Is it right that I refuse to give money to my sister (53) who always mooched off Mom her whole life? - AgingCare.com

Is it right that I refuse to give money to my sister (53) who always mooched off Mom her whole life?

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My sister had 2 children and divorced and our Mother sent her money her whole life. My sister first had the children and Mom could not stand to think they might not have enough and now my sister uses her animals or her health to get money from Mom. She calculates and manipulates to get money. I told her our Mom should not be bothered any more with her requests - everything is a trauma - then Mom can't sleep and is a mess. At 85 she shouldn't take it. My sister still called her right after I asked her not to and Mom has been upset and not sleeping well for a week. She has not put her sites on me as I'm managing Mom's accounts (Mom can't see - I've taken care of her and her resources for 10 years as she has macular degeneration - she's now in a home). I said no to my sister and explained we had been hit with some high health bills lately and she responded in a very nasty self centered way saying 'not ALL of us have CONTROL and KNOWLEDGE of the money'. We just spent $600 for her daughter who had a baby. She said, "I never ASKED you to spend that much for her shower''. She was mad and nasty cause she wanted money given her for her to buy her daughter something - she actually disturbed Mom in the Home thinking she would instruct me to send the money. She doesn't even look back - she's toxic and can be nasty. She's on welfare, doesn't work, takes bi polar meds and we can confirm NOTHING she says because she's across the US in another state. My husband and I are going to try and wean her off and yet I don't want to turn my back on her - God says to not have any misunderstandings with your family and help them - but - in this case I think saying NO would be taking care so she just stops overspending. She's 53 collecting money not working morbidly obese gets has better insurance than us and gets her rent and bills paid for. My Mom sent food after her bypass surgery to help her stay 'on track' - she started ordering more and more and we think she was sharing or selling food to some homeless people who turned out to rob her. Mom pad $5,000 and my sister didn't successfully lose anything and took advantage of her goodness. Mom got her a standing air conditioner cause she has bad COPD and leg SWELLING and that was $500. Now my husband and I got hit up for her rabbit and spent so far $650 to save it and had to battle to get her to take it to a vet and now found out she has homeless people in her home again. She says she's been robbed by them and they are volatile yet has them in. We can't confirm anything and don't want harm to come - but - my Mom doesn't remember anything now with dementia and my sister has put her sites on me so I need to do what is right with God and yet be a good steward of Mom's money. I strongly feel we can't take her stress anymore. My husband and I gave up our jobs and moved in took care of Mom for the last 10 years and she just went into a home 6 months ago. The last 3 years were extremely difficult with her developing dementia and now we have my sister it seems - we really feel like we can't take anymore - we're in our 60's and need a break - we got married late and 2 years before we came here with Mom so never really had 'our' life. I do not want to have my sister suffer or be without - she really has terrible health now with her COPD, leg swelling, due ot her weight and is alone except for her daughter by her who just had her own baby so has her hands full. I need to, however, change this relationship before she goes too far and we can't fix it for her or help her. She has mooched her whole life from Mom and is 53 now - I just don't want to do what's not right in God's sight. My action is going to be to continue to say no - yet i she is sick we would never not help. Torn betwixt and between - thanks for input!

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I too have sibling issues. But this reminds me of a inlaw who we took in. There was no helping her with the problems. Mentally, financially. It only sucked the dear life out of me and we had to try and fix all of her money issues that just kept mounting up. She did not have any problem asking for money, digging through the couch or car for money. Seeking free meals and whatever she could get at local churches ect.. just because she thought this was the way to live. I couldnt take it anymore. She finally went homeless and lived in a mission. Which i felt bad for, but these were her choices. So sorry your going through this. You have a good heart, and sometimes it's a blessing and sometimes it's our downfall. hope it works out.
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Faithfulness, your sister has a severe mental illness. Many cases of BiPolar Disorder can be managed pretty well with medications, education, self-discipline, and social support. Others don't fare so well. I can understand what your mother has done. When one of your children is disabled in some way we want to help them. It sounds like Mom had a fair amount of money and one of the things she wanted to do with it was try to help her mentally ill daughter and also try to ensure her grandchild didn't suffer. Maybe what she did wasn't really helping. I don't know. But I can understand her motivation.

