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My mother was recently diagnosed with dementia about a year ago and my dad recently passed away 6 months ago which made her dementia worse. The doctor also took her license away about 3 months ago. I have two older sisters that live about 2 1/2 hours away and I am the only daughter in the city where my mother is. Since my dad passed away I moved in to help my mom cope but I have also became the primary caregiver for her. I drive her to the grocery stores and doctors appointments about 2-3x a week. We also hired assistance to pick her up twice a week during the day while I am at work.


The problem I am facing is that when I ask my sisters for more help they either get angry or tell me to ignore my moms requests for wanting to constantly go out. They basically say there is nothing they can do. My one sister has not been home since August and the other one comes home about once every two months. When they do come home they only stay for a few hours and never ever pick my mom up and bring them to their place to stay. They have more than enough room two huge homes. I feel like they don’t care and can’t handle my mom's situation and has left the burden on me. Every time I ask for help to come home often they get angry and defensive. My one sister does not work and I feel she could be here more often helping. The only support they offer is paying her bills. I’m kinda frustrated because I need to move on with my life and start a family and get married. I feel like this burden has been left on me.

There are seven of us siblings. There were 7 opinions and attitudes about who should do what.
Meet got together with a elder care attorney for an hour appointment. At that meeting he took charge and told us to stop focusing on all the little things. We decided at that meeting that there would be no judgement, no expectations of each other’s contributions. Our Dad did nothing to plan for his future and he put us in this mess.
We are now not criticizing each other. We are siblings that unconditionally love each other. Each of us have our abilities and reasons for what we can or cannot do.
It is working for us. No one can say what others should do.
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Reply to PrairieLake
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TwinRivers Nov 26, 2018
Thanks! PrairieLake

Just love hearing this... I think you said this before—if you did, I loved it before. This is how things should be in every family. Some people are better at some things than others.

"We decided at that meeting that there would be no judgement, no expectations of each other’s contributions. Our Dad did nothing to plan for his future and he put us in this mess.
We are now not criticizing each other. We are siblings that unconditionally love each other. Each of us have our abilities and reasons for what we can or cannot do.
It is working for us. No one can say what others should do."
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To theresamore

"she goes around telling people she was abused as a child just to make herself look like a victim."

Wow. This is why people don't talk about abuse. Were you with your sister 24 hours a day, throughout every step of her life? I was a victim of molestation by my brother and nobody in my family can believe that the favorite member of the family did this to me. He is, and always will be a hero in everyone else's eyes. Only he and I know the truth. Please don't ever question the validity of someone who claims to be victimized. You can't truly know the truth of what happened to her. It certainly isn't kind to shame a possible victim when you don't know the truth. People do lie about some situations, but if a person were to make up stories, this would be a person who needs serious help—at least show some sensitivity towards her.

To caring12s

You also cannot understand why a person will not help out with parents. In my case, my parent with dementia was neglectful and abusive. Not everyone lives a happy life and many siblings are treated differently because of parent bias. You may not have been aware of it during your life or seen the difference in how some of your siblings were treated when growing up. Be grateful that they are helping with money. That's a good thing. A lot of people don't even do that. I'm a caregiver that has been shunned and shamed because "I didn't do enough" when those accusers lived out of state and did absolutely nothing. I did something for years. They neglected our parents in the past and now when I have taken a break from my parent's abuse, they criticize me again. There are always unknown factors in any relationship and being bitter and resentful is not a way to get anybody to help out.
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Kenzi22 Nov 26, 2018
TwinRivers, your response was right on point! My mother was both emotionally and physically abusive to me as a child, and I am still dealing with the resentment and bitterness after her passing a month ago.

I have 5 other siblings, and we were all treated differently. My mother played favorites, and I was not one of them. One of my sisters took care of our mother for a very long time, and my mother was nasty, difficult and demanding. I personally think my sister was a saint for dealing with her for all those years!

I was asked many times over the years (by my siblings who were off living their lives) why I was not helping my sister more with our mother's care. My mother was never there for me growing up, she destroyed my self-esteem, and physically abused me! My life was pure hell growing up! I was the only one brave enough to stand up to her later in life, and held her accountable for what she did to us! In the last few years of her life, she made an attempt (in her own way) to repair our relationship, but it was too late, the damage was done. I helped my sister whenever I was able, because I felt bad for my sister, not because I wanted to. I am now grieving for what I never had. I had a bizarre love/hate relationship with my mom, and I never understood why I just didn't completely cut her out of my life, but I just kept hoping that she would give me a sincere apology. In the end all I got was her getting angry and telling me that she was an excellent mother...HA!!! Thank goodness that I learned from the experience, because my daughter and I have a loving, close relationship.

