK while my very dear and patient wife soldiers on in the US.  Cat has also written her own thoughts on the cost of long term care.  We both work remotely so we are not suffering financially other than having to pay for airline tickets if we wish to see each other.

My role in this is three fold;

  • assist with Dad if he gets ill, falls over in the shower again, provide medication assistance and other care related items as I can.
  • stop Mum from getting bullied by Dad and my sister (they bully her with regards financial decisions)
  • provide financial management support and some long term care planning

The first line item; caring for my father, is the easy part at the moment although as his cancer progresses I suspect this will get harder. The second is also simple as my presence seems to be having a chilling effect on the financial bullying.

It’s interesting to watch my father justify his behavior with regards the bullying.  We had a discussion about their financial situation a while back and he put it down to my mother’s spending. It’s buying all the things she wants like the house renovations, new kitchen etc.  Just to note, these were all his idea, but because Mum writes the checks (he can’t because of the blindness) she is responsible.  When I point out that he is as much to blame as she is if not more so because he and my sister bully her, he then switches to ‘we’ caused the problem.  But when challenged on specific line items, all of a sudden it is his money and he can spend it if he wants.  He will NEVER admit to being wrong and NEVER admit any responsibility.

When I pointed out that they have no long term care plan, his response is that they don’t need one because he will be dead soon.  I had to point out to him that just because he might be dead (and even that is in doubt at this time) it does not mean that my mother will be too. I think we stopped throwing widows on the funeral pyres a while back.  So the short story here is that they have no long term care plan and no resources for it.  They had never once considered that they needed long term care.

The issue they face is that they are adamant they want to stay in their home, but they have no financial resources to pay for long term care. They are for all intents and purposes broke. And it gets worse because the house has a reverse mortgage on it and they cannot pull any more money from it.

If either of them need to go into long term care, they will have to sell the house to realize what equity is left in it.  Their only hope is to be healthy enough to make do with care assistance visits several times a week.  My hope is that they may be able to pay for these visits from their fixed income. Which brings me to the third reason I am here; to gain an understanding of their financial position, and get some capital behind them. I hope this will stave off having to sell the house.

Interestingly enough, my father had also never considered what my mother’s income would be after he dies.  I did investigate that and she will be just fine, but thats through luck more than anything else. It appears my father is a very selfish and self centered man, and this is reflected in his decision making and his attitudes.

The take away from this is that I do not wish to be the misogynist that my father is. As my dear reader is most likely aware, I am in my mid 50’s. I have already considered what happens if I die, what income my wife will have, and what to do regarding long term care for both of us.  The last thing I want is to be a burden to others I care about, or to be suffering dementia, broke, eating cat food in a cheap apartment or even worse, under a bridge.

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