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I have a mom 88 years old she seems to have some of her mind at times she gets nasty. I live one town away I call her everyday, when she doesn't answer the phone I panic. My only sister lives in Canada and she says I take on to much. She doesn't understand and I'm getting burnt out. Please help.

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The only thing that worked for me was asking my sister for help in front of her husband. He entered the room when we were talking about dad and I continued the conversation....best mistake of my life! Now when I seriously need her help, I make sure that her husband is on the telephone or in the room. It seems silly but it worked for us.
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MY SISTER LIVES 20 MIN AWAY BUT DOES NOT OR WILL NOT HELP.
SHE IS RETIRED AND I STILL WORK BUT I AM STILL THE ONE WHO HAS TO LEAVE WORK.
SHE IS INTERESTED IN HER HEALTH RECORDS TO COMPARE WITH HER IN-LAWS HEALTH RECORDS AND HOW MUCH MONEY THERE WILL BE. I DO NOT ASK ANYMORE AND DO NOT EVEN WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH HER ANYMORE. WE WERE NOT INVITED FOR THE HOLIDAYS LAST YEAR AS WE ARE NOT NICE TO HER IN-LAWS WHO ARE COMFORTABLE. MY MOM IS ON SOME PUBLIC ASSISTANCE SO THERE IS NOT MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO. I GIVE MOM MONEY FROM EVERY PAYCHECK. YOU JUST HAVE TO GET ON WITH EVERYTHING. I AM SINGLE WITH NO CHILDREN AND SAVING AS I KNOW THERE WILL BE NO FAMILY HELP FOR ME IF I NEED IT.
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Unfortunately, from my own experience, I can tell you that the only person you can rely on is yourself. My narcissistic sister was never concerned with my mother or the effects of Alzheimer's on anyone but herself. After a struggle of nearly 4 1/2 years my mother succumbed to this terrible disease. My sister never sent even one penny towards helping me cover the costs associated with assisted living and nursing home costs. At my mother's funeral, she was overheard talking about how "much" she did for my mother! What a joke. When all is said and done you can rest easy knowing that you were there when no one else was for your loved one. Best wishes.
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In all honesty there is actually nothing to can do to force your sister into helping you, physically or financially. If a person feels no compunction to help her mother then there is no way legally for you to force her. It is the pits, I know it, I live it, but when it comes down to brass tacts if a child is unwilling or unable to help, they won't. Your sister has distance on her side as you are the closest child to Mom therefore you are the caretaker by default. My sister and I both live in the same house with my mother, but I am disabled and do not work, she does, therefore I have become the caretaker by default.

As a few people have said here, sometimes it is better not to expect any help at all and you will never be disappointed that your siblings are basically selfish and think only of themselves. I know that sounds harsh, but I changed the wording from what I really wanted to say and it's true.

If your Mom has any money or owns a home you need to see an Elder Care Attorney and see if she is still able to assign Power of Attorney over to you. If she has dementia that has gone too far she will not be able to give you POA as she is not mentally able. You do need to get her affairs in order for her and POA and Trust or will are MUST HAVES and you need to do it immediately. If Mom balks at giving you her POA just keep reminding her that it is not for use NOW but in the future when it MAY be needed....even though you may realize it is going to be needed sooner rather than later. Do not get yourself freaked out or you will be of no help to anyone and you need to be on the top of your game.

You need to have your Mom's mental capacity evaluated by a Neurologist to find out if she has dementia or Alzheimer's so you will know what you are going to be faced with down the road and perhaps there is a medication that can help her.

You will need to determine if she can continue to live alone in the town she lives in or move closer to you. Can she afford in home care or will she need to be placed in a facility to help her. If she cannot afford it then you may have to apply for Medicaid if she is eligible.

There is a lot to be done, but I believe you can do it and you can come back to this site and ask as many questions as you want and people are willing to help you by giving you information and agencies that can assist you.

I would still approach the subject with your sister of needing some financial assistance with Mom and her needs, however you would probably be better off always believing in your heart she will always say "NO," then you will never be disappointed, but you will have backup agencies that can help you if she is financially unable to pay.

This job is never easy for any of us, but we all seem to make it through!

