How do you handle brothers and sisters that constantly criticize and complain about your caregiving job?

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When my Mom became ill and I stayed with her in the hospital for three weeks, I didn't even consider my life and just jumped right in and decided to care for her full time. She was living by herself in another state previously with someone coming by each day just to make sure that she was taking her pills correctly. Her dementia went haywire while in the hospital and it was clear that she could no longer live alone. Plus the fact that she now had to deal with severly damaged nerve that affected her ability to walk. I've never been married and my Mother and I were best friends. I had lost my job a couple months prior so the timing was perfect. Since then I am constantly attacked by my 5 brothers and sisters. I have been called every name in the book and have been accused of anything you can imagine to include trying to "bleed Mom dry so that I can have her condo and live there alone!" I have always been an extremely honest person and lying is one of my biggest pet peaves and yet they don't believe a word I say. Prior to this, one of my brothers even said that I was "angelic!" What happened????

One of their biggest complaints was that we eat out too much. So, I lower the cost of eating out and now they are complaining that my grocery bill is too high!!!! I have one sister that apparently eats perfectly and thinks that I feed my Mother candy and cake all day long. She actually wanted me to photograph my pantry and send her the picture. This with the instructions to take the picture now before I go to the grocery store!!! Now they want me to send them all of our receipts for the month so they can see every item that we purchase! I would tell them to kiss off, but they are the ones that have access to Mom's money and only give me a set amount each month. I am under budget by over $600 for the year, but they are still complaining!!!!! This is even after they cut my homecare budget in half so that I only have enough money to get away about six hours a week. I am with my Mother constantly every other minute of every day. She won't even let me be in the other room without constantly having to answer what I'm doing and when will I be back in the room with her. What do I do???? HELP!!!!!!

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Dear brothers and sisters,

I've been taking care of Mom since that awful hospitalization. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have always loved Mother, of course, and also like her, but these past months have created a bond between us that I wouldn't trade for anything. What a priviledge it has been to care for her.

Caregiving has also been the most difficult thing I have ever done. GIving up my social life to spend all my time with someone who is dependent on me has been a great strain.

I am grateful for the bonding experience and for the chance to contribute to Mother's wellbeing. Now I am ready to move on. I am giving more than the usual notice, because it will take me time to find a job and an apartment, and it will take you time to research your options to make sure Mother is well cared for. I will stay on in the condo, caring for mother, until Dec 1.

From your input to me, I can tell that you really have some ideas about how things should be handled, so you probably don't need my advice. In case it will help you in your decisions, I'm including some material for reference. I'm listing Dr. Eldergood's contact information. He's told me that Mother needs 24/7 care, but I'm sure you would like to talk to him directly. I'm also including brochures from 3 well-regarded caregiving services in the area. The brochures do not include prices, so I've checked that for your convenience. They range from $18 to $31 per hour, depending on their assessment of need, and the rate is somewhat higher for an overnight shift.

I'm also sending information on a nice Assisted Living place. I'm not sure Mother would qualify for that, because her dementia is getting worse. They do have a Memory Care unit she could be moved to. I've jotted the prices on that. It may seem high, but it includes all meals, of course, and incontinent supplies (which I think she'll be needing soon). Betty, since I know that you are particularly interested in nutrition, I've photocopied some menus for you.

There are also two nursing homes that have good reputations in the area. I'm including that information, too.

You know the finances better than I do. It seems to me that her assets plus her monthly income would cover her care for almost a year. Then the condo could be sold for the following years. When that money runs out I think she would be eligible for Medicaid. I'm sure you will figure it out.

I hope that being responsible for mother's day-to day-care will be as rewarding to you as it has been for me.

Looking forward to reclaiming my life,
Your loving sister.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
OK, so the other advice about a mediated family meeting is more sensible and practical. I couldn't resist the letter fantasy. :)
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There have been many icky sibling stories on this site, but yours takes the cake. I agree with madge: if you are taking care of your Mom (and unless there has been a history of misuse of funds, which it appears there is not) you should have both financial and medical POA. If they refuse to turn over POA to you, get a part time job pay your Mom for a little rent, then hire fulltime, paid, in-home caregivers and send the bill to whomever has her financial POA. That should be an eye-opener.

Take a few minutes and call or go online and figure out how much 24/7 care costs - including transportation to doctor's offices, errands, and household maintenance. Then put it on paper and send it to all the sibs. If they are STILL complaining, thank them for their interest in their mother's well-being and suggest that they come for rotating visits so that they can spend more quality time with her.

Geeezz....reading about these family armchair quarterbacks drives me nuts. (btw, I would tell the sister who wants you to photgraph the cupboard to take a short walk off a long cliff. Incredible!)

