Arianna Asked July 2012

What to do with this?

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As of late, my elder has made it abundantly clear that she is quite angry with me b/c I refuse to bring her her check book (on which acct we are joint) I refuse to bring her the check book b/c A) it bares MY name and I am not interested in having to clean up a financial mess that the rest of the family will undoubtly create when they haul her down to the bank and get her to fork over her cash.
& B) the rest of the family is hounding her about her bank books. To me, this is a red flag.
I have DPOA. I don't understand how I have become this awful heathen b/c I want to try to protect her (Altho, I understand it's probably her gripping to the little bit of control she has left)
She has been just awful to me in the past month. Name calling, belittling, saying some of the cruelest things one could imagine and now she basically wants to sever ties with me!
I have up until recently really enjoyed our lunch together, and chats on the phone and I certainly do not want to lose our relationship. Secoundly, I call her daily to ensure she is OK (she lives at home, alone and refuses all medical care, has not been to doc in 5 years, refuses a housekeeper...amny help at all)
Up until about 2 mos ago I was doing a lot of grocery shopping and spending time with her. But lately that has been relegated to another family member solely, who was sharing the responsibility with me.
Do I do as she asks and stop calling? How can I? I feel responsibile for checking on her and letting her know I am here to help.
I am so hurt, not only by the nasty untrue things she calls me, or how she tries to make me feel poorly of myself. I try to understand she's old, in pain, has some sort of dementia...but I don't want to cut ties with her.
I could stand before a judge tomorrow and account for every check I have written to care for her...and not ever touched a single dime for myself. I could have my phone records/texts suponeaed and they will show how I have worked with my other family to be a team.
They are all just concerned about the money.
I feel astho I may be repeating myself here, but I needed to vent, even if it is redundant.
My husband is fed up with me being verbally assaulted by her. I am sure he is tired of me crying. I do not feel very emotonally supported going thru this difficulty and I don't know what to do.
I simply feel like it is my responsibility to check in on her and be there for her. She has conjured up reasons to essentially hate me, with the seeds planted by other family members (who I have helped as well...and it's a one way street there)
I KNOW I have done all I can to help her, be there for her and have done the right thing. I keep reminding myself I answer to God, not her, and her money (which is not by anymeans something to scoff at, but it's not a million bucks) is not worth MY seat in Heaven. No amount of money is worth that. I'm not loaded, but I am certainly comfortable and I am VERY rich in love with my own little family. This is emotionally draining me, and inturn them and that is not fair.
I feel as tho if I were to stop calling it would be neglectful. I would really like to talk with one other family member who I *think* is my ally, but I'm not sure if that person is really in support of me, or if that person is just feding me what I want to hear & partaking in the back stabbing with the rest of them.
This distress is becoming unbareable. No good deed goes unpunished as they say, and it rings so true to me. HOW do people sleep at night knowing they are confusing an old lady, feeding her lies and knowing I must be suffering emotionally and knowing a woman I love is ready to rid herself of me? Heartbreaking and discusting, all at the same time.
Thans for any advice/support!!

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Arianna Jul 2012
Thank you Jeanne & Emjo. Thank you all, truly.
It is not so much that my husband is unsupportive, it's that he's not doing the research, he's not understanding as you have all said and I am coming to realize...IT'S THE DISEASE. He just sees me crying and hears me relay the awful things she's spewing out at me and gets defensive of me. That & he's dealing with his own serious medical issues as well. When it rains; it pours, right?
I think I will def. look into a support group or a therapist.
It is a thankless job, Jeanne. But in my heart, I know perserverence is the right answer and I am not usually one to just give up. We have all, I am sure seen our own way through tumultuous times and climbed seemingly insurmountable mountains...who's to say any one of us can't do this? No one.
In anycase, as for me and my little family, we ate our way through the County Fair tonight and won a couple stuffed animals...and that is stuff that good times are made of. I will revel in this feeling and will conjure it up at will during the unplesantries. It may not be easy but Dememtia is certainly not going to kick my butt until it plagues me. Told ya we could be stubborn in my family ; )
Night all. Thanks again!
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golden23 Jul 2012
Well said, jeanne.

The only reconciliation I have with regard to my mother's behaviours comes from recognizing that she is mentally ill, and that is what drives her. It still isn't easy, but it helps.

A lonely task, indeed.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2012
Arianna, sometimes doing the Right Thing is a thankless task, or even worse, a criticized task, and it can be lonely. I am so glad you are not givng up on this tough old biddy, regardless of how painful it is for you.

