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Maria215 06-27-2012 01:34 AM

Family is falling apart
 
My mother has had dementia for 5 years. My dad is her primary caregiver (although I have been the one taking her to ALL her doctor appointments, haircuts, etc. I also buy her personal care products and re-order her medications when she is out). In the past 6 months my dad's health has drastically deteriorated. He has been to the hospital 3 times this week (my sister is his healthcare power of attorney, I am my mom's). He is still calling all the shots with my mother's care. I have one sister. I keep telling her they both need assisted living. She is dragging her feet on it - I don't think she wants to start spending their money on healthcare at this point so there is more in the long run (for her perhaps?). We had a huge blowup over everything today - she called me a b**** and said some very mean things to me. I've just been trying to do what is best for my parents. Their house is so run down. Everything about them and their lives has deteriorated. I don't know where to turn next. I refuse to continue arguing with my sister over everything. My dad almost seems to need hospice care - there are days when he barely moves but the hospital just keeps shipping him home (he has alot of major health issues). My mom never had it good with my dad and I really want what's best for her. Should I see a lawyer over it all? Talk to a social worker? No matter what I do I'm sure my sister will not agree with it. I'm about as low as I can go over all this. My doctor recommended anti-anxiety medication for me with all the stress but I refuse to start on RX drugs. I don't know what to do.

ninamarc 06-27-2012 08:36 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Welcome aboard! I am sorry that your parents are not well!
First of all, if Dad needs hospice, you should apply for hospice to see if he is qualified. He may not be qualified just because he looks sick. Once he is qualified, you can discuss this with Sister given the useful concrete info. I think your sister needs some strong reason to send them off to the AL or memory unit. If Dad needs hospice, he can use home hospice if it is a short time like a few months.
Now the house is running down and getting old. I know this problem. My FIL had stayed home for home care for 6 years in his very run down old house! We always had to fix this and that constantly to make sure my FIL could stay there. Finally he moved out in 2010 and we fixed it up and sold it this year.

I don't think it helps a lot to talk to sister about what you think that may work. Show her concrete proof for all the problems and show her some good AL or memory unit so she can be persuaded to look into it. However if she has Dad's POA, you have Mom's POA, it is a little bit of dividing here. I never heard of this before... (Usually Mom and Dad are together as a couple when it comes to POA, you know...) You need to sit down with your sister to discuss this without any bad mood or arguments. Maybe you can bring in the nursing home director or the doctor or hospice co. to talk to two of you. Discuss the matter together.

At least you can consider memory unit for Mom who has dementia. Dad may not need memory unit so you may need to consider a nursing home that has both AL and memory unit.

Take care,
Nina

Gabriel 06-27-2012 08:38 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Maria, your story is typical.... sorry to day. That doesn't make it any easier but at least you know you are not the only one going through this. It is obvious that Dad can not take care of Mom. He can't take care of himself. So who is taking care of Mom? Who is she with when Dad is in the hospital? Who takes care of Dad when he is home? You say Dad is still calling the shots in Mom's care so what does he say about Mom care? What does sister expect to happen?

Nobody want to spend the money necessary for long term care. But that should not be the determining factor in the care they receive. The health and well being of a loved one does trump saving money.

As Health Care Power of Attorney, when you Mom is unable to make her own health care decisions, you are the responsible party.... not your Dad. The ultimate decision on what to do with her is legally yours to make. I can only imagine the kind of disruption in family relations this could cause.... but if necessary you can make the decision on Mom by yourself. That is what the lawyer is going to tell you. That is pulling the trump card on your sister... because you do have control. That still doesn't answer "what to do with Dad". That is up to your sister to decide because she is his Medical Power of Attorney.

What probably needs to happen is for everybody to get a good night's sleep. I would tell sister that this is not the time for name calling. You are both care about both of your parents and want to do what is best for them. To do that you need to talk over the options rationally and come to a decision based on their health and well being... not money. I would tell her that it will be easier on Mom to go to a care facility with Dad for the time he has left. That way she can adjust with him there as a familiar face. It will make the transition easier for her. Then when he is no longer there she will be where she needs to be. I would tell her that as stressful as this situation is to both of you, it is even more stressful on your Dad because he has the title of main care giver for you Mom. That kind of stress is not good for his medical conditions. It would be beneficial to him to not have that responsibility. I would tell her that Mom can't be home alone for her own well being and safety. I would tell her that instead of a care facility you can bring outside care givers into the house but that would be more expensive than a facility. I would ask her for her thoughts and listen to what she has to say. If she didn't have a legitimate alternative to taking care of Mom and Dad adequately I would tell her as Mom's health care power of attorney you are going to start investigating placement for Mom. I do think you need to give honest conversation, face to face, a chance. When she deteriorates into a shouting match just remind her that you understand how difficult this is but hostility is not going to solve the problem. Somebody has to keep a cool head.

