Oh, Peg, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law's diagnosis and your sister's fall ~~ of course I will keep Jim and Erlene ~ and you ~ in my prayers and energy work.
You raised a very important question ~ I don't know the answer, but I share your concern. I'm wondering if some of it isn't a cultural thing. We Americans tend to be so youth-obsessed, for one thing, and the elderly are not revered as greatly for their wisdom, etc as in, say, Native American cultures. Nor is the concept of "family" as strong here, as it is, say, in Italian cultures. I've spent a great many hours visiting residents of nursing homes over the years, and it's heart breaking to see how many old folks are just dumped there and basically abandoned, even some whose families live right in the same town!
I took a leave from my job in New Hampshire, and left my husband and son for a few months to take care of my dying mom (lung cancer) in Maine and I wouldn't do a thing differently if I had to make that decision again today. Sure, it was inconvenient and a challenge and exhausting and wretchedly sad, etc etc, but it was also a tremendous honor - and somewhat healing for both of us - to be with her for that stage of her journey.
HOWEVER, that said, I also pray that I am never a burden to my Sisters here at the convent, or to my family when my time comes. So ..... back to Square One; I don't know what the answer is.
Perhaps a place to start is to initiate dialogue with our own families NOW, while everyone's feeling pretty good. Sort of like the Living Will idea -- get the requests or expectations or dilemmas or whatever "out there" in advance, before illness or crisis distorts rational thinking.
Meanwhile, hugs to you (((Peg))) - you're definitely not alone here!!!
Love 'n prayers,