Untreated bipolar, alcoholic sis caregiver.

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I am one of 5 siblings. We live 1 1/2 hours to 8 hours away from parents except for youngest 53 yr. old sis who is unemployed and lives with parents. Dad diagnosed with Dementia 3years ago and is mid-stage while Mom, 85, we strongly suspect has had mini stroke. Struggles to put sentences together, forgetful and easily confused. Sister is dual diagnosed bipolar alcoholic who denies this and is untreated. My other siblings and I feel Sis is doing the minimum she can. We want her to take a stronger stand and get on a schedule where they take their meds daily, shower a couple of times a week, get medical care even when they refuse (Sis gives up and Mom just had bronchitis and pneumonia because she would not go. Another sib went to visit and MADE her go see doc) fix at least one decent meal a day, clean a bit. I live 8 hours away and drove to see them last week but only gave them 1 hour notice to see what conditions were like. Had to scrub potty before I would use it, etcetera. Sharing our concerns with Sis is met with defense and pronounced paranoia. She lies and has tried to start trouble between each of us to deflect her problems. Parents did not plan at all for retirement and very little money. The sibs can do a little but not much. We are checking into caregivers but money is an issue for us. We are also concerned about Sis when parents are gone as none of us will take her in. She has 3 degrees but cannot hold down a job. How can we get help for parents and make, force or require Sis to get treatment? Our pleading does no good and Mom backs Sis and thinks she does a great job. Refuses to see lack of care and finds excuses for everything. Dad's dementia diagnosed 3 years ago and neither have read anything on disease, joined support groups or sought help from social agencies despite our giving them many resources.

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And finally don't dare tell me what we can and can't comment on it aint your thread - it is a thread that in the future others may want to refer back to or gain knowledge from and as you seem to have it all sown up - goody for you....... I wish your sister the very best of luck for she is the one who needs it.
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If you want your sister to get better so that she can be the daughter you want her to be (mind you that is your call not necessarily hers) then what your parents want is irrelevant. I am fairly certain if was endangering their health something would have been done about it assuming you have ensured that parents are registered and reviewed regularly and that their meds are checked annually following that review. If they cannot afford help there are agencies that can help but dissing your sister wont do you a lot of favours on here - a lot of us have been dissed for doing our level best - even when we know it is not good enough. Your best and her best are different and her best is never going to be good enough.

Im out of here. Anyone who can't understand that bipolarity affects different people in different ways is not someone I am going to waste my breath on.
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Please do not comment further on this thread. Our course of action has been decided on and I appreciate everyone taking the time to try to help us.
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Tacy, I did not put my sister in charge of my parents. She had already lived there 7 years when my stepdad (her father) was diagnosed three years ago. As a trained healthcare provider herself, she took on the role herself. She could have told any of us four siblings at any time she couldn't do it or didn't want the responsibility but she has always said she wanted to do it as her contribution to the household. We have all asked her if she needed more help and she has said no. We have helped as much as we can as well as some of the adult grandchildren who live close by. I have not thought of myself as being "outraged" with my sister as much as desperately concerned for her well-being and that of my parents and hence, my asking for help. You seem quite judgmental of me personally as I ask for HELP. It is ridiculous to accuse me of neglect and negates your credibility. I am one of four siblings (two of us are stepchildren and the other two are not) and not one of us "put her in charge". The geriatric case managers will handle this for us. I didn't know there was one until I talked with a social worker about it last week and she hooked me up with her and the Eldercare attorney. Neglectful of me, right? SMH
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You are holding an incident that happened 15 years ago over her head. Are you serious? In college 15 years ago, I was at a party, drank too much and had my stomach pumped...do you think anyone in my family would bring that up now to justify making themselves feel better about themselves or to put me down. You need to examine your own life. I will not apologize for being harsh because it is completely unacceptable how condescending your attitude is to someone who needs help.
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Oh, and another little memory bell: "Dad's dementia diagnosed 3 years ago and neither have read anything on disease, joined support groups or sought help from social agencies despite our giving them many resources."

Our mother has had dementia at least 5 years. Of her seven kids, I am the ONLY one who has read extensively about dementia, attended seminars, belongs to a caregiver support group, participates actively on AgingCare. (I started this when my husband was diagnosed, a few years before my mother.) Does this make me the hero and authority in my family? Ha! It makes me a bit of a suspect, if you want the truth. The fact that Mother and Sis haven't educated themselves is sad, but not at all uncommon and not grounds for assuming they are bad caregivers.

