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Family Freeloader

Family freeloader

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December 29, 2010

No doubt about it, Dad is starting to need help at home. He's saved plenty for this day but your brother, who lives with him, doesn't want him to spend any of the money and, you suspect, it's because he doesn't want Dad to deplete brother's potential inheritance. And yet, little brother won't lift a finger to help. What now?

The solution to this problem really rests with Dad, not your sibling. Your dad doesn't feel motivated to spend the money despite knowing that help at home is a good idea.

Encourage your father to spend money to make his life easier and assure him that such spending is appropriate. Consider seeking the intervention of a trusted friend, another relative or a professional such as a financial advisor who could help you convince Dad. Make clear your limitations in providing the support that your father can afford to pay for. Your brother may have an opinion, but it is your father who controls the finances.

In the meantime, try to reason with your brother. Make sure he knows you are aware of this situation and that you feel your father's best interests must come first. At the same time, stress the importance of teamwork and developing solutions that would make life easier for Dad.

One of the most complex aspects of multigenerational living is finances. Since your brother is living with your father, balancing the financial affairs of a multigenerational household should be approached in much the same way as a college roommate arrangement. The same is true of paying for living expenses; consider creating a common fund. For more information, read our Too Close for Comfort section.

Please download the guide: 50-50 Rule® Brochure (PDF 950K).

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. October 20, 2015 at 12:14 am | Posted by rene rasmussen

    My older brother literally dumped our mother on my doorstep and left without saying goodbye, that was almost ten years ago, she is 92 and just had a stroke which left her angry, confused and not able to respect bounderies at all. To make matters worse it seems she worships this brother and calls me "she". This is a thankless undertaking yet I cannot put her in another facility. I know my brother and sister know I'm a push over and I am taken advantage of but I just want to learn how to cope with this situation and try to make our lives together somewhat happy. Instead I'm angry most of the time. I need to change my point of view but how? Thank you.


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