God Bless You on this Journey!
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Another thing I want to mention is to consider what a blessing it can be to have an uninvolved sibling. I've read horror stories on this site of one child trying to take over and freezing the other child out, so that is one example of how horrible having "involved" siblings can be. I am currently experiencing my own horror in terms of watching my brother be disrespectful, emotionally abusive, inconsiderate, and rejecting toward my mother (which is all the worse because they were very close his whole life until a few years ago, so she keeps hoping he'll be nice and essentially going back for more abuse). So in many ways it can be a wonderful blessing to have siblings who just walk away. Silver lining, I guess. Ultimately I agree with assandache7 that it's all about doing what you believe to the right thing in terms of the burden you take on, such that you can live without regret in the future.
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corrections ...

your sister ISN'T near enough

evaluated and DIAGNOSED

so that YOU know what you're DEALING with
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In your profile, you say your moms problem is general age-related decline. But when I read "she seems to have some of her mind" and "at times gets nasty", I think dementia of some sort. Your sister is it near enough to see clearly what's going on with your mom like you can. But if it is dementia, it needs to be evaluated and diagnostic so that YOU I know what you're doing with and have some guidance about what to do. Go with her to her Dr and get the process started.
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I agree with assandache7, the children come out in true form during a crisis. I moved in with my mother and told them that if she becomes 24/7 that has to be dealt with and split.. She was 24/7 and I called a family meeting to talk about splitting weekends, I then became the bad guy and I got so tired of hearing I have this going on and that I quit talking to all of them because all I was hearing was their life was more important than mine. My mother recently had to be placed in a nursing home she is now requiring skilled nursing.. I don't have any guilt or regrets either.
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I feel the same way..It takes more energy to complain about siblings..They've made their choices and have to live with them. I on the other hand have made mine and will have no regrets.
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I have found it most helpful to acknowledge to my self the fact that I'm doing an exhausting job that is something that should be shared, but that won't be. Instead of trying to get my siblings to help, and then being disappointed that they won't, acknowledging that I'm on my own with my mother's care has, ironically, been helpful. So I don't have any "hard" suggestions for what you can do, or where there are resources, because I haven't found any that have worked for me/my mom, but my "soft" suggestion is that coming to terms with the fact that you are on your own can honestly be kind of helpful, in that you won't be disappointed all the time by your sibling's behavior.
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The problem is, if a sibling isn't willing to help, there's just not much that you can do to make them until you can make them see the need. You can't force them to share the load and they generally will refuse to see what has to be done (because that would mean they would have to step up). This is an unfortunate occurrence that is happening all across the country as more and more of our parents reach old age and need more help. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost.

Keep in mind, you are doing what is right for your mom, but, you have to take care of yourself as well. Make a list of ALL the things your mom needs, on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis and yearly basis. Be as thorough as you can be down to the times she takes each medicine, if she needs help bathing, getting dressed, cooking, help eating, running errands, going to the grocery store, going to the doctor, getting her hair done, getting her bills paid, etc..You get the picture, Now make a similar list for all the things YOU have to do daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Put every single thing for both of you into a calendar mentioning everything that has to be done per day. Now, send a copy of it to your sister and demand to know which half of the responsibilities for your mom she's going to cover. Remind her just because she doesn't live nearby does not exonerate her from her responsibilities. If she says she can't be there for the day to day (which of course she can't) then she needs to fork over cold hard cash and lots of it. She needs to pay YOU for half of YOUR time and gas and wear and tear on your car, etc. She will also need to plan on four weeks per year that she will move in with your mom and do everything (at her own expense) so you can have a vacation once every three months (believe me, you'll need more than that, but if your sister sees it's going to affect HER vacations, she's going to see there's a problem) She'll say that's more than her fair share, to cover all the financial and give up her vacations, so remind her that's what she's expecting you to do. She says you're taking on too much, remind her your mom took on too much when she had the two of you. Tell your sister that it's a full-time job to see to it that mom is cared for, so if you're providing the hands on, that's your half of the responsibility. Tell her if she wants to move in with your mom and do all the hard work, you'll gladly be the one to fork over the financial support - or split the responsibilities in half. BE FIRM!

