Follow
Share

I'm a sibling who's offered to provide caregiver relief for a sibling who's been taking care of our parent with dementia. Time and again my offers have been rejected. I cared for my parent for two years when she was first diagnosed. By the time her mood stabilized, I developed a medical emergency and so I called my sibling and asked for help.

She's been caring for our parent for 4 years and in that time used our parent's pension, set aside for our parent's care, to cover school expenses for one of her children. I believe what she did was wrong, since this was not in our parent's best interest, but I have no control over that since my sibling is POA.

I've offered to bring our parent to back to my home in another state numerous times, and each time I've been refused. Most recently this sibling asked me to arrange for our parent to receive specific medical care in my state. She said she wanted her to stay with me. I made appointments, sent her all the information and was expecting to go and get my parent, when another sibling phoned and said, my sibling felt I was "trying to take over."

I am deeply concerned about this and have no idea what to do. Any advice, recommendations would be helpful.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Dena I'm so sorry you are going thru this...It must be so heartbreaking... All you care about is your Mom's well beening and your Sis is being an *ss...lol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yes, Macada. I will probably have to wind up recording my conversation with my Mom about her coming to visit me. Part of what's been happening is that when my Mom expresses her wishes to me, my sibling attributes what my Mom says to dementia; however if my Mom expresses anything to my sibling, my sibling acts as though our mother's dementia has taken a holiday, her mind no longer confused, her short-term memory as clear as a bell. So perhaps hearing a recording of my mother saying she'd like to spend time with me at my home, would help open some doors.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

As far as the POA goes, any use of the Grantors funds, selling of property, changes in investments and so on must be done in good faith for the Grantor themselves. The Attorney-in-Fact, or agent, must also be able to produce documentation for all transactions or some method to show it was done for the Grantor.

I would see if there was an alternate DPOA in the paperwork also. If there is fraud being committed it could be a very serious offense

Here is some info for the Statute of Frauds
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Dena.. do you have a video on your digital camera or cell phone? If so, you could video record tour mum having that conversation with you, you would only need a couple of minutes on tape. It might be worth a try.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Assandache, I have asked my mom if she'd like to come and stay with me and my husband. She says "yes," but she has no short-term memory, so she never remembers what she says to any one nor what we say to her. I told my sister when we'd come to get my mother, but my sister shut that down, accusing me of trying to "take over," telling me she'd have to think about it and get back to me. She's never gotten back to me and I doubt she will.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Oops I forgot to say that I understand she has dementia but she should be able to live with you if she wants..
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Why not just ask your Mom if she would like yo come live with you? That you miss seeing her every day. Maybe bring up some of the happy times you two had when she did live with you. Just a suggestion....
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If your sister used your parent's pension to pay school expenses, then she must have used her money to pay for your parent's care. How do you know she didn't simply reimbursed herself with the money used for school.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dena, you are very thoughtful and I one hundred percent agree with you. Everything you have said. We must be from the same family tree somewhere. :)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Macada...I've bitten the bullet a few times and will no doubt do it again. I wish I could get my other sibling to help me, but even though he agrees with me about everything I've shared here, he won't stand up with me due to issues he has concerning this sibling -- issues that are tearing him apart.

I'm on my own, unless I involve other relatives -- family members we've never had an open relationship with. It would be very awkward involving them in a situation they have no knowledge of.

Yes, I have a great deal of thinking to do in the short and long term. But sooner rather than later, I will have to act -- try to speak up for someone who can not speak for herself -- my mother, although it was her decision to give my sibling POA. She was never one to think everything through, to consider the possibility that one day, she'd really be in a position where she could not make certain decisions, or change her mind about any decisions she'd made. I'm sure she meant well and thought we'd all work together without incident. If only that were true.

I will do the best I can and let all of you know what direction I take. Wish me luck. Say a prayer for me and for my family. I will do the same for all of you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I hear what you are saying Dena. I guess my personality is such that if my mum was left alone all day my concern for her care and well being trumps worrying about hurting my sister's feelings. Also, I think there is something wrong if your sister can go to work all day and not be worried about your mum, I couldn't do that. I think you might just have to "bite the bullet" and all of you get together with your sister and put all of your feelings, thoughts and concerns on the table and no longer worry about hurting your sister's feelings. Your mum is the #1 priority and if you don't watch out for her care and well being, who is going to? I know you would feel terrible if something happened to her while your sister was away working. Explain those concerns to your sister, but do it all in person. Let us know what you decide.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, palmtrees, families are flawed and emotions run high when parents are ill. Some direct their emotions in beneficial ways, some let emotions direct them. Some people are flexible, others are stubborn beyond belief.

