Mom and Dad want to stay in their home until they die but my sister wants to move us to her home. What should I do? - AgingCare.com

Mom and Dad want to stay in their home until they die but my sister wants to move us to her home. What should I do?

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Four years ago, I locked up my home, moved to an apartment closer to my parents and took a position there. This allowed me to come home every weekend to help them. Last year, I put a pause on my career and moved home to be 24/7 caregiver. They offered to (are are able to) pay me as I am not eligible for full retirement yet, or Medicare. Dad has Alzheimers, mid stage. Mom has AFib, and beginning stage dementia. My sister wants to move us all to her home in a major city. Their wish has always been to stay here, on land where Mom was born, in rural home. It's an ongoing battle with my sister. Conversely, my brother supports their wishes. My relationship with my sister is suffering, as she is judgmental, critical, suspicious which break down my spirit and adds to my stress and causes me to question my decisions. It's haunting.

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I would like to comment, though it may not be relevant to the present situation. Is a parent's wish to not change their life worth the cost of a caregiving child giving up their own life and security? There are so many stories when a parent didn't want to leave their house, so a child quits their job and moves in to take care of the parent. At the end, the child ends up broke and unemployable, with little in the way of retirement benefits. This outcome could have been avoided if only the parent had made a change in their own life. Caregivers often have to look to their own future and make decisions on what is good for everyone involved. Making the parents happy could have great costs to a caregiving child. There are better ways of handling things, rather than enabling a lifestyle that is no longer working for the parent. I actually believe that many elders would be happier if they would take that first step out of their comfort zone and into a retirement community.
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TG, if your sister is what I would interpret as caustic, how do you think she'd be able to cope with two parents, one of whom already has Alzheimer's?

I think this is what I would do to address the moving situation:

1. Make a list of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you do for your parents, including helping with personal hygiene (list the specifics), meal prep, cleaning, transportation to and monitoring of their medical situation, as well as any non traditional activities.

2. Ask her which ones she can handle now, and/or how she plans to handle them if your parents were to move there.

3. Suggest that she contact the local Alz Assn. and ask to take the Creating Confident Caregivers course, or other courses they might have, so she can become familiar with care of someone with Alz. Keep asking her, as I suspect she won't follow up and probably feels she doesn't need this training.

4. Ask what arrangements she plans to make before a move to accommodate any mobility issues, and HOW she plans to pay for them.

5. That raises the issue of whether your parents have executed Durable Powers of Attorney and Living Wills, and if so, who are the proxies?

Be aware that if your parents were to make this disastrous move, she might try to get any such documents changed, but your father may not be legally qualified to make those decisions.

6. Does she work and if so, how will she take them to doctor visits? (someone with Alz will have confusion if he has to adjust to paid transportation, different drivers, different vehicle, etc.).

7. Basically, put her on the spot to plan for every single aspect of their life, not only how it will be handled, but who will handle it and who will pay for it (this may be the crux of the issue). Make it clear she'll have to make sacrifices of her time.

8. You might want to suggest that she spend a few weeks with you so she can become familiar with what's necessary for their care, and so she can be acquainted with and trained to do everything that will be necessary.

9. Also suggest that she accompany you to doctor visits so she can become familiar with their health issues. Advise her as well that you should have input into the choice of treating doctors in her city; you want continuity of care.

10. Suggest that she join a caregiver's or Alz support group.

Basically, overwhelm her. Turn the tables on her, make her provide a care plan, and don't give up on that.

As to her campaign to wear you down and break your spirit (which is exactly what she's doing), I feel for you - it's difficult when people are challenging you and put you on the defensive.

You might try a different approach, and build up your self esteem. Tell her you're glad she's interested, you value her input and want her opinions, as she should be part of the care team regardless of where your parents live and should contribute an equal amount of effort. I have a feeling she doesn't really have any specific ideas on how to implement care.

It wouldn't surprise me though if this is an ongoing crusade with her. She may be upset that you're being paid for your work.
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Sis is trying to get control. Your parents have money - end of story. The reason she wants to move you as well is because she wants you to do the grunt work.
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I hope you have had a formal caregiver contract drawn up so that no one (sister) can come back and claim you have taken financial advantage, also to ensure any money your parents pay you will not become a problem if there is ever a need for a higher level of care and medicaid.
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Your sister must know of your parents wishes. Why would she want to go against them when this situation is working? Can you say that "This is what Mom and Dad want to do" and refuse to talk about it further? (It takes two to carry on a conversation.) That should be the end of her argument.

If you are able to care for them in their own home (for now) and you and they are happy with that arrangement, I don't see why y'all would need to uproot everything and move to a large city where your sister lives. That will cause more confusion with the Alzheimer's also. Does she know that? Could she possibly be interested in the money factor? SHE would get the equivalent of what you are earning from your parents. You would no longer need to be paid as much or even at all.

