After caring for parents for 6 years alone, I have burnout. My sister with schizophrenia wants to move into family home now. Can I prevent this?


Parents will said she can move back in, but my mother is alive in facility. Can I prevent her from moving back in? After 6 years of caring for parents virtually alone I can't deal with her illness.

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I'm not sure you can legally prevent this, but Susan told you her (similar) story and she may be right. You have to stand up for yourself somewhere along the line. You can't take care of everybody. Only you can decide what you are willing to do.

You can tell your parents that you can't do more, so if your sister moves in, you will move out. Sadly, that may be your only option. Susan is likely right that you'll soon be called back. Then, you'll have to decide if you want to go.
Take care of yourself,
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I take care of my mom who is in a nursing home and I drive 120 miles a week to see her and when I'm not doing that, she is burning my phone batteries down. I have no time whatsoever to do things I need to do and then my 51 year old brother who is bipolar and an alcoholic needed a place to stay and mom kept on and on at me about how I should let him. There is a history between my brother and I but then, I wanted to keep mom calm so I allowed my brother to move in for a few weeks which ended up six months! He ruined our relationship with our neighbor, he terrorized my dogs, he rode me and my husband to the ground and our emotions were shot, we lost control of our home and still had mom to deal with. I got very sick and lost over 10 lbs during that time. I know it was my fault for allowing my brother to come into my home but afterall, he is my brother. Over time, I learned all the stories he was telling were lies, I learned quite more than I wanted to actually and knowing I did let him in and did try to help him, we in turn went into debt. It taught me a huge lesson, even tho he is my brother, I cannot raise my 51 year old brother who is very self centered and blames everyone else for his life. But I am at peace that I did do what I could to help him. In your case, I would see if there is any facility your sister can be put in or, as someone else suggested, you may have to move. It is hard to please everyone but a hard lesson here learned, we have to care for ourselves too or there won't be anyone to care for your family.
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I am not clear on the exact situation. My mother whom, I was caring for, wanted my brother who had multiple medical and mental problems to come live with her, with me presumably taking care of both of them (and filling in the cash flow gap with my own savings). NO, no no no no. I told my Mom that I would not be continuing to take care of her and convinced her that my brother was not capable. Get ready to pack your bag and leave. By the time a day passes, you will receive a call asking when you are planning to return. Know your worth even if it takes this kind of a statement to get your parent(s) to acknowledge it.
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Sadly, both Carol and Susan are right. I have been caring for both parents for 3 years alone. I AM burnt-out. Dad in NH now and Mom still independent. One sibling causing all sorts of trouble and has no money. Neither of my siblings help out in any way. One sibling has been here twice in 3.5 years. One sibling only comes through when it is convenient to visit area colleges with their kids and stay at my Mom's for free. She has her own issues, psychiatric and hasn't really worked in 20 years and lives a reckless life of bad mistakes.

I've sacrificed everything taking care of mom and dad and I bet you have too, austmtnbiker. Enough is enough. Say no, she can't move in and if she does, move out. Sorry the truth hurts but not having a plan is certainly more painful.


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This is not to sound cold hearted,, but my ex and I had a similar situation with his sister and after years of battling her disease and his mothers illness this is what we learned:
If your mother is still alive and in a nursing home, the will is only a piece of paper that has yet to be executed. If your sister is not yet living in the home, you may be able to assert your power of attorney to keep her out of the home until such time as (unfortunately) your mother passes. After such time, as executor, you can move to sell the property and split the proceeds, provided there is not a codicile in the will which prevents the sale of the home and provided it is not already her legal residence. If there is such a codicile, there is no requirement that you pay for the upkeep/ maintenance for your sister to live in the home alone....but know that (legally) as half owner: it behooves you to keep the house in good repair and insured. After 5 yrs of paying the taxes/maint/insurance alone (from your own pocket....not your mothers), you can petition the state to transfer the home/property to your name alone..( the state reconizes the tax payer as the legal owner (after 5 years ...from your own money)...but you still must sell the home or pay your sister her half of the appraised value.minus offset..once your mother has passed. Speak to an attorney about this, but if your sister is not legally competent, you may be able to sell the house/give her half the proceeds and be done....sadly (once your mother has passed). You should set up a court appointed guardian or attorney/trust to administer her funds to her.
Your parents may have wanted for you both to share the house, but they can not force you to take care of your sister. If you live in the home, and if your mother is still alive, then there is no will to enforce. If you have POA,(sometimes even if you don't) just tell sister that she cannot move in....period.....but you must assert this the day she tries to move in by calling the police and telling them she is not a resident and not entitled to move in...otherwise, once she is in and receives mail, the police won't help you, they will tell you to take it to civil court and go through an eviction process.
If your mother insists she be allowed to move in, and your mother is of sound mind, and still paying the bills/taxes : you may have to move out if you do not want to live with your sister. If you are paying the bills(from your own pocket), you are considered a tenant and may be able to keep her out by asserting tenant rights.....but this can be a dicey option if there is not an agreement in place and/or/if you are paying any household bills with your mother's money and your mother insists she be allowed to live there. Let your mother know that you will not be responsible for paying for a home you do not live in and that it will be up to your sister to pay for the maint/upkeep/insurance.....but do make sure the taxes/mort get paid or the state/bank can take the home anyway...and you may need/want to keep it insured...for liability purposes.. talk to the insurance agency as they may or may not let you insure it if you are not living there and she is not competent....Also, see if the county/city/mortgage (if any) requires insurance on the structure and what those specifications are...(in our case, it was this insurance requirement that allowed us to petition the court for control of the property until his mother (sadly) passed and we could sell it..but ..we had to (legally) evict his sister(we paid the taxes/maint/upkeep/bills/ins) and we were not living in the home (ourselves), we leased it out with the proceeds (after expenses) going to his mother until her passing.) Certainly talk to an attorney and remember that you are not your sisters keeper. Your parents cannot force you to care for her through their will.

