Long story short. Both of my parents' health has been declining. Dad is in ICU right now and my mom has (undiagnosed) dementia (I'm in the mental health field and can diagnose but mom refuses to have an assessment or brain scan for official diagnosis). I have two sisters that live out of state, both over 1,000 miles away (so 17-20 hr drive). I live an hour away so am at this time the caregiver for both parents. I'm not sure if my dad is going to make it. I have attempted to plan ahead to avoid a crisis situation, as we have now, but my parents were not willing to discuss this. They are having a hard time accepting this reality, which I understand. My mom seems more open now that dad is in the hospital.
I have 2 concerns/stressors:
1). My sister is the medical and financial POA and wants complete control over everything (I looked in dad's checkbook because he was concerned about whether he paid a bill and my sister called me up when she found out and was angry. This was during his hospitalization and I didn't have time, nor even considered discussing this with her, as I was just trying to reduce his anxiety around this.) My mom chose my sister as POA because she is the oldest. Mom is considering changing POA to me but I will get kickback from my sister, or she will attempt to manipulate mom. I feel as the local caretaker I'll need this authority for medical and financial decisions and do not have time to ask permission for everything, nor reimbursement for money I spend. Unfortunately, my sister adds much stress to all of this. How does a local caretaker care for parents with no authority? I am new to this.
2). I am already operating at a high level of stress, due to requirements of my job and several recent losses. Ethically and legally, I need to be mentally competent to work in this profession. I cannot change careers and support myself. I know the importance of self-care but that has been a struggle and now is non-existent. Because I am in a "caregiver" profession, this is essential. It is hard to care-give all day then go home and care for elderly parents. I have thoughts of packing up and moving away, to end the stress. I wont do that but it sounds wonderful. I love my parents dearly but am overwhelmed. I am considering telling my mom that if I am to be the caretaker, I will need authority to do so (so will need to be POA). But I'm completely overwhelmed. When I have to be at the hospital or caring for them, I have to cancel my patient appointments, which is not good for them, nor my employment stability. Further, I do not get paid unless I see clients and I pay $8,000/yr for private insurance. I'm single and have no help. My parents have no family or friends to help out. I am it. My parents do not want to move where my sisters are, they do not want to go into a skilled nursing facility, and they want to live in their home. My sisters are not able to fly or drive in to help due to their health or job or schedule. Mom cannot drive and dad should not be.
Everyone, my sisters and even AARP, talk about "their wishes" (may parents) which of course are important - but don't work for me and won't provide them with the level of care they need. My mom will at some point need more care for the dementia. It is a 2 hr drive for me there and back
I KNOW I can't do this on my own (and don't even know if I can do it AT ALL without losing my job and income) but don't know how to proceed. I have researched resources and have an idea of how to get in-home care for awhile, but they will have many other care needs. I don't know what the outcome will be with my dad but if he gets well, he will have a long recovery period and my mom is not able to care for him. He will go to a skilled nursing facility possibly for a few weeks, as per hospital recommendation. My sisters will both be in town this weekend so I am hoping to discuss options. Thanks in advance for any feedback or ideas!