‘I am getting compassion fatigue’: My mother and father mentioned they’d relatively stop their jobs and lose the whole lot than get the COVID-19 vaccine


I am 24 years old and live on a lower income. I’m chronically ill and have a bunch of student loans.

I’m applying for better jobs and working on building my credit so I can refinance my student loans and buy a house when the market collapses.

However, none of this is my biggest financial stressor right now. No, that would be my unvaccinated parents.

They refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Even the loss of our uncle to COVID didn’t convince her. They even said they’d rather quit their job and lose everything than get vaccinated!

We have a poor family history of health problems, and if they contract COVID it is unlikely to end well. I am afraid that my siblings and I will have to pay for their mortgage, funeral and / or medical expenses that we cannot afford.

Bad financial situation

As frustrated as I am that this could create a bad financial situation for me, their death or job loss would completely destroy my siblings’ lives as they are still in college and dependent on them.

The last thing I want is for them to completely give up their dreams because of our parents’ selfishness and ignorance. We’d be entitled to some tribal aid, but there was no way I could fully support them.

I don’t even go into the fact that they didn’t address some of my obvious health and dental problems when I was younger so now I have to pay the bills or that one of my siblings and I are closed off and living in constant fear of fear, outed and to be denied.

I still love my parents and I keep hoping they will be better people one day, but I get compassionate fatigue and practically try to prepare for a tough, sad future.

I wish we could have a serious financial conversation about how their choices affect their children, but it would only make things worse. If something happens to my parents, what are we responsible for and what can we do to protect ourselves?

Enough is enough

You can email The Moneyist at qfottrell@marketwatch.com with any financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear enough,

Live your life according to your own beliefs and let your parents live theirs.

Be sure to talk to your parents about having adequate health insurance and tell them that you wish them long lives watching their children and / or grandchildren grow up, but it is their choice. Please remember that the worst did not happen. It can’t happen.

Your parents will live their lives and you will live yours, and it is premature to worry about funeral expenses, even if there are ways to save them. Ultimately, you can’t change people. You can give them the information and allow them to make their own decisions. It’s frustrating and stressful, sure, but it’s out of your control.

In the meantime, you can show them the many peer-reviewed studies how the COVID-19 vaccines dramatically reduce hospital stays and deaths from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, the virus has become politicized and millions of people still refuse to take the vaccines that are now available.

Even with the highly contagious Delta variant, which is the most common strain in the United States today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully vaccinated people have 5 times less risk of infection and 10 times less risk of hospitalization and death .

But, as you say, you cannot force people to live what you think are smarter, healthier and more considerate of other people. They are at a higher risk of developing COVID-19 and dying, and a higher risk of transmitting the virus if they are not vaccinated.

There are new therapeutic treatments in development. Merck MRK, -0.80% and Ridgeback Therapeutics are seeking emergency approval after reporting initial results that molnupiravir, which is available in tablet form, halves the risk of death or hospitalization. It is not a substitute for the vaccine or for responsible social distancing.

There is concern that people will be relying on such potential therapeutic treatments instead of getting a vaccine. But as Dr. William Schaffner, professor in the Infectious Diseases Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, previously told MarketWatch, “It’s not a magic pill.”

Read more here about how other families have approached their loved ones about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Child responsibility

More than two dozen US states have so-called branch responsibility laws that go back to colonial times and (at least in theory) place an obligation on adult children to support their impoverished parents. You have nothing to worry about. They are rarely, if ever, enforced.

They date back to England’s Elizabethan Poor Relief Act of 1601, which according to the law firm Burke, Costanza and Carberry.

But they get called when it comes to alleged villainy. “Federal and state laws allow Medicaid to claim reimbursement of recipients’ estates. However, more and more recipients are hiding their financial assets in order to meet Medicaid standards, ”she added.

(One of the states of filial responsibility is Pennsylvania, which used filial responsibility to force an adult child to pay his mother’s bill. In 2012, a Pennsylvania court ruled that an adult son should equal his mother’s unpaid foster home bill of $ 93,000, but that was after the family moved their mother to Greece.)

Ultimately, it seems like your long, troubled history with your parents and your seemingly lax attitude towards their children’s health – and your own as you see it – are mixed in with your current feelings about their refusal to get Pfizer / BioNTech PFE, -1.03% BNTX, + 2.31% or Moderna MRNA, + 3.33% vaccine.

That is understandable, but it is important to put your decision and your own life in perspective. There comes a time when you need to let go, allow them to make their own decisions, and do your best to protect your own financial, physical, and mental health.

Keep doing what you are doing. Get your sibling’s support – you stand a better chance of handling any worst-case scenario as a group – and strive to be a compassionate and understanding son. Sometimes people teach us how to move around the world by showing us what not to do.

You can love your parents and disagree with their worldview. You have become an independent person in the face of your own health problems and have proven that you are not a prisoner of the past. Keep paying off your loans, work hard, and check with your parents about what, if anything, they need.

Rest assured that you are doing – and have done – everything you can.

By emailing your questions, you consent to their being posted anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you agree that we may use your story or versions of it in all media and platforms, including through third parties.

Check out Moneyist’s private Facebook Group in which we look for answers to life’s thorniest questions of money. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or take part in the latest Moneyist columns.

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More from Quentin Fottrell:

• “I just don’t trust my sister”: How do I give money to my nieces without their mother having access to it?
• We get married and have a baby on the way. My wife offered to pay off my $ 10,000 student debt and $ 7,500 car loan
• I have three children. I left my house to my most responsible son. Now he’s blocked my calls
• My brother-in-law died, leaving his house in chaos. His landlord wants me to repaint and replace the carpet. What should we do?

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