There is no will at this time: as your mother is still alive. If you are living in the home, paying the bills and/or taxes, you are the legal occupant of said home until such time as your mother passes. If your sister is living in the home when your mother passes, she may be able to keep you from selling it by claiming it as her homestead and a hardship for her if she has to move!
When you and your sister inherit the home: you inherit the bills, the taxes/ liabilities together (if you have paid for the home/maint/taxes/ins,,,you may/should be able to offset the inheritance by that amount to compensate you. ... must keep meticulous records!). If you need to sell the home to pay your mothers bills, then you split the proceeds after those bills have been paid and any offset due to you. Contact an elder care attorney, they are definately worth the money, and most consultations are free.
Good luck, honey. I know this is a difficult time, but do not feel guilted into becoming your sisters caregiver if it is not what you want to do. You deserve to be able to live your life as you see fit. You took care of your parents to the best of your ability, but that does not obligate you to caring for your sister for the rest of your life because they wanted to leave the house to both of you. Be kind, but firm in your resolve, or you could end up feeling trapped and forced into a situation you can't resolve, if you don't (legally) stand up for yourself.
Once she has moved into the home, you probably won't be able to get her out of the home..without a court order...unless she is legally incompetent or a danger to herself or which case, she needs a structured environment with people who are trained to handle her specific needs/difficulties and a court appointed guardian to oversee her inheritence (once your mom has passed).

I only know these things because I have lived through them with my ex husbands family and it is what we had to do for his sister in a similar situation in Austin, Tx. It may or may not fit your specific situation. Talk to an attorney who specializes in elder care/disability law and has experience in probate issues. I am sure you love your sister, but that does not obligate you to be her caregiver. Schitzophrenia is a devistating disease that can leave families obliterated and leave surviving family devistated while the schitzophrenic (themself) seemlesly alternate between denial, manipulation, utter apathy,serious psychosis and (seemingly) relative normalcy. Remember that it is not her fault she has this disease, but that does not obligate you to be her caregiver/punchingbag:(my experience(only)speaking). Best bet: speak with an attorney! And simply tell her no and call the police immediately...make her go through the legal chanels to force you to let her move in.... if she tries to. Make sure you have changed all of the locks, too!

