56 year old mom very clingy and needy who lives with me, husband and 3 kids. What can I do?

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I am a 37 year old woman with a teen, pre-teen and a 20 month old. Mom has been needy all of my life, but was living in her house independently up until about a year and a half ago. I used to take her to doctor's appointments and help her as needed, as I just live down the way. She used to call me with family drama at least once, usually multiple times a day, arguing with her mother and my sister, etc. She has never had boundaries until I had to set them. 3 years ago I had a miscarriage, and her reaction to finding out secondhand was that she was so upset that I didn't tell her, not are you ok, do you need anything, etc, instead it was all about her. Well, about 5-6 months later, I found out I was pregnant with my youngest. It was a high risk pregnancy and I was on modified bed rest part of the time. Mom continued to call me multiple times a day with the drama, despite knowing my pregnancy was stressful. My therapist helped me to set boundaries and I told her several times I could not be involved in the drama or deal with all the stress of her calling several times a day, and cut my contact down to once or twice a week. Mom kept calling crying, and then stirring up drama and trying to put me in the middle to the point that I went no contact. The 16 months of no contact was some of the most happy and peaceful of my life. Well, in the fall of last year, I received a petition by my sister for guardianship over her person and property. No one notified me of anything that was going on. My sister has mooched off of mom off and on for her whole adult life and has borrowed money from both of us that she has never paid back. Apparently after I went no contact, sis had moved in with mom under the guise of helping her and keeping her company. Mom does have insulin dependent diabetes and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (which her neurologist and I are now wondering if it is actually early Parkinson's). For years she thought her neighbors were stalking her, etc but had been managed with medication by her doctor and was still able to pay bills, cook, perform ADLs, give herself insulin, etc, pretty much everything for herself. Well, I found out that she had declined to the point that she was not coherent half the time, paranoia and clinginess had gotten worse, etc. I asked to be placed as a co-petitioner and my sis and I agreed we would both handle mom's care. Throughout the course of this process, mom began to tell me that my sister was physically abusive. My sister admitted to hitting her and trying to choke her. The attorneys also discovered that my sister was paying herself, her car payment and had made tens of thousands of cash withdrawals from mom's savings. After my sister admitted to being abusive this last time, I brought mom to my house to live with me since my sister was still at mom's. The court appointed me her guardian, and my sister must move out in a month. Mom has told me she doesn't want to go back home, and has told me this from the beginning. My sister and I were supposed to be working together but I can't have her abusing mom either. So I am really frazzled right now trying to find a solution. Most of mom's savings is gone thanks to my sister, but mom makes a lot too much in retirement ( has job pension as well) to qualify for Medicaid. I want to look for a home health person that could stay with her a few days a week to give me a break. No matter how late I stay up, mom will not go to bed until I do. I have been up at 3 and 4 am with my little one, and mom is right there, sitting on the sofa. She has to be in the living room from the time I get up till the time I go to bed. She has gotten a little better mentally since she's been here and is now doing all of her ADLs on her own. The only things she can't do are cook (can't see that well) and give herself her insulin/take blood sugar. I wouldn't trust her administering her own mess anyway, as she has a history of non-compliance and abusing them (she takes .5 of Ativan twice a day currently but used to be addicted to Xanax and pain pills and would eat them like candy. She also tried to overdose when she was with my sister. Hence, I keep the meds locked up.) Her neurologist took her off of her antipsychotic med for 6 months to try to distinguish if it was the med or if it's Parkinson's or LBD causing Parkinson like symptoms (muscle stiffness, paranoia, movement issues, etc). She has been off of it for almost 2 months now and mentally and physically it seems she is improving some, though she still has the clinginess, anxiety and paranoia, and says she does have trouble brushing her teeth. Doctor put her on Cogentin for muscle stiffness and it too seems to be helping somewhat. I'm just at a loss personally, and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't get paid or anything. Mom has helped out a little with groceries but that's it. I am not asking for pay, just want my life back.

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If your Mom's cognitive function continues to improve, you might want to consider using a security system with a camera or two to watch over her during the day. I use a camera in the open common area of my house and monitors on the bedroom door. I can access the camera from my computer/tablet/phone without disturbing my mother and have set the system to send a text message when the door open/closes. A "ring" doorbell alerts me when someone is at the door - I also have a sibling I need to keep away from my mother.
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Just an update here about the filing charges part. Honestly, I'm still on the fence about it, but after today, I don't know.

Mom and I went up to the tag agency to get mom's car tag renewed, and mom's name is no longer on her own car title, only my sister's! So this is another mess I had to contact mom's attorney about.

Mom did say she signed the form to add my sister's name for insurance purposes last year when sis was driving the car, but that it was to be titled in mom OR sis's name.

Well in January, while we were going through guardianship proceedings, apparently my sister took mom's name off, according to the tag office.

