No one is legally responsible for their parent. But all the children may be morally responsible. They’ll have to work it out together.
Caregiving for a Parent is a Significant Commitment
The family member who finds themselves taking on the caregiver role is usually the one who lives the closest or has the time and financial means to do it. That may seem unfair over time, as the other siblings don’t have to deal with daily health and safety issues or take your parent to doctor appointments and help with financial decisions.
The other siblings often don’t know everything that is involved and may lack support or empathy for the one who takes on the role. Communication between family members is critical to determine whether anyone has the capacity to offer care and for how long. No one should assume that another is willing to make this loving sacrifice, which can lead to emotional stress and burnout. There may be a way to share responsibilities, even for those who live far away.
Professional Care and Ways to Pay for It
Even if someone steps up as a caregiver, there may come a time when professional caregiving must take over. Understand that you have options for care and expenses. Your parent may qualify for Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, and local caregiving support programs for in-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes.
Talk to a local elder law attorney about eligibility requirements for government benefits and state resources that can help you and your loved one.
Harry S. Margolis practices elder law, estate, and special needs planning in Boston and Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the founder of ElderLawAnswers.com and answers consumer questions about estate planning issues here and at AskHarry.info.