Unrealistic expectations from family.

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I am the oldest of 4 sisters and I have taken care of our mother in her home for 10 years. She has multiple health issues, including dementia, diabetes, incontinence, seizure disorder, heart valve replacement, and strokes. Her safety awareness is absolutely zero and since she is stubborn, she goes ahead and gets up from her wheelchair to walk around without letting me know. Sometimes she falls and 3 years ago broke her hip. I have rails up all around the house for her to grab onto just in case. Recently mom went into the hospital due to stroke-like symptoms and now is in a rehab facility. My youngest sister called two mornings ago and said "there is absolutely no reason why mom should EVER fall", and she said that I should be sitting next to mom every minute of the day that she is awake, and use a baby monitor at night in case mom should get up to use her commode (I have it next to her bed). I am blown away by that phone call. I am stunned. She sees mom about 2x a year and has flatly refused to take care of her for even an afternoon or overnight, so that I may get some time off, because "she has to work". I could go on and on, but I really need some ideas as to how to respond to her idea of perfect caregiving.

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Roberta ur doing a great job taking care of ur mom. We are the caretakers chosen by who ever or what ever you believe in. For some reason as soon as we do the caretaking for our mother or father siblings just want to go after us as much as they can. I have been taking care of my 93 year old mother full time 24/7 for the past year now. She suffered from a stroke. I have begged, pleaded and also offered money to siblings just to help out and I get nothing but the name calling. I have been called every name in the book and the only thing I see is no help from them and never will. There are 2 sisters and 2 brothers that could help but won't.
I haven't had one day off for a year now so I decided to hire a live in that will care for my mom while I can catch up on 1 years worth of things that have been ignored. They said they would watch my mom at my moms house but not mine which they change their mind hourly. That won't happen. I stopped believing in my family that we are family cause I soon found out were not. Family does not do this to each other. Make one person the sacrificial lamb. I would not do that to anyone else because that's not who I am. So I woke up and seen the real picture and that was step out of my families box and hire help and stop wasting my precious time on them. Your a great person doing what u r doing and don't waste any more time focusing on what they r telling u what ur not doing.
God bless you
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Wow truly feel your pain when siblings chose not to bother themselves with helping. Leaving the complete burden on my husband's and my shoulders. My MIL is prone to falling and before we explained to my FIL that each time he contacts 911 they must log it and after so many times by law they must report it to APS (Adult Protect Services). He was trying to call us each time she fell but we aren't right next door and couldn't always be there immediately. So that's when he's get exasperated and tell us that if we can't be there then he'd call 911. Well APS has been contacted by the EMS and hospitals because they are doing their job. Not because we want to lose control over helping them. Because she is diabetic, has renal failure, neuropathy in her legs and can barely do much of anything we have gotten a caretaker in their home to assist with most everything. But no there still is no way that anybody can sit all day near their mother to make sure that they do not fall. Do you have bed rails on her bed to help? Yes it's sad with what happens to the majority of us as we reach our twilight years but nobody can handle everything ALL of the time. We all need a break! I wish you luck with resolving things and making your sister understand better. My prayers are with you.
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I feel your pain....I also suffer from sibling stupidity....my siblings expect me to drive Mom 7 1/2 hours to where they are. Do you realize what it takes to get Mom ready for a trip, pack, pack the car and then drive 7 1/2 hours and reverse what I did to get ready..THEN I have to grocery shop and cook for the "guests". It is truly amazing BUT I do it out of love and honor. What keeps me grounded is my faith in God. We can do all things through Christ....pray for strength, wisdom and revelation knowledge and know that you will be blessed!!
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I am filled with gratitude to you all, for taking the time and reaching out to me and our friends here on AgingCare. You make me smile and even cry with hope and relief and joy. Wish we could all get together for a week on a tropical island and just enjoy each other's company in person. What FUN that would be!
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Send these responses to your "oh so wise" younger sister tell her to walk in your shoes for a week. And then tell her to write to me. I will be happy to reply to her.
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RobertaCapeCod ~ I am truly sorry to hear that. I have heard sooooo many stories of elderly falling in nursing homes as of late, it's heartbreaking. A person can't and shouldn't simply take the stance of, "Well, old people fall..." I think the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction in terms of Nursing Homes / Rehab Centers not being able to use short-term, comfortable, padded restraints (unlike the more unsuitable products from the dark ages). As far as bed alarms, I have seen first-hand how many a time one will ring and ring and ring before a nurse appears in the room. Here is a quote from Wikipedia: "Although medical restraints, used properly, can help prevent injury, they can also be dangerous. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimated in 1992 that at least 100 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from their improper use in nursing homes, hospitals and private homes." ... While that may sound a bit scary, let's put that into perspective... 100 deaths a year divided by 50 states = 2 per state, per year. That isn't much, when you consider just how many nursing homes, hospitals and private homes that are in each state!! How many FALLS in EVERY NURSING HOME have there been because of the nursing home ban on restraints, and how many have DIED as a result of those falls? I am willing to bet you that there have been many, many, MANY, and I will bet you that that number FAR exceeds the number that have died from being restrained improperly. There is more than meets the eye to this story, folks!
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Honey, I feel for you! My brother lives out of town and has only recently realized that I'm not makin' this stuff up! Bless your heart! You are doing a good job. And if sis is not happy with the care you are giving to mom, then you could offer to drive mom to her house and let her do it. I had to offer this to my brother a few months back. I didn't say it in a mean voice. I just politely asked if he wanted to find all new Doctor's and a place for mom to stay, etc, etc, etc. he quickly said he didn't think about it from that point of view. I will keep your family in my prayers. And keep up the good work! God's blessings.
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UPDATE: well Mom fell at the rehab center last evening and got herself a really big bump and bruise on her forehead but she is ok. They had 2 alarms on her and still they were not able to prevent her fall, which goes to prove our point, doesn't it? The facility is discharging her this coming Saturday. Thanks to everyone here I feel 100% better about the job I'm doing and now I am not afraid of backlash from my sister. Still need to work out some respite but one step at a time. Thank you all and sending lots of love and positive energy out to ech and every one of you in your own situations.
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happyjack ~ Best thing to do would be to consult your doctor. Laws may vary by state. There are also quite a few different types of belts / restraints. You want to make sure that you're getting the right one for the job which will be the least dangerous. ...Again, discuss w/doctor.
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Roberta:

Look you are doing the best you can taking care of your mother for a decade. If your sister has not stepped up finanically or physically to care for your mother in 10 yrs it isn't likely it will happen soon. I would tell her you don't need her critical opinions or comments and if she wants someone by your mother's side all night, she can feel free to hire and pay for a home health aide for 7 nights a week. That would be several thousand dollars a month. I doubt if she will go there but if she would, welcome the help. :)

Elizabeth
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