Alzheimer's has an incredible way of tearing a family apart. I am not sure why but in cancer or other diseases families tend to drift together. With dementia there is so much unknown that it sends people in many different directions. Just the fact that it is an untreatable, incurable disease that takes a decade to end is enough to scare anybody. But that fear can not dictate the actions you take or how you respond. So first try to have conversation with your sister. If possible try having conversation with your Dad to get his input. Then do what you have to do because you do have the authority.

Love, deb

Maria215 06-27-2012 09:44 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Thanks to both for your replies. There is a caregiver coming in six days a week right now. I have looked into a memory care unit for my mom and am ready to place her there (I already put my own money down) should something happen to my dad. The wrench in this whole situation is that my dad is functioning enough to get by and call the shots when he is home but his visits to the hospital are more frequent and then everyone is left scrambling to pick up the mess he leaves behind. I just spoke to his nurse and told her that he is in no shape when they release him to take care of my mom, let alone himself. She said she will be getting a social worker involved before he would be released. I'm hoping we can make some progress this way.

Gabriel 06-27-2012 01:51 PM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Notifying his nurse and getting a social worker involved is a good move Maria. They can follow up on your concerns and give recommendations to the family. That way it comes from a "professional" and not from you :) Many elderly want to do it all themselves and do it at home. They have memories of horrible nursing home of the past... not the new bright memory units of today. Dad only sees what is there when he is at home. He doesn't have a clue what chaos ensues when he is not there. On top of that he doesn't have a clue how much better he will be if he doesn't have to take care of Mom along with himself. Mom will be better taken care of in a memory care unit with a regular routine than with her life being in turmoil with people coming and going. Talk to the social worker and ask her to sell the benefits to both Mom and Dad of doing this. If you need to do it "temporarily" to convince your parents this is the right thing.... then do so. Nothing is irreversible and if you give them a temporary option until they both improve health wise (and you know that is probably not going to happen) it is easier for them to accept than a permanent placement. Dad, let's just try this until you and Mom get better :)

Good luck and keep us updated on how it goes.... Hang in there because you are doing good things!!!

Love, deb

Maria215 06-27-2012 03:02 PM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Thanks! I will keep you posted....

jagsmu 06-28-2012 08:54 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
I have just gone though what you are about to start, mom with dementia and dad with his own medical problems but still calling the shots. This is a hard one for sure. You have poa over mom and you can make those hard choices but it would be great to get dad to let go of the reins. Astart with telling dad how he needs a little bet of rest from the great job he is doing with mom to look after himself, tell it would only be temporary until he is fit enough to once again have mom at home. Tell him mom needs some time to get herselve organized and some things taken care off at the same time, make it look like it is his idea to have a little bit of respite to recuperate. Do not tell him that he can no longer look after mom as this will really start a war, this is about your parents and what they need, please talk to your sister and tell her that you are just so worried and it just came to a boil and if you need to be the one to say you are sorry do it, it will be important to have each other in the future to support each other. I am sorry to say but it will only get tougher. Oh welcome to our little place on the Internet where we can scream, yell, complain, and get that much needed support from others who are living and dealing with situations just like you. You are not alone.

Hugs judy

jagsmu 06-28-2012 08:55 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
I have just gone though what you are about to start, mom with dementia and dad with his own medical problems but still calling the shots. This is a hard one for sure. You have poa over mom and you can make those hard choices but it would be great to get dad to let go of the reins. Astart with telling dad how he needs a little bet of rest from the great job he is doing with mom to look after himself, tell it would only be temporary until he is fit enough to once again have mom at home. Tell him mom needs some time to get herselve organized and some things taken care off at the same time, make it look like it is his idea to have a little bit of respite to recuperate. Do not tell him that he can no longer look after mom as this will really start a war, this is about your parents and what they need, please talk to your sister and tell her that you are just so worried and it just came to a boil and if you need to be the one to say you are sorry do it, it will be important to have each other in the future to support each other. I am sorry to say but it will only get tougher. Oh welcome to our little place on the Internet where we can scream, yell, complain, and get that much needed support from others who are living and dealing with situations just like you. You are not alone.

Hugs judy

Maria215 06-28-2012 11:31 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Thanks for your advise. I do wonder why God puts us through this stuff sometimes.

Maria215 06-28-2012 07:02 PM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
The latest...

My dad is heading to the nursing home for "rehab". I tried to get 2 extra hours care for my mom in the afternoon while my dad is gone (I'm not sure he will ever come home). My sister said "we will have to check and see if it's in their budget". So - there my mom sits at home with me checking in on her and bringing her dinner and no answer from anybody concerning my mom. In the meantime, my dad is calling me up telling me that he thinks they are messing with head at the hospital and that the phones are bugged, etc. I'm supposed to have a rational discussion with this man? Also, I was the one who tried to get a social worker from the hospital involved because I told them my dad is supposed to be taking care of my mom but I haven't heard anything. I was told by my sister that because she is my dad's POA, they won't call me. Do I need to get my own social worker for my mom? This is completely ridiculous.