When my brother was in crisis mode and us sisters finally "got it" about his mental illness we asked him what we could do to help. He begged us to read about his disease. What an eye-opener. I wish I'd known more about bipolar disorder much earlier!

It sounds like there are three people in that household who deserve understanding. Yes, it would be nice if they all learned about each other's maladies. But the person whose education you can control is you. I hope you'll be mindful of your poor sister's handicaps, too.
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This post thread rings some personal memory bells with me. You had to clean the toilet before using it. I remember having a volunteer stay with my husband a couple of hours a week. I said to her, apologetically, at the first visit: "I certainly don't expect you to do any cleaning whatsoever. You are here to keep Coy company. But there are Lysol wipes in the bathroom that you may want to use before you use the toilet yourself. Coy isn't as neat as he once was." Having a dirty toilet in a household where someone has dementia is necessarily a sign of slovenly housekeeping. It can happen suddenly, any time of the day!

My bipolar formerly alcoholic brother is being treated, and that helps a lot. Still, he is subject to outbursts and inappropriate behavior where our mother (whom he adores) is concerned. For example, when Mom fell in the nursing home he went off on a tirade against the staff, blaming them, talking about suing, etc. Us sisters went to the staff involved and to their bosses and explained Bro's mental illness and assured them that he didn't speak for the rest of the family and that he was very good with Mother. We did not want him banned from the NH! We also talked to him when he was calmer. He now visits on Sundays and plays cards with Ma. She loves his visits. He would not be the right person to be in charge of decisions for her, but he is a loving son and we try to support him in that role.

If Bipolar Sis can't be relied on to provide meals regularly, how about something like Meals on Wheels for all three of them?

If she is not a dependable homemaker, why not bring in a cleaner once a week or twice a month, as needed?

It seems to me like these three people have made their bed and are lying in it more or less comfortably. Captain's tone is a little harsh, but I tend to agree with his observation.

Help make their situation better, or stay out of the picture.
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If you read the thread, you will see we have done several things for this sister.we tried to Baker Act two years ago and our parents had an absolute fit about it. The NyQuil incident was 15 years ago. She knows how to cook, clean and stay on a schedule (she has 3 college degrees-the heart catheterization one completed since moving back in with parents) but she is unmotivated to do anything unless she knows someone will be watching. That is why we only gave an hour's notice for our visit two weeks ago. It was obvious things were not being done but she was a whirlwind while we were there..I am one of four others that have seen the same thing. I know a good bit about bipolar as another sister lived with me and my family for 4 months after she was diagnosed and we had several 3;00am visits from Crisis Management. She continues to have her meds adjusted the last 25 years but she is an excellent patient and has talked extensively with other Sis. It just has not worked to convince her to accept her diagnosis or to get treatment. I have offered to have my parents come live with me but they have steadfastly refused to move from their home of 45 years and move to an area they are not familiar with. My house is 3 stories and it would be very difficult for them to get up and down the stairs at this point as well. I KNOW she is not responsible and I KNOW all of these problems or I would not have been asking for HELP which, obviously, has been a waste of time.
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Well, I have to agree with Phoenix. In actuality, you are abusing both your sister and your parents. You are putting a person with mental illness in charge of not one but two people and then you have the audacity to act outraged that someone who cannot hold a job cannot handle the pressure of taking care of your parents. What delusions are running through your head? Not to mention, your condescending attitude towards her is just wrong...how dare you? You full well know that she cannot care for them but you are putting your parents in her care and that is neglect...by you.
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Kathy, people are jumping all over you. You must feel attacked. I'm sorry about that. I just want to point out one word you used. This may be the bit some of us want you to understand.

Your words: "I do not think it it unrealistic to expect my sister, who has lived with them for 10 years and has never held down a job for longer than 3 months (and nothing at all the last 7 years) to cook one meal a day, make sure they take their meds, " etc.

It is not unreasonable to expect that an average or below average person could do that. It is UNrealistic to expect that your sister will be able to do this. Why? Because she never ever has, and probably won't start now.

I think you are trying very hard to be a good daughter and sister. Your family is in a terrible situation, and you are trying to make things work out. You need a lot of help. and I hope you can find it.
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