Do I have to accept the return of my Mother from a sibling that never assisted me with parental care?


I would like to know what my rights are in caring for my mother.
My mother has been in my care since my father passed away in 1998. She was 68 years old at the time but somehow she never managed to be a full functioning adult. My father did everything and filled out everything for her and she would do everything he said, like a puppet. I let her move in an apartment I had in my home. She basically paid about as much as it would cost for utilities. It was not too bad at that time. Even though I was a single mother raising three children, working and managing the household. Siblings never did a thing to help, ever.

Then in 2007, she was 77 years old and diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She already had signs of dementia but it was manageable until chemo began. That was the beginning of a bad situation getting worse. Super heavy chemo and coincidently broken arm at the same time. This was also the beginning of her decline and not functioning at all to even the simplest household chores. My children and I had to clean up and do everything for her. She basically needed 24/7 care but since she lived in the apartment below we pretty much try to hear if there was anything strange and my kids or I were there in a flash. No sibling assistance whatsoever. She was even dragged on vacations with us.

In 2012, she was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer. 82 years old and now undergoing surgery, chemo, radiation, and medication. And other complications of her diabetes, Adema,, dementia that had gotten much worse, heart and cholesterol issues as well. I pretty much begged for someone to have her so we could go on vacation. But the answer was always no or no answer which meant no too. Every year, 3 of my sibling would remember her on Mother's Day and arrange with me a luncheon then she was back home. I'm burnt out and I can no longer work because my mother is too much work. There's day care but only 5 hours, (10-3) 3 or 4 days a week and I need that time to get some things done and recoup for her return. Other days are for appointments and such. No care on weekends.

I've grown resentful of my siblings for their lack of compassion or care for me or my family or my mother. Now there is a niece that is getting married and they want to have my mother there. It's so much work to get her ready and to look presentable. Originally I wanted to say "no". But now I'm thinking if they do take her, do I have to accept my mothers return?

Please don't judge me. What I did not mention is my mothers increasing anger and physical and verbal abuse. Never a kind word. I know it's dementia but I'm at my limit.

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I want to thank all of you for your responses. They truly help. I want to answer some of the questions and curiosities.
There is already war in the family. There's me that has the full responsibility of our mother. When I realized that I can't get more than two hours once a year for Mother's Day luncheon and I knew I did not want to be part of a family that can do that to any one person. There are those that cannot help in any way and then there are those that will help. Those that want my mother to be part of the wedding choose not to do anything. My mother is now a survivor of three cancers, and living with the many medical challenges. She's only made it this far because I make sure she gets all her medical needs met, medicines, appointments, showers, etc. my mother has had heart attacks, strokes and falls. My mother is a medical mystery. She defies all nutritional logic. She likes everything that's bad for her and won't touch anything that's good for her. I ask her to once in a while humor me and have some vegetables.
I don't like how the responsibilities of my mother had spilled over to my children (now and their mid 20s). And they do it as a favor to me .
I will take the advice of seeking assistance from a non-member of the family because I had given up on the siblings. I will allow my mother to go to the wedding with a list of instructions, dues and don'ts and meds. They will take all the credit for doing what they can for their mother. But inside they'll know they did nothing.
My mother's anger and depression are known to the doctors and she is on medication for those as well. She has been abusive to eight at the daycare facility as well. My mother is on so many medications it's a wonder why they're not clashing with each other. Like I said my mother is a medical mystery.
Again, thank you for all your advice and guidance.
Helpful Answer (2)

The other sibs may have non-helped because either they know darn well they could not handle what you have been handling or because they want to remain in denial about how sick Mom really is, and the apparent fact that she can no longer be left alone safely if I am understanding you correctly. It is hard not to resent them for having their heads in the sand, but honestly, it is probably up to you to figuratively grab them by the neck, pull them out, and drag them to the clue store to get a clue. This may take a terrific amount of assertiveness on your part, and rather than the sudden "she's yours, deal with it" that is so, soo tempting but would lead to negative consequences for both Mom and your family ties, a family meeting would be in order, possibly one facilitated by another party such as a minister, social worker, or home care agency person. You will have to tell them pretty much what you've told us - that it has gotten so bad that you caught yourself fantasizing about jut dropping her off with instructions and not taking her back, even if you had to join a witness protection program to do it.

This wedding might be Mom's last hurrah, IF she can even handle it and won't act out terribly and ruin things rather than help everyone make some good memories. If she can showtime it through the wedding, you may want to try to do it for family's sake. But, afterwards, if she has become total care - I'm not sure if you are dealing with incontinence and having to feed her and bathe her and everything, or really, worse still, have to persuade her strenuously to get presentable and do any of her own care, you need alternatives to doing it all yourself.

This is a very hard question, so skip it if you are too emotionally overwhelmed already. Is there realistic hope the chemo is going to work? There are articles out indicating that palliative chemo may actually make some peoples lives harder, not better. Do any of her doctors understand the degree of depression, anger, and dementia progression? If not - and this goes for siblings, too - you need to catch some of it on video. You would think her medical center would have a geriatric evaluation program and social worker who could begin to help you both think through some options. You would think they would ask YOU or refer YOU rather than wait for you to ask, but 9 times out of 10, you'd be wrong.

