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My Father died three months ago. Unfortunately he had nothing in place for my Mom who suffers from Dementia prior to his death. There are three of us siblings. We have managed for about 2.5 months to work well together, rotating staying with Mom and making sure she is eating and keeping the home up. We even got Visiting Angels to come in 3 days a week for a 4 hour shift to give each of us a break during our time staying with Mom. What is going on now is my younger sister has been acting irrational and overprotective with my Mom. She has quit speaking with us and only e-mails us when she want to tell us what she wants. How do I stop this aggressive behavior from her without destroying the fragile relationship we have now?

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Having a parent or spouse with Alzheimer's can cause a lot of emotions. When we see how vulnerable they are, it's easy to become overly protective. Still, your sister should be sharing information with the rest of you.

Another thought: Your dad died three months ago, so your mom is probably in deep grief (even if people don't think she knows - she does). It could be that your mom is declining rapidly in part because of the loss of your dad and your sister is afraid that she will be blamed for this decline since she's currently in charge.

The only way, of course, if to find a way to communicate. Gently assure her that you know that your mom is in a downward spiral and no one can do anything to stop that. Let her know that you feel she's doing a great job. You just want to know how things are going like she does when you are taking care of your mom.

If that doesn't work, perhaps a friend of the family can talk with her. Sometimes someone outside the family can seem more unbiased and people will open up.

