How do my sisters and I deal with a sister who wants mom to live with her instead of putting her in a senior living facility?


Three of us want Mom to visit assisted and/or skilled nursing facilities to choose one for the future. One sister wants us to sit mom down in front of us and ask her "what do you prefer, a nursing home or living with your daughter?" Mom is declining in mental awareness and has memory issues. The sister in question has exhibited very poor judgement with terrible money management. We think she is just wanting to cash in on mom. She now wants to hire an attorney to represent her. What is the best way to resolve this?

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The fact that her response to having her opinion outnumbered is run to the lawyers and the courts, makes me think your assumption of her motives are correct. We went through a similar scenario with one of my husband's sisters. My mother in law was receiving in home therapy services. Their therapist notified their social worker of some some of sister's activities as POA they felt were wrong and notified my husband and I. We confronted sister and her reaction was the same, immediately pulled the "I guess I have to get a lawyer" card. I mean, first thing out of her mouth. My husband and I had this sister's POA revoked which allowed me to go digging... sister was robbing mom blind. Cash withdrawls out her checking account, had mom co sign on her car, "loaning" her kids money from mom's account, which never got paid back. I can only imagine what type of life insurance policies she had taken out on the side without anyone's knowledge. After everything I've seen, I wouldn't put it past her although I have no proof, just a hunch.

But I guess your first line of defense is to make sure you or one of your other well intended sisters has POA over mom if you do not already. You may have to go as far as to have your mom declared legally incompetent if this sister does go the lawyer route, so that way any scheme this other sister may try to involve your mom in isn't worth the paper it's written on. But be prepared to spend a lot of money to do that if it gets to that point.
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I guess my question was asked earlier. Is mom still taking care of her own bills and handling her own checking account? Does she already have a will and what does it say? Who is the beneficiary etc?
Does mom WANT to live in assisted living or does she prefer living with the daughter? Do any of you know the cost of assisted living? Does the sister think that if she takes mom she gets paid the same fee as assisted living?
Get these questions answered and then break it all down for mom. If mom still picks living with the sister.....which may or may not be the best thing, I would try to get mom to let someone else hold the main purse strings.
From what I can tell if she lived with your sister and your sister spent her money in a way that obviously wasn't on mom and then she needs medicaid as she gets worse, then your sister would have to worry about the five year look back from medicaid.
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IMO, a lot depends on your mom's status. If your mom is capable of evaluating options then I think she has the right to hear all the options and all your concerns as well. If her mental state is truly impaired, then I think you need a mediator or attorney. You have said that she is declining in mental awareness but is she to the point where you feel she is truly incapable of making her own decisions or are you simply trying to influence your mom to make the decision that you feel is the best by presenting a united front? Just yesterday, I gave up on presenting a united front with my siblings. My mother is still capable of making decisions. I think she is a somewhat impaired by old age and denial but not enough that I would ever think an action to appoint an executor would be successful. It really is not her mental state that is my primary concern in trying to steer her to senior living options; it is that I think she is a whole lot impaired physically and she is living on the edge, a train wreck waiting to happen. I thought my siblings and I has agreed on a united front based on the fact that they live on the other side of the country and don't even see mom but since one sibling was only faking the "united front", everything blew up yesterday so I'm not a big believer in the "united front" stuff anymore. So I think you have two courses. One, if your mom is mentally capable of it, give her the options along with all your concerns. Put it on paper. For example, if money management is your concern, I would straight up tell her that you are concerned with money management and that there would have to be a system of accountability in place to make the rest of the family comfortable with this option. Maybe a family agreed upon budget with a regular budget review. If your sister's poor judgement extends past money management, then explain your concerns with respect to those areas. Also, consider future needs and discuss these openly. If your sister is looking for a way to help her own finances by taking in your mom but this is really only a short term arrangement that delays getting your mom where she needs to be, it may end up costing more to get your mom in an appropriate care setting after she deteriorates more and actually land her in a less desirable living arrangement than what you and the agreeing siblings are recommending now. Plus, living with someone else does take part of your mom's independence away and is very likely much more trying than your sister knows so it could result in 2 very difficult moves instead of one. In other words, give your mom "outs" other than saying "I don't want to live with you" to your sister - future needs, loss of independence, 2 moves instead of 1 move. The good thing is you can all say that you agree she shouldn't be in her current living situation on her own - that can be your "united front" opener. On the other hand if your mom is truly past the point where she can make decisions, realize that some times you can't get everyone to agree and get a mediator or attorney yourself to get the right thing done. Once my mom slips past the point and becomes mentally incapacitated, I intend to do just that. I will never again think it is possible to achieve a "united front" and I'm just going to follow my own heart.
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Whatever you do, leave the attorneys out of it. You can always find one to do your bidding, NOT what is in the best interests of your Mom....their only concern is their pocketbook. If your sister is insisting on an attorney, she already has a game plan in mind. Those who only think of the $$$ never look at the future and think about what is important for the parent. Soooo sick of this self-centered behavior.
If you want to go this route, choose an independent mediator that everyone is happy with. You can all present your opinions, then, hopefully, the mediator can come up with a good solution.
Just from what you have written, your Mom is going to need more skilled help soon, and the most experienced caregiver in our forum will tell you that you cannot do it alone at home.
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I am the caregiver for "G-Pa" and within the last 6 months he turned over a lot of his assets and named my husband and myself as his beneficiaries for his monetary funds etc. Now he is saying, "I guess I can die now, you know I'm living on borrowed time" and things like that. Also, he is starting to decline mentally even more. Is that because he feels his Will and other accounts are settled and he can more or less let go now? He is 87, uses a walker, he has diabetes, and also has two stents in the blood vessels to his heart because of A-Fib and heart failure.
If he talks about his past job (he was a auto mechanic) he seems ok and can function pretty well. But he's starting to ask me the same thing over and over. And, he thinks it's ok to use a rag to clean himself because he can't reach back well enough to use toilet paper. He washes out the rag, and hangs it on the towel rack to dry. (and it still smells of poo of course) The towel rack is right on the side of the vanity sink. And, of course we breathe the air in there when we use the bathroom after him. There is only one bathroom, it's a very old house ugh.
Is this mental decline? He did this before we moved in with him 18 months ago. But he doesn't understand it's not good to do when other people live in the same house and use the same bathroom. I never see him wash his hands, he knows nothing about germs and when I try to explain, it's "thats how I always done it and I'm still here" ahhhhhhh!!
Just thought I'd ask other people's opinions. Also, can he be tested by his family doctor for Alzheimer's without his knowledge, we don't want him to think we are trying to put him in a NH which is what he would think.


