My sister left my mom in a dark room for 10-12 hours a day. Since then I have taken over all the caregiving but both my mom and my sister want her to return to me sisters house. Should I let her go?

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I thought about 4 yrs. ago that my mom was having memory problems b/c she was sending cards to the wrong address and calling her own phone, She has had 2 falls in 2 years. After the last one, which I heard about 3 weeks later, I decided i needed to check out the situation even though my sister said nothing was wrong. Now my mom is with me and getting medical care and attending an Elder Care facility for dementia patients during the day. I gave up returning to school and a chance at a job to do this and I know it is right. I am just tired of sibling-in-denial who riles up Mom on phone calls and won't even talk to me now. Now Mom wants to return to sister and live in the dark (she says...) and sister would probably just do the same thing to her 87-yr.-old mother. I want to be able to tell Mom that she is healthier and safer with me. I can tough it out but the undermining is the stressful killer. Spouse agrees with me. Since I can't work and care for my mom, he is the breadwinner for her and our college son who doesn't have a job. I had to spend money because Mom came here with 2 pairs of old pants and some ancient shirts and little else. I have finally gotten her to let me give her a bath and I dress her appropriately. I feed her well and she looks so much better. I keep her hydrated. I still feel sad when she asks when is she going home and asks me to take her to the bus. I know she has enjoyed it here with us and she likes the daycare but will not admit that she can't be alone. Any suggestions? Once, when I took Mom out and my sister could not reach us, my sister left angry, snarky voicemails. I could use some support.

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Tomatillo, I agree with Jaye on this one.....sounds like sis was enjoying a little extra monthly income. I guess I will ask the age-old question.....who has POA, if there is one at all? If you can get your mother to sign one, then you won't have to worry about anything. I know you want to keep your mother safe, but if she is her own guardian she can do anything she wants and that includes moving back in with your sister. Your mother's health and well-being are important and something you should tell her everyday. There are some here who would disagree, but like me, they don't really know your situation and to what degree your mother's dementia is affecting her.....but if getting the POA is impossible, then you can have her declared incompetent and you would be made her guardian. It would involve a hearing in front of a judge. You might also consider speaking with an elder care attorney who can tell you the best course to take.
I understand completely how difficult it is when you have angry siblings to deal with; I have some of those even though my mother passed away last Dec. I care for my mother-in-law and there are no other siblings for my husband to deal with so she just has to put up with me....:)
Good luck with this....it won't be easy but I believe you can do what needs to be done for mom's welfare.
JAM
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tomitlla, you would not let a child ride his bike on a busy hiway just because he WANTED to. you are absolutely doing the right thing And what your sister did is abuse. If she were investigated they would not allow your mom any where near her. You do not have to answer her calls. you do not have to talk to her. Erase any messages she leaves. do not listen to them first. Crazy mean people try to make the sane ones look crazy because we react to the nastiness they spew. When you don't react, she will have to figure things out for herself...or not.
You are doing a wonderful thing for your mom. Keep coming to this sight. A lot of support and friendships here. I wish you the best.
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What your sister was doing is called neglect and abuse... tell her to back off or you will file charges against her. My guess would be she was spending your Mom's social security. From what you told us she was sure NOT taking care of her. Just tell your Mom you would like to keep her with you! take care and God Bless
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i can see myself in all those who have commented. im staying on support and tips, i have no questions to ask.
My mother loves me one day and hates me the next. she doesnt know my sister nor my brother who have not seen her for 26 years. so i guess thats where i differ. i dont have any help, its just me. i have one day a week off from "mom duty" thats monday a friend will help me.
I think alot of people would rather not see the old, or what becomes of our parents. i try to keep my mom happy as can be. got her frank sinatra dvds and movies she likes. is she just hanging on for me? i often wonder that. she doesnt know my name, does remember her condo, has bad sleep habits.......i can go on.
im so glad to see others know what i go thru. My sister never will nor will have to as long as she stays away. Out of sight out of mind. Thank you tomatilla for this convo. it has helped me. I dont have a a spouse, he died 7 years ago, i know he would have helped me, but right now i know my mom is important.
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TOMATILLA:

After reading your post, I was having flashbacks. My mother would spend Dad's money on cigarettes and Lotto, feed us a small bowl of rice beans or boiling watery soup in 80 degree weather and a large can of tap water and then lie about it. When Dad came home with treats and asked if we had eaten, we were supposed to say we were full. Mom's constant anger was designed to intimidate and keep us silent; but it also meant she was afraid the world would know her parenting skills were seriously lacking. ... I believe your sister is doing the same.

