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My brother is 14 years older than me. My mom has Alzheimers. It's technically in the early stages and she is still living on her own. Dad died earlier this year, after a quick battle with cancer. I have two brothers, and the three of us have been trying to navigate this since then.


Here's the problem. He lives 1000 miles away. The plan, for the last 6 months, was that mom was going to move down to where he lives, either to live with him and his family, or to live in an assisted living facility. He has the grandkids and a large extended familial unit there - here, it's just me and mom. And I am in school and have a full time and part time job. It has always been clear that no one expects me to be the caregiver. I am not equipped for it.


He recently stated that mom won't be moving to Texas because, according to him "she doesn't want to move". I am now the primary caregiver here, by myself. However, he seems to feel as though he needs to micromanage everything from 1000 miles away. Literally. He will call and ask me what a $15 charge on her debit card is. He refuses to put me on the checking account (he IS on it) and generally refuses anything I say. It is quite clear that, in this situation, I am inferior. I am the little sister who, although she is 30 herself, has no business being the caregiver of anything OTHER than mom herself. It has been this way in our family always, he gets it from dad - women especially just don't get as much say. I've been fighting it my whole life. Every decision must be run through him, and he refutes just about every opinion or idea that comes to the table from myself or my other brother (he's my twin). My other brother doesn't live in either city, so he's pretty quiet on everything.


I don't know how to do this. It's causing so much strife with a sibling I thought I really understood, and so much anger and bitterness because really, if you're going to dictate that she stays with me, by ourselves here, it stands to reason that you would say, "You know what? You're there. You make the daily decisions for mom, financially, emotionally, etc. Big decisions can be made with all of us. Everything else, I trust that you're making the best decision for yourself and for mom." I know it's hard to give up that control but I just feel so crapped on.


None of this has been my decision, or anywhere close to what I want. Decisions are being made for me without my approval or consent, and I feel so chastised and condescended to. I'm often feeling so angry that I'm in tears at the end of the day. I don't know how to fix this.

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You can't move her to Texas for him. He has to do that. You have no funds to put her in a nursing home there. If you take her and drop her, you could be charged with elder abuse. Your best bet is to notify him you are walking away. If you are currently living with her, move out and get your own place. Let him be her caregiver and you be her daughter.
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exactly - and what I'm wondering

again, there seemingly is no actual POA. I did so some research that at least seemed to indicate you can dispute your own "incapacity", which I guess, somewhat like you're saying, your ability to do so would be an indication of that. As far as I know she never got lost while she was driving and knew enough to not go nearly so far as others who wound up either quitting driving or at least would have someone go with them, which I believe she would do, or were forced to quit even by those who also didn't drive, at least as much, so not quite sure I feel I could totally back up taking away the keys and not giving them back. What does it sound like to you? Definitely tricky, though.
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Um, well - I suppose how far they're willing (and, more to the point, able) to go is one way of telling how reliable their capacity is?

But I think you may have a situation where it's the parent who's in conflict, potentially anyway, with the POA child. Depending on how you view what is really in the parent's best interests, you can either look around for an independent advocate and/or legal advice for the parent, or support the POA child and give back up for what he's trying to do (if you agree that it's the best thing for the parent, objectively speaking). Tricky one, though.
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countrymouse, that's somewhat of what's begun to come to light with the situation with hub's aunt and uncle, although, again, don't believe there's been an actual POA granted, by aunt, at least, but, and I was trying to find out more about how this was done by friend re her mother in telling her doctor about things that she felt were beginning to be indicative or her incapacity, such as, though, in her case, her bills not being paid, but, as I think I read on this site, one of the things that's advised is to set up bills on auto, which is they aunt's are, so that's not an issue, so not really sure what would have been brought up in this case to her doctor as indication but something was seemingly that her doctor has at least said that it would be illegal for her to drive, not that it necessarily actually is yet, probably trying to avoid taking that actual step, but leading to her car keys being taken away and her wanting them back, which is what led to all this coming out but how far she's willing to go to get them back, kinda like mom, maybe, in this scenario; they may want one thing but how far are they willing to go to get what they say they want
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That could be one reason, DD, and one of the better ones; but there can be all sorts of reasons.

