I lost my children because I care for my mom with Alzheimer's. How do I get my kids back?

Asked by

Someone please help me. My mom has Alzheimers and my one sister cared for her for 2 years. She had a full time job and lives in an enormous house. This past October, my mom began living withbme because my sister reached the end of her rope. I was divorced in 2006 and suffered a nervous breakdown after a failed suicide attempt, where I had flattened twice enroute to the hospital. Because of this, I lost my children. In 2009, we began re-establishing a relationship through much family therapy and time together. Two years ago, I asked my mom for some money so I could move back to the town where my children lived, and she co-signed on some credit cards for me so I could purchase furniture, mattresses and bedding, etc. I rental 3 bedroom condo, where, until my mom moved in, my son and daughter enjoyed visiting. My ex was only willing to "allow" me 50/50 time if I agreed to cease his alimony payments to me...to which I refused for 2 reasons: 1. I simply Gaby afford to NOT have this money (i should mention that I pay $1000 monthly for child support that be used for luxury cars and expensive trips for himself and his new wife, etc), and 2) I simply cannot comprehend having to, essentially, PAY to see my children! THEY wanted to ne withbme....and I wanted to be with THEM.....
That is, until a few months ago. I had started working with a lawyer to go to court to have this increased time with my children approved. Then my mom moved in. She has Alzheimers....and being with her 24/7 is putting such a profound stress on me, personally AND my relationship with Caitlin (age 14) and Brendan (age10) that I find myself shaking uncontrollably 80% of the time. My depression is back....full force. There have been too many incidents to lost, but ill give a few. My mother constantly berates and yells, puts us down, yells my children to "shut the hell up, stupid!", undresses herself, throws objects at me (not the kids), wanders around all night to the point my children no longer sleep in their bedrooms....they sleep on the floor in places "nana can't find us" (ie, under the dining room table, the corner of the sunroom, etc). My mom recently screamed at my daughters friends when they were laughing in another room...and she wouldn't stop....there was just NO diffusing the situation.....
My children return to my ex's house emotionally and physically tired.....with red eyes from crying.
Because of these things (and those are just a few of many)...my ex has told me no judge would increase my time....because it is an abusive household. The thing is....it IS!!! I am so distraught over this. My children recently told me they don't want to be here anymore.
I have lost my children. I have lost my life.
There are so many other things I could mention like my mom screaming at the neighbors, starting a fire, damaging a wall, stomping around (where the neighbors called the Police).....etc. I live in a condo and my neighbors lives are suffering as well! The Condo Association has me on "a warning" to "turn these situations around".
Because my sister had my mom for 2 years, she wont even take my mom for a week so I can try to recoup. I have been told that I stole from my mom because of the credit card bills and this isbmy time to redeem myself. I used every penny to build a home for my children who now refuse to live with me.
I absolutely cannot afford a nursing home or medical help......after my disability check and alimony, I pay my rent and utilities and have approximately $200 leftover for monthly expenditures. Thank god for food stamps, which I receive. My sister has power of attorney over my mom and provides me with $100 per month for her care....but when something like a fire happens, and I have to replace a wall, I'm at a deficit.
Honestly....I don't care about anything other than the fact that I've lost my kids and I won't live without them again.
Somebody.....please help me.

Answers 1 to 10 of 25
Its the hardest thing i have ever had to do in my life, I also take care of my mom who has moderate dementia. In my humble opinion its time to look into NH or AL. If your mom is abusive then its a danger to you your kids and to her.Call elder services in you r area and ask them for help explain whats happening with your mom.If she has money that should pay for her to go into a NH or AL, its not for your sister. If not then your sister can apply for medicaid, she has POA right? Your in a tough situation talk to your sister about mom going into a place. If that doesnt work call elderly services for help. I know how hard it is I'm taking care of my mom and shes not violent, yet. God Bless
Top Answer
You are obviously a strong person, a survivor. You came back from a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt. You got your life straightened out to the point where your children enjoyed being with you. You should be proud of your accomplishments.

Your sister came to "the end of her rope" trying to care for your mother with dementia. So mother came to live with you. WHAT WERE YOU AND YOUR SISTER THINKING?!! This poor person with dementia is beyond the point where she can live in a private home with one caretaker, and you thought you could/should handle her? Wow. I can't imagine what made you think this could work, but now everyone knows beyond a doubt that it cannot work. This is not because you are flawed or your mother is evil. It is because your mother is very sick and even though you are brave and strong, her care is beyond you.

So, the first thing that has to happen is to get mother into a professional care setting, where people are trained to deal with her outbursts, and no one has to deal with her for more than one working shift at a time.

I'm afraid if I were your ex-spouse I would not allow the children to visit you in your home with Mother there. I would insist on visits elsewhere, and no overnights. I can't imagine a judge allowing children to stay where they have to sleep under a table to hide from someone in the house. And yet you can be a good parent. You deserve to have extended contact with your children, and they deserve to have you in their life, in a safe, nonabusive environment.

Of course you can't afford professional care for Mother. It is not your responsibility to pay your mother's way. As POA your sister needs to figure out the finances here. Can Mother afford professional care out of her own assets/income? If not, Sister has to get the ball rolling and get Mother qualified for aid, such as Medicaid. I hope Sister will be cooperative about this. If not, get Social Services involved. It is absolutely not appropriate for your mother to be living with you.

The first thing that HAS to happen is to correct the bad mistake of bringing Mother in to live with you. Your sister couldn't handle it and neither should you be expected to. You deserve better.

