Can my sister take legal action against me (POA of Mom with late-stage dementia) for not allowing her in my home or to take mom anywhere?

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I made a promise to my mother before she was diagnosed with vascular dementia that I would not leave her with her new husband if she got sick because she knew he would not take good care of her. (Admittedly, he was not a caregiver). She assigned me POA of everything if that were to happen. NOTE: Money should not be issue here as all she really has is enough income to live on. Well, her husband fell sick himself and his daughters had him sell the house (which he owned) and move 1,000 miles away so they could take care of him and now my mother lives with me. During the move, my mother would say she wanted to go with him one day, then the next day she would say she was staying with me. Of course she was so bad by this time that she could not make her own decisions and at least her new husband knew he could not take care of her so he gave up the POA to me as mother had stated was her desire before she got sick.


Now here's the problem. My sister came undone when she found out Mom chose me instead of her! She started attacking me ruthlessly! She went as far as to try to talk our sick mother into going with her husband so that none of us would ever see her again! NOW she comes in my house once a week w/o even saying hi and sits down to talk to mom. Totally disrespecting me and my husband! My husband now says they are no longer welcome in our house, and I cannot allow my sister to take Mom anywhere as she has already threatened to do whatever it takes to get her name on a POA so she will know where Mom's money is going each month.


I do not have time to list the hateful things she has said to me or all the hateful accusations she has made. She has said things that even concerned my now grown children when they were young! In a nut shell, she has totally wrought havoc on our relationship! She gets a small Social Security check and retirement check each month and we are laying life down as we once knew it to care for Mom and all this sister can say is that she is going to find out where every penny of Mom's checks go!


Anyway, I do not know where to go from here? She refuses to apologize and support me as our brother does!! Besides the fact that Mom chose me because I have been the more responsible child, been married only once for 36 years now, while my my sister is in her 5th marriage, had foreclosure on her house, neglected to keep insurance on Mom's house in which mom let her live in then accidentally burned it to the ground and even dropped off the tax bills each year for Mom to pay while she lived in the family house for 5 yrs or so. It seems to be all about a little bit of $$$$ to her! My husband continues to tell me to "not worry about it, because she has made her bed now she has to lie in it!"


Can I just tell her to call Mom as much as she likes but until she humbles herself, apologizes and changes her attitude it looks like she will not be seeing our mom w/o having to face some kind of legal matter brought forth by her? I already can tell you it's almost guaranteed that she will now start to do things like call social services on me by making false accusations, and whatever else she can think of just to try to further ruin my life! It's become some kind of sick demented game of vengeance to her! The anxiety and stress her actions are pouring on me has me at the edge of giving up! I just can’t focus on being a wife, a mother, and my mom's full-time 24/7 caregiver while remaining under my sister's daily verbal attacks, abuse and threats! PLEASE HELP!

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Your sister can not take POA, once a person has been diagnosed with dementia and have exhibited the inability to make decisions, they can no longer appoint a POA. Your sister would have to go for guardianship, which is costly, so odds are she will not pursue that.

Do you have a care contract, including rent, food, transport, etc. In place. If not, you could do this with her husband, unless his illness is dementia as well.

You do have a right to set boundaries about when your sister can come to your home, do not isolate mom from her, that could cause problems. However, you can set visiting hours and notify her in writing, certified mail, that this is when she can come. Explain that schedules and routine are imperative to the well being of the dementia patient and these are the days and hours set aside for her to visit. If she shows up outside of those hours, don't let her in. If she gets ugly, tell her she is trespassing and needs to leave. If she doesn't, call the law. Don't tell her you are going to do that, let them show up unannounced and catch her ranting and raving about getting in to mom, you then have a record of her inappropriate behavior, if she pushes, this will benefit you. Be sure and show the police a copy of the visiting hours and the signed return receipt.

When she is visiting make sure that she has no access to any area of your home, except where the visit takes place, make sure she is never alone with mom or in your home. This let's her know she is not a welcome guest and will not be treated as one. You don't even need to let her use your bathroom.

