I just got off the phone with my 50 year old sister who is the primary caregiver of my mother who has stage 5 alzheimer. My sister has been under alot of stress at work the last two months due to not getting along with her co-workers, she feels she has been bullied and has stirred up alot of problems at work. Now she feels ostracized because everyone is ignoring her. My sister is a control freak, and likes to give orders when things don't go her way she lashes out. She suffers from bi-polar and is also menopausal but I just can't handle her outbursts anymore. I have always walked on eggshells around her and never know when she is going to go off. I was going to quit my job of 25 yrs to move back home to help her take care of my mom but I realize that I can't live under the same roof with her. Tonight on the phone she lashed out on me and can't understand why I won't move back home and she threatened to kill her self. She was sober for 16 years and started drinking again! I live 100 miles away from my mother and sister and my 3 other siblings are tired of her drama. They all wanted to help but she drives everyone away with her big mouth. She mimimizes my mother's health problems because she is always focused on her junk. I took FMLA last October and did alot of research about placing my mom in adult day care center, buy my sister was not cooperative. She has power of attorney and I feel like my hands are tired. I tried talking to my sister to let her know that it's too much for her to handle and that she needed to get a caregiver or nurse to come in and she said there will be no nurses coming into her house. During the holidays my mother was suffering from a UTI and she would not let me call the ambulance. She works as a nurse and thinks she knows everything. She ended up taking my mother to the doctor's five days later. She is way in over head with debt and has been mismanging my mother's money, two weeks ago she told me since I wasn't moving home to help with my mom that I had to start sending her money to help pay for the caregiver. In all honesty I think my mother should be placed in a home even tough none of us ever want to make that decision. My siblings and I discussed this with my sister but she did not want to hear it. She said she would never place in her home but she can't even handle taking care of yourself let alone my mother, at times she has forgotten to pay my mother's secondary insurance so it would run out and a few times she forgot to re-order my mother's meds. She is not easy to talk to and wants to do everything her way. Her and I have a different relationship with my mother. I am a nuturer and wish I could take of my mother, I'm so broken and have been grieving the loss of the person I used to know. My sister says I need to toughen up and get over it. My mother is not the problem it's my sister's behavior and all the chaos she creates. I was very upset when I got off the phone with her, and know that she is in a bad state of mind because she thinks we all abandoned her and my mother which is not true, we try to help but she gets very defensive and pushes everyone away. I sense she is acting out and threatens sucide just to make me feel guilty so I move back home. I am 54 yrs. single and live in a small apt., I wish I could move my mother with me but she could never handle walking up the three flights of steps. I have a call into the alz. association to try set up an appt. with a caseworker and will most likely seek out an eldercare lawyer to find out how I can revoke the POA. Sorry for ramblin so much on my first post but I just needed to vent!
Welcome aboard! Sorry that your Mom has dementia and that your sister has her own drama. Is she the only POA, not backup at all?
It sounds like she should not hold Mom hostage although she thinks she is with her and the only one with her. If she wants to kill herself, she may end up killing them both! (Typical to hear that they go with the dependent ones.)
Not that Mom is in danger now as you should be able to judge, but sister should not be the main caregiver at this point if she is in trouble with work and her emotion and etc.
One thing you can do is to apply for guardianship. This will overide POA but sister will hate it. It is lots of work and you may need to put in some bond as money proved to take care of the ward - Mom. This is actually the last thing to do. That is, if sister goes too far with her emotion about suicide; if she goes too far not allowing Mom to seek treatments earlier... If you and other siblings see something she is not doing right about Mom, you can bring that into the argument to the judge so the judge can see that someone else has to be the guardian or POA.
If you don't go for guardianship or the legal fight, you may need to ask sister to seek for professional help like a psychiatrist and then she will see the problem.
Being at home does not mean the best care for Mom. if sister fails to care for Mom in the best way she can, a good nursing home will actually be better because the caregivers have no emotional burdens and can take care of her gladly.