Good luck,
Carol
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This is tough. Sounds like you live near each other. I would call a family meeting with a social worker/counselor and try to talk things through that way. You may need to consider one of you being "in charge". Clarifying expectations of each of you is critical.
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There is a lot of denial in your family as the reality of the level of care required sinks in and how it instantly changes people's lives. In family members there are varying levels of resistance to this. What I can tell from your story is that you are blaming your father for what is now happening and how your life is now turned upside down. I know because I still blame my father for not leaving any provisions for my Mum. But since you as a family are overwhelmed by the care your Mother requires - it is certain that you and perhaps others in your family were not really listening or seeing how overwhelmed your father was in caring for your Mum - he might have even been protecting you so you could get on with your normal lives as long as possible - sacrificing for you. That's very possible.
Words like overprotective and irrational - I'm glad you were direct and used them. Those are your feelings - so important you are truthful - but do not believe they represent the "truth" or the whole story. Those were the words that were used against me years ago when I started to look after Mum. I'm not saying this is so - but hear me out - it may save you and your siblings a lot of pain and your Mom a great deal of suffering. There is often a sensitive one who is able to see more of your Mom's needs. It may well not be you. It is likely your sister. It does also make them seem crazy to others. Demential / Alzheimers care is a bottomless pit that I've been exploring for 8 years now. There is SO much that can be done - but many are able only to see or know the extent of the needs - especially the psychological ones and as they learn accommodate those needs as their lives are being rewritten by what they see. It makes sense - we protect ourselves from too much change. There are so many layers of denial. But not everyone is like that - some are ready for more sacrifice. Those who are willing to sacrifice more should be supported, the family should rally around them and ensure that they are compensated either through time or money, and through encouragement, so they can keep delivering and exploring the best possible level of family care for your Mum's sake. Your sister may be leading with her heart. This needs real shared leadership for you to care for your Mum as a family. This needs humility - and the highest level of teamwork. This is very personal and it is possible that my experience may not apply to you. Take what feels like a fit - and I wish you courage and love enough.
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Tell us what you mean by irrational and overprotective. Is there a disagreement amongst the three of you about what level of care mom requires? About whether mom should still be allowed to drive, manage her money? Need more information to be able to give you any real advice.
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Having three sisters, one brother and a mother with dementia had its very volatile moments when she was alive (dec. 2002). Being the youngest with the nursing education only made it worse because they did not allow my professional judgment to help our mother. Consequently, I filed for guardianship, the court made all four of them co-guardians, and I kept taking them to court because her care was suffering. The judge sided with me, and changes were made, but not before I was accused of being irrational, etc. After her death, we were civil for the funeral, however, in 12 yrs. we do not speak to one another, my brother died in 2003, and I have no idea the status of my sisters. So decide now how you want to proceed, because things only get worse (stressors) before they end with the death of your mother. My condolences on the death of your father.
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Dear rubydee, May sound harsh but It sounds to me like priorities are out of order. This may sound cruel but at this point in time the focus should be on your MOM, not your sister.
If she can no longer be receptive to you all, then maybe she needs a break from it all. Everyone's feelings are important, however, as I said "Your Mom should be the priority". In my own experience, a long time care giver to both my parents, someone has to step up and set it straight for your Mom!! Once the boundaries are set and all are on board with what is needed, then hopefully things will go smoother, but if not, someone may get their feelings hurt. I have done what was best for my parents, not my siblings. Best to you as you continue, remember who is most important and be sure you take care of yourself along the way, if you are the main caregiver, all the help you can get is important, but sometimes their are to many Chiefs and not enough Indians!!!
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There is the old saying 'is that the hill you want to die on'. Another is 'there's more than one way to skin a cat'. When taking in a number of opinions, opinions offered covertly or overtly by spouses, underlying motivations, financial situations, etc. there is a lot to sort through. I have a good friend who comes from a family of 10 siblings. There was never any money left by the parents for any of the kids so there were no ulterior motives regarding anyone's inheritance, since there wasn't any. Some of the kids were more financially successful than others, but all were self sufficient and worked together to do the best thing by their mother who lived to be very old. Their dad passed away early so he was not a consideration. Conversely, in my family, there are five of us. We were raised in an environment where money was held over our heads and my parents have it. Now everyone but me seems to be very interested in what is going to be left to them. I have two sisters who are nurses and two brothers who have 'typical' male oriented careers - one an accountant and one an engineer. I am a woman, the oldest and was a business person (high level sales, mostly to male customers in an industrial setting). I was 'told' to marry well and not worry about working; some man would support me. As it turned out, my ex moved everything we had to an overseas bank account and I had to start over (about 28 years ago) with three kids to support. My parents never knew how tenuous my financial situation was because I never shared it and they never wanted to know. But as a result of my life experience, I learned to do for myself and not to expect anyone to bail me out or make me a princess. I made my own way. I have been remarried for a long time, my kids all went to college and have their own personal success and I have steered clear of the monumentous family drama. My parents created this and all but me seem to thrive on it. I would do things differently than some of my siblings and I also would step in if my parents were being in any way abused. But to me, it is fantasy land to think all five of us would ever have a meeting of the minds. I choose my battles, and stay out of the fray. There are a lot of ways to accomplish what needs to be done in the end, particularly when there are sufficient funds to get them done. But trying to control anyone's behavior other than your own is not going to happen. Another good saying 'only speak common sense to someone who HAS common sense or they won't listen anyway'. To a certain extent, all parents create the family dynamic long before they are old and feeble and need to be helped.
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It is obvious that you are a close family and you are trying to do the best for your Mom, kudos for your valiant effort! That being said, some people are less able to take the emotional strain than others and need more support.
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Try to find out from your sister specifically what her concerns are. Then try to show her that these things are being taken care of, and that there is no need for her to be concerned about these things. Also, do make sure you are dotting all your "i's" and crossing all of your "t's" in regards to your mother's medical care and her finances. This could avoid any possible legal trouble down the road. If your sister is still unreasonable, then it is her irrational need for control causing the problem. Just make sure you are always acting in your mother's best interests, and taking good care of her, and that is all you can do. Best of luck.
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I am the younger sibling and can appreciate what ferris1 said. My sister, who is only three years older than me, has always acted like I know nothing b/c I'm younger. Really? It is so strange how childhood carries well into adulthood. The reason I say all of this is because perhaps your younger sister feels her input or suggestions are not respected. I, too, would prefer to keep communication with my sister to emails b/c talking with her is exhausting. So long as we keep the conversation light and cheery (basically like small talk with a stranger) she acts okay toward me. The second the conversation is not rainbows and lollipops, like regarding our parents, she becomes chiding and condescending. The best part is that she knows she doesn't have to lift a finger regarding their care. Sorry! That is my situation. Just trying to see if your sib might feel this way. I would like to cut ties w/ mine but she told me I was hormonal. See? Writes me off as though i couldn't possibly be serious. And if your sister just wants to communicate via email, what's the problem? As long as your mother's needs are being met, no offense but it sounds like you are trying to control your sister's relationship with you.
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