You are moms choice, for obvious reasons. A loving daughter would not pull this s**t.

You really do have all the power and authority, use it to reel this PITA sister in.

You
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Marcia7321 Jul 19, 2018
I just want to note that a diagnosis all by itself won't activate the power of attorney. There is language in the document that states how the power of attorney is to be activated. Someone with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is still legally competent until someone certifies that this is no longer the case.
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This is not an expression I am in the habit of using, but on this one occasion...

Your sister badly needs to take a Chill Pill.

Not going to, though, is she? What you have there is a world class drama queen. Sheesh!

I don't know if you have any idea how she came to be as she is, what went wrong for her, what burrs are in her bustle; but you know what? Not your doing and not your problem.

Your sister *can* do anything she likes. Report you to APS, challenge your POA, apply for guardianship. Goodness she can have a real ball if she wants. It's a free country.

What I can't see is her doing any of this *successfully*. APS, the courts, the people with authority to act, will tell her to sit down and shut up. She will be wasting her time and money. Again, not your doing.

Unfortunately, it is your problem in that this could develop into the most enormous and ridiculous waste of time and head space.

Forget any idea of making your monstrously narcissistic (at first glance, anyway) sister humble herself! Not because she shouldn't, but simply because this is NEVER going to happen and setting it as a criterion is merely to invite failure.

Hmm. How to establish good boundaries with a raging narcissist whom - because your mother has a right to contact with her - you do not wish to cut out altogether. Very, very challenging.

Apart from your husband, what allies/support do you have in caring for your mother?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You now also have AC :) Please keep posting, there are many forum members (Golden especially springs to mind) having to "arm's length" problematic siblings and they may well have good strategies and tactics to suggest.

Meanwhile: get her in perspective. Your sister is rude. She is silly. She is annoying. But what she is not is *important.* Shrugging off someone who is a bloody nuisance is much less stressful than dealing with someone who frightens you. Don't let her tantrums scare you.
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You do not have to tolerate anyone disrespecting you in your home. Your sister doesn't have a "right" to mis-behave as she wishes in your home under the guise of visiting her mother. If she really wants to visit Mom, she won't have any problems behaving herself.

Anyone can sue anytime if they have the money for the lawyer but that doesn't mean they can win.

Although I have never needed them when I called the sheriff's department to have one of my brothers removed from my property, you might want to have your POA documents available to show peace officers when you call to have your sister removed from your property.

Send your sister a letter with a reasonable visitation time (an hour on Sunday afternoon?) and your visitation house rules (treat everyone present with courtesy, no cussing, no yelling, no complaining, pleasant conversation, visit may be recorded, etc.) and require your sister confirm she will be visiting at least 24 hours in advance. Make sure there's a rule that she will leave immediately anytime she is requested to do so and that if the police must be called to remove her from your home all visitation is terminated for at least 30 days. Put a signature block on the bottom that she agrees to the visitation time and rules and do not allow her in until after she signs - give/mail her a copy of the signed visitation agreement. Use a guest book and let her sign in and out so you have a record of her visits. Consider having a non-family member "monitor" visitation and/or use a nanny cam.

Because it can be upsetting to the elder when a visit goes badly, I would require the visitation take place in a common room and have someone available who can help your mother back to her room if needed.