You also don't mention if you have healthcare and financial POAs in place for you.
You should have them, and hopefully you don't end up with a Golden Child syndrome, where one of the non-participants who has not been so handy to irrationally blame for all the mental and physical difficulties is selected, gets to call the shots, and does just that as selfishly as can be imagined or worse.

You asked, "what are your rights" and your first and foremost right is to not feel guilty about insisting on help and a plan other than do-it-all-yourself. Your mom, particularly if she is not deemed incapacitated, has rights as well - but that does not include a right to enslave you for the rest of your life.
Helpful Answer (3)

If they want her at your nieces wedding I would be quite firm and make sure they have all arrangements in place-picking her up, her clothes, who is going to watch her (not You!)etc... It will be a long day and she may not be comfortable for the entire wedding, photos, reception, dinner etc. I wonder if someone has thought that out or assumed you would be taking care of it.
I agree it's time to find a new home for your mom. I am always surprised about the siblings who do nothing for their parents. But after being on this website nothing surprises me anymore.
I can picture your siblings being all gushy and suck-ups to your mother especially in front of their friends who in turn will comment what wonderful children-spare me!
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I don't understand why people don't contact their local senior services for assistance in cases like this. I live in a small town of less than 9000 and yet we have a senior center with a social worker - these people are part of our society's "safety net" and their services are widely available to help in such situations. Call your local senior center NOW and tell them you need help! They will help you fill out the forms you need etc. You can also call your state's Dept of Elderly Affairs for assistance. They will refer you to a local agency.

You have done more than enough. You cannot continue. Nor should you.

Best wishes as you create a new life for yourself.
Helpful Answer (2)

Er… Could you say a little more about how she is getting on with her various treatments? Three years after diagnosis, and her physicians are only now getting round to radio and chemotherapy?

I'm sorry to be dense, but what I'm trying to understand is how this lady is going to turn out for a family wedding, let alone a family wedding with a surprise ending. Is she really up to that?

More comfortingly, I wouldn't dream of judging you. What you've gone through is utterly exhausting and to be honest I'm impressed that you can still see to type.

The thing is, though, that families who don't give the proverbial flying fig for their mothers don't usually want her turning up at posh events, either, because it's too much trouble. Which leads me to wonder if the penny has not dropped with them about how ill your mother is, or how much sheer work is involved in caring for her. This is the trouble with coping as well as you have done: you've made it look easy.

Which it is not, and they need to get that. One suggestion would be that, well before the wedding, one or more siblings comes and stays with you for at least a weekend and gets involved at the business end of the care. They are clueless. Drop them a hint (on their foot).

From there, plan to have a conference with them about your mother's care needs, immediate and ongoing. And meanwhile, as Pam suggests, cry for help from whatever sources you can think of in your area.
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Dumping her at a wedding is not the way to go. Get her on Medicaid and get some in home help or respite care for her so you can have a break. Talk about this with her MD, ask him/her to help you.
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I would definately send her off to the they can get a feel for it. They need to have someone pick her up, you should not attend the wedding and take some much needed r and r. Make sure they have to deal with her on her own, including dressing her and baby-sitting her through the event, where she may become confused (unfamiliar place, people and the hokey-pokey!).

As for not accepting her back, I would not go pick her up, but my guess is they would deliver her. After sharing that experience, maybe the family would be open to supporting placing her in a facility, which really needs to be your next move.

Do not get your hopes up, their "invitation" probably assumes you are delivering and "hosting" mom for them. As soon as you invite them to do the work, they will find an excuse.
Helpful Answer (1)

Maybe it would've been a good bargaining chip. I would have definitely given instructions and the list of medications and when they are needed.
But you are correct I would not want my mother to feel unwanted
Helpful Answer (2)

I have had thoughts about taking Mom to my brothers front step and leaving. Sad, but true. Nope, find a good nursing home for her and it'll help you out in the long run, knowing your Mom is in a good place.
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Whatever123, sorry, but I am judging you. And I'm giving you all gold stars. You have done a remarkable job caring for your mother, in spite of many other responsibilities. Move the head of the line where they are handing out stars.

Don't spoil your record now. You have done the best you could for dear (and some days not so dear) Mom. Please continue in that spirit. Clearly it is time for her to move out of your home. But please arrange for that to happen in a way that is best for her, and not as a way to pay back your selfish siblings. That they are deadbeat kids is not your mother's fault. (She raised you, too, and you turned out OK.)

Finding a good place for her and helping her afford it via Medicaid if necessary is a big burden. Your siblings should help. But dumping Mom on their mercy is not up to the standards you've lived by so far. If you need help, perhaps you can get a social worker to walk you through these steps.

If you are not up to taking Mom to the wedding, say so. If they truly want her there they can send someone to get her ready and bring her. But if you do take her, plan to bring her back with you. She needs a care facility, but that is an entirely separate issue from attending the wedding.
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