The same strength and courage you've shown in the past will see you through this nightmare. You can once again turn your life around and be a healthy, loving, nurturing mother. You can also be a loving daughter, to a mother who is in a setting that can better handle her current impairments.

Please come back and tell us what you are doing and how it is working out for you. I sincerely care.
I want to thank you both for your responses. Dreamweaver: you were so kind, it made me tear up! I do appreciate it.
Jeannegibbs: I'm just having a difficult time jumping from your kindness to your words that seem to berate me. Things like "what were you thinking.....you thought you could handle her? wow." are hurtful words, but I'll try to explain. My sister has an enormous house--three levels--and though my mom was living there, I don't think that in the 2 years she DID live there, my sister ever spent a few hours (let alone 24 hours) straight with my mom. Being that she lives 2 hours away, I was there for parties and occassional overnights....and had NO idea of the extent regarding my mother's care. I knew she had her aggitated moments....but did NOT know to what degree they occurred. Again, please just know that your other words were so helpful, and I DO understand that you are trying to help.

We have no money for help. I have no idea what my mother gets from the State, and do not know if there are any alternatives available. But I WILL look into it.

Thank you both so very much for the suggestions......you remain in my thoughts, as well!
greenday, since you sister is POA for mom, tell her it's time for a nursing home or whatever. She's burnt out, and understandably so, and it sounds like your mother has gone downhill since she lived with your sister, so it's not logical that you have mom for another 2 years etc. Also, I wouldn't let anyone lay guilt on you about the money your mom gave/loaned or whatever you either. As POA, there is NO way of knowing for sure just what your sister did with mom's money, so unless she can swear on a stack of Bibles that she NEVER took money from mom, then forget that nonsense too. You tell your sister that you don't know how in the world she had your mom for 2 years, but you just CAN NOT do this anymore. Your circumstances are totally different than your sister's were. She can't expect you to pick up where she left off.
Thank you all so very much.....thank you....just knowing there are loving, caring would out there who understand is such a relief........ps, its 3:03 am, and I've been up with my mom twice tonight......I'm so exhausted! I'm sure you all know.....

You haven't lost your children and they don't love you any less. Until you take responsibility for the toxicity that clearly starts and ends with you, there won't be any light at the end of the tunnel and everyone around you will suffer. ... BTW, your mom seems to be the only one fighting you back. Why is that?
Call social services and tell them you are planning on taking her to an ER because she is out of control and give them your sister's name and phone no. and let her deal with getting her into a nursing home-you are not responsible for paying for placement-your sister has POA so she has to work with a social worker to get her into a nursing home-unless your mother has assests she will be put on medicaide pending while your sister does the application and she will be approved or have to spend down her money until being accepted-every nursing home have social workers to do this and they will fast because the NH will want to get the money as fast as they can for her care. I would listen to Eddie he is very wise and gives good advice. I have had much experience-my husband was disabled for 16 years before he passed away and know how difficult doing the paperwork for medicaide is-you sister has control of your mother's money so she can pay for the lawyer-he or she will ask for a retainer-mine did -and charged me for 5 hrs. so this staff probly could have done it in 2 hrs. tops while I tried to do it on my own and worked on it every day for 2 weeks and only got started the social worker help me a little when I broke down crying in her office-she should have done it all. Please let us know how things go because many other are facing what you are going through and your experience will help others. Please do not accept all the work for fixing this-be glad your sister is POA and it is not fair of her to put it all on you when she knew how hard it would it would for you. You will get through this with help from professionals and the group here and you will be a stronger person afterwards and will feel able to take on the task of seeing your children more and getting your life back on track and before you know it you will be helping others.
Please take the advise of 195Austin. I can not add anything to it. What I will say is you need to do this NOW for your own well being and the safety of your mother. I would also suggest, if you haven't already, sit down with your kids and explain why your mother acted as she did in front of them. She did not realize that her behavior was wrong.

I wish you and your family all the best. But, Please do this now. You are sitting on a ticking time bomb.
Greenday, first of all, give yourself credit for trying and then organize this situation. #1, make sure you are okay. Then, Get your Mom to a neuro and onto medication for her agression (depakote sprinkles are what my Mom went on) and she will be a different person. You should be getting $100 a day, not a month. IF your sister )POA) will not pay you, then tell her to find someone who will do it for $100 a month.
You can live with a calmed down Mother and get paid to do it. No one owes us an inheritence, her money is for her care and you will be doing the care. You also can put her in a Nursing Home regardless, they will take all her money and she will be taken care of. My Mom is in late stages alzheimers and she will be with me forever, but in a case like yours, I do agree you need help or to place her. You Mom does not mean to yell, her mind is like a tornado of confusion and she is lost and scared, she needs medication before it gets worse and she leaves your house and takes off. One thing at a time, you, her, and deal with your sister. Your POA sister might be her Health Care Proxy person also, and if so, its up to her to solve this issue. Seems like she had your mom during the easier time of the disease and then shipped her off to you. You can have a caretakers contract made up for you to get paid from your Moms estate, or pension or SS, but you ALSO need to HIRE someone so YOU have a few days off a week. No one cal do it alone without help and even if you dont want to get paid, you need days off, especially in your state of mind .Breathe Deep, you can do this, baby steps...
PS Greenday, you dont know what your Mom gets for income you mentioned. She must get SS at the very least and IF thats low its probably $800 a month and you are only getting $100? Also, IF your mom truely has no money, she will qualify for FREE care. Good Luck

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support