Your lawyer can give you the options, advice, and support on the legal aspects of what can/should/needs to be done.

As to the pain it causes you that Auntie makes it clear she is very mad at you, my heart goes out to you. This is surely one of the most painful aspects of being involved in the care of someone who has dementia. For many years my mantra has been, "It is not my husband saying these things. It is the disease." I know many other caregivers who have similar phrases they repeat to themselves over and over, as the need arises. Since the sacrifice you are making is highly personal and for someone you love, it sounds crazy to say, "Don't take this personally." But I think you absolutely must not take dementia personally. You and Auntie are both victims of this horrible pathology in her brain. It is not the Auntie you love and who loves you who is saying these belittling things to you.

It is easy to love someone who is lovable. You are called upon to continue to act in love for someone who has a disease condition preventing her from loving back. You are doing an awesome job! You are not getting thanks from Auntie or praise from family members. Please accept my thanks and my praise.
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golden23 Jul 2012
Arianna - (((((((hugs)))))) what a nasty situation, and little support. It sounds to me like you are looking after your aunt very well, and no thanks, only suspicions from family members, and no support from your husband. What a very difficult spot you are in. I am not sure of the conditions of the DPOA, and it would seem wise to review the document, and be clear what your responsibilites (if any) to the family are. Could you then discuss with a professional, (lawyer, social worker, counsellor) strategies for dealing with the relatives, and their negative effect on your aunt. It seems to me she needs to be protected from them. It appears you are looking after your aunt's finances, and care very well. I see from your profile that your aunt has Alz/dementia. Paranoia and other aberrant behaviours come with the territory, and I am sure that the progression of this is what you are dealing with in her behavioural changes. It certainly isn't rational. Greedy relatives are another matter. This is probably why she chose you over them when she was in her right mind. Some of us have dealt with angry, paranoid relatives all our lives. It must be a shock for you to have her turn against you suddenly. Is there an Alz/dementia support group in your community. You may find some support and suggestions there. Can you gain a better understanding of Alz/dementia and talk with your husband about this so he can be supportive of you? I know it is very difficult dealing with someone who is demented, especially with relatives around who are trying to capitalize on the situation. I don't know about the conditions required to change your responsibilities to conservator and legal guardian, but doing so may have some merit, if you can then limit the contact she has with them. If the DPOA does not make you accountable to the family in the way they are requesting, could you have your lawyer draw up a letter to be sent to each of the family, clarifying that they have no rights to examine the bank books, and to stop harrassing your aunt?
If it becomes too much for you, you say there is a back up DPOA who would also act in your aunt's interests. It may be worth considering that option if you are feeling too stressed.
((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))) and good luck
stay in touch - I know the "no good deed goes unpunished" very well
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Arianna Jul 2012
Also; Auntie only lets in her home who she wants, when she's up to it.
As of right now, she does not want to speak to me, let alone have a visit with me. I have keys to the home, however, I am not going to let myself in, she does not want me there nor does she want to speak to me. I understand this is becuase of A) her loosing it and B) the stuff others must be filling her head with.
To say that this family (myself included, to an extent) is STUBBORN is an understatement.
As stated before, another family member is allowed in, and does her grocery shopping for her. That is the best one can hope for, that she gets what she wants, to stay in her home vs AL/NH, does not get badgered to see Doctors (i've tried) and that she is comfortable, eatting and doing as best as can be expected. No one can ease her pain if she refuses med. care and no one can insist on her seeing a doctor unless there is a Guardian. She has her rights, and I can only support her choices until a Guardian is assigned. I may not like it, but I cannot pick her up, put her in my car and demand her to let a doctor treat her, get her a hair cut or the like. Nor can I expect that she will let a doctor make a house call (as I have arranged before) and let he/she & I in. She's always been reclusive and now she is clearly depressed, getting Dementia and influenced by the words of others. I can't fix it, all I can do is accept it and pray that this gets straightened out after speaking to the attorney on Thurs.
THANKS
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Arianna Jul 2012
Yes, i have been deliberating back and forth on this for days and weeks and I don't like feeling sick that Auntie is pissed at me...and perhaps she does not want to talk to me. BUT...it's a matter of getting my heart to FEEL what my head THINKS...She assigned this job to me.I am doing a good job. and do not take to heart what she has said.
I will talk to attny on Thurs. If I need him to draft letters to notify the family as to what is what and who is what, I will. If he really recommends Guardianship, I will do it. I need to put my Aunts needs (not her wants, or those of others) ahead of my feelings/hurt/whathave you.
FYI: Auntie HAS NO children. Husband died over 35 yrs ago.
This family consists of Auntie and her neices and nephews...some of whom are absent and not greedy, others who are absent and mute, others who have recently been making trips from afar to see Auntie after a decade or so since last visiting. Others still who are vocal, absent, greedy and nosy as heck.
I only believe the one family member, (the one who "trusts" me, and refused to come view the documents that I offered to show her/discuss with her) to be entirely trust worthy. And they may alllllll very well find me to be not trustworthy. They can hate me, I don't care. All I care about is that Auntie is helped, and looked after, her money remains intact if/when she needs and aggrees to AL/NH.
If she does not want to talk to me, and the other one continues to get her groceries etc and that's who she prefers, what can I do? I will make my calls less frequent and shorter in duration and continue to do pay the bills/ maintain the house/etc.
I will not allow the disease to eat me up as it is swallowing Auntie whole. AND, legally I am on the up and up and completely covered by doing the right things, so I will resist to let the rest of the family irk me.
As I said before, I answer to God, and if I have to a Judge...and neither will take issue with me in this regard.
Thanks for the support y'all!
APPRECIATE IT! Sorry if I left out valuable bits of info before. I feel as though I am losing my own dang mind anymore!
I'm letting it roll off my back for now. I'm going to enjoy this weather and pick up better than where I left off, thanks to you all, on Monday.
I suggest you do te same ; )
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jeannegibbs Jul 2012
JesseBelle, the role of POA does not require showing family members anything. If it did, where would it stop? You must show the spouse? The stepson? The sister-in-law? The second-cousin once removed who has never met the loved one but is now interested in the money? There are no quidelines for where the requirement stops, because there is no requirement. A POA document could be written with some requirement to report certain things to certain people, but it is not an automatic condition.