I don't understand withholding financial information from siblings. Circumstances have to be extraordinary to have to make this choice. Most often, circumstances do not call for such drastic measures. This is part of the problem. While there is no obligation to provide this information, what is wrong getting siblings together and discussing these kinds of realities? Unless parents are very wealthy, siblings may well have to provide financial assistance for care over time, particularly if your parent's pension payment amounts to a penny more than Medicaid allows. And If a sibling POA, won't disclose any information, even though other siblings are called upon to provide supplemental financial assistance, there are bound to be disagreements and very reasonable questions raised by those who've had no access to information.

Quite often concerned siblings are portrayed as people driven by bitterness and greed. Are there siblings out there who fit that bill? Yes. But in many situations, siblings who want to help and who have reasonable concerns are kept at bay by sibling POAs, not at the request of a parent, but based on decisions they made that might be questioned, and I'm not talking about penny by penny disclosure, I'm talking about big ticket transactions. If those transactions are care-related, disclose it; if not, clear the air. It's got to be done if a workable plan, requiring supplemental financial contributions from other siblings, is needed to provide a stable, quality level of care for parents over time.

But by law, and the choice of some siblings POAs, other siblings will not be made privy to financial information, nor will other siblings have any say in where our parent lives, what medical care our parent receives, or just about anything else.

Yes, macada, we can still speak up, in a manner that is not adversarial. In my family, this approach doesn't work either. I mentioned my mom being left alone all day, and that, at her age, 94, with no short term memory, she should not be left alone. I was quickly accused by my sibling of trying to say she was doing something wrong. So, to palmtrees point about feeling as though there isn't much we can do, I understand this point very well. If you try to help, you're accused of being nosy and critical. If you take a step back, you're criticized for not being involved.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Dena, because only my brother is privy to my mother's finances, only he knows anything about her personal business, I have to trust he is honest. Mom is very paranoid. My dad told my brother about all of their financial business before my father died. To keep me out of the loop, my mother has intentionally lied about my trustworthiness. It hurts and I have no way of checking on what my brother is doing.

Families are flawed at best. And at these times we are called upon to show our character. Your sister is showing hers and my brother is/will show his. There isn't much we can do is there?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Your rights as a daughter are still there though. Perhaps you could say that you feel your mum needs to be cared for now during the day and not be left alone and this is why you are offering to be caregiver, there doesn't need to be any mention about money in that conversation. I think if you don't feel your mum is receiving the necessary care to be safe and looked after throughout the day, you as her daughter have the right (and duty) to see that changes are made, regardless of whether she is POA or not. :-)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

macada...Thanks for your response. Thanks to all of you for responding, for sharing your thoughts. Taking this to an attorney is a nuclear option for me, since all this would do is tear my family to shreds, forever. My mom has no idea what's going on. This only makes matters worse. My husband recommends stepping back in the hopes my sibling will come around over time and work this out as best as possible given the circumstances. My most recent offer to care for my mother seems to be off the table for now. Perhaps, over time, my sibling will think about that offer again. The door is still open. I have no intention of closing it; however, there is nothing I can do, if she decides to close the door.

I told my husband, who's DM is having health issues, to work with his sibling now, so, no matter what, they will not only understand what they must do to care for her, but will also evaluate, in advance each of their strengths and weaknesses. In this way, they can share caring for her know in advance who will do what; and how finances will be handled for care.

