Background: My sister, age 71, has mild to moderate dementia, which the neurologist and PCP think is probably caused by long-term alcohol abuse. I am 68 and had happily lived alone for 20years before I rescued her. I have never enjoyed spending time with her because she has always been narcissistic, self-absorbed, and low-energy in addition to alcoholic. She was living on her own in NYC, repeatedly ripped phone off wall, forgot to pay rent or utilities, and had moved an unemployed 40-year old man (with a criminal record) into her apt and he was stealing from her. She has lots of money that she inherited. Landlord and police were calling me repeatedly. Finally I went and got her and brought her to my tiny house in Vermont. Have taken her to doctors and dentist etc and she is now healthy and has been off the sauce because there is no alcohol in my house. (I was a social drinker but removed alc from house because of her.) Whenever she is in a place where alcohol is available, she drinks without restraint and says she has no problem with alcohol. She has little short-term memory. Thinks she is fine. Doesn't want to stay with me but only wants to go live "in the Caribbean." There is no other family and she has no friends.

Help! I can't stand this any longer. I have no peace or time to myself because she is constantly under foot and unpleasant. I feel guilty that I'm having such a hard time emotionally. I know that most people have it worse. But I am losing all my social supports because I have to stay with her and can't have people over or go anywhere for more than a few hours. And my sister is also miserable living with me. We both need another living arrangement.

I want her to live someplace else. She has enough money. But she won't contribute to any household expenses and insists she won't go anywhere except to "the Caribbean." I am tempted to get her a passport and put her on a plane, but she would either get lost or drunk at the airport or at her destination, and then what would I do?
I have paid a friend $100 per day to take her places once a week to give me a bit of time without her. But that's not enough. I feel as if I am going crazy. I can't get away from my sister's poisonous presence. And she can't get away from me.I'm clearly not cut out to be her caregiver. I dislike her and she is not happy here and I am miserable--I go sit in my car and cry just to get away from her. I'm going to see a social worker at the local Memory Center today.

I can't be the only one with this problem: A close relative I don't like but who needs help and has nobody other than me.

Is there somewhere for people with mild to moderate dementia who think they are fine????

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That appointment with the social worker is a great first step. Do let us know the outcome of that. You may need to contact several resources before you come up with a solution. The local Alzheimer's Association may have ideas for you, even though that is not exactly what your sister has. The agency that handles aging affairs can be helpful. Don't tackle this alone ... there is help available.

Look into the requirements to evict someone in your location. Sometimes there is a process that must be followed even if the person is not paying rent. If a process is needed where you live, start the clock ticking. You want your sister out and she wants out, but this formal process ensures that it must happen. Give your sister a reasonable notice. Even if the law calls for at least 30 days notice, you might want to give 60. I strongly urge you to consider this legal process, even if the two of you "agree" on her moving out. She does not sound like someone whose word is dependable.

Someone with moderate dementia probably should not be moving into an apartment alone. That would just set you up for more calls from the landlord and police. Since your sister has money, finding a very posh resort-like assisted living setting may be suitable. Ideally it would be a place with additional levels of care. Dementia progresses. Sis may need more than assisted living eventually, and it would be nice not to have to go through the housing search again.

Please take a gold star out of petty cash and place it in your crown. You have done heroic duty in rescuing your sister from her own folly. You've done a major good deed! But this sounds like a scenario the phrase "No good deed goes unpunished" was invented for. Time to do a few more good deed to get Sis settled elsewhere, and then end the punishment!
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Time to set boundaries and have honest communication with your sister that you can no longer meet her care needs and she has 90 days to find other living arrangements. When she brings up carribbean thing, just say..." Well Sue, I think you will need to move to apt x month to month while you research and make permanent plans for your big carribbean move."

Don't let up. Take a couple days, look at apts for her, then strongly encourage she sign a lease as soon as possible. Bring home boxes and jointly start packing her stuff for the move. Once she's out, no more rescuing. If police call; let them deal with her and don't bail her out. If she needs more skilled care, let her work that out with police, drs or hospital.

You shouldn't waste your years taking care of someone who is unappreciative, unpredictable and doesn't care about themselves or the well being of other loved ones.

You know this won't get better and is a dark hole. Save yourself. If she needs more one on one care, she can afford to hire some.

Move on with your life. Don't feel guilty. She has to want to help herself and not drain you.
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I'm sorry about the difficult time you're having with your sister, @sisterLisa. There are facilities with dementia special care units. You might want to check them out. Maybe you can find one that's a good fit for your sister. You can ask for a doctor's assessment as well to know what sort of facility will be best for her.

About the whole "Carribean" thing - there are luxury assisted living facilities available. It's nowhere near the Carribean, I'm sure, but the atmosphere is usually "resort-like". If your sister can afford them (and they can be a bit expensive), perhaps she can consider moving in to one?

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