Ask Kari: After my father spent his retirement money, he wants to move in with us. What should I do?

Dear Kari,

I have a family crisis going on that is completely stressing me out. My dad is 71 and did not save enough money for retirement and now wants to move in with my family and me. I have another sibling who already turned him down due to limitations of space in his home, and now my dad is asking me for help. What can I do? I do not want my father to live with us, and I resent that he spent all his money for his retirement traveling for the past five years. But I can’t let him end up on the street. My wife does not want him moving in with us. What should I do?

--Stuck with Dad

Dear Stuck with Dad,

You definitely have a hard decision to make. But, first let me give you some information on potential resources for your father separate from moving in with you. First, depending on what income you father has in social security, savings, pensions, etc., he may qualify for additional government support services. For example, if your father served in the military, and he needs a supportive living situation such as assisted living, he may qualify for a government financial stipend. If he has less than $2,000.00 in assets, he may qualify for assistance with food, housing, transportation, and healthcare. A social worker at the Department of Health and Human Services can assist him with an assessment and can explain to both of you his options. Also, besides moving in with your family, another option may be for him to rent a room in someone else’s home. Now, I want to preface my suggestions with the fact that your father may not want to look into support from DHHS or renting a room in a stranger’s home, but he does have more options than both of you can see at this point. Unfortunately, he may not like those options, but that was his self-determination when he chose to use his financial resources to travel vs. provide for himself long-term. Good luck!


As published in the April 2019 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.