I have used visitation agreements in two situations:
(1) a non-custodial parent who wanted me to agree to supervise visits (court required supervision) but thought she could walk all over me because she had a "right" to those visits (she did, but she didn't have a right to my uncompensated supervision); and,
(2) one older brother who thought (apparently like your sister) he had a right to "punish" people who didn't allow themselves to be bullied with angry/rude behavior - including my mother.
Both griped about how "unfair" things worked out. Both were escorted off my property before they understood the rules really did apply to them too. One choose to be "nice" and one choose to walk away.
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:) "Very, very, challenging" indeed! You just opened my eyes to how impossible that sounded! lol----- Oh well, please say a prayer for me, because I am at my wits end with her freakin drama! (oh and by the way you nailed her like you know her!) ---- My moms care is the most important thing to me and my husband right now and I refuse to let anything take my eyes off of that! I am pumping her full of all the right foods, vitamins, getting exercise, catching up on the missed doctor visits her husband failed to make, ect......., just trying to make things better for her and keep her around for as long as God see's fit!
As for my "allies?" Well, other than my awesome Savior Christ Jesus & my hubby, I pretty much have my husbands 80 yr old mother and 86 yr old father that live near by,(you would never know those 2 awesome human beings were their ages!) my brother when he can as he has to of course work, my 22 yr old daughter that's now married, and my 25 yr old son and his girlfriend, and an awesome friend of mine. They are all awesome, and don't know what I would do w/o their support!
Thx so much for your reply! ---- Pray, pray, pray!
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I think she could try. I don't think it would be free to bring legal action and I don't think it would be successful. A visit from social services isn't anything to fear. They may come, make a report. That's it. They aren't in the business of getting involved with family feuds. They will see your mom is okay and close the file.

I would not have her in my house, if it were me. I wouldn't offer her the option of apologizing. I'd just say no, you aren't welcome here. Get your mom her own phone line so she can't annoy you with repeated calls.

Does your mom want to see her? If so, can you think of some way she can visit with your mom where she would be supervised? Would your brother offer to have the two of them go to his house on a regular basis? Or could your brother take your mom to her somehow?

You've got enough stress in your life. You shouldn't accept abuse in your own home, in my opinion. And your husband shouldn't be expected to accept this either. Ask your brother to help you handle this.
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Just a thought, but you might try getting your Mother's PCP Dr on your side, if and when your sister tries to get APS involved!
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Ahhh, family! Great support & some good suggestions here. I loved the comment about asking your brother help you with her.  I suggest you prepare for when she does take you to court or calls APS. Get your ducks in a row now. 

First off, get outside, consistent, paid caregivers to help with Mom’s care. That in itself is a stress reducer. Then determine 2 or 3 times a week DURING the paid help time that would be good for “visiting hours” and where in your home these visits are to take place. Remember, it is Mom’s home as well, so a bathroom, maybe the kitchen, & a visiting room (not Mom’s bedroom) are the absolute maximum places for Mom to have visitors. The paid caregiver would be there to attend to Mom’s needs if necessary & also end the visit on time (for Mom to nap or whatever is next on the all-to-important schedule). Once you have determined this — and it should be VERY soon — send a certified / signed receipt letter to your sister outlining the visit parameters. Don’t say anything about paid caregivers or anything like that. Keep it friendly & short and stress that this is best for MOM.  Have a plan for when she refuses to end the visit or leave your home.  This is where brother could help in getting her out of there!

Second is about the money aspect of the situation. Get to an elder care lawyer NOW & have a caregiver agreement set up as to Mom’s monetary contribution to the household, etc. Then document document document every penny you spend— both of Mom’s money & your own. Run that part like a business, sending your brother via email at a minimum quarterly documentation. If it were me, I would do the emails monthly, but that’s just me because I am a spreadsheet nerd.

Third, and this part is helpful as Mom progresses in her disease. Keep a daily notebook log of Mom’s care. Nothing fancy, just notes of her eating (what & when), mood (is she anxious or sad or depressed), her increasingly-frequent accidents, sleeping, stuff like that. We started doing this with Mom when my 2 siblings & I plus the aide shared in the 7-days-a-week care of Mom. It proved very valuable as time went on & we saw patterns as her behavior was changing. All who participate in Mom’s care have to keep up with this notebook.

When your sister calls APS or the police or whatever, you will have what you need to support your side of the story. Cold, hard facts to counter her emotional rantings. Good luck. Deep breaths. 