Please remember that not all siblings are horrible because we distance ourselves from our parents. Many of us have perfectly good reason to! Yes, some siblings are selfish and self-centered, but not all. If you were a victim of abusive parenting, my heart goes out to you, because it is one of the most heartbreaking situations to be in. After our parents gone, the scars remain. Blessings to all the amazing caregivers out there!
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125, there is nothing you can do to convince your sisters to help. I too, had two twisted sissies. The care was left to me, 24/7, 365 days a year, for four years. Twisteds were originally in denial that lasted four years until I had enough and they had mom admitted to memory care. That was when they finally realized that mom was really as sick as I tried to tell them.

Yes, you need to get on with your life, you must be young if wanting marriage and a family. Your best option in my opinion is to move out, find mom a home caregiver if there are funds for that, or place her in a facility. It will be hard, but even if your twisteds were to help, living two hours away is a lot to ask. They have their lives too, and yours is what you make it.
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Reply to gladimhere
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I understand your frustration and stress... You've received some good ideas and suggestions, and I'll add my thoughts to your dilemma...
Instead of asking for their help, you might be a little more direct.
1. Start by stating that you plan to be away ~ no explanations or justifications, just the statment of when you'll be away. Do this with enough time to give them an opportunity to prepare.
2. State that you all need to look at options for mom's care while you're gone and that they'll need to let you know what they are willing or able to do to help mom through your absence...
3. This is NOT for you, but for your mother and she is the mother of all of you.
4. Operate from the premise that they care, but do not have to do more than they are doing because you are handling everything, and even if you complain, they can ignore your complaints and go on about their lives, which is their priority... We are not judging them, just being aware of how they are handling their priorities...
5. IF they tell you to do what you need to do, that they have no suggestions, then the next step is to outline that mom would need to go into assisted living for respite care, and that right now the cost would be... $___ and how do they want to cover that cost?
6. The conversation will then turn to finances and often times when siblings don't physically participate in a parent's care, they do step up with financial support... as you stated, they pay her bills...
7. Make sure you do get away as you stated you would, and then the conversation can be followed up with what will work for mom going forward... This may encourage the discussion regarding long term care, financial planning, visitation, etc. While respite care is short term, it can often lead to the long term care needed...
8. As was recommended previously, see what you can then do to move out on your own so you are not as consumed with the daily care and responsibilities for your mother.
9. This is about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, first with your mother and then with your sisters... They are used to you handling everything, so making the change to let them know that this is no longer acceptable, a conversation regarding mom's care has to happen...
10. No guilt, no judgments, just lay out the facts... Focus on creating the best life you can given the realities of your mother's needs...
Wishing you ease...
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YsLadyMN Nov 26, 2018
Best advice, general boundaries, etc. THANK YOU for sharing. Gold here.

I have done most of this and agree 100%.
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I agree with caringson ... expect nothing.

you have your answer ... they will do nothing but expect everything when she dies.
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Reply to Betsysue2002
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You need to host a family meeting and determine the next steps. People with dementia need placement ultimately as they are unsafe. Even with the best intentions the outcome isn’t going to change. She will need placement. You will burn yourself out and isolate yourself from your own goals and dreams. Siblings suck and there’s a buck passer in every family. Do what you can and no more. Parents have a lifetime to plan for this stage in their live so don’t throw your life away now. Make plans for placement ASAP. Get an elder law attorney. Lilly mom will need protection from your siblings in the future. Those that don’t help typically help themselves to the assets.
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Summer55 Nov 26, 2018
Family meetings hardly work and are you kidding me that our parents have a life time to plan?!? Get a grip, im sure my mother or father planned for retirement but you don't plan to get dementia or any other brain disorder and they sure as hell don't get to fill out the application. Then if they go on Medicaid then the government drains everything else.
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125...
It might be the time to have a "family talk"
Tell your siblings that you can not do it all and that the option will be to find a place for mom. Assisted Living now might work then a move to Memory Care. Or go directly to Memory Care if that is appropriate.
I am sure that once this subject is brought up either they will find a way to help out more or you can all go tour Memory Care facilities now.
This will take the burden from you as well. Once placed mom will be in a safe secure environment and you call all become daughters again not caregivers.
Yes it will be an adjustment for mom as well as you. But this is a disease that progresses and the necessary help will only increase. The important thing is mom is safe and in a place that will be able to accommodate her needs as she declines.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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If they are not already regularly there with her and helping with her care; they NEVER will be.

Read that^^^ again. I know it's heartbreaking to read that, even overwhelming, but sadly, it's true.

