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Both of my elderly parents have health issues including COPD, possible cancer, suppressed immune system, and onset symptoms of dementia. I have siblings out of state and one is medical and financial POA, or she is supposed to be but my mother recently stated the paperwork is not yet finished. I have no access to anything and my sibling will not share information. I am physically closest to my parents so responsibilities will be mine. I work a lot of hours with back to back patients so time off is very limited. My parents insist my one sibling be the POA because she is the oldest. However, she works a lot, does not have much income and will not be here when my parents need her. My siblings are not cooperative with me. (I am family scapegoat, if you know what that is.) I am feeling pretty helpless and overwhelmed. Parents will not discuss and not open to any changes. I understand boundaries but at the end of the day, I will be the one here and they have no one else to help them. Suggestions?

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I would tell them in no certain terms that you are unable to help them unless they assign you the property authority aka make you POA.
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Concerned2020 Feb 8, 2020
Thanks Worried. I tried that. They are in denial and say they will find other people to help them or my sister will come into town (which she won't). I told them this adds so much stress and pressure to my life. I've had many conversations with them, have cried, have tried to explain. Nothing. I can tell them that but I will be the only one here for them and I can't let them suffer and not be there or help them. I'm so frustrated, among other things. I have thought about moving, like my siblings did, so my siblings would then have to do maybe do something and I wouldn't have the guilt...but my job, friends and support people are here. So I'm out of ideas and as I write, can't believe they are putting me in this situation.
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See below, posted in the wrong place.
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If mother is saying the paperwork is not finished then as I write this there is no POA’s.
Do they have Living Revocable Trusts?
Do you currently live in their home?

My own mother always alluded that she had a living trust, but in the end there wasn’t even a will. My father passed 30 days before my mom, and we ended up in Probate.
Probate attorney put me in charge of liquidating all assets. House, stocks etc., what a stressful time. Until people go through stuff like this they don’t realize how important planning for the unexpected really is.
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
Getkicksonrte66, that sounds so stressful...I can't even imagine. This is what I am trying to avoid but it's out of my control.

I don't know what they have. I am not privvy to the information. My sister has discussed with them I guess but this information isn't shared with me. I do not live in their home.

I made a decision to step away from my family, it is deeper than just this. Thank you for your response.
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I personally would be unable to serve them if they didn't trust me enough to be the POA. I would leave it in the hands of the assigned POA. I would agree to visit them and help out here and there, but I woudn't be the slave labor. That's just me.
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
I agree. Hard to leave in the hands of the POA when the POA is not here and won't be. Just a very difficult situation. I am stepping back from my family - very hard to do - and have informed them of this. They will have to figure it out. Thanks for the response.
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No, you are putting yourself in this situation.

I am a firm believer, from personal h@ll, no responsibility without authority.

They respond to your request that they will get someone else to help them. Put up or shut up. This is manipulation and the implied threat that they will cut you out.

I say back off and let them see the reality without you propping them up. Hard as that is, it is nothing compared to fighting the hospital that wants to let them die and you have no authority to change the DNR that was put in the chart, that is when things become hard.

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I have personally been through this kind of bs with a parent and I would walk away without authority. They don't have any paperwork in place, not finished means nonexistent when it is needed.

Call their bluff and let them see the reality of their bad choices.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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cherokeegrrl54 Feb 8, 2020
Tell it, sister!!!!!
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Concerned.... you DO NOT have to do anything to prop your parents up. If you have no POA/legal authority to take care of them, then tell your parents AND siblings, that you will not be responsible in any way for them. Its very selfish and unforgivable of your parents to put you in this situation. In your own words, you state you are the family scapegoat. Sounds like the time has come for you to learn about FOG (fear, obligation and guilt). Google it and read up. This is what your parents have groomed you for. Get yourself a good therapist that can help you learn coping skills, set up boundaries and learn to say “ no, i cant possibly do that. That wont work for me”. And mean it!! Is it easy? Heck no, just read all the horror stories on this forum about caregivers in your situation. Dont allow yourself to be used and abused any longer!!! Get yourself some help to learn a different approach than the one youre using. Blessings to you as you proceed. You will learn, if you stay on this site, research shows that 35% of caregivers die before the people theyre caring for. Dont allow yourself to become a statistic....please....
PS....let your POA sister hire people to be caregivers.....do not do this to yourself, you deserve your own life!!! Then you can visit as their daughter...
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
Cherokeegrrl54,

