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I moved my now 93 year old mom across the country to live with my husband and I five years ago. She had been living in her home with my oldest sister since my dad passed away in 2002. I discovered my sister had been draining her bank account for some time. They had gotten into an argument and she called my brother who lived in another state to come and get her. My mom stayed with him for a few months but he apparently got tired of it and called me to say he was moving and couldn't keep her. It fell on me to take over. He never did move. Once she moved here, I spent months trying to straighten up the financial mess my sister had created.


I come from a very dysfunctional family and moved 1500 miles from them when I was 19. I'm now 52. I have built a good life, run my own business, and have been happy. Since moving my mom in, I have been dealing with all the dysfunction and mental illness in my family, including an unhealthy codependent relationship between my mom and the sister who stole from her. My mom insists on sending her money. I refuse, and an argument begins. I'm trying to protect her finances and she fights me over it.


I am now working mostly from home due to Covid. Mom is requiring more monitoring. She left the gas stove on one day. Another day I caught her trying to pry a jar open with a sharp knife. Last week, she tried to trim a toenail and ended up ripping half the nail off and bleeding everywhere. I'm constantly stressed, taking multiple prescriptions for anxiety and depression, and there are days when I don't know how much longer I can do this. I do everything for my mom. I try to protect her and keep her safe. I know it will be dangerous for her to return to her home with my sister who still lives there. My brother has bipolar disorder, is off medication and is no help. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I'm stuck taking care of her while my own health suffers.

When caring for someone begins to affect our health in a negative way, it's time to be looking at other options for their care. Since it sounds like not one of your siblings are in a position to care for mom anymore, it's time to be looking into placing her in a facility, where she will receive 24/7 care and you can try and regain your own health, both mental and physical. None of you are obligated to care for her, so start looking around at some nice facilities that your mom can spend the rest of her years at. You will be much better off with her out of your house. Good luck.
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KCam02 Oct 19, 2020
Thank you for your insight and support. I feel horrible and guilty for thinking I can't care for her anymore.
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Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and see what support for older people and their families is available where you live. That's always a good start, and can open the door to many options.

I'm sorry for how you are feeling, and I do sympathise; but I hope in time you will be able to extend a bit more sympathy to others too. You say your sister drained your mother's bank account: how much money ought 13 years' living and care expenses to have cost? You say your brother got tired of caring for your then 88 year old mother after only a few months, but you then explain that your brother has bipolar disorder: was it ever going to be possible for him to manage her needs on a long-term or permanent basis?

Looking after an older parent in the home, alone and unsupported, IS incredibly stressful and truly I do feel for you. I hope that accessing advice and services that take at least some of the pressure off will help.
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KCam02 Oct 19, 2020
My sister was not caring for her. Much more the opposite. The unhealthy relationship between them has been going on for years. After my dad died, I alerted my family to concerns but everyone just replied with, 'oh, that's your sister'. They all live close by and I am across the country. Believe me, I have tried to extend compassion and empathy for years.
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Have you got the paperwork in order? Are you authorised to be in contact with doctors, with a HIPPA? Do you (or anyone else) have a POA? Is there a will, or an end-of-life directive? Will her financial position entitle her to Medicaid?

It sounds as though your mother would be better off in a facility, and you would be a lot better off too. It helps a lot to have the paperwork in place before she gets a label of being no longer legal competent to get the paperwork done. Get cracking, before you crack up yourself!
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KCam02 Oct 19, 2020
I became her POA and medical POA after moving her here with me. A year ago, my sister had someone she knows to notarize a new POA and promptly took it to the bank and withdrew $800 from mom's account. I filed fraud charges and hired an attorney. The rest of my family including my mom refused to back me up in the fraud charges. I had any previous POA voided and have a new one which states that my sister is to have no financial authority of any kind.
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Oh my word, you have a nightmare on your hands!

Sounds like she is extremely difficult to get along with.

Speak to a social worker to see what steps are needed to improve your situation, such as possibly placing her in a facility.

You know that you are struggling with this situation. I am glad that you realize this.

Don’t feel like you are obligated to help her. Things will not improve. You must change your response to this by letting go of a toxic relationship with her.

I am sorry things are as they are.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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KCam02 Oct 19, 2020
Thank you. I appreciate your support. My mom is actually very healthy for her age aside from experiencing some cognitive decline. She can't return to her home because my sister is a hoarder and has destroyed her house. It's infested with rats according to family members who live close to her. I feel assisted living is the only option. My sister would gladly have her back there, but only to drain her finances again.
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