I learned this the hard way. It was very painful to find out that some of my siblings are not who I thought they were for my entire 50+ years of life. All 5 of us siblings live in the same metropolitan area as my mom did; all of us are white-collar professionals with our own families.

Most of my siblings did not have the same sense of responsibility for our mom as I did, some kind of indebtedness, or empathy for our mom and how she wanted to live out her life in her own home, (as long as it was safe for her to do so). She was our parent, the person who gave us life, but they didn't feel enough indebtedness/ appreciation to physically be there in her life when she needed and wanted them there the most...at the end of her life.

If your siblings are only willing/able to help financially, use that help.

They will not change. They will not suddenly start visiting more often, no matter what you say to them. They will not invite her to their homes for any extended stays, because they would have to take care of her physical needs and her safety. They will not change who they are for her. They are not willing to invest their time or their physical effort in her care, only their money.

As much as you love your mother, you have to love yourself more. You are NOT expected to give up your chance at your life, your dreams, by caring for your parent. I would even venture to say that your siblings don't expect it of you, but I'm sure they are thrilled that you volunteered to do it...because they never would have volunteered themselves.

This is a VERY COMMON SITUATION!!!
One, sometimes two siblings bear the physical burden for the caretaking of the parent(s).

Your mother's situation is going to deteriorate and she is not going to become easier to handle and care for as time goes by.

You and your siblings need to develop a long-term plan NOW for her LIFELONG care that does NOT involve YOU as the MAIN caretaker. You need to be assertive and up front with them that, just as they are not physically caring for your mother, you can no longer give up your own life to care for your mother.

Research, discuss, and then decide on a long term plan. Likely involving hiring a 24 hour live-in caretaker, (which your siblings can help pay for).

Once the caretaker is situated, you should start the process of moving yourself OUT of the house while still visiting daily. Slowly removing yourself from the caretaker role to becoming a regular visitor.

When the time comes where she can no longer be cared for at home, she will need to go into a facility that can handle her medical and emotional needs.

I know this is VERY hard to handle, and that you wish things were different, but you need to open your eyes and realize that THIS is the situation you are in. And it will not change, or improve, unless YOU change it.

Your siblings and their actions have already made it very clear how they plan to handle your mother's physical care...they're going to have someone else do it!

If YOU CHOOSE to continue being the main in-home caretaker for your mother, then you can discuss that your siblings can start paying YOU for YOUR time, since they are not willing to be present themselves.

It is YOUR decision on how you live YOUR life. Your siblings are CHOOSING how they live THEIR lives.

Helping with your mother can and should be a PART of your life, but not your ENTIRE life, unless that is your calling.

Tough decisions lie ahead, heartwrenching, but necessary for your mother's care, as well as your own. Nobody wants to see your life destroyed because you overhelped in caring for your mother's.
Keep reading/posting questions here, you'll find answers and also find that you're NOT ALONE in your feelings. We all here have had experiences.
May God bless you.
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Reply to SusieW314
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Ohhhh How I feel you. It has been that way for me for almost 7 years....one acts like she is too busy and she has to work (and I have two jobs and I'm a widow) and she claims to be this Christian and has a husband to help her with her income. They have NEVER offered to help out, as a matter of fact she goes around telling people she was abused as a child just to make herself look like a victim. Disgusting! Another sister lives out of state and comes once or twice a year to help about for a week or two. My health is declining but....they do not care. All I can tell you is they prob will not change. It happens in every family. There is always that one. I am sorry you have no help, I truly am I know what it feels like. Makes you angry and bitter. You don't mean to be but it is a lot. I have both parents and trying to get them in assisted living and my dad is fighting me. At least they are paying bills, none of mine would ever do that....it is a horrible situation. Praying for you!
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Tluther Nov 30, 2018
My sister and I were abused by my father’s father for years. My mom would be right across the room while it was happening. My sister resents her and wants her to suffer for it. Myself; I have issues to this day, but don’t hold my mother fully responsible. To me it’s a poor excuse for not helping
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SEE an ATTORNEY! Absolutely see an attorney and review her will, trust, whatever. I was in the same boat for 14 YEARS with neither sister doing anything. If she has assets, start by arranging payment to YOU for what you do, documentation is paramount. This will also allow you to spend down assets before Medicaid will kick in. With my mum it never did and when she died my sisters and I inherited equally, although they did absolutely nothing and I toiled for 14 years. You bet I’m bitter. Please don’t make the same mistakes I did. Protect yourself first.
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caringson12 Nov 26, 2018
100% true. There is no medal for being a "used caretaker." Do what you feel is right and expect no recognition from anyone. It truly is a wonderful lesson and a way to not end up bitter.
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