I will be googling FOG! I do have a therapist thank God but it has been difficult to accept the reality of my situation and there is the fear, obligation, and guilt. I did inform my parents this morning that I will no longer be involved at any level and am in fact separating from my family since they are not willing to hear my concerns and nothing changes. It is years of unhealthy family patterns - it is time. Thanks for your response and support.
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Work out what is reasonable to do if and only if you are the one with POA.
Start with anything involving money. That includes all purchases as well as bill payments. You can give your mother details of how to buy her groceries online, but say that you won’t do it without legal authority to spend her money.
The next step is medical. What is the point of you taking mother to doctor’s appointments if you have no ability to use the information that the doctor provides? Repeating it to a sibling is a waste of your time, and what they think they hear is not likely to be as accurate.
There will still be some things that you can do with and for your mother, like going out to lunch (if you pay or she pays cash). But your siblings will end up with closer involvement and more work to do.

At present you are being asked to be responsible but with no power. It never works, and never has worked. Just stop, and let the others decide how to deal with the situation. Yes you are helpless and overwhelmed. It doesn’t work for you, and it doesn’t work efficiently for mother. Let them find another scapegoat!
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
They will not make me the POA. I informed my family this morning that I am separating from them and will not be involved in any way. It is of course deeper than just this issue. I have to save myself.
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It's crazy that you will be the one most involved and you don't have POA. Tell you parents that. If they don't see reason. Then let them know whoever is POA will have to carry the burden.
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
Yeah I have told them numerous times. The problem is the POA won't be here when the sh*t hits the fan. I informed my family that I can offer no support and am separating from them...not easy, very sad. Thanks for your response.
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Hon, you can move away without moving away. It will be harder as it isn't "set in stone" but you need now boundaries and limits. You cannot just tell them; you must take action.
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
Thank you. I actually just spoke with them followed by an email that I am stepping away and will not be involved at any level. I can do it, just a difficult first step but it will be much healthier for me.
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It seems from your posts that your problems with parents goes a long way back. I am a firm believer in no POA no care. I hope u informed the whole family of your decision. I do suggest you move away. Even if its just to the next town. Where I live it can be over the bridge. Set your phone for calls from "contacts only". Taking abusive family out of contacts. Blocking their numbers if they persist to call. Even on "do not disturb" they go to VM. Change ur phone number.

Your parents will be OK. Your siblings will be forced to do what needs to be done. Think about it, what would your life be like if you were the only one caring for your parents. Would they criticize and verbally abuse you? NO ONE deserves that. I bet you have been for years trying to get their "attention" and no one listens. Trying to figure out what u have done to deserve this. Thinking if I do this they will love me for it. Maybe you come from a family that can't love. Just take. You are not the odd one out. You are the normal one in a dysfunctional family and you need to save yourself.

I was an only child when my Mom remarried and had 3 more children. I was adopted at 2 by my Dad. I have always wondered if I had never been born what my brothers would have done concerning Mom. Because I really think they thought, JoAnn is there. That could be taken as a compliment. I think they trusted me to make the right decisions just wish they had been there more for Mom. I had POA.

You have taken the first step, which is the hardest. Set up those Boundries. Change your phone #. Do what you need to do to take care of you. There other children are going to have to step up to the plate.
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Concerned2020 Feb 9, 2020
JoAnn29, Your post describes my situation. Thank you...good advice.
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Concerned, you have to stick to what you told them. Believe me they will try to get you involved and the levels they will sink to will blow your mind. Prepare yourself. Because the moment you step back in without change, is the moment they will devour you.

