Caring for a parent in a facility with sibling conflict issues.


Before I address the painful task of emailing my sister ( with a cc to the social worker ), I thought it might help me to breathe deep and lower my anxiety level by sharing in our forum. Plus, this post is my effort to initiate discusion about the difficulties of caregiving with family who seem to make it more so. Although venting helps, I would like to hear how others deal with riled up emotions and what positive actions are taken in hopes of resolution or at least smoother sailing.

Background Info: Originally I was providing care for my parents who lived at home with the help of private caregivers. I moved back to my hometown in 2008, however, I had not called or visited my folks on a regular basis over the years. On the other hand, my youngest sister (who lives out of town and far away ) has kept up communication and visited every other month for a couple of days each time. My sister had been acting as POA a couple of years before I entered the picture. However, once I began caring for my folks on a daily basis --- taking them to the Dr, making deposits at the bank, handling contacts with various businesses --- it was agreed that I would be added as a POA with equal standing.

Shared POA responsibilites turned into a nightmare because, in hindsight, we should have set out in writing the logistics of carrying out our duties. Since she lived out of town, my sister couldn't do much of the hands on stuff so she primarily handled the finances. I was with my folks on a daily basis and primarily handled setting up appts, overseeing private caregivers, monitoring their medication, etc.

My sister always wanted my folks in a facility and I always wanted my folks to be able to live at home for as long as possible. It was my understanding that their preference was to live at home. Of course, we both wanted them to be happy and safe. However, the POA set-up, our take on living arrangements and ( yes I'll say it ) our stubborn attitudes was the recipe for the "perfect storm". It goes without saying that our dealings with each other became increasingly rocky and finally it came to the point that we stopped speaking with one another.

Fast Forward: It is now the Summer of 2013 --- my Dad is now living in a skilled nursing facility and my mother passed away at home on October 31st. Earlier this year, my sisted visited with Dad and somehow got him to agree and sign papers designating her as the sole POA ( he'd been in care for about a month at the time ).

I visit with my Dad every other day and he tells me everything --- continues to ask me to do things for him as POA --- I have asked repeatedly that he bring up his wants and needs to my sister when they talk on the phone. He freely admits he doesn't tell her anything. In fact, at a recent care plan meeting, my sister said (via speaker phone) that when she asks him about a request, he denies ever mentioning it. The care plan meeting was attended by the social worker, a nurse, my sister and myself. The social worker suggested that if Dad needed something, he could tell her and that pride must be getting in his way.

The meeting was held last week and I passed on the information to my Dad. It looks like he's not going to change his behavior because he continues to bring up his issues with me ---- the latest being that he wants me to make an appt with his attorney and have her come visit him at the facility.

The only thing I know to do is email my sister every time Dad asks for something with a cc to the social worker. In the past, I've been reluctant to make direct contact with her because she believes for some reason that I'm a pathological liar. I figured she'd just dismiss whatever I told her as more lies.

Ok * sigh * so that's where I'm at ... does anyone have any suggestions on how to best care for my Dad considering the POA and I are on the outs? Has anyone experienced anything like this and if so, how did you handle it? So many feelings ( hurt and anger mainly ) ... not sure there are any other options and not much faith it's going to work ... will I have to deal with a bur in my side the rest of Dad's life?

If you've read this far, thank you for your time and hoping to get your feedback :)

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Carol~My older sis is the primary on our mom's DPOA...I am secondary if she can' t do her duties. She lives out of town, works full time. I live locally in the same city as mom, I also work, am married and have our own separate home from mom. While mom is now in a memory care until, we continue to share responsibilities. Sis has all the financial responsibilities and I take care of the medical since I am closer. We have had our difficulties because sis is not married so she takes an attitude that my job is not as important as her's. We manage to work it out because we both realize we have to continue to work as well as see to mom' needs. We work hard to understand this is not a competition between siblings, we are working together for mom's benefit. Some times we have to put an issue on the back burner and revisit it later. We both have different realities, different expectations and respecting that between us helps to realize we need to work together because what I don't think of sis will and visa versa. I don't know if this helps you or not. Hugs to you!!

I believe POA and health care proxy are two different things. Is it possible for you to be the health care proxy for your father and your sister remains the POA. I understand the hurt and anger. I like Cheryl35's suggestion that you have a 3rd party available for your father to confide in; it seems a little unreasonable for your father to designate a POA that is geographically unavailable to him. You are in a tough situation.
I also highly recommend you go to a healing touch certified practitioner. Or, something similar. I went to one and it truly helped me to release all of the pent up, painful emotions I've been holding inside as a "mistreated caregiver".

Oh my, this sound so similar to my family's issue. My mom and Aunt have
CO-POA for my grandmother and all my aunt wants is to be solely in control of everything. I also have 3 other aunts and 1 uncle that are involved in the decisions, so many attitudes storming around here also. I have worked with dementia patients my entire career in a skilled facility as a physical therapist and trying to help remedy the problem with a family meeting soon (hopefully) with my training. . I have very loud , eccentric family members so this may be interesting , so I am going to try and have my grandmothers clergyman to help assist me in resolution as a neutral party. It seems you may need to do the same. Have a neutral party that knows your father to get him to confide his wants into so that you are not the "liar" she may think you are. I find 3rd parties a lot times can diffuse these situations faster and help both you come together. Try to get her divide duties with you as a Assistant to her so she can continue to feel in control. Some family members need to feel in control due to their lack of involvement the years before. hope this helps. Good luck.

Oh I feel so sorry for you..My siblings don't help at all but at least I have POA..I wish I could say I've been thru this but I haven't...

I'm sure you'll get a reply shortly.

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