For example:
In older generations especially, parents would often automatically appoint a son rather than a daughter.
One or more children may have specific financial expertise, which could be handy.
They might just pick the oldest child.
They might avoid picking a child for the most peculiar of reasons - a tendency to pick up speeding fines, for example, or habitual lateness.
They might pick the one who starts the discussion and calls the attorney.

There is nothing *inherently* wrong with an arrangement whereby one child does hands-on care while another exercises financial power of attorney. In fact, when the relationships are good and co-operative and communication works well, this ticks lots of regulatory boxes - it helps in terms of transparency, avoiding undue influence, double-checking of spending on the parent's behalf and all sorts of things. Also, although the tasks don't really compare in terms of time or energy, holding POA is not effort-free - so it is a way of sharing in the work to be done.

But for many reasons, unfortunately, it tends to be fraught in practice. Siblings may not be as close and mutually appreciative as the ideal, for example; or if they were before they might rapidly cease to be so. Communication may go awry. The worst aspect of it in my family's case was that we had differing views of what was and was not worth paying for - it could have been a lot worse, there was no trouble over respite care or buying in support once mother became bed-bound, for example; but there were certainly things I would have bought had I been in charge of the money that just got quietly shelved instead. And the thing about that is, now that my mother has passed, of course it doesn't really matter any more; but I'm left wondering, with some bitterness, just whose interests her POAs were protecting. They've done pretty well out of their efforts.
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so I have a question; know OP is not this way but what if the person mom wanted to take care of her was one who had taken from her in the past, is why she wouldn't want that person to be the financial POA?
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Why do we have to read with this crap? Spell casters?? Get real. Where are the site administrations now?
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An addendum to my previous post.

Maybe "Go screw yourself " was a bit over the top. That is because I have absolutely NO patience with B.S. You cannot swim with one foot in the water. It is either your whole body or nothing. Therefore Big Brother is either 100% caregiver or 0%. Make a choice.

So was my response rude? Probably. Vulgar? Absolutely--but I would rather others think of me as being vulgar rather than as one who can be easily manipulated. I HATE manipulators. They attack and abuse the vulnerable--and get pleasure from their actions. Enough already.
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I know that this is NOT a bit helpful but my gut reaction on reading your post was to to say to Big Brother "Go screw yourself."
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Bookluvr - when your brother told you that, did you carefully check for accuracy? That is, officially, legally, you really were trapped forever? I remember a post on here that said the same kind of thing and then the daughter found out it was all lies. There were alternative ways out. For example, just refusing to take mom back after she was in the hospital so that social workers would have to place her. Like you would be abandoning her if you just walked out some day, BUT if you made arrangements for care, notified APS, etc. then you could get out safely. Or maybe claim you were in a medical emergency, going to the ER and asking Social Services to take over a vulnerable adult and after they stepped in you never came back.
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Be very careful about moving in. I'm from a culture that sounds just like you described. My oldest brother was supposed to take care of the parents but custom is the single daughter with no kids is EXPECTED to do the donkey work.

My mom got diagnosed when I was about age 24. I truly didn't know how long this disease can last. My mom slowly went through the stages of accusations, aggressive attacks to sun downing and wandering off. One day, she woke up and couldn't walk. Bedridden for over 13 years. Went from choking on food, to liquid,etc.. In all these years, dad and I kept asking his 7 other kids for help. It was mainly just dad and I.

3 years ago, the stress finally affected him. He had a minor stroke but he had NO desire to do physical therapy. He's now bedridden. And now I had 2 bedridden parents and a full time job. and Not One of my 7 siblings offered to help me. Mom finally died a year later. I've been helping dad caregive mom for 23 years. And dad is beginning his journey down the road of senility....