I am so tempted to go ahead and file those criminal charges. Mom's attorney is trying to get the title and mom's house deed straightened out, as well as figure out exactly how much money my sister is liable for having stolen from mom.

I just don't want to cause mom additional stress either, and deep down I do love my sister, it's just despicable how she would do this to mom, along with everything else she has put her through.
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file charges against sister if this is recommended - otherwise it might be seen as "gifting" sister money when your mom needs medicaid
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Reply to Kimber166
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She's staying in the living room because you have become her security blanket. She may let go of this behavior as she recovers but some traces will probably always pop up occasionally. My mom with MCI was also abused (mostly verbal) by a sibling before coming to live with me. She wanted to be with me all the time when she first moved in but after a few months this behavior was mostly gone. My home has an open floor plan and Mom still likes to spend most of her day reading at the dining table or watching TV/napping in the living room area. That works for us - the common area is for everyone and the bedrooms are large enough for private retreats for everyone; Mom does retire to her room early (around 8) each evening to read.

i would consider carefully before placing her back in her home where she experienced the abuse. My mom displays anxiety behaviors when just seeing her former abuser from 50 yards away. Continued contact with your sister may be intensifying your mother's anxiety now too.

If possible, I would recommend considering a granny pod or adding an in-law suite to your home where your mother would have her own living room (sitting area). If it works, you get your space mostly back and still have mom close enough to easily watch over her. She may calm down enough for an nearby apartment but your sister may be able to cause more problems if she able to visit Mom when you're not around.
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*admitting (sorry, typo :)
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She started withdrawing money in large sums ($1,000-$5,000) when we agreed that we would both be co-guardians. That's also when she bullied mom into adding her name to the house deed. Some of it could be misplaced receipts and/or borrowing, but I'm inclined to think that my sister thought of mom's money and property as "hers" and felt threatened when I got involved. I never had a problem with us sharing the responsibilities, or her living with mom, until mom started telling me about the physical abuse and my sister asmitten to it. I think that is a lot of the reason mom was hospitalized so much last year, because she was under tremendous stress and being traumatized. My sister has a lot of anger toward mom because of issues that date back to our childhood. Yes, mom was selfish at times, and my sister endured more than I, as I left home at 16 and never looked back. Mom has apologized to my sister years back but I don't know that she's ever really acknowledged exactly what took place. I understand why my sister is still angry, and I've urged her before to go to therapy, and to try and forgive mom, even though what happened was not okay. Mom endured some horrible things in her childhood too, some of which I only learned about a few years ago. I know mom does love her, even if she does to an extent refuse to acknowledge things. Unfortunately, my sister has so much pent up anger toward her that I truly think mom could say whatever and apologize 100 million times and it would not change how my sister feels.

I believe her feelings and anger toward mom are a big part of this problem we're having now. As you mentioned, I'm just trying to get all of mom's financial affairs sorted out so we can see better what kind of options we have for her care.

And, this may be another thread, and sorry for my long novel of a response, but I'm not even sure once we do get some home health care in place while we are exploring the AL option, how many hours per day mom can be alone. Since she's been on the Cogentin, she's been significantly more "with it" and I can go to the store or church, etc, but I'm never gone for more than an hour or two. Part of me thinks that I could hire someone to come in for say 8-12 hours and give her her morning and evening meds, and that she might be okay overnight, but then I'm afraid she might get scared and start freaking out. Even here, she wants to be in the living room until I go to bed, even if she's on the sofa falling asleep, she still will not get up and go to her bed in the room most of the time. She can't afford 24 hour care, 7 days a week. Or maybe I could hire someone to stay overnight and run back and forth checking on her during the day, but that wouldn't be much of a break either, although it would be something. At least I could sleep better and have some time alone with my husband and kids in the evening. Then too, there is the option of hiring a live-in privately, but it's going to be hard to find a trustworthy person who is a good fit. I'm just kind of brainstorming - am gonna get on the ball soon with at least talking to some agencies to see what they offer since June will be here quickly.
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Livid, resentful, indignant (I looked after mother and this is the thanks I get - !), but also probably scared.

Oh dear. Well. She does have music to face. But I bet that music is not as loud or frightening as she wakes in the night thinking it is.

She doesn't want to add up partly because she's made a right pig's breakfast of the filing - I bet there's an envelope with receipts in it. In fact, several envelopes and a drawer. All "waiting" to be sorted - and no doubt partly because there were numerous occasions when she thought 'oh I'll use mother's and pay it back...' and curiously never got round to it. Plus sometimes it will have been her birthday. Plus sometimes mother will have been especially difficult the night before and maybe it felt like payback.

There are all kinds of reasons why people do very wrong things without actually themselves being evil.

She will feel unbelievably much better once the facts are straight. It's just the getting there that's going to be painful.

