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My mom incurred an accident last May in which she had tripped and fallen. And then in July she had a very mild stroke. Thank God she is still able to independently care for herself, bathe herself, dress herself, prepare meals (though not very well but edible), pay her bills, and take her medication. She needs help with setting some things up like medication boxes, etc. And she cannot get to the doctor independently so she has a caregiver two hours per week, and my sister visits her daily, and takes her food shopping. Both my sister and I are in our mid-sixties and have chronic health conditions ourselves. I cannot drive anymore due to diabetes and insulin reactions and my sister often has difficulty driving because of medication reactions from chemo. I have to take a train there when I go and often will stay about ten days out of every month 24/7.


My sister visits daily for a few hrs. Lately there has been a strain between the two of us which makes things more stressful.


My mother will tell me whenever she does not feel well or needs OTC types of things, but not my sister because she doesn't want to burden her because she has cancer. The result is that my sister will take time to set up things like PT and when the time comes to go my mom will tell me she is not feeling well and I will cancel the appointment which makes my sister furious because she feels that I am undermining her. When my sister calls to find out how my mother is my mother will say,"Oh I'm OK now" completely minimizing everything and making it seem like I'm and undermining alarmist. This not only makes my sister crazy( who flies off the handle at me) but also makes me crazy, so after my three week stint in Nov. and Dec. I've not been back, my stress levels can't take it. My sister has POA, and I wish I could take my mom to live with me; however, I have stairs and she can't climb stairs.It's just not feasible at this point, though I tried to advocate for it years ago and offered to make structural changes to the house.


I just feel like my sister and I have not made a well coordinated plan to care for my mother's care, and now it's just not working. She is Extremely resistant to assisted living or increased services from caregivers because she is nearly deaf, and most people have difficulty communicating with her ; it's even difficult for us family members, and we're used to communicating with her. Her mother had the same condition, only worse. I know I am rambling but at this point I am at 6's and 7's with all of this and just don't know what to do.

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I hope that your new plan of attack works well for all parties involved.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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salutem Dec 22, 2018
Thanks so much for the good wishes
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I have not read responses, sorry if I'm repeating.

If your sister sets something up for your mom and mom wants to cancel, mom needs to call sister and tell her. Stop being the middle man. If mom says no, then you let it go. When she starts paying for missed appointments she may stop this behavior.

She is playing the 2 of you and it is working.

I have to say, I get mad when I go to the effort to arrange appointments and then they are cancelled at the last minute. Then I get to listen to the, i can'ts because....and it boils down to not going to appointments that address what he wants to grouch about. Grrrr, ugghhggh!

You and your sister should have a talk with out mom and set boundaries and figure out how to communicate with one another. You are both just burned out and scratching each other because that's what we tend to do.

Address it from the position that you want to make it as easy on her as possible and you want to be respectful of all her efforts and energy. She will appreciate you acknowledging her daily role and frustrations.

If mom needs more help then the 2 of you can, will, want to provide, she needs to cooperate and just get over it. Beggars can't be choosers! (Wanna bet, talk to a caregiver)

Don't be a statistic, you and sis brain storm about what outside help would be the most helpful.

Hugs for all you do!
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salutem Dec 22, 2018
I WISH MY MOM COULD HEAR ON THE PHONE< BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE SUCH A SIMPLE SOLUTION!!!!!!
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I'm willing to bet this is a family dynamic that is not new or due to anybody's health concerns - I mean the part about mom telling each of you what you want to hear and then doing exactly what she wants. If mom doesn't want PT then she should flat out tell your sister, instead she allows her to go to a lot of trouble and then backs out at the last minute, putting you in the middle because she knows you will sympathize with her. You and sister don't talk to each other except after the fact, instead messages are relayed through your mother with her own twist put on all of them - this is classic triangulation.
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salutem Dec 19, 2018
I have come to my own decision as to how to handle this situation. I no longer require assistance. Thank you for your efforts. Please stop posting
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The controversy is about the basic courtesies.

You were, I don't doubt, I completely agree, correct to cancel/postpone your mother's PT appointment that day. You ought still to have sent your sister a text letting her know. Basic courtesy.

And don't give me the 'trouble reading' bit - even a complete dunce like me knows how to enlarge a text, and if she was really struggling she could have asked someone else to read it to her, could she not. You didn't text her because you didn't need her permission and you were already irritated with her. Understandable: but, you should have informed her.

I think this might be key. You are at the moment in the unacceptably uncomfortable position of feeling that you have responsibility, without actually having the authority to make purposeful decisions. Responsibility without power: extremely stressful, and therefore literally unacceptable.

Technically your sister has the authority, derived from your still-functioning mother. In that case, between them they should also take all responsibility; but they ain't doing, and for very good reasons they can't, not reliably.

This does need sorting out between the three of you. You are *all* under pressure, which makes it very difficult to discuss such emotional matters coolly and practically. Anyone you can turn to to act as a mediator, chair, counsellor?
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salutem Dec 19, 2018
no, I'm sorry I did send her a text to tell her I needed the phone number to cancel because mom had headache pain, she was unable to read them because her vision is 'BLURRED' from the chemo and she was on a school bus with her grandson on their way to a school trip.
You know what, I have made up my own decision as to how to handle this and no longer require assistance from anyone on this site. You can now stop posting please.
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No, that is not possible. My sister was on a school trip with her grandson and I was there at the house taking care of my mother. I tried calling her but there was too much noise on the school bus for her to hear me. I tried texting her, but she has difficulty reading texts because her vision is affected by her chemo. Also, she is stubborn, and doesn't take my mother's complaints seriously enough, she can be quite the bully sometimes. So, no if I am there I need to use my best judgment otherwise there is no point in my being there.
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worriedinCali Dec 19, 2018
Eh......if her vision is good enough that she can chaperone a school field trip, she can read text messages. If her vision is that bad, surely either or someone else has enlarged the text on her screen for her. It’s easily done.
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Your sister should resign her POA. It can't possibly be doing her treatment any favours.

