My sister (60) has been living in my house for the past 8 (She just showed up in September 2004 and began living her. She gradually began moving her things from my brother’s house to mine. He had been hosting her since her move from New Jersey to here in 2002.) She has been receiving disability benefits, mental problems (depression) I think, for the past four years. Her application for these was my suggestion because she couldn't seem to get a job and she was depressed. (At the peak of her career she was the Director of Nursing in a moderately sized East Coast hospital). She was approved for mental disability on her first application. She is extremely secretive and trusts absolutely no one. She has become even distrustful of my brother and me because we have tried to get her to see she has some problems. She has been in a downward spiral since the mid-90's but through the last 4 years dementia seems to really have been gaining ground. (I have a theory it may be alcohol related dementia since she has been a VERY HEAVY drinker most of her adult life.)
She will not share anything about herself with me. She will not sign any HIPA forms. She can be extremely nasty. Most of the time she sits at the kitchen table and goes through stacks of paper with no obvious productive goal. Her only “friend” is my Golden with whom she has bonded tightly, mostly because she feeds an endless stream of treats. (Bernice just turned 3 and is now 50% overweight.)
I could go on with a litany of things that are driving me off the deep end. (I’m single and have just finished my first year of retirement after 30+ years as an English teacher.) My sister and I have always had an adversarial relationship rather than one of friendship.
At this point I-m not even sure what the question is I want to ask. She makes me crazy and extremely depressed. We have a long family history of mental illness on both sides of our family and I have been on medication since the early 90’s and go to therapy when I need reinforcement – like now.)
My closest friends recognize it as an abusive relationship and say I need to throw her out. Anytime I have tolf her to find a place, she goes through some motions but nothing happens because I truly believe she is incapable of pulling such a mammoth action off.
Several months ago my brother and I made an appointment with an attorney where we discussed taking her to court to request guardianship. We may need to go that route but of course that will cost us thousands we do not have. We have informed her of this stressing that we care about her and love her. We have pleaded with her not to make us take that step. REFUSAL…DENIAL that there’s a problem. (If it is of any help to anyone who might be able to help me, we were raised by parents who though not alcoholics, were both raised in a home with an alcoholic father; therefore all of the rules of not showing anger, not telling family secrets, not trusting anyone are all in play here and my sister has these in spades!)
Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions????? HELP!!!!

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Wow! This sure isn't the way you want to spend your retirement years. Helping your sister, yes. Being held captive by her, no.

You are probably right that the massive task of finding other living arrangements is beyond her. Does she have a case worker? If she is on mental disability I think that is appropriate and should be available to you. Have you talked to Social Services in your county? Without her approval you may be limited in what you can do or in what a case worker can do, but you can get the ball rolling. If you make it clear that your sister lives with you now but that for your own mental health you are not going to host beyond x date (maybe 3 months from now, or 6 or whatever deadline you want) and that your sister's secrecy prevents you from helping her, that should initiate some action. If you tell your sister the same thing, that she has to be out by x, but that there is professional help for her to arrange it, maybe she will cooperate with the case worker. Or maybe not. But you have to get out from under this burden.

Maybe the legal guardianship is the route you'll have to take. But I think I'd see what Social Services can do.
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