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Old 12-15-2016, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Frederick, Maryland
899 posts, read 479,517 times
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I have an 85 yo mom and I understand the concern. But I wouldn't lie to her, trick her into believing she's legally married. I see heartache waiting down the road.
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
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If it's all about religion, they can have a religious marriage ceremony without getting legally married. In other words, married in the eyes of God but not the state/government.

You said early dementia. Depending on how 'with it' they still are, I would sit them down and explain the consequences of this action. Show them what it would really COST in dollars and cents. Explain to them that they would have to move to a cheaper facility and make many other cutbacks. Their monthly income would go from whatever to whatever. And at their age there is no way to make up the difference.

If they are not 'with it' enough to understand, just tell them they can't afford it. End of story. Then distract them with something else. Chances are the interest in marriage will fade very quickly as the disease progresses.

This isn't mistreating them. They have been diagnosed with dementia which is progressive and incurable. People suffering from this disease make poor irresponsible decisions. They NEED money for care. They do not NEED to be married. As a caregiver, you need to defend their assets and be the sane one. Even when your decisions are not popular.

My father died from dementia/Alzheimer's and I cared for him for more than 10 years. When he and my mom first moved into my house, his big plan was to take off, divorce my mom, leaving her at my house. His big plan was to move in with one of his brothers. This was not sane. It was the disease talking. He was rebelling against the disease and he did not want to be a sick demented old man. This would have had disastrous financial consequences for both of them. For a while this was a real problem. I was very relieved when his brother came for a visit and told my father he was welcome to visit any time but he was not moving in!

If these individuals did not have dementia and were capable of living on their own, great! They would have the necessary mental abilities to make a rational decision about sacrificing a portion of their income to be legally married.
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:42 PM
 
1,195 posts, read 667,148 times
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I would speak to a member of the clergy, non-denominational or whatever, and see what a commitment ceremony would involve. If you and the clergy member can help them understand that through this ceremony they are "united" it might be enough.

I would not lie to them or forge documents. If they understand the financial dilemma they may change their minds.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:30 PM
 
4,315 posts, read 2,533,010 times
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Many times there are no benefits lost.


To the OP..........have you actually checked out how much SS benefits they would lose?


Before I got re-married after my first wife died, my new wife and I drove to a SS office, and asked how much our benefits would be reduced because all the "SS geniuses" posting on internet sites said there would be a huge hit taken.


She said ........."your marriage will not affect either of you "


February will be two years and she was right !
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,895 posts, read 25,351,824 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David A Stone View Post
Many times there are no benefits lost.


To the OP..........have you actually checked out how much SS benefits they would lose?


Before I got re-married after my first wife died, my new wife and I drove to a SS office, and asked how much our benefits would be reduced because all the "SS geniuses" posting on internet sites said there would be a huge hit taken.


She said ........."your marriage will not affect either of you "


February will be two years and she was right !
Sometimes this is true and other times not. If you are receiving SS widow/widower benefits and you remarry before you are 60, you lose them. Forever! Next if you get a pension as a survivor, your benefits may end if you remarry. Different companies have different rules.

Here's another issue. It is quite possible for the elderly, especially with dementia to need a lot of care for a long time. If it goes on long enough, eventually Medicaid or other social services may be needed. It's much easier to apply/qualify as a single person. There is generally no financial benefit to marrying when you are elderly. And there can be significant costs.

^^^This is why people get divorced if they or one of their children become seriously ill with a chronic condition that will be financially devastating. Together they do not qualify for Medicaid but the medical bills are more than they make every month. They have no choice but to divorce.

It never hurts to get all the info from the experts though!
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,069 posts, read 17,400,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David A Stone View Post
Many times there are no benefits lost.


To the OP..........have you actually checked out how much SS benefits they would lose?


Before I got re-married after my first wife died, my new wife and I drove to a SS office, and asked how much our benefits would be reduced because all the "SS geniuses" posting on internet sites said there would be a huge hit taken.


She said ........."your marriage will not affect either of you "


February will be two years and she was right !
While getting married appeared not to effect the finances for the two of you, the OP said in her first post that the children of both the man and the woman calculated it out and in their situation it would make a difference, which they expected their adult children (at least one of which is retired herself) to make up the difference.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,485 posts, read 43,827,673 times
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Some very interesting comments here. I have shown them to my friend and we discussed each one. I think the people involved are quite desperate and working without all the facts they need. And the comment about not qualifying for Medicaid made her think she can try one more time to discuss this with her Mom. She had not thought of a commitment ceremony and thinks this might assuage the parties. I hope so. I hate to see my friend so worried. It's hard enough to watch a parent slipping away but to worry about that AND a pending marriage is making her a nervous mess.