Again, this is not to sound cruel or cold hearted, but I know from experience that schizophrenia is a very self centered disease and the people who have it are often oblivious to any one elses needs/rights or wishes, so you must take that into consideration and look out for yours and your mother's best interest! God Bless you, Sweetie!
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My mother is in nursing facility with dementia. She does not know what is going on. She has regressed to having infant-like characteristics....has to be fed pureed food, diapered..etc basically, mom eats, sleeps and poops like an infant. Dad passed away in 2007. The house is in Trust to us descendants, but it was basically me alone tending to mom in dad since 2006. Right now I am here alone in family house. I dont want to live here all my life, just want to catch up with other bills i acquired while putting my life on hold while caring for parents. I know what it's like living with a schizophrenic. I did so for a little while in the 90s with my sister here in the house. I don't want to go through that again. She hallucinates, slams doors, rattles chairs, hears things, and is an insomniac. It's unbearable, especially now that I am emotionally spent after caring for mom and dad. That she cannot understand that is confounding. I have flat out told her, if she moves back I can NOT take care of her. ie...take her to grocery store, dr apts, on and on.....seems there should be some way to get her some help but not moving back to this little city , that offer no way of transportation that a city like San Antonio would
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Regarding your question, can you prevent her from moving back in, I doubt anyone here can answer b/c this appears to be a legal issue based on specific facts since you don't appear to own the home. It might help to try to find some other resolution. Does your sister have a case manager? Is she in a program? Did your parents make that provision expecting you to take care of her? did they ever discuss this with you? And did you ever tell them what you are saying now, that you can't handle that (and believe me I perfectly understand your situation) Is your sister stabilized so that you can try to reason with her (like this is not the ideal situation for you - you need to be in a better location with transporation and other assistance). You might want to contact the local NAMI association to get some advice as to what help is available . You don't mention finances as to whether she has any funds. Is she old enough for senior housing or does she qualify for disabled housing? If in the end it turns out she has a legal right to be there, then maybe you can bargain with her, even if you have to take on a roommate to offer her extra money to pay for a better place for herself. If you both end up owning the home together you could always sell.If she is not stableized, perhaps she could be checked into a mental health program and there they could help make long term placement plans for her. They might even have housing themselves, even if short term.
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Hey, austmtnbiker, I think Ferris1 gave a really good answer. It sounds to me that only your mother is still alive, and in a facility? And the will stipulates that your mentally ill sis is allowed to move back into the family home, where you now reside, after caring for your parents for six years? I can only imagine the burnout you have in the caregiving department. Schizophrenia is such a tricky illness as are so many mental illnesses. Ferris1 asked if your sister is on meds, and good about taking them. That's an important question, because if not....(which can be the case w/ the mentally ill who stop the meds as soon as they begin feeling better, and then everything goes quickly downhill), then there's a big problem. It would most likely be much too stressful for you to remain under the same roof. That's a hard pill to swallow, since you have given so much of yourself to the situation, and your choices seem to be between a rock and a hard place. Could you get your Mom's permission to sell the family home, and split the proceeds with your sis, so that she could have something to get herself situated somewhere else, and you as well? OR, will the family home be the property of the government upon your Mom's death, to reimburse for medicade expenses? Hopefully not the case, but at any rate, just be prepared for what's coming down the road. Your mentally ill sis could be tough to deal with. And it sounds like your Mom doesn't want her to be left out in the cold, so to speak. I know what that feeling is like, having a daughter w/ a personality disorder, who I worry very much about, and want to make sure she's not left homeless shelters. It's a scary thought for a parent with a challenged child. :( Good luck. I hope for the best for you!
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I don´t know if is a similar situation:
Last year, a younger sister wanted to stay with us for the summer. But I knew already the dementia problem of my wife. My sister has an unoperable benign tumor in the center of the head and from it several health problems and of behavior. In other years I had accepted. Not the last one: I told another sister that I can not be reasonable taking care of the two. therefore, I refused to accepted the visit.
I don´t know what she sade afterwards, and I don´t worry about, My wife comes first.
Good luck and I hope my answer is util.
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Dear austmtnbiker: I posted a long answer earlier, only to later discover your other posts which included more information. Our case was not similar in that: Medicaid was not involved, nor was there a trust. My husband and I loved his sister dearly, but , like your sister, she would refuse her medications and become violent and insist their were people out to get her. She also abused street drugs from time to time and so we had to try to get her committed, which is extremly difficult in Texas. Plus, once they have "graduated" from detox, the state just releases her back to the streets without aftercare and often without a caseworker to oversee her meds or situation.
You said that the house was set up in a trust, who set the trust up for your parents? Perhaps you can go to the attorney who set up the trust and see what advice they can offer you. I
I am sorry to read about your mothers condition. It is a terrible situation and my prayers are with you. I am betting you love your sister with all of your heart, but your heart is battered and bruised right now and I can certainly empathize with your feelings about not being able to handle her at this time. You can try MHMR family resources. They might be able to steer you in the right direction with regards to finding available resources for her treatment and care. I don't know if she qualifies for assistance with the state but I am betting she is on SSDI. Maybe you could get her into a state home, depending on her severity of symptoms, but it was impossible for us to do, given the fact that her illness was (mostly) controlable when she took her meds and stayed off of street drugs.
Please try to contact the attorney who set up the trust and ask him for his/her best advice based on your situation and your parents wishes, for their property and you girls, after they passed. Also ask him if you can sell the property after your mother passes, or if you have to live there for a certain amount of time with your sister. I am not sure what the law says on this, and if it affects your current situation.
Please don't think my earlier post was intended to tell you how to take advantage of your sister, I only intended to pass along the information I learned while dealing with our situation and how we had to ultimately go to drastic measures to protect his mother and her assets while also trying to find a suitable place for his sister. There are no easy answers, and there is not a single "every case" scenario. Unfortunately, we are left to navigate these heavy issues by the seat of our pants. I hope I have been of some help, but I hope more that you find a solution that works for you and your sister that lets you put your head on your pillow at night, knowing you did the best you could for the both of you, with the tools you had available.
I will keep you in my prayers.
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