My dad is 85 and my mother is 81. They are both in good physical and mental health for their age. My 2 sisters and I have never had a discussion about the "what if's" that are going to happen very soon. The fact that this article brought up the conflict between siblings... well... perhaps this series can help us all with what will be inevitable. I owe my parensts everything. Thinking and planning now may ease some pain and conflict later. Perhaps the entire family needs to sit down together soon and, at the least, try to start a dialogue.
Both of my parents were born in 1917. They had 5 children, all college educated and comfortably middle class. Two of the 5 (myself and a sister...we happen to be the youngest and next to youngest of the 5) took care of our parents. My sister lived near them and did most of the care of our mother. After she died, I sold my home in another state and moved in with our father and cared for him until he passed away. Our father had Alzeimer's disease so the 3 who lived away didn't call as he couldn't understand them over the telephone. However during the last 4 years of his life, the 3 away children made only 2 visits each to see him. When he passed away, the Greed Gene came out in all 3 of them and they ended up with everything, the entire estate. The sister and I who dedicated many years to our parents care, didn't bother to fight them as we had something much more valuable then the money that they took, we had our memories. The money that the other 3 were so eager to get will be spent in short order....but our memories will last a lifetime. I have chosen to sever all ties with those 3 siblings permanantly. The realization that they did not care enough to vist their own father during his final years was enough for me to realize that if they had no more empathy and compassion than they demonstrated for their own father, well, .....I certainly can't count on them being there for me in my time of need. I look at the 1/5 of my parents estate that I was cheated out of as a reasonably inexpensive divorce from 3 people that I don't even like. Not a day passes that I don't embrace a pleasant memory of my mother and father. It was sad for a brief period to lose my siblings in such an emotional way...but knowing what I know now, if I had it all to do over again...I would still take care of my father, even knowing that 3 of my siblings would end up demonstrating such selfishness and greed. Taking care of my father was the richest experience of my entire life.