I ratted Mom out. From the cigarettes and beer to the meager meals and deals with the neighborhood's loan shark whose name was "Tiburon" (Shark). In her defense, she told Dad "If they're still alive when you come home, I've done my job!" Of all those things, he couldn't forgive the underfeeding of his children. She kept us "safe" (all 5 of us in one dim -- and often dark -- room); "well dressed" (we had to wear the same clothes -- underwear included -- to school for an entire week without washing them because soap was "expensive"); "well fed" (we relied on the school's breakfast and lunch for survival); "well behaved" (laughter wasn't allowed because we made "too much noise" and we could be beaten for it); and "loved" (which was nothing but crap).

To this day, she still swears our self-described "Mother, Father, and Best Friend" did nothing wrong. Her denial is merely a way to live with her conscience. The worst part is when she manipulates everything to the point my sisters actually believe all that mental and often physical abuse was in our best interest. "If it weren't for me," she says, "you'd all be dead." My sisters believe she was a saint. ... I believe she should be crucified.

I spoke with her about a month ago, and she's still in denial. She threatened to slap the taste out of my mouth for spreading lies about her. I told her it was time she got off the Cross. Someone else needs the wood.

Your sister should do the same, and learn to live with the fact your Mom is better off with you. So show her how it's done and see if you can reach some sort of compromise and work together to keep your Mom happy and comfortable. But if all she can do is spread poison, that can be done in her own home.

Best wishes,

-- ED
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I am in the same situation. Mom lived in her home state until 3yrs ago when she moved here to live near us. My sib. did nothing to help her when she lived at "home." I could tell something was wrong when I called...she seemed weak. I flew out to find her barely walking and looking as gray as a ghost. That is when I insisted that she move.
Now, she is in complete denial. She thinks that she was doing okay on her own back there. She wants to go back "home" even though her quality of life has been so much better here. She does not suffer from dementia, just self-imposed selective memory. What bothers me the most is that she thinks my sib is "misunderstood" and that everyone just picks on him. The truth is that everyone is tired of his self-centerdness.
I know what you mean about the stress. It is hard enough to be a caregiver 24/7 and to hear your parent longing for a situation that was dangerous to their health. I wonder if it is similar to prisoners of war who have a hard time adjusting to coming home. Or is it low self-esteem...in other words, I don't deserve good treatment. I know that my mom would go back home, be in the same situation, and be as happy as a clam. I don't get it.
Also, in our tradtional family, men are worshipped and women do the grunt work. My mother's mom lived with us and ordered her about. When her sons came to visit it was like a national holiday. The "boys" did absolutely nothing to care for their parents. So I think a lot of what she feels was just ingrained in her long ago.
Regardless, if you have taken on this role, you need to do what is in your mother's best interest. You will NEVER get your mom or your sister to face reality. Your sis is never going to tell you that she neglected your mother. Remember too, that dementia does nasty things to the brain....so try not to take your mom's words personally. (easier said than done, I know!)
As far as the sister's snark is concerned, you do not have to deal with it. My sib used to blow up at the drop of the hat (an avoidance mechanism). Inform your sis that if she does not speak to you in a civil tone, you will not be able to continue the conversation nor return her calls. Then follow through with it. Heaven knows you do not need to hear all that negativity spewed at you.
Come here often. There are so many people who are willing to chime in.
Lilli
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negative feed back from your sister is not going to help you. I didnt see my sister for 26 years, she called me one day and wanted to "help". i dont need her help. i live in florida she lives in SC, NY and Long island. i have hard enough time keeping up with bills at my house let along 3 houses. I do it alone. Look at the good you are doing. As long as you can do it. I know i will. Hugs and kisses. Diane
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