Lastly, make time for alone time for both yourself and you + hubby — very important! Even if just 1 or 2 hours a week. Easier said than done, we all know that.  Hugs to you.
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My situation has been almost the exact situation as yours. Fourteen years ago my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and asked me to be her POA. I relocated back to my home town and took a position there. My sister took my mom to an attorney while I was at work and did not tell the attorney there was a POA in place and she assigned herself as POA. Devistated and blinded by my sisters actions, we soon went to court for guardianship. The court said Moms new POA was invalid because she had already been declared incompetent in testing and I was granted guardianship. It does not end there. For 12 years now my sisters revenge and hatred for me continues. Mom is in Nursing Care now and my sister defies every decision made by doctor, staff and myself. She has now been put on notice and told if she does one more thing she will be limited visits with Mom and will not be able to visit alone. My attorney told me 12 years ago I had the power but to use it wisely. This kept ringing in my head for years. I have documented everything (daily diary) and it has paid off. She has made accusations and we have been to court several times. Each time the court has sided with me and she has had to pay the court.
You probably want to ask me why have I not blocked her and prevented her from seeing Mom... I have tried to keep in mind that my sister has mental issues and is narsassistic and that this is her mom too. My life has been an absolute nightmare but I have the court, my brother, uncle and friends for support. I served her with a letter telling her her time has run out and if anything else happens, visitations are then adjusted.

Your sister can only enter your home if you allow her. Set visitation times and days. Get guardianship and back yourself with evedence.

I wish you well. This job is sometimes a long and difficult journey.
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Cateyes Jul 20, 2018
Thank you Caring4mom2018!  You have giving me some great advice here.  I have been keeping a daily journal just because all of my sister's hate for me.  Just like you I don't know what she may do next, but I do feel sorry for her because she has mental issues going on.  I feel her life is total consumed from the time she gets up till she goes to bed.  I also have POA over my brother who is in a nursing care that I see after weekly.  I do the best I can as a caregiver and will continue to take care of my Mom in my home no matter what I may go through with my sister.  I just pray daily that God will continue to show mercy in my family.  I do love the information on setting visitation times and days.  I will continue to allow my sister to see our Mom because I feel it is the right thing to do along as she abides by the rules set.  I wish you best and continue to take care of yourself and your Mom.
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I am in a similar situation except the real problem lies with the fact that my family moved into my mother-in-law's house to prevent her from selling it and going to a nursing home. She gave us full use of the main part of the house which is on a separate floor and she moved to the lower level which is set up like a nice apartment and we made it handicap accessible. Some family members visit and think they have free access to the entire house and we have no privacy. They don't want to use her bathroom (although it is clean) so come upstairs to use ours. Also the only kitchen is on our level (not that they cook for her or anything like that). In the beginning I let everyone use whatever they wanted including my kitchen (I say that because my mother-in-law told me to take her things out and put all my stuff in since I would be doing all of the cooking and she is finished). When I realized they were unwilling to help us with her care by just allowing us to go out when they visit I changed the setup. Now they visit, using her entrance, and I never say a word to them. When out of state family visited recently I had an aide here and tried to not be home as much as possible. I can't stop them from visiting but I can try to have boundaries in place for my emotional health. We have been told that it is their mom's house and they have a right to go anywhere they want in it. My husband explained that when she is gone the house is divided equally, until then she has given us the upstairs of the house for our home and it is none of their business. She is very happy with her living arrangement and desires to stay in her home. My family has made many sacrifices in order to assist her with that and by no means does the financial benefit of not paying rent outweigh those sacrifices. We can not go on vacation, have to arrange for an aide to be here to go out, are on call 24/7, and live under what feels like a microscope by outsiders who are her family yet don't want to participate in her care but rather lay it all on us since we moved in.

If you could find a couple of trustworthy companions to help you it may give you some relief. Just to keep her company and be there when your sister visits so you can distance yourself from her destructive behavior. Try to remove yourself more and more when she visits and she will get the message. She may make a lot of noise along the way but pretty soon she will see it is useless and hopefully give up.
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