Taking a stand to protect yourself is a very difficult choice and action, well done. Now the really challenging part begins, you can do it. You can say no responsibility, no help without authority. Not promised paperwork, emailed proof that you have been assigned POA, if you want it. From all you have shared, I would counsel you to avoid accepting Any responsibility or authority.

Sometimes we have to love people long distance for our own wellbeing.

Great big warm hug! Surround yourself with people that help you grow and thrive, blood makes us related, love makes us family. Create the loving family you desire.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Get an Elder Family Law attorney. Just because your sister has POA does not necessarily mean she has control. It has to do with State Laws. It's like I never questioned anything since I am Court appointed Guardian/Conservator. The other day I asked myself 'WHAT IF'?
I researched on my own and found that I can record my documents with the Court here in the state we live AND they are still legal just as if I were living back home.
Does your state require the POA to be recorded? Was it prepared with an attorney? Does it follow the laws/regulations set by the Secretary of State? YES, these changes by State Law. My 1 sibling took advantage of Mom's Alzheimers and had Mom change a few of her legal documents which only had my name as sole participant etc. The Notary laws changed July 2011 and the documents my sister had Mom change were done 5-6 months after. The notary did not do all that was required by the state. Score 1 for me.
Now I have step whatever who are going to get a big surprise because I have #1 committing fraud 6 ways to Sunday.
Your sister's POA may mean nothing. If you can get a copy or a letter when or if your parents suffer from ANY MENTAL condition that would keep them from being able to sign legal binding documents, this may be your ACE. If they have Alzheimer's and they were diagnosed prior to signing the POA, it would become invalid.
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rovana Feb 12, 2020
Perhaps the OP is better to stay clear of this mess if they are able to emotionally.  Getting involved with people who abused you is so risky for your own mental health.  Why would you spend any more time and effort on them than you had to?
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I had to step back from my mom. The son next door (living in her house he got her to sign over to him!) was stealing her blind. She wouldn't do anything about it. Finally, she had a medical crisis. I swooped in, started cleaning up the mess, and plugged the financial hole. In your situation, it would concern me that someone in a poor financial situation themselves could be put in charge of your parent's finances. Nothing you can really do, though. When they bleed them dry, they usually disappear. Stick to your guns! You can visit occasionally as a daughter but let someone else handle their care.
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Have you actually seen the POA document? My parents wrote theirs such that if I was "unable or unwilling" to fulfill the role, then the responsibility would fall to my younger brother. Same with Medical Advocate. If your folks had a good lawyer, they might have done the same.
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Concerned, I feel you are doing the right thing. I have a refrigerator magnet that says. "Friends are the family we pick for ourselves." When my mother died, I did not cry, I did not mourn. It was like someone I saw on the street died. Therapy saved me. She did not care about me, and after years of trying to get her to love me, therapy helped me stop trying and to emotionally distance myself. I did care for her until she died with me holding her hand. But, I there was no sorrow. Oh, her last words to me were scolding ones.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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Plan ahead and mentally set your boundaries. Firmly communicate to parents the limits to the care you will provide, if any.  Also, advise them about the pitfalls of have POA/DPOA at a distance in an emergency.  They probably have not thought this through and they need to understand the reality that you have NO authority. If they refuse to listen, well your hands are clean, you did tell them.   I'd start backing off enabling them, or they will not get in the care and services they need but will depend on you. And you have no authority, but are doing all the work, so your sibs will be fine with that.  You will be treading quicksand unless you head this off right away by setting boundaries. They and their POA need to do the work researching the help they might qualify for, pay for, assisted living etc.  That is POA responsibility! Boundaries in cement should prevent a lot of misery and pain later.  And that way, the POA will HAVE to do her job (if she does not, report her to APS for neglecting parents).   I suspect your parents have plenty sources of help to access, but they will prefer to take the easy way and use you. And you cannot trust or rely on sibs.  Please respect yourself and don't go there. Responsibility without authority is a nightmare.
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You would be wise to consult an elder law attorney, who can file the POA, etc.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I suppose moving home is out of the question..?

