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They are in assisted living but able to pay for extra cares dressing and bathing and meds.. My sister is constantly being called for issues and says they have to call her but she complains about how exhausted she is. The rest of us dont know what to do. Two of us live over an hour away and the other two are closer. She and her husband have been handling all issues with our folks for years. My parents have her on speed dial on their apartment phone. I don't know how to help anymore.

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Don't stop asking that sister how you can help. Even if she turns you down a thousand times. Not knowing your sister or her personality, it's hard to be specific.

If she is a control freak, she'll never allow anyone to help. Even past the point of her total exhaustion. This situation is hard to watch unfold. I work with some folks who believe they are an "army of 1" even when they are going down in flames.

If she is too busy to think about it and figure something out, just be bold and assertive with your ideas. Maybe you can be the #2 contact on the list. Maybe win her with the "what's in it for her" angle. Let me help you help our folks.

I think a lot of caregivers get stuck down a hole and can't see daylight anymore. A lot like having a newborn baby in the house for the first time, and all it does is cry and poop (my first son). You know you need help, but you can't explain it to yourself, much less anybody else. You feel like you're supposed to be handling this like a breeze, and it's a tsunami.

Maybe you can talk to her about creating a backup plan that involves you. If something ever happened to her, somebody else in the family needs to know what to do and where the info is.

Good luck and check back!
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Sometimes it's hard to delegate, sometimes you're just paddling fast and can't articulate what help you need. How about help for her, like a cleaning service gift certificate to clean her house. Or frozen food you can order online that she can heat on crazy nights. Or could you help with your parents shopping, like clothing. My sister buys Mom's clothes and sends them to me - saves me a trip to the mall. I handle in town calls and she handles things like calls to the VA (bless her for this).
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Chocolates are a great idea Maggie. Let me add.........do this during the year. Not just at the holidays. We would be covered up with chocolates, peanut brittle, cookies, chex mix, divinity (yes people still make it) mixed nuts, gift baskets and you name it. It will be much more remembered and appreciated during the year without a holiday. Tell sis to have mom and dad call you. Put your number in their speed dial and encourage them to call their other children. Call them often and ask what you can do. I'm sure sis would appreciate all of your help.
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Ask your sister what you can do to help. Ask your parents what you can do to help. Separate the tasks into those that can be done from a distance and those that require being nearby, and divvy them up among those that want to help.

Is it both the staff and your parents that are calling Sis? The staff needs one point of contact, so Sis is the one on the spot. But once she gets the calls she can delegate some of the tasks. If she is uncomfortable or stressed making decisions, she could email the situation to all of you and get your input.

Mom and Dad could call any of you. If there are certain topics that come up often that you could deal with, for example, your sister could tell your parents to call you about that topic. You could reinforce that guideline when you talk to them. It might take several calls to "retrain" your parents, but it is probably possible.

All four of you could help by increasing your contact with your parents -- calls, cards, emails if they do that. The more attention they are getting from elsewhere, the less they'll need from POA Sis.

Being the in-charge person is hard and can be exhausting. Be supportive of the Sis who has been handling things for years. Give her praise. Tell her how grateful you are for what she has been doing. Parents seldom act grateful, but someone should!
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P.S. If you do that with chocolates for staff, be sure to let your sister know right after you've done it. She'll want to be kept in THAT loop, too.
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Pretty simple, really. Ask your sister how you can help. If she turns you down, just go visit your parents and love them to bits-and-pieces. Oh, one thing you might do is bring a two-pound box of high-quality chocolates next time you visit and have them put in the staff breakroom with a lovely thank-you card from your folks. That's always a pleaser and pays many dividends.

I actually understand your sister wanting everything to go through her, Not a bad policy. Find something unrelated to your folks you can do to help her if she turns you down about getting involved. Out of the blue, give her a gift certificate at her favorite restaurant and YOU give her a beautiful thank-you card for all she's doing. It's no small task.

And too many cooks spoil the soup. ;)
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