My mother has dementia. I am her only child. She has two sisters who are very enabling and will interfere with her medical care or decisions we have made regarding my mother's care. She is in her home, lives next door to me where I check on her frequently. I also have a child with Asperger syndrome for whom I am a caregiver, plus I work as does my husband. I do work at home; however, I must maintain a work schedule the same as if I were in an office.
I recently made arrangements for Mom to receive home health (aide and home PT). Mom falls a lot. She is unsteady on her feet and must use a walker. She has already had to have home PT and an aide once before because of general debility.
One aunt is telling her that she doesn't have to have this if she doesn't want it. This same aunt recently caved in to one of Mom's requests and put her in a dangerous situation by coming over and starting Mom's van, after we had disabled it to keep her from driving. Mom left and then drove to another town, then returned home. Mom has been explicitly told not to drive. We have tried taking keys, but she manages to dig up another set, so we disabled her van by disconnecting the battery cables. The aunt then called and bawled me out because I or my husband (who had just worked 12-hour shifts the 2 days before) would not get up and take her to do her errands *right then.* I told the aunt that Mom is NOT to be driving, and had disabled the van to keep her from doing so because Mom has zero impulse control.
These aunts are not involved with mom's day-to-day care whatsoever. They call her on a daily basis, but they are not around her to see that her physical and mental status have deteriorated significantly. Mom can hold it together, for a bit, but if you speak to her long enough, you'll see that she has significant confusion, hallucinates, and mixes things up.
Mom also tells lies about people to get people to feel sorry for her. Usually she tells them about me, and they're not true. This is usually if we set a boundary with her such as, "I won't get up at 6 a.m. and take you to the grocery store, but I will take you at 4:30 p.m. today after I'm finished working." She will call someone, usually one of these aunts, and tell them that I am being mean to her and won't help her, and she wants to go to the grocery store. They react by dropping what they are doing, going to her, and then bawling me out. Never do they actually ASK me or ask her why she needs to go to the grocery store at 6 a.m. Nor do they ever say, "Do you need to go to the grocery store some time next week?"
Mom's doctors and caregivers have told me not to give in to her requests because otherwise will make me crazy. They have told me, in no uncertain terms, that I must set boundaries, otherwise life will only get worse. I have been her caregiver for 9 years now, and we've managed pretty well. However, it's recently that she's become more manipulative and demanding.
Yes, I have tried talking to the aunts, but they have a tendency to treat me like I'm an idiot even though I'm well educated and work in the healthcare field. I have made specific requests of them, such as to NOT come start her van, and they've told me that their allegiance is with her not me, and they'll do what they please. I flat told the one aunt if Mom was hurt or hurt others because of their giving in to her demands, it was on THEM.
What do you do? How do you cover yourself in such a situation? If their help is appropriate, I appreciate it tremendously because even a little bit gives me some respite. The problem is that they give in to her demands without being involved in her care to see that their catering and enabling her is only making things worse.