Caring for estranged parents

I am seeking advice from anyone who has been in the same situation as i will be someday.

I havent spoken to my parents in over 5 years. Growing up i had a very strained relationship with my mother, she was incredibly controlling and has what i think is a personality disorder. And while my parents have been married for almost 30 years, i never had a strong connection with my father because he was always working, at one point 60-70 hours a week.

Around this time 5 years ago i began seeing a high school friend, i was living at home at the time so my mother was heavily involed in the relationship for about 3 months. To keep this post short, she didnt like him because he didnt suck up to her. She forbid me to see him if i wanted to continue living there. So i left, we started a life together and have been married almost 4 years.

I had to presue my mother legally to keep her away from us and her toxic feelings from affecting us. And unfortunatelly due to my mothers caniving ways i had to cut ties with most mutual family and friends to protect my privacy.
But lately i have been thinking about whats going to happen in the next few years as they become senior citizens. I am an only child, so there is no one else to make decisions for them.

At this point i honestly dont know if i even want to be envoled, even as little as transfering money from their accounts to fund nursing homes, hospice ect. What if im on a life insurance policy still? Will i be bonded to planning their funerals? Will it fall to me to take care of their things when they pass? Will i even be contacted by a medical personal to inform me of their passing?

Has anyone had a simular experience?

Hi Ad17,

It sounds as though cutting contact with your parents was the right choice for your own well-being. It’s understandable that you are wondering what will happen as they get older, but this doesn’t mean that you should be responsible for their care or have to let them back into your life.

I thought you might be interested to read and reply to this conversation started by Dolphin1, who is not exactly in the same situation as you, but is helping to care for her mum, who she has a difficult relationship with: Responsibility for Mum now Dad has passed

I’m not a legal expert, so I can’t give definite answers to your questions, but I think it will depend a lot on whether your parents have made wills or specified next of kin on their medical records, which is obviously difficult for you to know. If they haven’t specified anyone else, then you would be the next of kin if they both pass away.

You might be able to get more answers to these questions by talking to Citizen’s Advice.

There’s no right or wrong answer as to how involved you would like to be. However, talking it over can help you to sort out your feelings and work out what’s right for you - whether that’s with your partner, friends, or here on the Online Community. You could also consider getting some counselling, which might help you to process the impact of your parents’ toxic behaviour and work out what you want to do.

Hello Ad17, I am sorry for your predicament but if I were you I would not stress about what will happen in the future as it will ruin your present.

The same thing happened to my cousin many years ago, due to problems in the family he left to live alone and never returned, he lost contact with every member of the family but myself and we keep in touch, albeit once a year by email and I respect his privacy.

When his mum died, I emailed him to pass on my condolences ( I did not know how else to put it), I asked him if he ever needed any help to contact me. He told me that he had put everything in the hands of a solicitor and they would sort it out. Then a few years later his dad died and he did the same again. The solicitor passed documents to him to sign and that was that. When the house was sold he paid the solicitors bills and gave the money to charity as he said he did not need anything from his parents as he had his own home and his own life.

I have never known the reason why he left home, we are now both in our mid 70’s and I never asked him, it was his business.

You could do exactly the same when one or both of your parents die. All you would need to do, if no other member of your family has the authority to deal with such things, is find a solicitor and leave it with them, there is no need to get involved whatsoever.

Just carry on with your life, be happy and don’t worry about something that has not happened yet.

Take care.

Sheila xx