My siblings and I never had that discussion pior to my mom doing her Will and assigning POA to my sibling. If we had discussed these very important matters, things might have been very different today.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Dena26.. you clarified 2 things that weren't mentioned before which make a big difference in your story. First, it wasn't mentioned before that your sister left your mum alone all day while she went to work and earned an income and second when you were talking about your mum's pension I interpreted that to mean a small monthly pension as there was no mention about 40 years worth of savings. The extra information you have given makes me much more sympathetic to your situation and I agree, there are some red flags there. My only comment though as far as POA is that I am my mum's POA and I am under no obligation to discuss my mum's finances with any of the other siblings, nor does she want me too. But as far as your sister spending your mum's life savings on her child's tuition, I think you should talk to an attorney. Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Paltrees1, my mother had no provision for caregiving compensation with respect to her children. It is a DPOA for management of her financial affairs -- paying bills, taxes, medical care, etc. That said, a DPOA, is pretty wide open. Agents can do just about anything they want, as long as the DPOA has no wording that otherwise restricts how funds are used.

The suggestion by some that anyone caring for a parent makes them entitled to use 40 years worth of a parent's savings, over 4 years, to finance a child's education goals, when less expensive schools, grants, and education planning are all viable options, clearly seem to think that acting against the best interest of the parent, is somehow justified.

My sibling is not a full time caregiver. This sibling goes to work, leaving our parent, who has no short term memory, alone all day. I stepped back from my own business for two years to care for my mother and never left her alone. I did not expect compensation for doing so. I would like my parent to come and stay with me and my husband but this sibling is simply ignoring my offers.

It would be good to know if anyone, faced with a similar set of issues, was able to overcome these problems in constructive ways. I don't want to fight with my sibling. What's done is done. I just think it's time for my mom to be cared for and spend time with her other children. My sibling doesn't even want the word "finances" mentioned in any way with respect to our parent. If I say, "We have to arrange payment for the eye doctor, dementia specialist, dentist, in-home care," she cuts off communication.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have to say, for the record, that I'll step back completely from this conversation. The response to my post raises all the little hackles on the back of my neck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I also reread your posts and see that your other sibling was with her for 20 years......with no compensation. There are red flags here. You have a right to be concerned. There was a verbal agreement between you all as to how your mother's funds were to be used.

My mother and father stated for most of my life that their money was to be used for their care, nursing home, AL or whatever. Even in my mother's POA it states my brother is not to be paid. Dad died and mom is like a miser. We wouldn't touch her money with a ten foot pole. However, she will be in assisted living or a nursing home. She may change her mind and decide she wants to live with my brother and pay him. I am sure they will not tell me anything, as they have left me out of the loop as of today

So considering your mother's dementia, she may have been "paying" your sister. Your mother needs to be careful of "gifting" funds in case she needs Medicaid in the future.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Your mother's POA documents can state whether her POA is paid for their services and your sister could have a contract for payment. Since there is little communication and she seems to be hostile to being open with you and your sibling, there is something she is hiding. And if she is not honoring your mother's wishes, she is misappropriating her funds.

However, who knows since communication is poor. I always feel that those with nothing to hide, hide nothing......
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dena26.. so are you saying that you feel your sister should not be financially compensated for caring for your mum? You say that the pension should go for respite in-home-care but yet you feel that your sister who is providing full time in-home-care should receive nothing? Is that correct? As an outsider reading your story, if your sister is spending that money on her child's tuition it is because she (your sister) earned that money providing care to your mother, so she can spend the money she earned on whatever she chooses.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mother's pension was not used for her care. It was used to educate my sibling's child, to pay for a school her parent's could not afford. My parent's pension was not used for special medical care, respite, in-home care, or other services based on her condition; it was used to fund tuition, which does nothing for our parent expect limit her care options. I never did this to my parent when she stayed with me and my other sibling who lived with our parent for over 20 years never did anything like this. I had to jump hurdles dealing with doctors in my state because I did not have POA, and this sibling would never consider having alternates added to the POA since this would give alternates access to all of my parent's financial information.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm confused. You said that she has been caring for your mum for four years but she has misused your mum's pension money that was set aside for "care"? You mean the "care" that your sister is providing? I think that if your sister is the fulltime caregiver than your mother's pension was meant for her. If there was another non-family member as the caregiver, wouldn't it be expected that the pension money would be to put toward paying that caregiver? Also, it would be really difficult being the POA of a parent that didn't live in the same city as the POA.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

A sad situation and very frustrating for you. Unless you want to legally challenge through court, probably not much you can do, except to continue to offer. If you take over the care, then you will need to go to an attorney to facilitate transfer of the POA both financial and medical in order for you to gain the control you will need going forward. I would advise not to accept caregiving responsibility without full POA over financial and medical going forward unless you want to split the responsibilities with you sibling and trust her. But doesn't sound like this is the case.

