I'm not sure how to put this. My 2 older sisters are no help whatsoever with our 83 year old Dad. He lives in an assisted living facility that is great, yet they are the first ones to criticize for the decisions he makes. He still has his mental faculties, but my sisters believe as the power of attorney I can make decisions for him. I sometimes even feel like the staff at the assisted living facility judge me. I'm so burned out on dealing with my Dad. I feel like the stress is slowly killing me.

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“How do you deal with being portrayed as the bad guy?”
I hate to say it but it seems to go with the territory of being a POA.

The principal gives us problems. The siblings give us problems. Go anywhere and someone will be asking, who is POA? As if the answer to that solves all the problems.

It’s bad enough that we seem to hang up the family member hat and put on the worry wart hat. Is this the best medical care? Is this drug harmful? Do they have enough money to pay for care for as long as they live? Do I skip the grands ballgame to go to the care meeting? Do I take this trip or stay and be on call? No, relative, Aunt can’t contribute to your kids college fund or your honeymoon or the new roof”.
The list is endless and touches every aspect of your life. Regardless of whether you are doing 24/7 hands on or “just” managing the care, you are it. “Tag. You are it.”

My suggestion is to speak clearly to your siblings or anyone else needing a wake up call.
“I’m doing the best I can. I know you appreciate it. I’m counting on your support.”

My theory about why some siblings are distant is they feel guilty. Yet they don’t want the job. We are sensitive to their criticism because we are spent. It’s a conundrum.

I believe in family meetings. I think you have to earn the right to be critical. If you brother or sister care so much then meet up and let’s discuss past present and future steps and actions in a calm setting with the intention of supporting our loved one and one another.
I made my goal with caretaking my mother to still have an extended family when it was all over. We are actually closer than we were before we started.
After reading some posts on this site I know I was lucky.
With my aunt (91) who has no children, it’s a different scenario. Different health issues. I’m somewhat detached. I’ve hired more help. She’s easier to care for than my mom. The mother daughter dynamic is not there. I’m pacing myself. I’m older. I’m tired. Many differences but the weight of POA is ever present. I get wake up calls every so often. I hear a comment that I take to heart. I try to do better even though others tell me I’m doing great.

My intention this time is to arrive at the end with some life left to live and the desire to live it.

I recently told my younger brother. “Be careful. You turn around one day and the ability to do certain things has passed you by.”

So you have to get a tougher skin. Be clear with yourself on what your intentions are. Fold their care into your life. Don’t allow it to take you over.
If your siblings are the type that make you sorry that you even mentioned an issue, then don’t. Bring it here and vent away to people who understand and will support you.
You are not the bad guy. You are the hero.
Helpful Answer (31)

97yroldmom, that is an absolutely brilliant post! You really get weight of the POA, and interactions with family.

"My theory about why some siblings are distant is they feel guilty. Yet they don’t want the job. We are sensitive to their criticism because we are spent. It’s a conundrum."
Helpful Answer (11)

POA only comes into play when your Dad is not able to make decisions for himself. Not you, the staff or your sisters can make him do what he doesn't want to do even when a patient has Dementia. The staff is there to assist. If he doesn't what to bath, eat or be involved with activities that is his choice. I doubt the staff judge you. They are the people that have been taught how to handle people. Just explain to ur sisters what POA means and...whether they like it or not Dad is an adult and good or bad he can make his own decisions. The elderly do not appreciate their children telling them what to do. So, don't stress out about something you have no control over.
Helpful Answer (7)

I agree, 97yroldmom’s post was great! I’m also POA for my dad who is mentally sound, and have mostly disinterested siblings. But I do get the phone calls sometimes saying “you need to ....” or “can’t you make dad .....” I’ve learned to just listen, then ignore or to just state that no, I don’t have power to make dad do anything, he’s mentally sound. But I never argue with either sibling. I well know it doesn’t solve a thing, and they’re both childish enough to twist it somehow and go back to my dad with it. It does require a certain amount of detachment and reciting the serenity prayer is also good!
Helpful Answer (7)

97yroldmom - Your post is on the nose. I copied and pasted it into my caregiving file to read when I'm down and needing it.
Thank you.
Helpful Answer (6)

I agree with the others here. The POA gives you power to make decisions on your dad's behalf only if he is mentally incompetent. After explaining to my mother's cardiologist that she is living in (what I consider to be) a dirty, dangerous house and refuses to allow anyone to clean or remove obstacles and clutter (big understatement), the doctor kindly said to me that as long as she is able to make her own decisions, there is nothing I can do about it, even when she makes terrible decisions. I have had to let go of that feeling of responsibility for not forcing her to comply with my expectations. It is very very difficult to watch your parent live in conditions that she would NEVER have allowed earlier in her life. It is true, too, that parents do not want to be told what to do by their children - regardless of the age of their children. My mother told me, a few days ago, that it seemed to her that every time she turns around, someone is telling her what to do. [ In that particular scene, I told her she needs to remove the loaded shotgun from her house. ] Hang in there. It's not easy but you are doing it. I agree with the others here that unless the siblings are participating in the hands-on caring, they don;t get to complain and criticize your efforts.
Helpful Answer (5)

I'm going to make a point of remembering 97yroldmom's goal: "My intention this time is to arrive at the end with some life left to live and the desire to live it." We all need to be able to keep in mind that there is light at the end of the tunnel, which for some of us is almost impossible to believe because of the challenging situations we are facing. Frankly, I read about the tough situations some of the others here are going through and I sometimes feel guilty for feeling frustrated at the relatively minor things involved with my mother's situation.
Helpful Answer (5)

My aunt just told me that i could stop my dad if i wanted to, he wants to go live with her or anyone else that will take him. Then she says, it's time he learned the word no, I'm just sorry you have to be the one.