Whether or not you (both you and sister) encourage your mother to appoint you instead is something you need to think about.

Inadvertently I know, but you *were* undermining sister! Your mother "didn't like to bother her"? - well, no, I'm sure not, but a communications system that keeps things from the one person who actually does need to know, on account of her having responsibility, is never going to work.

Would it be possible for you and your sister to meet for lunch, then go together to your mother's house and present her with a revised care plan?

The idea would be to take your sister operationally speaking out of the picture altogether. After all, this doesn't have to be forever; but right now this is not a reasonable thing for her to ask of herself.

Then, what are the tasks involved in keeping mother's show on the road? What can be delegated and to whom?

I hear what you say about your mother's resistance, but you are missing two factors. #1 If the stress causes further harm to you and/or your sister, your mother will have no choice at all about whether or not to involve outsiders because you'll be gone. #2 Good HCAs, including some of my personal acquaintance, are a lot better at communicating with the deaf and handling the unfriendly than you seem to give them credit for. These are skills that come with experience. Don't rule them out.
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salutem Dec 18, 2018
Yes, that's correct, my mother doesn't like 'to burden her' by telling her that she is unwell because my sister has cancer. Therefore, I get the medical complaints. My mother incurred a concussion in May, and a stroke in July. When I am there with her alone I have to use my judgment about taking her anywhere when she complains of headache, particularly when her blood pressure is high as it was on that occasion.
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I'm only 2 miles away from NH where Mom's been since the near fatal massive stroke last June. The stress of caregiving and daily visits to check on mom have dwindled to maybe a couple of times per week or less. Seeing her struggle to survive on a daily basis for the last 6 months has caused my blood pressure to spike. I need to take care of myself first, we all do.
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salutem Dec 20, 2018
Thank you for your response. I love my mother dearly, but she can be a real handful. She is very hard of hearing and it takes a lot of effort to communicate some of the simplest things to her. Sometimes I lose my voice from shouting, then she accuses me of refusing to answer her. My sister is very controlling and has to have everything her way. She wants me to help, but then criticizes when I don't do things her way. At any rate, I'm 63, and not in good health myself. I've decided I just have to bow out of this thing, because between the two of them, my physical and emotional well being are being affected adversely and I do need to take care of myself right now.Thanks for your response.
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I can understand that your sister is upset if she sets things up, you cancel them, and then your mother changes her story. Surely you and your sister can see this too? Do you and your sister need a third party to help you both sort out communication between the three of you? For example, can you tell sister when appointments are not likely to work? Can you get mother and sister on the phone together before you cancel – preferable with two handsets at your end? Have you tried all the hearing aid options with your mother? Have you looked at good care options near you and taken your mother for a visit? Have you talked with your sister about what it would take for you both to overcome her ‘extreme resistance’ and tell her what it will take for you and your sister to continue to care for her at home. And have you talked to your mother about this, with the bottom line being that ‘whether you like it or not, you need to go into care because we cannot continue to do things this way’? Do you think that your mother is playing games and never intends to go to these appointments – it really is possible!

You sound as though you have reached the end of your patience with an unworkable arrangement. Fine, but it’s time to lay it on the line with all three of your involved!
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salutem Dec 19, 2018
Yes I explained to my sister why my mother downplays the discomfort she feels to her which is due to my sister's cancer. I also explained to my mother that she makes me seem like a liar when she doesn't tell my sister how badly she feels. At the same time, when I am taking care of a 90 yr. old woman with post concussive syndrome and who is recovering from a stroke, and she tells me has headache pain and I take her blood pressure and it is high as it was that day, I'm certainly not going to say well it's too bad if you don't want to go to physical therapy, you must lest I risk undermining your eldest daughter. If I live to be 90 and someone takes away my right to decide whether I can or cannot cancel a routine appointment, then by all means please shoot me. I used my judgment, called her cardiologist, who told me to give her an additional anti-hypertensive pill, and 32 oz. of water to drink. Maybe I'm missing something but I'm not understanding the controversy.
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You are having such a hard time with this, I’ve seen several of your posts.
I’m sorry it is stressing you out so much.

When you are with your mom, perhaps you should let her handle any cancellations or changes that sister has set up. Just tell your mom that you don’t want to undo what sister has worked so hard to accomplish and that mom should press harder to comply. From your profile it appears that your mom is competent to make her own decisions but if she wants to be thoughtful of her daughters she should not put you in the middle.
Since you and sister both have health issues of your own, perhaps it would be helpful if mom ordered her groceries to be delivered to save that chore.
Your mom sounds very resourceful which is great.
When she is no longer competent, she has assigned your sister as POA. So that was good planning to have a POA in place. It sounds like to me that your mom is getting excellent care and even sounds a bit spoiled from all the attention her daughters provide her. You are both doing a good job. Be gentle with one another. Remember you all three have health challenges and life is a bit difficult right now. I’m sure if and when your mom needs more care, between the two of you, it will be provided.
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salutem Dec 19, 2018
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