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Sooner or later, I guess many of us hit the wall and have to admit, I'm in over my head and I want help or I want out. I've already tried the "want help" route for a long time, with no success -- for many years. I live with mom and up until recently, had shared POA. My sister managed to snatch POA under dubious circumstances and my other siblings are absolutely worthless and of no help and still expect me to spend all my time outside of work taking care of mom. Since sis took over, Mom isn't getting the medical care she needs, we are constantly battling to get mom to see her doctors and have access to things she needs, and the battle to remove sis as POA is beyond my reach. I have part-time help, but they do not work the hours I work, so mom gets left alone sometimes when I'm at work, and that means overnight, quite often. Oh, I have the luxury of caregivers here some hours when I am home; I know that makes some of you envious; but it's not when we need them here! Mom has already fallen several times. I happened to be home last night for her most recent fall, and that was my wake up call. What if I wasn't here? I can't get sis to add hours or change the caregivers schedule or to check on mom herself, even though she lives nearby. Any of those would be reasonable solutions, but they are not going to happen.
I need to "quit" my caregiving role -- my health is suffering in so many ways, and I have no life of own at all, get very little or no sleep, and I want to go back to just being mom's son again. How do I legally "wash my hands", and how do I cope with the reality that mom will likely suffer as a result of my actions? Is an email to sis and my siblings stating I'm done as of such date sufficient? Forget calling APS, mom's lawyer, talking about my own illness or expecting any reasonable response from sis with POA or my family. None of that will work. I'm the youngest and have routinely had to take on all the things no one wants to do. Sis won't even provide money for food for mom, and the only reason we got the caregivers part-time was because mom's neighbor threatened to call the police on sis to report medical neglect. If I thought I could go on and stay healthy, I would, but have come to the conclusion that it's just not possible. I can't leave my quit date open-ended, as family will just take advantage and stretch it out for as long as they can. But I don't want mom left unattended, either. The agency told me "behind my sister's back" they could have someone here starting tomorrow 24/7, so finding the help isn't a roadblock or reason to delay this past the weekend. Mom has the resources to pay, but sis controls the checkbook. It is going to have to be "forced", but I want to do this appropriately. I've thought about it for a long time and have already pursued and abandoned all other options I could think of, so I'm not going to change my mind.

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Well, I let them all know in writing, and then blocked sister so she cannot reply back. I have no need for any further communication with her. The agency also knows I'm permanently "off-duty" at 6pm tomorrow and that they need to have someone here when the usual part-time caregiver's shift ends, as I will not be here. I could care less who gets the bill - it's not my responsibility. Thanks to Pam for reminding me of that, several times, the past few days. I called my doctor at his home tonight and he said, "You need to quit today", so thanks also to the people that suggested the medical escape route. The stress alone, notwithstanding my other medical problems, was enough. I'm taking a few days off from my part-time job, too, and going up to Central California to visit friends I haven't seen since moving back to take care of dad 26 years ago. This will be my first time off in almost 10 years; not really a vacation, but a prelude to a vacation. At least it's the respite I should have had all along, but never got. Mom will be ok, and if not, I did the best that I could with what I had to work with. I know she would never have wanted me to be this miserable and would say so, if she could. We'll visit for tea when we get back and hopefully by then she'll be all settled with 24/7 care. Ultimate goal is to get her into assisted living and then into NH unit at the appropriate time, which may already be the case. The rest of my family will realize it's their only reasonable option very quickly, as none of them are willing to do or make the time for what needs to be done themselves. Lesson to parents: get your POA's and all your ducks in a row and choose the right family member to represent you. Lesson to caregivers: Don't make the mistakes I made; if you are not the person that is responsible for some one else's care, stop! You will only lose and go away miserable from the experience.
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You find an apartment and you move. You are not the POA, the POA is the one responsible for her care. You advise sis, the agency, your mother and the attorney that you are out of there by March 1 (30 day notice). And you go. It is not abandonment with sufficient notice. It's a matter of saving your own life. They will muddle through.. You just stop in for tea once a week.
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Good news UPDATE: Mom now has round-the-clock, 24/7 care. It's not yet a permanent situation, but at least she's not being left alone anymore, and I can finally get back at least some normal in my life! Shame it had to take such a battle to get to this point.
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Not to be insensitive, but falls happen. If she's not broken anything, like a hip, then resume the pre-existing care plan. Stay out of the house. If falling works to reel you back in, then you can bet there will be more falls. The fall is not your fault and the consequences of the fall are not your responsibility. You resigned. Stay away. Let the others step up the plate. If you rescue her every time she needs something, you will never free yourself from your slavery. Might alway want to see a counselor to help you through the guilt. Go home, get your sleep, go on about your life. If you have forgotten what it is to have a life, go on a cruise or camping trip to where there is no cell phone service. Have a 'no contact' day where the phone stays off the hook or unplugged or turned off. I love those days.
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You have to give them notice and follow through on it...just don't say you are going to quit...it sounds like you have cried wolf many times and they don't take you seriously because you are still there. Say what you mean and mean what you say by following through with the action. Type up a very professional letter of resignation, send it certified receipt to your sister, siblings, the agency and your mother's attorney. Give a 30 day notice so you have time to "really" secure an apartment for yourself. It really is that simple.
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Update: I dreaded calling the house today, but had to find out if mom had someone there with her. It's Saturday, and this is the day I'm most concerned about having someone there with mom. Sunday afternoons and dinner are supposed to be spent with sister's family, but mom's refused to go week after week for months. If no one answered, I'd know mom was alone again. Would I have to run back? Her weekday caregiver answered and assured me mom was ok. The agency provided the coverage. Not sure sis even knows yet. Hooray! It's taken a full year to force the real responsibility of caring for mom onto the sibling that has the legal responsibility. Her misuse of her power is unforgivable and so is taking advantage of my good will toward mom, knowing that I'm the type of person that can't let injustice be and stand idly by. The comment about being enslaved really hit home; I hadn't thought of it that way, I just kept trying to do the right thing with what limited resources I had available. I learned that from my parents; I don't understand why my siblings didn't learn that lesson from them, too. I admit I have enabled them by not drawing the line and sticking to it. I should have taken these steps so much sooner. We'll see how it goes from here. Thanks again for everyone's advise and support.
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I agree with the others ... written notice, and then you are out of there!