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Don't be afraid to confront her about her underlying motives(s). In our litigious American society, however, what comes out of your mouth isn't as important as what you can prove. Can you prove her poor judgement in money matters?

Mom's mental health might be declining, but decisions that'll fundamentally impact her life shouldn't be made without her.

If your sister is greedy enough to sue and the court decides Mom is better off with her, ask her what she plans to do when all the money is gone. Try to dump Mom by flipping the script and sending you two on a one-way guilt trip?

Take the $ out of the equation, and I'll bet you'll come up with a Sister Act that actually benefits your Mom. Good luck.

-- Ed
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1) Does anyone of the other sisters have her Power of Attornery (both medical and financial)? That would help in making the final decision.
2) Also, if we believe at all in democracy, she is outvoted.
3) Your mother is not in a position to make this important decision and it is cruel to make her choose on the spot. (your sister may be coaching her)

During this time in life, we need to make the BEST choices for our parent's care and safety. I do not think your sister's home is the best solution.

I think your other sisters and you just need to charge ahead and make arrangements for her care. Tell the other sis that it would be wonderful if she would visit her Mom at the ALF as often as possible (doubt you will see her - but at least your assumptions are corrct).

Do not get bullied by this person. Worse yet, do not let her get her sticky fingers on your Mom's assets...she will need them in the future.

I don't think your sister has a legal leg to stand on. I hope it does not come to this. It is expensive and exhaustive...and all the money goes to the attorneys. You could file for legal guardianship, but that also takes a lot of time and money.

Call a meeting of the other sisters. Create a united front. And tell your sister how it's going to be. Don't let her be the squeaky wheel.

good luck...these events in life are never easy.
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