Siblings Often Differ on Parent's Long-Term Health Care

You think you know your children. Maybe you do. However, without a plan for your future long-term health care, your family may differ on how you will receive care. It might be chaos unless you plan now.

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Siblings Often Differ on Parent's Long-Term Health Care
3 Min Read April 5th, 2021

Chaos is a state of utter confusion. Chaos happens when there is no clear plan to follow, and no one person has the authority to take action. Many families face the confusion of not knowing what to do when a parent requires long-term health care with no plan ever put in place ahead of time.

Unfortunately, not everyone owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. A conversation about long-term care is often lacking. Once Mom or Dad needs extended care, the responsibility of 'what to do next' will fall on the children. 

Now the family faces a crisis. A crisis can quickly turn into chaos. Chaos can turn family members against each other. The result isn't good for the person needing care and the family.


Author Carol Bradley Bursack writes in an article published on AgingCare about what happens when some siblings are more concerned about their inheritance than about the quality of care for Mom or Dad. 

There are the typical statements that family members make:

  • "We don't want strangers taking care of Mom!"
  • "We promised Dad he would never have to go to a nursing home!"
  • "If you really love Mom and Dad, you should be able to keep caring for them at home!"

Everyone has an opinion, yet not everyone wants to help. The reality is not everyone has the ability to help, much less the skills to be a caregiver. The role of a family caregiver is challenging and is both physically and emotionally demanding. Attempting to balance careers and families with the role of being a caregiver is difficult at best.

Lack of Funding Places Stress on Family

When there is no outside source of funding, like Long-Term Care Insurance, the family must decide how to spend Mom or Dad's assets to pay for care. The cost of care becomes a consideration. Some family members may want to 'cut corners' to save the estate.

Some siblings may find others are being greedy. Others expect a sister who might be a stay-at-home mom, for example, to provide the care because "they don't have a job". 

Disagreements. Chaos. Crisis. 

How do you deal with this problem if you are already in it? Bursack outlines some ideas in her article

This problem should give you pause to think about how you can avoid this problem decades from now when your health and body start changing and you need help with daily activities. Have you developed a plan to avoid placing your family in a similar crisis?

First, don't wait until you get older to start thinking about the problem. It is best to start planning before you retire, ideally in your 40s or 50s. 

Second, have a conversation. Discuss the problem. Couples should discuss their concerns with each other. Talk to your children but do not accept a response, "don't worry, we will take care of you". Your children have no clue what that really means and the consequences caregiving will have on them. 

Third, speak with a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. They can help you determine the best strategy to protect income and assets from the costs and burdens of aging. 

Seek Professional Guidance

A specialist will provide you with options that can include traditional Long-Term Care Insurance, which can be partnership certified with additional asset protection. Other options include asset-based "hybrid" policies that combine life insurance or annuities with Long-Term Care Insurance. 

Be careful; general insurance agents and financial advisors may recommend expensive plans that don't really effectively address the problem. 

The right plan will not only safeguard your estate and maintain your lifestyle and legacy but will give your family the time to be family. Your children will see a plan, and they can focus on being family and not fight with each other. 

LTC NEWS offers many resources to help you in your research - just click here.  Do not ignore the problem. Be proactive and give your family peace-of-mind.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

It is not easy being a caregiver for a loved one. A caregiver's role is very stressful and demanding, no matter if it is a spouse or a parent. Can you imagine your daughter, for example, helping you in the shower, helping you use the toilet, or just getting dressed?

When you own an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you give your family a plan and the gift of time. Instead of being your caregiver, they remain your loved one. Professionals can provide care, but only family can give love.

Yes, long-term care costs drain assets and change lifestyles. Yes, long-term care is a cash flow issue. It is a significant cash flow problem. However, long-term care is also a family problem. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance addresses both family and finances.

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LTC NEWS offers multiple tools and resources to help you research the financial costs and burdens of aging so you can find an affordable solution. 

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Reach an educated audience. Readers of LTC NEWS are researching retirement issues, including aging, health, caregiving, and long-term care. 

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