Gabriel 06-28-2012 11:01 PM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
I necessary yes! Dad is where he needs to be and obviously confused. Mom is home with part time care and a few check ins. It is amazing how much mischief they can get into on their own for a few hours. Perhaps remind sister that you are Mom's POA, and she needs full time care as well. I wonder how your sister would feel if something bad happened to Mom?

A good test of "can Mom be there alone" is to set off the smoke detector. See if she knows what to do. Will she get out and call 911? If she wanders around the house trying to figure out what is going on or doesn't attempt to call 911 (you can stop her before she does)... then she is not capable of being by herself. Twice this actually happened to Mom and Dad. Both times is was something they had done incorrectly that caused the problem in the first place. Then instead of leaving the house they wandered around trying to find the source of the fire while a neighbor called 911 because of the smoke. Both situations turned out to be minor but it sure did wake me up!

Good luck... stand up for Mom and keep working on getting her where she needs to be.

Love, deb

Suzy0513 06-29-2012 06:41 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
NO.

I have read the thread but too busy with a fire in my own situation to be posting regulary.

Your feeling that this is ridiculous is correct.

There is a good chance your Dad may stay in a facility setting and even if not he will not be fit to care for your Mom.

It is time for you now to assume your Power of Attorney and act on your Mom's behalf.

If that means getting her to respite care or a full time aide as an intermediate measure, whatever you think is best, now is the time you have to take action.

Call the lawyer, call the accountant, go to the banks and start with the social worker.

Your sister cannot really fight you that much because you have the POA for your Mom.

So often it take a crisis or emergency to give us the "window of opportunity" we need to step in and do what we know needs to be done.

I feel your stress and good luck.


[QUOTE=Maria215;5008904]The latest...

My dad is heading to the nursing home for "rehab". I tried to get 2 extra hours care for my mom in the afternoon while my dad is gone (I'm not sure he will ever come home). My sister said "we will have to check and see if it's in their budget". So - there my mom sits at home with me checking in on her and bringing her dinner and no answer from anybody concerning my mom. In the meantime, my dad is calling me up telling me that he thinks they are messing with head at the hospital and that the phones are bugged, etc. I'm supposed to have a rational discussion with this man? Also, I was the one who tried to get a social worker from the hospital involved because I told them my dad is supposed to be taking care of my mom but I haven't heard anything. I was told by my sister that because she is my dad's POA, they won't call me. Do I need to get my own social worker for my mom? This is completely ridiculous.[/QUOTE]

ninamarc 06-29-2012 09:19 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
You need to get on to work on your Mom's welfare - to get her a NH and etc. A social worker for her is fine too. Anything for her. Don't wait for the sister. Well if you worry about the money/budget, you need to ask her how much. She is trying to delay it. Be specific and direct with her.
Well, guess dad has dementia too. That kind of confusion and suspicion is really typical of dementia. My FIL does that a lot in the hospital - he said the nurses are crazy! They are trying to kill him! Liars Liars!! Have to escape at night but no food! On and on and it is traumatic for my FIL.

Time for your sister to face it. Both your parents do have dementia. I think it would be a good idea if they can be in the same NH in the same unit.

Hugs,
Nina

Maria215 10-01-2012 10:25 PM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
Well - much has changed since my posts earlier this summer and I need to talk. My dad passed away on 9/2/12. He did not want to die. The last two years just got worse and worse with his condition and the ugly condition of the house. He was totally out of it at the end but was still primary caregiver for my mom who has frontal lobe dementia. Long story short - my dad couldn't care for her. I have one sister looking out for herself and her two boys now. We moved my mom to assisted living today. I am her healthcare POA (not activated). Mom had no control over finances for the 54 years she was married to my dad and now my sister is setting up use of the cottage for her two boys and giving me grief on essentials I'm spending on my mom such as a shower chair, towels, etc. She has questioned purchasing new towels for mom when mom hasn't had new ones forever. The ones mom had were from me because hers were so bad and my dad never covered that stuff or gave her money for it even though my mom worked for years.

My sister wants my mom's bank account to change from mom and dad's name for writing checks to my mom's, mine, and hers. I don't trust her. Mom doesn't want her on the account. I don't know what to do. We just moved mom in today and my sister went through her purse and admitted that to me (red flag!). She said because there is money in it, we better hide her purse in the apartment so nobody gets at it. Sorry but the only one looking for money is her.

Any suggestions? I know you have all been through it too.

Titchou 10-16-2012 03:56 AM

Re: Family is falling apart
 
What your sister wants at this point is irrelevant. You have your mother's POA. Your mother doesn't want to give it to her as well. And she's probably not legally competent to give it to your sister anyway. What to tell your sister? No. And smile sweetly when you say it. Seriously. Just tell her it's too complicated to have extra people on the account since you are responsible for the money and balancing the account. If she complains about the towels, etc - just say thanks for your input - and smile sweeetly. And just keep reinforcing that....thanks, dear. and go on about your business.


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