Warning: do not move in! When I tried to leave both bedridden parents, to move out and have oldest brother of next door to step up and do his duty- my siblings told me that in the law's eyes, I am the caregiver. To walk away is abandonment and elderly neglect.... Whatever you do, don't move in. Your brother sounds just as wily as my brother.
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DO NOT MOVE IN WITH HER!!! Not unless she signs over to you full POA for finance plus the deeds to the house plus a detailed inventory of who is paying for what share of what bills, including in due course bills for in-home assistance with personal care, and for respite breaks for you. Signed in blood. And countersigned by both brothers. And an attorney. Also in blood. And actually don't move in with her anyway.

On the other hand, not to go to extremes: it *can* be done, and it is survivable, and I might even go so far as to say it was worth it; but do not sacrifice a cent to do it, and be very clear about what your mother's staying at home would involve before you agree to anything. Caring for your mother in her home until the end of her life (may that day never dawn) will cost you mentally, physically and emotionally, and only you can decide whether the reward (which is real, it's true) is worth it. But why the h*ll should it cost you money too?
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Sorry folks, been off the grid for the evening!

For clarification:
- I do not use her credit card. She uses her own credit card, and I have her debit card, specifically for things like an unexpected bill, or groceries for her on my way to her house, or if she says she needs me to get some cash out for her. We do not share bank accounts, but I do take care of paying her bills on time.
- I don't live with her. I live with my boyfriend about 20 minutes away from her. There had been talk of the two of us moving in with her (meaning he and I talked about it. Then I made the mistake of telling my brothers and they took off like a shot with that plan, though it was made clear it had only been a discussion of "what ifs"), because she cannot be on her own much longer.
- Babalou says what I'm thinking - I am quite scared of "negotiating", because our family is NOTORIOUS for waiting and analyzing and waiting some more and never actually pulling a trigger. If I say, "Okay, I can do this for another year.", I am fairly certain that it will just continue indefinitely. I keep hearing "soon". And then I hear, "Give it another 6 months there, she doesn't want to move here right now.". I just feel like it's slowly backing me into a corner because hey, am I going to be the jackass daughter who uproots her into a new place when she's truly too far gone? Of course not.
- Countrymouse - I appreciate your hackles. :-) And your advice, too, of course. It's comforting (though truly sad, in a way) that I'm not the only one who is or has been in this spot.
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She said her mother lives on her own for now? Not sure if actually alone on her own, or with OP?

I wonder if having the medical MPOA might tie her in a bit, too.

Tricky one, whichever way you slice it.
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You live with mom, but you are in school plus two jobs. So she is taking care of herself. You use her credit card but you pay it on time. So stop using her card, just use your own. Maintain totally separate bank accounts; you take care of yours, he can totally take care of hers. Send ALL her bills to Texas, wipe your hands clean of it and just enjoy mom's company. Go shopping, out to lunch, get a pedicure, but always split the bill. If he has questions, he can ask her.
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CM, in essence, I agree with everything you've said. But the thing is, our OP is in school and has two jobs. She already knows and has been quite clear about the fact that she Can't be her mom's caregiver. So there is at least in part some non negotiable going on here. And older controlling brother has proved somewhat slippery already. Negotiating further, she may wind up in a corner.(that's what would happen to me; I'd agree to 6 more weeks and it would turn into forever). Hence the plane tickets.
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I hope you'll be comforted to hear that my hackles rose for you as soon as I read your first post. Grrrrrrrrrr….

Snottiness from people with financial POA is something I had to endure too. If I'm proud of nothing else, I am proud of not having punched anybody. It was touch and go at times. Like you, I was conscientious and reasonably organised (it got better with practice) about expenses; but it's the sanctimoniousness with which they wield the fine-toothed comb that just gets up the nose, don't you find? And, yes, I couldn't agree more, the insulting attitude that you're good enough to do the donkey work but not to be trusted with a bank account. It IS insulting. There! - now I've got myself all cross about it again.

The way I see it, you have two separate but equally major issues, here.

1. Where your mother is to live, and how she is to be cared for. Until such time as she has lost capacity, which is not likely to be that soon, this decision is for your mother to make. However. If your mother's plan relies heavily on your co-operation, unless you consent to it then she will have to come up with another. No one can force you to commit to it.