You can ask an attorney for advice before you and other siblings do anything legal. At this moment, sister is not fit to take care of Mom, esp. given her suicide threat!
Oh my sounds like you really have your hands full!
It can be VERY hard to deal with someone with your sister’s problems. Harder, in fact, than dealing with the Alzheimer’s patient. I am sorry for your sister's problem but, it seems like she must be a quite a problem to deal with.
If it were just a matter of dealing with your sister, I would suggest that you stop walking on eggs and protect yourself!
But, you are worried about your Mom getting taken care of properly and that changes things!
I think your smart move will be to consult an attorney and the Alz assn.
POA can be tricky depending on how the original is worded. Some POA documents permit the delegation to an alternate; some do not. If hers does maybe you could persuade your sister to delegate it to you for a while.
In your Mom’s state she would probably be considered not fit to revoke it herself and made a new assignment.
In the most extreme cases there could be a guardianship suit but that is not an easy path either. It sounds like your sister has mishandled things and you might prevail but it is expensive and rather long and often leads to bad feelings.
Going to an elder care attorney is absolutely the best thing you can do – only an attorney can tell you what the situation is in the state(s) involved!
That said, any solution that can be resolved out of court is usually less expensive, shorter and incurs less ill will - even if there is threat of legal action.
Sometimes even if someone knows you have been to an attorney and may proceed legally, they will back down. Especially if they do not have the mental or financial resources to face a fight, which frankly it sounds like your sister does not. If her life is not “together” then you sister may not really be able to push back and might go along with requests from you and your siblings.
Sometimes they will later realize you are right and sometimes they will resent you forever but sometimes you have to do tough things to do right by the parent.
In the meantime, you should find a way to protect yourself or shield yourself from your sister even while doing everything necessary to help your Mom. It is too darn upsetting dealing with people like this; in fact, it can ruin a person’s life, if you let it.
If you are going to end up fighting her, or even trying to persuade her, you MUST remain emotionally calm and not let her hit your buttons. You must find a way to become DETACHED.
Even if you need some counseling to help you figure out how to do so, I think you are going to have to find a way. Believe me I know it is very hard.
Just from what I am hearing from you it sounds like your Mom might be better off in a NH, outside the whirl of all this.
Originally Posted by stellabella123
I just got off the phone with my 50 year old sister who is the primary caregiver of my mother who has stage 5 alzheimer. SNIP Sorry for ramblin so much on my first post but I just needed to vent!
Welcome to our little corner. I am sorry our Mom has dementia and you are dealing with this situation, plus your sister's antics, but also glad you found us.
Stella, you are right in that your hands or somewhat tied by Mom giving her POA to the sister that lives with her. To legally over ride that POA you are going to have to find your sister incompetent to care for your Mom. Knowing it and proving it are not the same. The Alzheimer's Association counselor will be able to asses the situation and give you good advice, and the elder lawyer will be able to give you your legal options. You have sought out the right advice and I do hope they are able to help you find a solution to your problems.
I appears that you and all the other siblings are being held hostage to the will of the one sister that has Mom. No, you do not have to fold to her demands. No you do not need to move in with Mom and sister and expose yourself to her dysfunction. Sister made her choices. She refused to let Mom go to a care facility. You do not agree with her choice and do not have to go along with it which includes moving in with her or sending her money.
You do need to find out what is happening with Mom's money. If sister is squandering that money away without adequate records then that can affect your Mom's ability to obtain Medicaid. This is something you must take up with the elder care lawyer. If sister is not handling Mom's money properly it may be grounds for revoking her POA. Does your Mom get social security? Is your sister her payee or is she still her own payee? Bring this up with the elder lawyer. Social Security (nor other federal payments) is not covered under a POA. You and the other siblings need to bind together to find out what is going on.
How is the situation in the house with sister and Mom. It is clean? Does Mom get the proper nutrition? Does she get the proper medical care? If the answer is no then this needs to be investigated as well. Your local department of aging can do this if the situation is reported to them. The lawyer and counselor can give you the necessary contact information if needed.
