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My 84 year old mother has been showing steady signs of cognitive decline over the past several years. She lives alone in her own house in the country and drives into town (about 3 miles away) almost daily. I have the legal roles of agent, attorney and personal representative, none of which have been activated.


For many years, family members have been expressing concerns about my mother changing. I would like to have her undergo a cognitive assessment but my brother and his wife, who’s house is close to her’s, are making it next to impossible. They treat me with disrespect and lie to me. They keep important information from me.


I went ahead and booked an assessment which is to take place very soon. Since then my brother’s texts have become aggressive and threatening. Today they took on a dismissive, mocking tone. I’m trying hard to keep calm but I feel like I’m in the battle of my life and I am badly wounded.


My mom, brother, and his wife display classic narcissistic tendencies. Reasoning, effective communication, integrity, etc. are unheard of concepts to them. Other family members accuse me of causing problems and stress. All I want is to find out where mom is at cognitively so we can plan for the future.


I know many of you deal with the same struggle: trying to do the right thing and getting blasted for it. I feel for all of you. Thanks for hearing me out.

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You have to get the POA activated. Ignore them and take her to the doctor anyway. She is probably an accident waiting to happen on the road. My dad's doctor thanked me for going over my brother's head about the driving. Yep - caregiving in a dysfunctional home is highly stressful. You are right about wanting to know what your mother's functioning ability is and I hope you don't back down. If there are other family members who DO accept that your mother is having problems, tell them you could use some backup.
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Reply to LivingSouth
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You can't make others cooperate.

Are POA and medical proxy in place?

If your mom refuses the assessment, back away from the clusterf*ck that this will become. Let your brother deal with the fallout.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Why do they know about the appointment and how are they planning to stop you from taking Mum to it?
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seekingjoy Sep 30, 2019
The assessment was going to be done at her home on the farm as they were going to also look into the safety of her home. My brother can see her house from his.
Prior to assessing, the agency gathers info from other family members. Since he and his wife see her the most, they were interviewed.
Mom never actually spoke to the social worker, brother spoke for her. He claims she has capacity but does all the talking for her.
He and his wife forbid the social worker to speak with mom and forbid them to step on the property. He threatened to call the police if his wishes weren’t honoured.
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Seems to me you are the reasonable one. What could it hurt to have cognitive tests done?

So sorry that your family is resisting this idea and it’s causing friction. Best wishes to you. Hope it all works out for everyone concerned.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Just take her. Tell her your picking her up for an outing and lunch. Since you seem to have authority family really cannot do anything.

M
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seekingjoy Sep 30, 2019
Where I live capacity is assumed unless proven otherwise. You must be assessed by a qualified professional and the client must agree to the assessment. There’s no way my brother and his wife would allow anyone near her. My legal authority means nothing to them.
I was hoping to avoid litigation but as brother and wife blocked the assessment which I had requested, a court ordered one might be my only option of getting one done.
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Joann's advice is spot on perfect. You want to know where you are, where your Mom is, and this is honestly not your RIGHT, but rather your DUTY. I would be kind in all responses to all family. First KIND, and when that doesn't work go grey rock. Do not argue. I would first tell them that it is your hope, your fervent wish, that your Mom stay independent as long as she can, that you are eternally GRATEFUL that bro and wife are so close by her, and that she is for the present OK, but that there have been signs, that you are responsible, that she is driving, that you must know that all of these things are OK as you are responsible and need to know when to put into place things for her safety and protection.
May I ask an awful question? You have already suggested that bro and wife may be narcissistic. Given that, may I ask you if there are any assets your Mom has that you may worry over, and help she may be giving that could ruin her chances for aid should she need it? Because if that is so it is CRUCIAL you get testing and put protection into place.
Be KIND is the first imperative EVEN WHEN they infuriate you. Do not argue. Do not fight. Discuss what you are doing as LITTLE as you can before it gets done. IE it would have been better they were never aware of this, and later when they became aware you would say that all have expressed some concerns and you need to know when you have to act to put in place powers of protection for her. That would be AFTER it was all done.
If you aren't familiar with grey rock you are going to need to do search up above and you will see all sort of advice. Basically your answers are short and sweet. Just those two things. Short, sweet, repetitive but not argumentative. In other words you stop discussion because you do not "go there".
Wishing you every bit of good luck and hope you will keep us informed as you go along. You may have advice for others facing the same thing.
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seekingjoy Sep 30, 2019
Thank you for your response. In addition to cash, mom owns land and I have a deep in my bones feeling that she has either given it to my brother or she’s about to. She apparently wants to change her will which at present is fair and just. Brother told me “a lot has changed in the past few years” but won’t elaborate as to what he means.
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Does yourt mother impart of all your communications with her with brother and his wife? How would they KNOW what you're planning?