2. The great Responsibility v. Authority debate. At the moment, you are in the untenable position of being held responsible for your mother's welfare, with no authority to back it up. Your email to your brother could be reduced to one sentence: "responsibility without power: the prerogative of the eunuch through the ages. Not doing it."

I learned all this much too late: by the time I'd gathered the information about POAs, who had it, when they came into force and so on, I was already living in the same house as my mother and royally stuck. Moreover, mother's cognition was too frail to do anything about it, even supposing it would have been kind or sensible to reopen the debate. We live and learn.

So be warned, because you're not at that stage yet. You are well placed to think carefully about what you are and are not prepared to do in terms of caring for your mother, and what legal and financial tools you will need to do that much. But a tip for negotiations: don't present a position and say it's non-negotiable. Instead, ask what is required of you and ask your brother what he would do in your position. It's a negotiation, remember, not the last word. Practice detachment, too, and hold tight to your sense of humour, particularly when a proposal is being imposed on you that is absurd to the point where no one who didn't have 'welcome' tattooed on her forehead would agree to it.

Your other brother - tchah. Just tchah. I've got one like that, too.

Let us know how you're getting on. This will get better, just mind your boundaries. Hugs to you.
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Be honest. Tell him it is stressful enough caring for Mom without your scrutiny. Then in the kindest words possible write that the POA should be the caregiver to eliminate the unnecessary stress. Inform him when you and your Mom's plane will arrive. Ask him to meet you at the airport, thank him, kiss Mom goodbye, and get on the next flight back. Leave him with his duties.
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Sweet, I suspect that older brother's dominance, other brother's either acquiescence or noncommittal, and your being the "do'er" is a family dynamic that developed some time ago, especially since your older brother is significantly older than you.

He may have expected to live his life with his parents as a single child, then along come 2 other siblings. We have no idea how he felt about that. We don't know if your parents had to make financial sacrifices in order to raise the two of you while your older brother was almost an adult.

If he resented you and your younger brother, he may still harbor that resentment. It may also be that he had to help your parents raise you and he still feels the need to maintain that control. There could be so many factors from those earlier years, and I suspect many of them are ingrained.
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Of course, if he DOES end up saying, "You're right. You can have the control you need and I will stop acting as though you don't know what's going on. You are the best and I will never doubt you again." (ha...hey, I'm an optimist!), then...well, she'll stay here. I don't want that, really, but I think a large part of my resistance is the attitude I've been met with this whole time, where the older brother makes a decision, the other brother "has no opinion", and regardless of my argument, no matter what, it's his decision. I wonder if that feeling would change, if the circumstances changed. I can only hope it would.
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You all are so great. Thanks for the comments on the email - you're right, get down to basics, no emotion, just what it is and what has to happen in order for it to continue that way. I will continue to re-write until I feel I've gotten to that point.

I am her medical POA, and yes, I will definitely check with an estate attorney on what he's able to do as a financial POA out of state.

What I'm HOPING will happen with that eventual email is that he'll say, "Well, I'm not comfortable giving up that control." and I can say, "Okay. She will be moving to Texas, then." Being in control of all things, for him, for dad - that's priority number one. I believe at the end of the day, that it's the only way they know to take care of their loved ones, but if often gets lost in translation with people who are just as strong and unwilling to take a backseat.
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Great ideas provided here.

I might also double check on the mom's DPOA and Healthcare POA. See if brother is legally able to operate as POA as an out of state resident. I think that if there is real estate, he may be limited in what he can do without having an agent in the mother's state. An Estate Attorney should be able to confirm that.
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Sweet, I totally agree with CWillie and Babalou's posts just before mine.

It's good that you wrote the DRAFT e-mail to get some anger out, and you can keep doing that if it makes you feel good, but DO NOt send it. KISS is the better philosophy, as Babalou demonstrates.

I would also add that you cannot under any circumstances care for your mother without financial control. Therefore, under the circumstances by which he maintains and has continued to consolidate financial control, you feel it would be better if he assumed physical control for your mother.

You could add that this would be a great option because it will allow her the opportunity to have more contact with her grandchildren.

Don't give him anything about which to get angry or fight with you; but do put the burden on him to affirm that he's not giving up financial control. And above all, make it clear that you cannot and will not continue to care for Mom under the existing circumstances.

