Getting through to parent that saving money is pointless

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James, my mum was always saying "I don't want to give you any more trouble" and would then confess she'd tried to do something that ended up as a disaster!
While my SIL was waiting for her hip replacement, she would INSIST on getting up from her seat at the kitchen table and hobbling painfully to the pantry to get something that anyone else could have got in SECONDS. As she 'didn't want to trouble' anyone.

It was absolutely infuriating, and just made me SO angry! (And, being her SIL, I told her so!!!!! :) )
I'd be really interested to know what the reasons are for this kind of attitude (I mean, from a psychological or gerontological viewpoint) and why it's so difficult to adjust. "That's just the way they are" doesn't always feel like a sufficient answer for something that is such a big influence in someone's health and care needs.
For my SIL she'd been programmed by her parents to 'sacrifice herself'....ie, SHE always had to do the 'difficult thing' to make life easier for them (they weren't horrible, just 'needy' and had no idea they were programming her!). My SIL finds it incredibly difficult to accept help - she just feels guilty all the time. She feels that SHE should be doing it, not someone else for her.

For the older generation (ie, war generation), I think it's several factors. Firstly, 'going on the social' was considered 'shameful'....poverty and need were regarded as a 'crime' etc, and people looked down on you and you felt ashamed about accepting outside help. Accepting help from family was 'better', but still difficult because, I suspect, to accept help is to admit you need help, and to need help is 'vulnerable' - ie, you are 'powerless' and that's a bad feeling to have, so you struggle on to 'prove you're not old' etc etc.

Because the elderly get very self-focussed, and their world narrows, they get stubborn and 'wilful' even. They refuse to accept that actually they are making life MORE difficult for their family, not less. That's a toughie to crack. Remember, there is massive role reversal going on - the 'parent' has to become 'the child' and the 'child' becomes the 'parent'. Many elderly understandably 'resent' that loss of parental status, and being 'bossed about' by their 'know it all kids'. Ironically, of course, for many elderly folk they want it both ways - they want the parental status to be theirs, and them calling the shots the way they always have (!), but simultaneously they want to become 'the child' and be looked after.

This is all Transactional Analysis I think (others here know more!), with the roles of Parent, Child and Adult rotating round either in a healthy, or unhealthy, fashion.
Having thought about this a bit over the past few days, I'd wondered about financial counselling for older people who may have some resources and savings that could be used to improve their quality of life. I've looked for information and guidance on it - there isn't any that I could find.

I know nobody likes to talk about money openly, but seeing them struggle or miss out because they haven't adapted their thinking towards assets seems far more grotesque, doesn't it?
I think that one of the psychological barriers might be that the elderly don't want to spend money on themselves to make their old age easier is because it signals to them that their lives are ending.....and that is frightening.

Also, they want to pass it on to us! (And don't realise that, in fact, if they spent some money on making life easier for themselves, they also thereby make it easier for US too).
jenny lucas wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:05 am
I think that one of the psychological barriers might be that the elderly don't want to spend money on themselves to make their old age easier is because it signals to them that their lives are ending.....and that is frightening.

Also, they want to pass it on to us! (And don't realise that, in fact, if they spent some money on making life easier for themselves, they also thereby make it easier for US too).
These days it's a matter of balance between keeping enough to maintain ususal standard used to and passing money on earlier. Mum is 95, eldest son is 70 and he and rest of that generation are sorted financially, as is next one in the 30-50 range. None of her children, grandchildren and great grand children are waiting on her money.

And its true about not wanting to admit to aging or coming towards the end.

I wonder if those of us who have faced it in our elders will accept it any better when it's our turn?
I do think it was a bit easier when more people died earlier from illness rather than long haul aging. It was certainly easier to care for MIL who went 7 months from diagnosis to cancer death to FIL who struggled with increasing infirmity, immobility and general old age over 10 years.
I definitely agree that the 'ideal' would be to live very very healthily and independently and robustly to a ripe old age (whatever that is!) and then die very 'quickly' (less than a year maybe at the most?).

I think it does help family if they have a bit of 'heads up' that the end is coming for the very old parent, so they have time to 'make their goodbyes' (I know of one family where they were gathered in the kitchen for Sunday lunch and the grandfather saw something on the floor, bent down to pick it up, and simply keeled over with a fatal stroke/heart attack or whatever - it was very shocking for the family, though presumably for the grandfather he had no expectation and therefore no fear of dying)

The thing is, currently at least, it can be hard to tell 'who will go quickly' and who will not. My MIL was incredibly independent until she was 89 and I always assumed she'd 'go out like a light' at some point. Not last so long that her mind started to go, and she is still here, nearly four years later, in deep and dreadful dementia. (And spending the entire value of her estate, by the way as well - though, luckily, no one in the family was 'counting on it'.)
I'd echo a lot of this. My Dad makes my life a complete nightmare because of the way he is.

I'd do anything for him but he won;t help himself or listen to anyone. You will possibly remember the story about the bath from years ago - where he struggled to get in and out of the bath because he didnt want to risk having to pay towards the cost of a shower fitting off the social. "I'll manage" was the thing.

Same with the stair life - "I'll manage". Which meant peeing in a bottle downstairs and then nearly falling down the stairs twice. (Guess who'd be expected to visit him every day in hospital!)
James_1802 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:25 pm
I'd be really interested to know what the reasons are for this kind of attitude (I mean, from a psychological or gerontological viewpoint) and why it's so difficult to adjust. "That's just the way they are" doesn't always feel like a sufficient answer for something that is such a big influence in someone's health and care needs.
James I know with my Dad his reasoning is he didnt have money when he was younger so doesnt want to waste it now. He comes from a very poor mining family.

Its completely nuts of course. Hes got enough money now that he could probably never spend it but would rather not spend it and it seems to give him a warm glow. Its not as if he even knows how much hes got but he just likes not spending lol.

He has zero idea how much things cost these days so of course, wont pay for anything. His latest is moaning that hes going to cancel sky because its £60 a month. Thats all he does is watch sport on sky all day so why on earth cancel it?

Yes its expensive but there are no other options. And to be honest, I worked it out for him - hes got enough savings to pay for sky for the next 70 years !!!!!