I'm so sorry for the situation your family has placed you in. It sucks. It sounds as though all you can do is work on shedding your sense of responsibility for people who simply, adamantly, will not allow you to fulfil it.

Correction, though: they DO have someone else to help them. They have the child they have chosen to exercise power of attorney for them. The fact that she is nowhere to be seen don't alter that fact, nor the fact that she has been given the authority to act, and that this is therefore entirely her problem to solve.

So EVERY time a cry for help or a bleat of distress comes your way - you pass it on to the correct recipient. Every time. Start practising, I should.

It would also be wise to inform yourself about local services, facilities and other resources for older people in poor health. That way, when POA (or parent, or other family member) calls you saying "can you just..." you will be able to refer them to the transport, personal care, grocery delivery, prescription collection or whatever service it is that's required.

Even if your parents do change their mind and decide they would like to give you POA, if I were you I'd chuckle internally and say "not on your nelly." If you've been the scapegoat up 'til now, you should be able to spot when you're being set up to fail *dramatically.* Don't touch it with a stick.
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I was in a somewhat similar situation. My mother removed me and one of my brothers as POA, yet kept the other two brothers as POAs. We all had HCPOA, though. I was the only local sibling; my brothers all lived out of state.

When facility placement became imminent was when I found out that my mother had removed me as POA (she did it behind my back, arranging it all for when I was out of town and one of my brothers was there. He later said he didn't know why he took her to the attorney. ?) At one point, I insisted that she would have to move to be near one of the POA brothers. That didn't end up happening, though. Only one of my brothers really acted as POA, and he and I worked well together (this was not the brother who'd brought her to the attorney to change the POA behind my back). No one really wanted to move her to another state.

My mother removed me as a POA because she thought I would "steal" her assets. (This was because I had asked her if certain accounts, assets, etc. were all in the trust, because I wanted to know for when the time came that she was incompetent.)

My POA brother paid me by the hour ($20/hour) for the time I spent with my mother, and even agreed to backpay for the previous two years. The POA paperwork said no payment to the POA, so I ended up having the last laugh! I'd asked my mother for compensation at one point and she huffed to me that, "You don't pay family!" No taxes were taken out; it was a "gift" to me for all I'd done. (Medicaid was never going to be a possibility.)

(And if she'd treated me better and not insisted that my time was worth nothing, that I "owed" her, etc., I might not have asked for compensation.)

If a parent doesn't want a certain child as POA, it's really a slap in the face. They don't consider you good enough to handle decisions for them.
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Reply to CTTN55
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According to what I have been dealing with as a coPOA, you may NOT be able to “help them” without POA or some sort of legal equivalent.

Although you need the services of a lawyer, you may not be able to pay for one without POA.

Doctors MAY not be able to legally communicate with anyone but a POA when your parents need care.

Ultimately your sibs will be forced by legal reality to decide what THEY will do or want done regarding your parents’ care, but unfortunately until all the sibs are aware of legal circumstances, you’re all at an impasse.
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I feel like you’ve been set up for the impossible. Caregiving is difficult and overwhelming by itself. I can’t imagine trying to be the caregiver while uncooperative siblings are making the decisions. Some situations call for boundaries, but your situation needs walls. “Parents will not discuss and not open to any changes.” They have made their choices. None of the responsibility is yours. You need to acknowledge that and walk away, for your own mental health. I don’t mean to sound harsh but think it’s warranted. You did not create this toxic stew and you can not fix it. Please practice saying, “No, you’ll have to speak to sibling x.” Don’t be the scapegoat for this inevitable disaster. And I say that as someone who is living it.
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