Living in a home where you cannot even be in another room without answering to your Mom and having all those sibs on your back sounds brutal. If you do not take charge and set boundaries now, I am afraid you are in for more of the same.
good luc
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I reread your post and want to say, I would need the POA for finances and not be begging for money to feed your Mom. That is insulting. As for the sister who wants photos of her pantry. Designate her as the "Chef" and she is free to come over everyday and prepare delicious and healthy meals for your Mom at her own expense. Otherwise butt out.
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WELL! First let me tell you you I COMPLETELY agree with all the statements made by Lilliput and Madge, and would like to continue only to say that the family meeting should have a MEDIATOR there (unrelated third party) to resolve any issues (oh and there will be issues), and that the meeting should NOT include Mom or the stress will REALLY get to her.

Second: get estimates (IN WRITING) from several places, and then have your brothers and sister do the same! Why should you have to do all the work?

Third: For the sister that thinks you don't feed Mom correct, put HER in charge of all 'food related duties'. And if she can't do it, because she doesn't live close by, have HER hire someone and have THEM provide her with the pictutes she wants, and the menu Mom eats, and a schedule of what she eats, etc.

Fourth: ANY further changes in your Mom's living arrangement can also have dire effect on her mental state. With that being said, start a schedule to have ALL siblings come and stay with her on a regular basis. IN THE LOCATIONS she is in now. Do not move her all around the globe/country, since this is not a good idea. When one of them stays THERE with her, you should be able to come and go as you see fit.

I know that our loved ones 'imprint' on one person (yourself) and may find this uncomfortable, but if it can happen, let it happen. Even a 'daycare' center will give you a day of rest or perhaps more time than you seem to be getting now.

Finally: NONE of this is easy when everyone agrees. Take some comfort in knowing that this happens more often than not, and although that doesn't make it easier, it does let you know that others have been down this path, and will help you as much as possible.

Also, AGE, proximity and prior family dynamics make up a huge part of your 'perceived' care. My siblings EXPECTED me to take care of Mom, and yet questioned everything I did too. I didn't have financial or medical POA but I did the best I could for my mother (as you are doing), since she was my best friend too. I also lived two hours away from my brothers, and 1200 miles from my sister, so I did more 'accounting' to THEM sometimes, than to my mother who was in the same room as me!

Have the family meeting, have a LIST of things you need to discuss, and have them ALL sign off on what should be done. If they cannot attend personally, do it via the INTERNET with net meeting, or Skype, etc. Do it soon, so YOU will be able to live too!

a huge impact on the care is perceived versus 'their abilities'. If they question your ability, take a course in caring for those with dementia (online is available) WITH them so you are all on the same page.
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Wow! I can't believe the responses I have gotten! This is the first time that I've posted something and I have to tell you, it REALLY helps!!!!! I am especially loving the letter above to my brothers and sisters and the advise about the cliff to my loving sister that want's a picture of my pantry! Not sure if I mentioned, but she also only finds time to visit her Mother once a year for two days at Christmas! I guess that's understandable since she is all of 5 hours away!!!!

But in the end, I do still have to deal with them. Unfortunately, the threatening to leave her care to them scares the heck out of me. Mostly because they have threatened to put her in assisted living if I didn't cut down on spending.

The end of 2010 was the worst time of my life. My Mom had just moved here in July and around October is when everything started. At first, when I was in the hospital with her and the first few months here with her they were praising me often. They even offered to come and stay with my Mother while I took my yearly trip to the Caribbean! They said that I definetely deserved to go on this trip! This is something that I look forward to every year and is my one vacation that I take. People that know me understand how important these trips are for me. I had paid for a lot of Mom's expenses and had expected to get paid back so that I could pay for my trip, but we went through this grueling couple months and they decided that instead, I actually owed Mom $2,000!!!! They also said that I could NOT go on my trip and that it was not "in the budget." They also said that they would not be able to come and take care of Mom. The fact that they would take that away from me broke me more than not being able to go on the trip! I could not believe my ears when I heard those words! I even lost money because I was past the time for reimbursement on my cruise and lost $150 on my flight. In the end, I have had to add two different drugs for anxiety and depression.

I am my Mom's Medical POA and my oldest sister and her husband are Durable POA. I am next in line for Durable POA. My Mother has also signed her will stating that her money, if any is left, will be devided between the six kids and that I get the condo (gotta tell you, they LOVED that part!!!!). Of course, I was accused of talking her into it! My two brothers owe my Mom a lot of money and one of them happens to be one of the two of them that has been the most cause of my stress.