My own mother died of dementia when she was 86. One day after a doctor's visit she told me they had decided to get married. I was dumbstruck! I knew it wasn't true but it really concerned me enough to call him and tell him what she said. He told me it is not uncommon for his patients to transfer old feelings of love and belonging to a new person who has entered their life. I told my friend this story and now she thinks this is exactly what has happened with these two elders. She is seeing an elder attorney for advice and the two families will have another meeting. Who knows---maybe the old folks will forget the whole thing!

Thanks to all who commented.
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Florida -
8,767 posts, read 10,862,335 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dothetwist View Post
You should not trick them.

If one or both of them are thought to be legally incompetent, one or both sets of children need to go before a judge, have a hearing and let the court decide.

If the children do not want to go to court over this, then the parents have a right to do what they want.

The suggestion to 'fake' the marriage license is illegal and unethical.

I agree. This sounds more like concern over their own financial gain, rather than for the happiness and well-being of two consenting, competent adults. Are they asking for permission or are the children/heirs simply assuming it is their "right" to dictate to or manipulate their parents?

Having ministered in nursing homes and ALF's, I've seen a lot of "we're doing this for their own good"-justified actions, that were really little more than thinly disguised greed. At 87, even if they lose some small amount on a monthly basis, it probably won't be for that long. Why begrudge them their choice to seek happiness in their own way?

Last edited by jghorton; 12-15-2016 at 06:50 PM..
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:32 PM
 
6,652 posts, read 3,764,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
My best friend is a 65 year old widow. Her 87 year old mother has been in assisted living for about 2 years. Mom has met a man in the ALF who lives in the unit next door. He is same age, widower. Both are not capable of living alone but not diagnosed with dementia but have early signs. The families of each have POA and handle all the mail, finances, taxes, etc and have for many years.

Old folks want to get married!!

They don't want to live together and are just fine with things how they stand. The rub is each one stands to lose significant income from survivor benefits, Social Security benefits, etc. My friend thinks she would be expected to meet the shortfall and while she is comfortable, she does not want to do that.

She talked to Dad's children and they feel the same way. Each family tried to show the older folks how much money they would lose if they got married but they refuse to or can't understand. Each did say they will not change their wills. So the children got together and hatched this plan.

My friend is a graphic artist and she said she would make up official papers (license and certificate), they would have a "ceremony" and let them think they are married. A family member would be the officiate. Is that so wrong?

Turns out another much younger couple in the facility did have a wedding ceremony in the dining room there and it brought much excitement and joy to everybody in the facility. Everybody thinks this couple is just trying to have the same.

I think it is a pretty good idea. None of the people involved are religious so that is not a problem. I think if it were me (old lady wanting to feel I was attached and cherished by someone) it would be fine.
What would you do if it was you or your parent?
My conscience wouldn't let me do something like that. It's fraudulent and wrong, not to mention disrespectful of Mom. Besides, the staff at the home might end up telling them, anyway.

I don't know what I'd do. But not that.

I might stall, hoping they'd forget about it or change their minds. But what if one of them gets really ill or breaks a hip and still wants to get married? It then becomes more complicated.

Have they asked the other family their thoughts?

I don't think Mom wants to feel cherished, as you say. She knows already she is cherished. She wants to be married. Marriage has more meaning to that generation. Maybe they even want to fool around, but won't do that without a ring on the finger.

If I were "comfortable" like your friend (which means she's wealthy, by my standards), I would help arrange the marriage, if Mom is SURE. I wouldn't deny Mom a bit of happiness at her stage of life. Living in a nursing home is a bleak life. Love and marriage could make all the difference, at least for a while.

It's possible they'll forget about it. It's also possible they'll do it without your friend's help. They don't need their permission, do they? The nursing home staff could call in a preacher one day, and boom...it's done. It's free, except a tip for the preacher. And then the wills would be changed, and rightly so.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:53 PM
 
4,315 posts, read 2,533,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
I agree. This sounds more like concern over their own financial gain, rather than for the happiness and well-being of two consenting, competent adults. Are they asking for permission or are the children/heirs simply assuming it is their "right" to dictate to or manipulate their parents?

Having ministered in nursing homes and ALF's, I've seen a lot of "we're doing this for their own good"-justified actions, that were really little more than thinly disguised greed. At 87, even if they lose some small amount on a monthly basis, it probably won't be for that long. Why begrudge them their choice to seek happiness in their own way?
Great post !


I recall reading an advice column where adult children were advised to error on the side of caution when getting their parents to surrender their drivers license.


The advice giver stated to do it early because...."it is your inheritance "....that could be at risk.


Something about that advice rubbed me the wrong way !
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