Is It Selfish of Me?

My mom (88) has been living with us for more than 10 years now. We moved to a new home and made multiple accommodations so that she would be comfortable here.

I manage her medication, all of her appointments and bills. In addition to this, I have been managing the rental of her home. My husband and daughters also provide care for her.

Over the years, as expected, her issues and need for help have increased. Despite this, my siblings (God love them), for whatever reasons, are rarely "bothered" with her. They sometimes call, visit, take her out.

I work part time so that I can manage her and her affairs. Mom is adamant that after she passes, she wants her home to be shared equally amongst the 6 of her kids.

So, I advocated for myself and she reconsidered, and designating 50% of the home to me and the remainder divided between the others.

My issue: When I consider my family finances, over the years, we have invested into her care, well over the "50%" allotment (not to mention time, lifestyle, patience and other sacrifices of those in this household).

I, my husband and daughters enjoy having mom live with us even though she can be quite a handful. Our finances have definitely been negatively effected.

Because of this, I believe that I should have the house. When I do the math, over the years, we've invested in her more than the house is worth.

11 years ago when we moved in together, I just didn't know that it would be like this. My mom and I are co-owners of the property. She made this change when we moved 11 years ago (siblings know this), and as it stands now, I will own it outright when she is gone.

How do I broach this subject with my siblings? Is my thought process/reasoning out of touch, selfish? I'm proactive and like to be up front with everyone. Heaven forbid a family feud when my mom passes.

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Oct 11, 2019
Selfish or Not
by: Anonymous

You most definitely are NOT selfish. Your post reminds me of the tale of the Little Red Hen, remember that??

My father passed away a year ago and he left my older sister and extra 10K because she was executor.

I have no problem with this a)because I respect his autonomy and b)she earned it. His estate was extremely time consuming to deal with and I would not have had the time or patience to deal with the endless paperwork and phone calls.

You have taken on massive caring responsibilities; why shouldn't that be recognized in some way? They are all happy enough to stand back and let you take on the 24 hour grind of caring for an elderly parent aren't they?

Think of what you have already saved them by not using private care. I'm not sure if you are in the USA but here in the UK private care homes will quickly eat through any inheritance. I have to warn you though to expect trouble.

My other siblings have not been quite so understanding and it has caused rifts. There is nothing quite like money to bring out the worst in us human beings. Stand Firm and look after yourself.

Jul 29, 2015
I dont think you selfish
by: Anonymous

I agree with the other comments. It's not selfish at all, but as mentioned it would be good to be up front about it with them.

It's amazing how nasty even nice (or we thought nice) siblings can become once mom is gone and the money comes up.

Save yourself and hubby all that anguish by addressing it now, even in writing so nobody can came back and claim they were misunderstood.

If they give you problems about it then you may want to begin having mom pay you a salary as some have mentioned to help recoup some of the money you have spent. Although we all know no amount of money will ever cover what we do out of love for our parents.

It's the hardest job we will ever have, but love keeps us going. I read an interesting post about parents paying children for care.

Perhaps if your siblings need a little nudge in the right direction they could read that. Hoping the best for you. You are doing a wonderful thing.

Jul 22, 2015
Heck No
by: Anonymous

Hello there, I just want you to know that no! You do not sound selfish and if you did then so what!?!

What is anyone gonna do about it. Siblings can be a pain at times, just let them know that it's an equivalent exchange, you have earned your inheritance, rightfully so.

May God continue to Bless You and your family especially your mom.

Jul 20, 2015
It comes from the heart
by: Anonymous

I liked the previous comments people wrote to your post. I feel that when one is a caregiver, they make the mistake of coming into it with expectations -

I have come to learn the hard way that one should have no expectations if you are willing to care give. I came into this with an open heart - ready, willing and able.... but then I took on the attitude like many that "I did not expect this!" I learned very quickly "what have I gotten myself into!"...

I have read this over and over and over on this sight. Even though we may all experience these feelings, we have to remain selfless with no expectations, if we want to survive it all.

I do not think we can put a price on what we do on a daily basis, at same time, I do not think we should have to pull money out of our own pocket (when there are other siblings involved). It is my feeling that you should itemize the money that came out of your own personal pocket and present it to your siblings and/or your mother for that matter (but of course we do not want to make mother to feel like a burden).

I believe you should get this all worked out in the event (God forbid) something should suddenly happen to your mother. As your expenses are in excess, put it out there and get the feedback from your siblings - you will then know what you are up against, and know there is such a thing as compromise - keep it amicable.

But, I do not believe we can put a price on the tender loving care we provide our loved one - that comes from the heart.

Jul 19, 2015
Response to "Is It Selfish of Me?"
by: Anonymous

You don't sound selfish, but your thinking process is the prerequisite for future sibling rivalry.

First of all, if, in the future, your mother requires assisted living or nursing home care, her entire savings and property could be wiped out and there might not be much left when your mom passes.

However, if there is, and your siblings don’t agree with the division, they can take it to court. The lawyers usually end up with the lion’s share.

I think you should focus on the positive things you have in your life right now. You are very fortunate to have a supportive husband and children who enjoy having grandma around, and just the fact that you still have your mom with you!

What some people would give to have their mother back – even for just a few more days. Yes, you are sacrificing time, money, effort, and having to alter your lifestyle for awhile. It’s inconvenient at times, but who better to sacrifice for than your elderly parent?

She won’t be around forever. I think you are setting a good example for your kids too. If I were you, I’d forget about drawing up a tally sheet showing your siblings how much you spend out of your own pocket caring for mom, and the reasons you’d feel entitled to a chunkier inheritance than the rest.

Just keep your records for what you spend for the future if you should need them. I think you are blessed. Be thankful. Also, I’ve been through all of what you’re going through, so I completely understand your thoughts. You are very caring and I wish you the best.

Jul 19, 2015
You're not Selfish
by: Bonnie

As someone who is still tending to my 93 year old mother who has only been with me for 18 months, I've come to believe seniors, like myself at 66, carry a burden much heavier than anything my siblings can appreciate.

Don't get me wrong, we all get along fine and they KNOW how much I resent ending up in this position, so they try to do more than before. What they can't appreciate, though, are all the little things I do constantly to make sure our mother's needs are met and she is happy in her last years.

It is just like raising a child except that she can/does tell ME what to do and in my own house, which is no longer my sanctity.

A therapist told me long ago that when a person becomes a caregiver, they give up EVERYTHING about their lives - religion, entertaining and/or traveling, personal hobbies, familial get togethers, freedom to live as you choose, privacy, etc etc etc.

The things that make your life your own cease to exist. This takes a tremendous toll on your psyche and health. But you know what the one thing was that somehow made me keep going? I began making my mother pay me a monthly salary for being her caregiver.

It's only $650/month but, somehow, that compensation makes the whole situation easier for me to take and it's not like she doesn't have the ability to pay someone 10 times as much - which she would be paying if she were in an assisted living center instead. So here's my point to you ...

I think you should sit down with your siblings and give them 2 lists - one showing EVERYTHING you do for your mother and how the burden effects you, the other showing what it would have cost if she had gone into an assisted living place for all those years.

Then ask them if they don't think it's fair that you reap a bigger reward at the end of your mother's life than they do. I feel so selfish putting it that way, but I've gotten to the point where its almost like a business arrangement.

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