As the main caregiver how do you make a "schedule" with a sibling who won't do overnights?

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Or no weekends, will leave whenever she feels like? I've been asked by my sister (who has not been around for 2 years) to make a schedule. She tells me my way of caring for our mother is a circus. I have been the primary caregiver of my mother for the past 2 years. My mother has been doing well except for set backs here and there. Since my sister has come around again she is demanding "MY" schedule. I feel as the main caretaker I don't have one. I'm on call 24hrs. Everything falls on me. I have to make sure there is always care for our mother regardless who can be there and who can't. I don't see my mother as an 8-5 job as my sister does. I can't clock out and forget about her. Basically, when my sister is not caring for her she does not want to be bothered. So what kind of "schedule" could I possibly give my sister who already said, She can't do overnights, maybe she can do a weekend, and cuts out early whenever she is with our mother? Am I missing somehthing? Can the primary caretaker be on a schedule? If it's possible I would love to work something out. I just don't see it happening. The last thing I want to do is argue and fight with my siblings who are now willing to help me. I need all the help I can get.

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This seems like a manipulative tactic. It could be that she's pretending to want a schedule to create the impression that she is cooperating, but really doesn't intend to - which is why she's created a literally impossible task for you. If you can't create a so-called reasonable schedule, she can say she tried, you failed.

On the other hand, it could be that she has absolutely no idea how complicated caregiving can be and is trying to impose some type of standardized schedule which she feels would be more appropriate.

I like Linda's suggestion. Turn the tables on her, and ask her to create her schedule. This does, however, run the risk of her creating something so far from a legitimate schedule that it's not workable.

If your sister is sincere, however, I don't think she has any idea what it's like to be in your position and the only way she'll learn is by being in that position.
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jeanne , " humor her a bit "
thats evil -- but it works..
emotions run high . sis bout got strangled , cuz is being vindictive - both her sons have threatened to break my legs at different times , no easy solutions, just a monumental job to get accomplished ..
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Routine can be comforting and stabilizing for many elders, especially those with dementia. Getting up at approximately the same time each day (except those days when they didn't sleep well), sitting in the same spot for breakfast, always starting with the shirt for dressing, always brushing teeth before putting in hearing aides ... these kinds of routine can help all of us and help reduce tension for people with underlying confusion. Obviously flexibility is also needed!

If your sister just wants to know the household routines so she can follow them when she is there, I'll bet you really do have some established routines and you could easily draw up a ROUGH "schedule" for each day. This would help her or any other visiting caregiver know whether it is typical for Mother to eat breakfast in her robe and then get dressed, or if she is always completely groomed before coming to the table. Even such minor details as to whether she puts on her makeup or brushes her hair first can be helpful. Does she take a walk after lunch? Does she always watch Wheel of Fortune? Is Wednesday her usual shower day?

You know and I know that no two days are the same, but there probably is more structure to most days than might be apparent -- it is not really a "circus" even if it looks that way to an outsider.

If you and Sis can discuss the routine in a friendly, helpful way, that might be good for your relationship. Try to stay open to her suggestions -- it might help her to feel included. Not that she gets to run the show, certainly not, but that you take her input seriously.

If she wants a "schedule" in the sense of when she should be there, sit down with her with that calendar Linda mentions. Tell her which days would be most helpful to you -- when you have your dental appointment, when you want to go early to an annual sale at your favorite store, etc. -- and ask her what times she has available.

Even if she is being kind of a PIA about this, it is VERY worthwhile to have someone on your side in the caregiving journey. Humor her a bit, at least until she has enough hands-on experience to not be so clueless.
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by a " schedule " she might be insisting on extraordinary communication from you and with as much advance notice as possible .
thats the reason my cuz and i are locking horns right now . ive cared for her mother almost daily in various ways for a year and she has only answered one email out of 25 or so that ive sent . i call that clinically retarded and destined to blow up at a point ..
lindas idea is good one imo .. there are some people who just enjoy having a little power and making you squirm .
either way , i feel you . i told aps the other day that the most enraged ive been in years was my ( paid ) sis and niece sliming in at 11;00 am on a monday workday to relieve me with their smirks all prearranged .. ive learned . cuz didnt get by with it . she bought herself about 10 days of 24 - 7 and i went to chicago ..
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I'm really not being a smart aleck here, but hand her a calendar for August, a highlighter and pen - ask her to block out the days and times she's able to commit to helping. All the remaining white spaces will be covered by you.
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No, you cannot be on a schedule! That is part of the disease of Alzheimer's. Sure there are things that you do every day, give her that list while explaining the important part is to remain flexible to accommodate your mother. A schedule would do nothing but increase your mother's stress level leading to additional symptoms of the disease. My siblings think the same that I should be able to maintain a schedule and it is impossible. Remaining flexible is key to keeping our Mom's well cared for, safe and comfortable!
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