Taking care of a younger sister-in-law with alzheimers.

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My husband and I are court appointed custodians and conservators of his 61 year old sister who has alzheimers. We are both 64. Her son filed the court papers to become custodian, but we counter filed because he was misappropiating her fund. He had his name put on her checking account then proceded to cash in her life insurance policy, IRA, and part of her 504. He then bought a car, wrote a huge check to his wife, used his mother's debit card daily, for his own personal use all to the amount of $60,000. He said he had an agreement with her to borrow $20,000 and the rest was none of our business because she said he could. Her daughter had also used her mother's debit card to the tune of 5,000 dollars. The son dropped his petition as soon as we counter filed. He has not talked to us or seen his mother since the court procedures 7 months ago. The daughter is in denial and to rarely contacts her mother. The son is spreading rumors about us to everyone. The daughter, when confronted, says I know I will see her more but never does. Our sister still is capable of living by herself, 15 minutes from us. She doesn't drive because she totaled her car, so we are her only means of transportation. My husband is legally blind so that means I have to drive everyone (including his 84 year old mother who no longer drives). It was his sister's choice to live by herself, and we honored that as the least restrictive. We call morning and night to have her take her medicine. I take her once a week for shopping and lunch. We also take her to dinner once a week. She is constantly complaining of being lonely and that she never goes anywhere. I substitute and have 2 children and 5 grandchildren that I want to spend time with. She resents us reminding her of anything even when if we don't she forgets. She gets nasty with my husband. It's been only 7 months but I don't think I can take her in to live with us and she is adamant about never going to a nursing home. Please advise. Thanks


It doesn't really matter what she is adamant about -- when the time comes when she can't live alone, and it will, you will need to invoke the best option available for her care, which may be a dementia care facility or memory care unit of a nursing home.

After all of the looting of her assets by her children, will she have enough to be self-pay in a facility? She is relatively young and may need to pay for 30 or more years. Even without the looting of the funds, few people can do that! So start looking into Medicaid. Is Sister getting disability payments? It may take a lawyer specializing in Elder Law to sort out the mess created by her children.

Perhaps you can delay the time when placement is necessary by hiring some in-home help now. Perhaps someone to come in for a few hours a day, make sure she takes pills, do a load of laundry, get a meal ready, and just keep her from being lonely. Or, better still, maybe it would be good for Sis to go to an Adult Day Health Program. Usually a bus or van picks them up and returns them home, and they get a hot lunch and often breakfast is available too. She wouldn't be lonely. There are activities to participate in or to sit out.

Does she do her own housekeeping? It might not be a bad idea to have a housecleaner come in a couple of times each month if Sis is not able to be very thorough.

Being custodians and conservators means you have to see that her needs are met. It doesn't mean you have to personally meet all of them yourself. If/when the time comes that she can't reliably do it herself, you don't personally have to scrub her toilets -- you just have to see that they are cleaned regularly. For now that somebody could be a cleaner hired to come into her home. In the long run it will probably be a service provided by a care center.

Sis is lucky to have a brother who cares and a sister-in-law who is compassionate and willing.
My sister is in a assisted living community and they have a floor for Alzheimers patients who are well taken care of they have entertainment, music they are evaluated for there ability and my even go on a ride around the area jeannegibbs has wonderful advise free your time and be firm with your sister- in- law as you are in charge and Lawyer in Elder Care would be a positive support for any action to be taken.

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