(By the way, irresponsible money management (or mismanagement) is a very common symptom or outcome of BiPolar Disorder.)

But here we are decades later and Mom needs caring for and you are responsible for managing Mom's money so it will last as long as she does. The pipeline to the disabled daughter has to stop. It sounds like your sister is getting lots of assistance and is plugged into agencies and programs that can help her. That may not be enough to support the living style she would like, but that really can't be helped. Stopping supplying money will probably not help her stop overspending -- that is the manic side of her disease -- but she will have to face the consequences. I hope she has good medical support.

I think I would consult an attorney specializing in Elder Law at this point. Explain the situation. Bring all the documents concerning Mom's income and assets. See what kind of a plan you can come up with for paying for mom's continuing care with her money. Is there any chance she is going to need to apply for Medicaid at some point?

Make decisions about what role, if any, you want to have in your sister's life. Do you think there is any way you can be supportive and loving without getting sucked into financial entanglements?

And enjoy your empty-nest/newly-wed status! It is time for you to start living your own life fully.
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I had that sister also. She died of a prescription drug overdose about 4 years ago. My parents propped her up financially her whole life. She was so bad at one point I was considering calling child protective services and have her 2 small boys removed from the home. Had she not died I was absolutely prepared to cut her out of my life. I was concerned for my nephews but she could have lived under a bridge for all I cared.

Your sister may be mentally ill or a user or both. It's not easy but you have to get her out of your life. You've been through a lot of caregiving already. Don't spend the rest of your life dealing with this nightmare.
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I am amazed at 650 for a rabbit!!! I know it;s a pet, but if was my bills or that... Or my mothers care or the rabbits...
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Faithfulness - I have that sister too. My mother has never given her much money since she's never had much to give, but my sister has tried to hit up Mom, myself and my sister for money every time she hits a problem. And it's the same thing - long distance and we can't tell if the crisis is real or a pretext to get money out of us. My sister if also a drug addict and alcoholic (she got on SSDI based on alcohol-induced brain damage) so we're always suspicious when she asks for money. And like your sister she becomes enraged and nasty when refused.

I think the only thing you can do is stay firm and don't give her anything unless it's a documented emergency (and even then, only if you can truly afford it). I have explained very calmly to my sister that Mom has no extra money and the rest of us are retired, living on fixed incomes, and we are pushed to the limit dealing with Mom's emergencies that she can't pay for. I've told her that trying to bully people into meeting her demands won't work and it only alienates people. I feel bad for her because she can't afford a decent standard of living on what SSDI pays. But she chose that life instead of paying work, and she has to live with the consequences. I do understand your ambivalence, though. You have a heart and it's hard to not be able to help.
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It is a shame that she is sick and I understand she is family but no one unless they are extremely wealth can afford to just give money out. Your mom will need every penny she has for her care and that's as it should be. Your sister is being unreasonable by expecting mom's money. I feel bad that she is ill, I know that being ill is certainly not my idea of a good time, however mom's money is mom's. You can give her your time, offer to assist her in 'signing' up for benefits etc., but you need to make it clear that mom's care is expensive and she will be using it all. Where I come from $600 for a new baby is an expensive gift. I understand that family is family, but your sister needs help that you can't give her. You can send her a copy of mom's bills, this way she will understand better what her care costs. Family and good friends make life worth living, I hate family disagreements and believe you need to tackle them head on. Lay it out, here's the problem/issue now how are we going to deal with it. Everyone may have different expectations and unless they are discussed, one doesn't know what the other is thinking--it that makes sense. Good luck.
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You said it yourself, sis is sick. Don't expect that you will be able to "wean her off" your mom's support, she has counted on it her whole life and will probably continue to look for it after mom is gone, from her estate and from you. Her illness/neediness puts you in a terrible spot with no way to satisfy everyone. At some point I think you will have to withhold all financial support of your sister, both from mom and you yourself. She will probably hate you for it, but she will have to learn to swim or sink on her own. Good luck.
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Immediately pursue Guardianship for your mother. You might even go so far as to ask for a third party Guardian so sis stops nagging you. Protect your mom first and foremost. Your sister has made poor choices over the years and that is NOT your problem. Hopefully mom has enough to privately pay the NH for five years, because Medicaid will not approve the application when they see how generous mom was. Call an attorney and start the petition.
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