I'm sorry this happened to you and sorry when it happens to others. There is always someone that steps up or "takes over" --- but in her defense, she did take over caregiver responsibilities for several years. Granted, she may have misused funds, if she did and you have proof, you can legally challenge -- but you will have to have proof. If you want, you can ask her or have an attorney (maybe even the one who drew up the will) to provide a regular/annual accounting of funds used for your parent's care.

The ball is in your court. You either have to get advice from an elder law attorney (they may give you an initial free phone consultation) or you will have to let this go and visit your parent or offer to take your mom for a period for respite care from your sibling. She might be open to that. Keep in mind, it isn't always easy to move mom or transfer care especially with Dementia because any change in place, routine, etc. is disruptive and traumatic for the elder. This might be the reason your sibling is resisting.

Would you consider staying with your mom at her sib's house while she takes a vacation? is there enough trust to do that?

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks for your comment.

My mom selected my sibling as POA because my father died without a Will, the consequences of which severely limited what my surviving parent could and could not do with my father's retirement income. She was already showing signs of dementia when she was visiting my sibling one summer helping her care for her children. My sibling took her to a lawyer, never informing her other siblings that she'd had my parent make a Will. My parent selected my sibling as POA because she happened to be with my sibling when she made her Will. How do I know, because my parent told me so. If she'd been in my state or my other sibling's state when she decided to do her Will, she would've done the same thing, naming any of her children present, to be her POA. The difference is I and my other sibling would've made sure this sibling was added to the POA to create checks and balances.

No matter, as a result, my parent's pension, which she told us time and again was to be used for her care, was used for everything but her care. This is a breach of trust, but this is something my sibling has to deal with. It also affects my parent since my parent's care has been minimized due to my sibling's behavior.

I have no intention of legally going after my sibling for using my parent's money in the way she did. I've offered to help and have been refused. Perhaps letting this parent go, means facing things she neither wants to admit, nor live with. I do not know.

It seems there is a mindset out there that primary caregivers, or the person who's spent the most time caring for any given parent should be appeased when they act against their parent's best interest and when they breach their parent's trust. I cared for our other parent from the day of diagnosis until the day my parent died, and played a major role, for over 10 years, caring for a grandparent who suffered a major stroke. I didn't exact a price and I never rejected help. I always believed that families should work as teams in these situations. This sibling was barely around when others in our family were ill; and I only point this out because you raised the issue of time with respect to how long this sibling has been caring for this family member.

If you believe misusing a parent's pension, in full knowledge that it was set aside for long-term care needs, is something to minimize, then you are only encouraging other emotionally compromised, primary caregivers with POA to do the same. There is another side to the sibling-caregiver story that's often overlooked and that's the story of caregivers who don't know how to let go because of they are emotionally compromised by their own decisions.

There are many untold stories of siblings who offer help, but are refused, and those stories need to be told because it happens, a lot. I know I'm not Atlas. I know when I can't carry the world on my shoulders. I have no problem asking for help. My sibling has a problem accepting help, and this too, like the misuse of our parent's pension, is not in the best interest of our parent.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Next time .. get it in writing. All of it: what's expected/being asked of you, by when it needs to be accomplished, and anything else that might come to mind. Give her the control, and offer her your help to follow through. Tell her, "I want you to feel comfortable with all of this." If something like this happens again, suggest a codicil to the documents giving you medical POA for the duration of the visit. Your mom chose her for a reason, whether it meets with your understanding or not, and whether you like it or not. If you're truly interested in helping, don't make her out to the be bad guy. Four years is a long time to caregive for someone, and while you cared for her for the first two years, her care may very likely have escalated.

As for the financials, misspending can still be considered embezzling, as POA only gives the holder rights to *manage* the patient's money for HER care. But, proceed with caution .. it won't do you or your mom any good if you're cut out of the loop completely. And, perhaps it's the one 'gift' your mom decided =in some lucid moment, we hope= to give your sibling in return for all the loving care she's been given. Try not to assume the worst.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.