And, yes, you have already given notice orally, but the written notice will be "official" and serve as documentation.

If you told them a week ago, the letter may be a "This is in confirmation of our conversation on January xx, 2015. Effective 30 days from that date, February xx, I will no longer ...

But will you be ready to move out so quickly?
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Zookeeper,

You acted quickly and resolutely. Very inspiring. Good luck to you.

Oh, how I would like to be a fly on the wall when your sister realizes what caregiving really entails...
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Zoo....

What Salisbury said is correct - your siblings do not have the right to enslave you financially, emotionally or physically, and that's pretty much what it comes down to, doesn't it? You are financially enslaved by staying with Mom, because you aren't out doing for yourself financially, even though you can. You are physically enslaved by having to care for your mother, even though you are not the POA, and therefore, being forced to care for her, even though it's not your legal responsibility. You are, most especially, emotionally enslaved by this situation, like we all are - you already feel the guilt that comes with trying to distance yourself from the caregiver role.

Caregiving is not for everyone, and even if someone starts out as a caregiver and thinks they can do it forever quite happily, there comes a time somewhere down the road where reality hits and they get burned out - and they realize they might not have been cut out for this role after all. You are doing the right thing if you are not able to continue doing this for your mother - force your sister, the POA's, hand and she will *have* to take care of your mom. Please don't let your godfather's words dissuade you from doing what is right for you, and forcing your sister to fill the role she obviously wanted in the first place, as POA.
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Well, it's getting close to time for me to be leaving for work, and that means my stint as unofficial caregiver ends. I am extremely nervous and worried about leaving mom and am doing the best I can to get rid of the guilt that keeps trying to rear it's ugly head. My godfather, who is the only remaining "sane" member of my parent's circle of friends, called me this morning when he got wind of my plans. He told me I had just signed mom's death certificate and he hoped I would be able to live with that. He was the one that knocked me up the side of the head when my dad was ill. He called me one morning and said my mom and sisters didn't know what they are doing and were killing dad in an ugly way, with the way they were mismanaging him, and that I owed it to him to step in and clean it up. I did go, arranged for hospice, and a few days later dad died a happy death at home, surrounded by his family. No one ever thanked me then, either. It was the thing I am most proud of doing, so their thanks probably wouldn't have mattered anyway. I have been in godfather's "debt" ever since and have a tremendous amount of respect for his opinion. I fear he may be right again. And the neighbors are certain sis will kill mom off within 2 months, most likely via an "accident". I have no idea how I'm going to be able to get to sleep tonight...so I asked my brother to come down and visit mom this weekend. He's a few hours away, but willing. And I have my "spies" watching the house, too.
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