Know that whatever you do to remedy the situation is probably going to answer your sister. Right now it is not about sister. It is all about Mom and making sure she is taken care of adequately now and for her future. It is not easy to do what you are embarking on but if it is necessary it is wroth the effort.
Hopefully you will get some good guidance from those you have contacted so far... and keep us up on the progress.
Actually one of my sisters did talk about suicide a lot when she was in her earier career time. Back then, she always said oh this work is stressful and "I almost wanted to commit suicide" at work here and there to her colleagues. One day after many years, I guess someone told her off and she no longer talks about committing suicide... Not that she does not have emotional problem.
Saying so may not mean suicide for real, and it is just a talk to express her stress. Or a threat to you to try to make you live with her to help her.
This may not mean she is not competent. She is totally stressed now. She wants the help her way. That is why she is frustrated. What about other siblings? What do they plan to do about Mom? Maybe someone can co-operate with her and share some of the responsibility? Maybe someone should be in charge of Mom's finances and/or medications.
Sure hope you will get good advices from the professional help.
I just wanted to thank all of you for your kind words and support. My older brother and sister-in-law reached out to me today to let me know that they support me in my decision to obtain POA or guardianship. They both agree that my sister should not be the main caregiver with all her stress at work and bi-polar illness. According to my brother it sounds like my sister giving up the fight and will be willing to give me POA. She expressed to my brother that she wants out and feels like everyone is abadoning her and my mother! I plan to talk to my HR manager tomorrow to brief her on my situation and I will ask for a week off to deal with the elder lawyer and alzheimer assoc. to get the ball rolling for me to act as POA. In the meantime, my two other siblings are planning a family meeting with my sister and plan to remain calm and explain to her that she needs to focus on herself and that someone else needs to take over because she is burnt out. I have a feeling that my sister is either going to end up in rehab for her drinking or will be admitted to a hospital for her depression/sucide thoughts! I did go into therapy in January to help me deal with the stressful situation with my sister as well as the depression, anger and grief I was feeling over my mother's alzheimer. Thanks again for your encouraging words, love and support. I am on my way to see that my mother gets the proper care and attention that she deserves. My mother was there for ALL of us and while she still knows who I am I want to be there for her!
Good for you Stella in so many ways. I am glad your brother reached out to you and the other siblings are ready to help facilitate the changes you need. Your sister that is caring for Mom is probably over extended and needs to take care of herself. Hopefully you can get what needs to be done quickly and easily with consensus. It is a good idea to put the focus on what sister is doing right and what she needs. She will probably respond better to that than negativity. I am also glad you found help for your emotional turmoil. It appears to have worked Keep moving forward and know that all of us here are with you. There are times you will need to vent and question and we are here for you!
The Following User Says Thank You to Gabriel For This Useful Post: stellabella123 (06-18-2012)
Not at all, in a strange way we are all in this together.
It sounds like maybe your sister is on the verge of folding and in the long run she needs to get the help that she needs too. It also sounds like you are smart in your handling of things and have a solid plan. I am glad that you are taking care of your own needs too; like on a plane, we need to put on our oxygen mask first before we can help anyone else.
Your mom is lucky to have you and I hope things go well as you make this difficult transition.
Originally Posted by stellabella123
I just wanted to thank all of you for your kind words and support. My older brother and sister-in-law reached out to me today to let me know that they support me in my decision to obtain POA or guardianship. My mother was there for ALL of us and while she still knows who I am I want to be there for her!
You are welcome! Stella!
Good for you that the siblings are on your side! Try to resolve the issue by discussing within the family. If you need legal assistance, then go for it. If sister is willing to let go, it will be good. But I suspect she will agree to the nursing home. Anyway, try to find a common ground so everyone is in the same page as much as possible. Also, in the mean time, if you have the means, hiring a private caregiver at home can help your Mom's immediate needs.