No they're not, they are happy it's not them. I am glad it was a text communication or I may have said regrettable things. I am the bad guy, dad thinks so and everyone he tries to manipulate into taking him in thinks so, because I don't stop him from trying to leave.

I am like, did you NOT read what I just said, did you NOT hear me? Are you kidding me, I will explain what is going on, they will talk to him and they get a fantasy island conversation then call me and ask, is he lying about This? This, being what I just told them is going on, he spins it to manipulate and get what he wants. Is he lying, are you asking me or are you saying I lied because he told you SOME B'S that doesn't match what I told you, even though I told you he is doing that very thing. Aaaaauuuuuuugghhh. I decided yesterday that I will not be giving any more information out. How is he? Fine as frog hair. My dad's family obviously want to make me the bad guy, well okay, there are situations where there needs to be a bad guy, I will do it. I'm the only one helping him, I'm the only one that sees him and if he talks to them once a month it's a lot. Bad guy here, what was that? Yes you are right I am "B"eautiful, "I"ntelligent, "T"alented, "C"harming, and "H"appy. Thank you have a nice day. If it isn't hard enough dealing with my dad and his nonsense it seems like there is always one of his relatives waiting to take over and let me know how messed up I am. I know I can't win with them so I officially have quit trying, dad's needs are met and he is safe. If any of them want more, please come get him and best of luck.

Sorry for the rant, I get being the bad guy and I am learning to hold boundaries, they don't get you have no control but you have all the responsibility. I wish they would have a little sense to look into it from a legal standpoint then they might get it. What some people think is them helping is like watching a science fiction movie.

Keep your chin up bad guy and know you are doing the best you can regardless of what anyone of them think, say or do.
Helpful Answer (4)

Kootiebear - You got some really super, sage advice. The folks here are amazing. I am the local person assisting my parents; my sibling lives in another state and visits about 3 or 4 times a year. When I begin to feel that I cannot do any more, I do two things: tell my parents that I need my sibling to help on something and tell my sibling I need help. It is not perfect, but it relieves some of the pressure. I also actively involve my sibling in decisions: when I get the call from the parents, I call my sibling and inform them of the situation. We put our heads together to identify solutions. This keeps my sibling involved and aware. It also lets us decide who should play what role and/or whether we both want to sing the same song to the parents. Amazing that sometimes it is better for me to deal with parents, sometimes better for my sibling, and sometimes it takes two! And sometimes, nothing works - but we tried. I think actively involving your siblings can help them feel more empowered even from afar and lets them relieve some of the guilt. It may be worth a try.
Helpful Answer (4)

I was in a different situation where I took mom in and took care of her until the end. My younger two siblings were joint POA. My younger sister was the primary on the health care proxy. One lived out of state and one lived a few streets away. My sister, the one a few streets away, decided she would withhold mom's money or most of it saying there wasn't any money. What did I know, I had access to nothing. However, I was smart enough to know I wasn't getting all the money that was mom's every month.
I have a very dysfunctional family. There are 5 of us and by the last year and a half of mom's life, I received no help from any of them.
So, when the sister POA announced that she was cutting back the amount of money she was giving of my mom's, then I became the bad guy. Did I care?? Not one iota!!
I hired a Medicaid attorney, a private care manager, asked for help from my younger brother for payment of this and got mom on Medicaid and was awarded 24/7 home health aide care to help me keep mom home. By doing this, my sister POA had to turn over all of mom's money to the trust, etc. etc. So she ended up with no use of mom's money, which is how it should have been the whole time.
So, yes I am the bad guy. I kept mom whole until her last breath which was her wish and my promise. I didn't let anyone bully me. I didn't let their lack of support stop me. I did what I had to do for my mom. I am eternally grateful for being able to do what I did. My sisters don't talk to me. My older brother barely speaks to me. My younger brother, the one who lives out of state, stays in touch and is supportive.
I wouldn't normally promote being the bad guy. I like to think that siblings can pull together to do the right thing. But when pushed into the corner? I come out swinging. I have no regrets. Absolutely none. My mom was well taken care of. I managed to take good care of myself. I am grieving and hoping to have a good life when I get to the other side of my grief.
So, I say this. Take care of your dad. Take care of yourself. Don't worry about what anybody else thinks. It doesn't matter. As long as your dad is being well taken care of, you are doing all you can do. Please take care of yourself. Do what you have to do to take care of your health. The day will come that you will be grateful that you did because you will be free to enjoy your life in whatever the next chapter of your life will be.
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