Something about her attitude doesn't sound right to me. Why would she be 'judgmental, critical and suspicious' with you and your brother wanting to keep your parents in their own home? Being the suspicious type that I am, why would she even want you to move with them? What would prevent her from having you move out, once she got them in her home and got control of their money?

I would not change the situation at this time. Your brother is supportive of keeping your folks at home. Could he reason with your sister?
Maybe discuss this with their doctor. Get his opinion on moving them. I'll bet he'd recommend for them to stay put. Ask your sister if she would want to go against the doctor's advise.

You are aware, as the Alzheimer's progresses, you may not be able to handle all your dad's and your mom's care. I would start investigating options (p/t caregiver help, assisted living/memory care facilities, etc.) if there comes a time when you become overwhelmed.

You may just have to have strained (or no) relations with your sister to allow your parents their last wishes. Too bad for her.
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Aren't the Wonderful People on this site so incredibly Brilliant and Helpful! I am always amazed that after being a Regular on this here for So many years, that I continue to Learn, and feel my own Spirits Bolstered by there ever ending Support! Yay Team!

If caring for our elder, ever declining parents isn't hard enough, enter a sibling from the side, huh?

She is clueless of the daily grind that you (and I) go through on a daily basis. The above mentioned is So true, she nay be jealous of you, your time, or the money, as it so often comes back to you getting more than her (or the others). She may also feel incredibly Guilty, that you are doing this on your own, as there isn't enough money in the world, worth caring for 2 seniors with cognitive decline, if you ask me, the declining physical aspect is hard enough, add in Dementia!  Do know that eventually you will probably be needing outside resources to assist you, and making those sorts of arrangements is just one more hurdle we have to handle and face.

Caring for our LO's is ever changing, and until your sister comes and stays a good long while, caring for them on her own, say like giving you a 2 weeks Respite Care break where you leave to go on a vacation (which you should be doing or face severe Caregiver burnout), she will never understand all of the in's and outs of elder care, even though she loves them very much. A weekend here and there is not a clear picture of everyday life for them or you.

Your sister may be well meaning, but until she gets a better idea of what's in store, and how very difficult it is on an Alzheimer's or dementia patient to up and move to another living place, yet alone another state, it will be up to you and your brother to educate her or send her the right direction for that education. I truly hope she see's how hard this is for you on a good day, let a difficult day. 

And further, I highly recommend that you do everything possible to maintain good sisterly relations. I don't know what I would do without my 3 sisters. We clash now and then, but we are always there for each of. It's so important now, but even more so after our folks have passed! Good luck!
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Lot of great advice above....

Now my counter-point.... I am looking at this from a different angle. One advantage of being in a larger city compared to a rural area is almost immediate health care. Where 911 is called and within minutes there is an ambulance at your door, with a hospital just miles down the road. Minutes can count in a serious situation.

There are many more specialists that one can choose, thus more who will take Medicare. There are urgent cares on almost every corner for walk-in issues where sitting in an ER waiting room would be too time consuming.

If one's parents need Assisted Living/Memory Care, or a nursing home, there are a lot of places to choose from.

I have a cousin who lives in a rural area in the mid-west. The nearest hospital is now becoming an urgent care center due to cut backs, thus she needs to travel more than an hour to the nearest hospital. Specialty doctors are also an hour one way. In winter even more time on the road. There is one small nursing home in the county, and it has a long waiting list.

Just something to think about.
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Families, aren't they wonderful. I think she is jealous that parents are paying you. She is afraid that there will be no money for her. Just love where kids think they r entitled. I hope u have POAs in place because it may be too late with Dad. I agree to keep parents where they r for now. Be realistic though...they may not be able to stay there till they die. The level of care that will be needed is too much for one person.
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If your sister is critical and judgmental, she may be the last person you want to be involved in your parents' care. I know you certainly wouldn't want to live with her. My first thought is she might be feeling guilt because you sacrificed so much to care for your parents. Her gesture of bringing everyone, including you, there may have sounded good to her. If you were there, things would pretty much stay the way they are, with you doing the caregiving and her feeling involved. She wouldn't have to uproot herself.

Personally I think your parents were probably asking too much and it cost you dearly. Their desire to remain in their home caused disruption in your life. I am glad that they are paying you. That will make things easier. If you don't mind it, though, just ignore your sister and let her deal with her own feelings. From the sounds of it, living with her would not be pleasant.
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Sue, very good points.

You raise some issues I forgot to add.

TG, I'm in a somewhat similar position, scrambling now to find in-home support. There are plenty of companies, but a lot of undesirable ones. It takes quite a while to weed through and find ones that meet standards, and sometimes the interview presents some really interesting aspects of which I wasn't aware.

It wouldn't hurt to start on that now, as there's a good chance you'll be needing some in home help soon. And that might relieve some of the stress on you.
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