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Woman doesn't want to house disabled sister, parents say, 'you're selfish, you must.'

Woman doesn't want to house disabled sister, parents say, 'you're selfish, you must.'


When this woman feels guilty about her sister, she asks Reddit:

'WIBTA for going back on my promise to take in my disabled sibling?'

I (40f) have a spouse, we both work, and 3 kids under 5. I have two siblings. Sis 2 also has a young family and dual-career marriage.

We both live in different states than my parents and other sibling. Sis 3 (35f), let's call her Paula (not her real name), lives with my parents and has Downs and a chronic medical condition.

Several years ago my parents came to me very distressed. Sis 2 told them she could never over Paula's care but would find her a very good group home and visit often.

My parents are convinced if she goes into a facility she'll die. When they say 'facility' or 'home' they practically spit the word out like a curse.

They begged me to take in Paula 'when the time comes' and promised all kinds of state resources, funding, a home aide, etc would be available because they'd gotten her on SSDI and Medicaid and made her the beneficiary of their life insurance.

They also offered help with a down-payment on a house so there would be room for Paula, which we accepted.

Fast forward to now. Paula has regressed and doesn't even answer direct questions half the time.

She has to be nagged to do simple things and is sulky and rude about things that are medically important. She shows little interest in her nieces and nephews. She no longer has friends her own age.

My parents are very defensive about it and refuse to change their routines to improve her situation.

They also confessed they have not updated their estate planning in 30+ years and are dragging their feet on getting it done. They have no plan for Paula's transition to our household: they just say they'll keep her 'as long as they can.'

It's clear they have not planned for ANY of this. I got in touch with a nonprofit in my state for disabled people and what they told me was shocking. Paula will have to wait 10-15 years to qualify for Medicaid home- based services like an aide.

Private pay for a day program will eat up her SSDI leaving nothing for daily living expenses. My parents will likely decline for years before their life insurance pays out and funds Paula's trust. Essentially - none of the resources and support they promised will be available to us after all. We'll be on our own.

I'm panicking. This is not what I thought I was signing up for. I tried raising just a bit of it with my dad and he blew up.

They're 'counting on me' to take her. They have unrealistic expectations about the level of care we can provide and pitch a fit when I tell them we have jobs and busy lives, and she'd be safer at a day program or a home.

They seem to not care at all how Paula's care will affect my kids and marriage.

Otoh.....I took that down-payment money. I can't return it until we re- finance the house, probably a couple years at least. So WIBTA for telling them I can't take Paula after all, knowing what I know now? Info: when I took the $ I had every intention of taking Paula. I will repay asap. AITA?

Lets find out.

alarmedjellyfish6 writes:

NTA You really were misled as to what the situation would be like, whether intentionally or not , plus her condition has worsened.

On top of that, you have three young kids. You obviously can't care for your sister, and that is understandable. Chances are, she'd have a better quality of life in a home where she's given the professional care she clearly needs.

HOWEVER, you absolutely would be the asshole if you did not start making payments to pay off that downpayment money you accepted immediately.

ETA: Yes, to be clear, you also need to be completely upfront with your parents and nip this in the bud right now. They need to know that you will not be taking in your sister so they can figure out how to best move forward.

And they seem completely oblivious as to how these things work, so I HIGHLY recommend you help get them in touch with legal help to navigate their plans for her future care. Leaving her an inheritance, for example, could really be problematic when it comes to her assistance.

A decent care home will have a long waiting list.

They seem to think they can just wait until their health declines then deal with it then, but by then it could be too late.

You mentioned reaching out to someone at a local nonprofit who helped, try getting some assistance in figuring out the best plan for your sister's long-term care, someone who is familiar with how things work in your state and what her best options are for homes is the best thing you could do for your sister.

javonyoung7 writes:

NTA. I understand your parents strong desire to keep Paula with family when they're unable to care for her... I have a T21 kid so I REALLY understand. Their terms were wonderful but if they aren't following through that's an issue.

You (and every other human) have the right to change your mind. Paula has a higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's so I truly hope she's being evaluated appropriately. Good luck!

Well, looks like OP is NTA. What can she do moving forward? Would you take your sister in if you were in this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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