Anyway, I didn't mean to go on and on, I mostly wanted to thank you all. You have given me some really good ideas (especially, the cliff one, just kidding!) And, in doing so you have made me laugh out loud!!! Please keep the ideas coming and I ask that God Bless Each of You as I know he has and will. Even though I have been on this site looking for answers to my stress, I am constantly saying how BLESSED I am!!!!! I have to wonder often why God Loves Me So Much and Blesses Me Like He Does! Even though this brother / sister thing sounds so bad, every day God sends me messages of how much he loves me and proves it to me every day in small and gigantic ways! I guess I must be doing something right!

I Love You All for taking care of your loved ones!

Thank you again!
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All the answers to this question proves that the caregivers here have more than enough BS to deal with, and somehow got labled by those " who care about everything but the real situation at hand". The ones who focus on anything but the person in need of care (the siblings that complain about money, and needed daily care that they themselves are not supplying, and have no idea what just five minutes of your day is really like, and add negative input and say anything else that's irrelevant to the real situation just to piss you off)
I call them "Energy Suckers". They have no clue but they think thier negativity and unreal suggestions are worth your time, but the reality is, it's a waist and helping noone. "Energy Suckers" hate when your doing right, hate you are aware, hate your in control. All the "Energy Sucker" has is, guilty feelings and a foggy reality. So you need to clear the fog. You do this by forcing reality onto them. Make it known to the "Energy Sucker"...
If you think you can do a better job, pick up Mom and you take care of her from now on!!! If you are worried about her health you take her to the Dr. and if you worry about her finances here's the bills! Then tell them when she's in "your" care I want a report of everything you do and how much time it takes and the cost and I want no complaints about your own time, stress, and anything else your own life is lacking. Ask them, if this is what they want, you and would gladly trade places. You didn't ask for this & niether did Mom, but it's real and I am sure noone will take the job if you quit. If I had a million I would bet noone wants the job. Make demands on them!!! Once you make your position known and they understand you are doing what is best for all involved and that noone else will step up, except you. Is there any other choice? Or the alternative to your care is 24/7 care in a facility at $6,000 to $10,000 a month bill, which is more than likely in the future anyway. If Mom does end up in the hospital someone needs to be in charge. These are all things they don't think about but, this is your life daily. Do whatever you need to, to take care of your loved one. If your focus is whole hearted you can't go wrong! The path will be there for you to follow.
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The key here is communication. Have a family meeting. Decide who is appointed POAs for financial, medical, and how everything is to be handled. Include your siblings. Let your siblings know how expensive it would be to hire a caregiver, go to assisted living or even a nursing home. If your Mom goes into a nursing home, the condo will most likely be lost to the look back period unless she has given it to someone at least 5 years before she is placed in the home.Divide up the caregiving. Give them a reality check.

You may have been her favorite of her kids and now the siblings are jealous. Alot of the problems I read about on this site are due to old family dynamics. You Mom can make a will and divide everything so no one is left out.

You seem the mostly likely of her children to take care of her but when someone just takes over there usually are hard feelings. Wish you well.
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FORGET POA. Take her to the doctor and have the doctor send a letter head to the Soc. Sec. Office suggesting YOU be her Authorized Representative. The Check will come to her C/O you. GET the bank account to Notorized the Letter. 1. Change your Phone Number. 2. Send back all letters and cards. 3. OR put a sign on her back RETURN TO SENDER and you get a life and a job. Good luck.
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I am shocked! I cannot believe these siblings. I wonder how they would feel if this happened to them when they needed care from their children. I think sometimes these people are in such denial of the way life works. My brother just does not want to know anything about what happens with our parents. They are both in assisted living but our mother is in memory care. I am the POA for both of them. I do everything for them. Pay the bills, take supplies to them, visit twice a week, deal with my mom's horrifying transformation. She does not know me anymore but I go to see her because I do it for myself. I love her so much. My dad does not visit anymore because she does not recognize him and it hurts so much. My brother visits about once every six weeks. Big whoop. None of my sons or family members visit. My parents were terrific grandparents to them. What is wrong with these people? They get angry when I ask them to visit. They say that they want to remember them the way they used to be. What fantasy world do they live in? I have given up talking to anyone in the family about the sadness I feel. I cannot share it with anyone because they would rather rock and roll their way through life and not ace reality while we caregivers suffer in silence. I am so glad to put this in writing and share with people who understand.
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I am in your shoes as well. Right now, my mother has an open abdominal incision approximately 9 inches long, three inches across and four inches deep. My siblings really don't get it, so today, when the wound vacuum is changed, I'm taking pictures of her with and without the wound vacuum. The pictures should arrive via e-mail just about time for their lunch. I imagine that they'll lose theirs when they see them, but they need to be kept informed of the realities of her care.
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