Keep rewriting the e-mail until you get it down to less sentences, ones that are neutral, not angry, but that convey your message.

And in the meantime, you can look for a place near you as well as advise him that you're also looking for an attorney to draft a DPOA and Advanced Directive in the event that you do continue care.

Good luck. I know this isn't an easy thing to do.
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Don't bother to try yo read his motives. You'd only muddy the waters and give him an opportunity to refute THAT part of your argument. Just tell him what you will and will not do.
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Dear Brother; i can no longer care fot mom on my own. There are a few choices here. 1. I put her on a plane for Texas. 2. I find a facility for her to live in near my c u rrent place of residence and mom's funds pay for that. 3. We identify and agency that can provide mom with in home services 24/7, as above, paid for by mom. In the latter two circumstances, it would be required that POA be assinged to me by mom.

Best regards
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Step back, take a deep breath, and then re read your email. While it all may be accurate and a true expression of your feelings it is very hostile and accusatory. I don't think you will get the reaction you hope for with this approach, I think it will only escalate tensions between your brother and you. My advice is to edit, edit edit!

Also, you seem to say that you would be willing keep your mother near you and to take on the role of caregiver if you are given the authority to do so, didn't you say that you feared taking on the burden of caregiving alone because your family supports were so far away?
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Is it possible your brother has dementia?
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So, I have always been in charge of her checking account and her one credit card (meaning that I make sure no fraudulent charges are made, I balance it, and I ensure that the credit card is paid on time). Today, he changed the phone number and the email address to his information on the credit card account (instead of mine), so I am assuming he plans to pay her card and take that on instead of, again, letting the PERSON WHO LIVES HERE take care of it. I have never screwed these accounts up, have never made late payments...I have always been on top of this. It's a bunch of random stuff he's doing for no discernible reason. My heart is broken over this. I've written this email but haven't sent it yet. I asked WHY he changed this info and am waiting on the reply. If he replies like I think he will, something to the effect of him being the financial POA (again, only done because we all thought she was moving to live with him, a decision that doesn't make sense if that is no longer the plan), then here's the email:

"Okay. I love you so much, but here's where I'm at. I am not interested in playing this game with you for the next 10 years. It's unacceptable. You either trust me implicitly and respect me - as I do you - or you don't. If you don't, then okay, that's your choice; I will be moving her to Texas on my own, and putting her up in the best facility closest to you that I can find. I am not interested in stealing money from our ailing mother, and everything you're doing is indicative that you think otherwise. This is not okay - it's illogical, hurtful, and such a disgusting idea that it makes my stomach churn. She will not live here if this problem continues. I will not be moving in with her if this problem continues.

This is a terrible situation that we've all been put in, and I know that you, much like Dad, need to feel in control of all situations. I know it's hard for you to see me as an adult; after all, you changed my diapers. I know that Mom's decline is scary and heartbreaking and sometimes, that control is all you've got to keep you from feeling like your world is crumbling. I so often feel that way.

Unfortunately, it's not an acceptable situation the way it is now. It is up to you to decide the next step. This is your choice, but she will not live here if that is the road you continue to take. I will not lose my relationship with you over this, but I'm also not going to be the person who's good enough to be the caregiver but not good enough to be trusted with anything else.

None of this is up for compromise. I love you, very much."
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Gee, I think I'd put her on a plane. Texas is lovely this time of year. But that's me, and I'm not a very nice person. I just think it's the only level of "wake up" call your brother is going to understand.

Having watching my mom care for several of my grandparents when we were children (and having been emotionally neglected as a result), I think the natural habitat of the elder in need of care is a facility, the same way that the natural habitat of a school aged child is school. Human beings, even the least sociable among us, do better in groups than we do with a single worn out caregiver.
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I guess nitpicking is his idea of caregiving. It's really annoying to have someone be so free and easy on the advice; but won't roll up their sleeves to help with the smallest things.

Ask your mom if she'd like to move to Texas. If she says yes, he should step to the plate and start doing some real caregiving.
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