More and more, states are looking at ways to force the children to step up and assume responsibility for their elderly parents' care. I always recommend the person taking on the responsibility contact an Elder Care Lawyer. And be prepared when you go. Take your mom's medical history, her financial situation, yours and your sister's medical history and financial situations. This should also include approximately how long the doctor believes your mom will need assistance (this is critical). Also, check into nursing homes and assisted living to see how much the monthly fee is. (It is totally outrageous what it costs so be prepared, it can run anywhere from $3,000 - $10,000 per month according to where your mom lives.) After you've done your homework, inform your sister you expect her to pay half of the cost of your mom's monthly fees for care if your mom requires it - and get it in writing drawn up by a lawyer. If your mom owns her home free and clear, get a reverse mortgage or check into how the nursing facility can draw the monthly fees from her home. If she is not financially sound, check into Medicaid to help with the fees. Medicaid will "take her house and assets", but what that means is your mom will be cared for in a nursing home until her death. At that time, you and your sister (or whoever was supposed to inherit the home) will be responsible to see the house is sold and the money from the sale sent to Medicaid to cover her accrued expenses. Medicaid will in effect wipe out any inheritance you and your sister might have gotten - up to the amount the state spent on her). If there is any money left over, you and your sister (or the inheritor) will receive it to be split on a percentage basis per your mom's will. If your mom is quite well off, there might be something left, but if your mom's overall health is generally good, she could live a long time and drain all the assets. Does your mom have a "long-term" insurance policy? If so, it's time to dust it off and read the terms and fine print carefully. If your mom planned for this, the amount owed per month might be managed easier between you and your sister, the policy might even provide for some home health assistance where a nurse would drop by daily to help her take her meds right, see she's eaten, bathed, dressed, etc. Home health is a Godsend if you can afford it because it takes a huge burden off of you (and that's the bottom line here, you have to remember to take care of yourself). It is not being selfish to put yourself first. Your mom has to be cared for, of course, but never feel guilty because you need help.

If there is a support group in the area, join it! Venting is the number one way to protect your health, just knowing there are others out there (and there are thousands) doing this alone is a great comfort. You can talk to others and learn their tricks and from their mistakes therefore making your life just a small tad easier. If there isn't a support group, try to start one now, before you are in this full time. Make time for yourself and for your family. Try not to bring the stress from your mom home with you (why you need the support group - to vent to them and not take it out unknowingly on your family at home). Get a physical now, be sure your health is good enough to take on this responsibility. Take an afternoon walk, if possible, maybe some of them with your mom. Getting her out of the house might change her perspective and make her a little less nasty at times. She could be getting nasty because she doesn't understand what is happening to her so get her a physical as well. She may just be angry she's getting old and having to depend on others. Talk to her, or at least try, I know this isn't always easy, in fact, at times it's just blooming impossible. But keep trying, not for her, but for you. Get her one of those "Life Alerts" or other brands, I believe Wal-Mart now has one that's about $10/month. (This should be on your sister to get and pay for since she's too far away to get there in case of an emergency, she should foot the bill for the device.)

I hope this has helped a little. Know you are not alone and that there are others out there going through this or have lived through this that care. (Yes, you will live through it and be a stronger person for it.) I know, I did it alone for more than twenty-five years, ten of which she lived with me around the clock. I wouldn't change the time I had with her for anything, but I will never forgive my twin brother for not stepping up and helping in any way. (He bought her one meal in the ten years she lived with me and that's all he ever did.) I literally have no use for my brother now and have cut all ties with him. Don't let this happen to you and your sister. Hire the Elder Care Attorney and have everything drawn out, down to minute details regarding responsibilities and financial obligations and have both you and your sister sign it and then enforce the terms.

May God be with you, your mom and your sister. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Don't forget to keep us updated and don't forget to use this forum to vent, vent, vent! You'd be surprised how much just knowing someone is listening will help.
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Why don't you ask your mother to call you and check in? That way she will have a job, you can stop your panic attacks, and calm down. Since your sister lives in Canada, I am assuming you live in the U.S. Right or wrong? You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Sound familiar? Have your mother evaluated, get the results and go from there. Is there a possibility she could move in with you? If not, another care facility? At this rate, you will worry yourself into a early grave and she will still be alive. Do not do that to yourself. Get some help assessing her capabilities.
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Can your family afford assisted living for her? Does your Mom own her home from which she could draw resources for assisted living or in-home caregivers?

Have a meeting with your sister to discuss your Mom's immediate care needs. Perhaps sending videos of your Mom (including her talking) will get the point across of your Mom's needs. Any diagnoses?
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