Debt counsellors have ways of getting people through that hideous Grand Opening of All The Bills occasion - the moment when people sit down and face exactly how big a financial mess they have got themselves into. And as far as I've ever heard, no matter how big and smelly the mess itself is, there is no person who doesn't feel huge relief just to know where they stand. That's the first step in getting out of the trap.

I wonder if APS could recommend a mediator or counsellor to help with communications? Or maybe even the court could? If she's just going to have a destructive reflex reaction every time you try to get in touch, so fast that you can't even get "I'm trying to help you, idiot!" in edgeways, it's going to be terribly difficult to stop things getting worse. I mean changing the locks for heaven's sake! - but what if she torches the place, or floods it, or some other emphatic statement of her feelings?
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Thanks, Countrymouse, I appreciate your wise advice, and I agree that we need to know what happened. She was actually supposed to provide the accounting at the last hearing, and starting crying and giving the judge a sob story, saying she didn't have receipts, and "I guess I'm just a thief like they say" (she IS one). The guardianship judge gave her additional time to write down to the best of her ability what she did with the money, which I know is not going to be the truth. She has already admitted to me, and in front of the attorneys, that she spent some of it (probably most of it) on her own personal expenses.

Today was even more drama. Mom wanted to go by her house to get some clothes and she wanted to make sure my sister had not moved any of her (mom's) furniture out. We went by there and no one was there, but my sister had had the locks changed and re-programmed the garage door opener so that it no longer works with mom's remote. We ended up spending money to call a locksmith just so mom could get into her own home.

As far as other family members that could serve as intermediaries, there are none. I have no other siblings, and mom's 80 year old mother is aiding and abetting my sister in this situation. Mom and her siblings don't have good relationships either. One still lives at home with his mother, and the other works out of town most of the time but he and mom aren't close. It's a very toxic family situation, and one that I have struggled to overcome most of my life, which my husband and I have had success at doing to some degree before this mess.

I do empathize with my sister. She has no job, and is not good with managing money. I can see how she might have gotten desperate as far as meeting her own expenses if she was struggling financially, but that doesn't give her the right to treat mom like this. She was enjoying the situation before because she had it worked out to her own advantage, but now the mess has been uncovered for what it is, and I'm sure she's livid.

After today, I think filing criminal charges may be my best option. That may be the only way to get her to stop the drama and give mom back the ownership of her home. Mom told me today that she did put my sister's name on the deed, but that she wasn't in a good state of mind (had just gotten out of mental health facility) and that my sister threatened to leave and leave her to fend for herself if she didn't. This was while the guardianship proceedings were going on.
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Impress this on your heart:

A Question Is Not An Accusation.

There is *nothing* wrong with anybody's asking your sister to provide an account of both the history of her time supporting your mother, and of all the finances. The aim is to establish a) what has happened and b) where we all are now.

So don't be torn. The judge needs to know, APS need to know, you need to know. It's impossible to stabilise and plan your mother's living arrangements without all the information - it affects her entitlements as well as what is to happen next.

So if APS are telling you that the only way to progress the investigation is for you to file criminal charges... yikes, it isn't that I blame you for hesitating... then you'd better.

Or, I suppose, but take professional advice on this, you could tell your sister that unless she provides the information demanded so far then criminal charges will have to be filed.

I do feel for your sister in some ways, you know. I don't suppose she's been enjoying this, and it's all turned toxic on her. She isn't handling it well but I can sympathise with how she might be feeling. I'm sure you do too.

Is there anyone in the family or your social circle that she has had a good relationship with? I'm wondering if you can maybe think of an intermediary who can persuade her to drop the adversarial drama and start putting things straight.
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Another thing I wanted to mention about my situation is that while the guardianship proceedings were going on, after mom's doctors had sent letters stating that mom was incapacitated, and petition had been filed, my sister added her name to the deed to mom's house. This was done a day or two after mom got out of a psychiatric facility due to a severe psychotic episode. I don't know if she had mom sign it, or if it was forged. The judge has order sister to relinquish possession and ownership of mom's property by the beginning of June. My sister told the attorney she refuses to transfer the house back into mom's sole possession because someone (don't know who) advised her not to. Wouldn't she be in contempt if she doesn't? Also, APS recommended that criminal charges be filed due to the large amount of cash missing. They did send a letter stating that they found evidence to substantiate abuse with the criminal charge recommendation, but were told by LE that as mom's guardian I would need to be the one to file the charges. I have been torn about this. On the one hand, yes she is my sister, but on the other hand, she has really left mom in a bad spot with very little savings to work with, and if she has partial ownership of the house, it would be impossible to sell it to pay for mom's care. We see the guardianship judge again in June. That is the one who asked for the accounting from my sister and ordered her to vacate and relinquish possession of the property. Criminal judge is not involved yet. I was contemplating waiting until June to see what happens in guardianship court, but APS told me I can file anytime. Sis just flat out refuses to be cooperative.
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