In a loving, functional family, the POA may want to interact with and get input from other family members. But it is not a requirement. In fact, the requirement is that the POA act in the loved one's best interest and that may mean keeping financial details private and away from private eyes.

The other family members do not have the right to see the financial records, unless that requirement is built in to the POA document or a court requires it during an investigation of claims of inappropriate use of funds.

For a POA to cave in and give up the responsibilities of the office as soon as the loved one's dementia/paranoia kicks in or as soon as outsiders start giving her a hard time makes a mockery of the function of the POA role, in my mind.

If Auntie is competent, all she has to do is revoke the POA and she can show her financial records to anyone she pleases. The fact that this is not happening tells me Auntie is not competent. She needs someone to act on her behalf in her best interests. Fortunately she appointed someone to do that back when she could.
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caprica Jul 2012
Thanks, Jessie Belle! We are all in it together!
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JessieBelle Jul 2012
Arianna, the extra information helped a lot. Caprica gave excellent advise on how to handle your circumstance. You are doing the best that you can do for your aunt. I hope that her children will agree to the meeting and realize what a good job you are doing for their mother. Much luck and let us know what happens.
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caprica Jul 2012
Ah my dear, you are welcome!

Well then! You are already ahead on things with the other account and cash she can use. Don't worry, you are doing great!

Based on the update on other access she has to cash, and her not being mobile, I would suggest you ask Lawyer who set up POA about meeting at your Aunt's home, and invite the other family members, and get this part sorted and diffused in as much as you can right away, as it is not going to go away.

Draw the lines for everyone this way.

Regarding your Aunt's mobility issues, does she use a wheelchair? During meeting, you need to ask if she would feel comfortable hiring a professional caregiver a few hours several times a week to take her out for activities like going to beauty shop, grocery shopping or browsing, eating out, etc.

If she feels uncomfortable about going out or having a caregiver she can direct on activities she wants them to help her do (encourage option as this should give her more of a sense of control as she will be instructing and directing a hired caregiver, as opposed to a family member who is providing care-giving for and "directing her" on what needs to be done - and introduces having a paid caregiver help her so as things go downhill for her, easier to increase hours of paid care, up-to and including live-in caregiver when the time comes), see about finding individuals that do home visits to provide manicure, pedicure and hair shampoo/cut/styling - some visiting care agencies may may refs they can share, or check with local beauty salons to see if they can provide.

I would highly encourage pushing the idea of a professional caregiver to take her out to activities though, unless and until it gets to the point when hospice care is being provided, it helps with depression, etc, if elders can be encouraged to go out once in a while, until safety is an issue on outings.

Let us know how things turn out! Chin up! You are doing an Awesome job for your Aunt and family even if they do not understand it yet!!
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