JoAnn's idea is great.

It is so hard to be the bigger person in situations like this. My YB and SIL are the same with my mom. I didn't stick it out, though, I got so sick of getting slammed to the ground when all I wanted was to make life better for Mother...turns out she kind of liked keeping the pot stirred.

If you don't want brother and wife to know anything, don't even tell mom some things.

My DH and his sister made the mistake of telling their mom she needed a cog eval while in a rehab center recently. She blew up and now is furious with everyone and they didn't HAVE to tell her. All her behavior did was to cement in their minds that she's not competent to make calm, measured decisions. She just went home yesterday, and far as I know, still can drive.

You keep your dignity and don't interact with these yahoos. Alva Deer has calm, good ideas.
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seekingjoy Sep 30, 2019
“Don’t interact with these yahoos”- that made me laugh. My husband and I sometimes role play: he’s plays the part of my mom, and I’m me pretending to call her (I went low contact with her over two years ago). We get a good laugh over imagining how the call would go. It’s surprisingly therapeutic.
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Actually I wrote more must not have saved it.

I said otherwise you may have to wait until something happens. Do u think Brother is taking money from Mom and doesn't want you to know. Usually acting the way he is something is being hidden from you.

Are you a daughter or son? Why were u given authority? Seems like brother is closer to Mom. Do what you need to do. But, as some members here will tell you, I would back off from narcissistic people. They will drain you and u will never win.
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Honestly, your brother sounds very controlling. From reading your responses it sounds awfully suspicious. What’s your best guess as to why he is behaving this way? Is this sudden or has he always been a ‘take over’ or ‘know it all’ kind of guy? Sounds like he’s keeping something under wraps, question is why?
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seekingjoy Sep 30, 2019
Controlling: yep
suspicious: definitely
Why behaving like this: says he wants to protect mom
Always been know it all.
Found out all of my legal roles have been revoked. No one bothered to tell me. I contacted a lawyer today to see if it can be proved that roles were revoked while she didn’t have mental capacity.
I spoke with her for the first time in 2.5 years. Was stunned by how lost she is, how off base she is when recounting things. No wonder the extended family has been treating me with such contempt. No one bothered to ask for my side of the story. It’s all just really sad.
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Seeking what is this agency that was engaged to do the assessment?

When I requested an assessment of my mother's cognitive skills, we brought her to a well-known rehab hospital that has a team consisting of a neurologist, neuropsychologist and psychiatric nurse practitioner. All testing was done at the facility.

Yours sounds like a very different sort of process, looking into far more than your mother's cognitive skills.
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seekingjoy Sep 30, 2019
Govt approved social worker goes into home to do comprehensive cognitive testing, does quick safety check, watches her walk, talks about nutrition, etc
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Seeking, I empathize. Have been through my own heart break recently. I have two brothers like yours. It’s difficult. Truly is. I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. Hugs!

I wish the very best for you. Lots of people on this site helped me. Hang in there. Reach out. Help is here for you.
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Seeking, a social worker cannot do intelligence testing and cannot do a neorocog battery. Is this a "needs assessment" through the local Area Agency on Aging?

If you are truly seeking a "baseline" of your mom's reasoning and cognitive skills, I don't think you've engaged the right folks.

The thing is, if a government agency assesses your mother's living situation to be unsafe, they are most likely obliged to report that fact to Adult Protective Services. Which might cause unintended consequences.

If you want your mother's cognitive skills assessed, you find a geriatric neuro team that does assessments.
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seekingjoy Oct 1, 2019
In the area where I live, these social workers have specialty training and are qualified mental capacity assessors. They are recognized by the court.
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