Our widowed Mom is 83 years old in an AL facility. She requires help taking daily meds & some dressing help; buttons, buckles etc. She’s a solid walker who loves to walk 2 blks to a large shopping center for all her basic needs. Mom had said she feels she has memory problems & told her doctor, who said tests/scans will be upcoming. Mom does not forget names of family/friends, but frequently can’t remember where she puts new items (new scarf, BD card for friend,etc) or which Dr. she is being taken to see.
Mom has four adult children, all in our 50-60s. I live 2 towns over (40 min. drive), the one brother 1 hr drive away, baby sister in the next state (1.5 hrs away) another out of state sister 10 hrs drive away.
When Mom moved to AL 3 yrs ago (Dad’s passing) we all thought she could keep up with making her own appts, sibs or shuttle to drive her. But 3 yrs & several minor medical mishaps later, we are now helping re-established her with regular Drs/Dental appts. I’ve driven her to all but 4 out of @ 17 appts.
I regularly visit Mom or drive her over to our home for family lunch/visit, 2x weekly. In her town I spend 6-11 hrs; having a meal, her errands, country drives,etc. We have also taken her on several day trips to places she and Dad went to. I have grown a deeper love for Mom over these 3 yrs. At the start I would email my siblings to tell early memories Mom shared, give Mom’s victories in her 1st time living alone, etc. I was told by 1 sister the ‘cheerleader reports’ were not welcome. They also complained when I kept them informed of Mom’s med/dental appt results via email. We all have internet & laptop/devices. I see email as the way all have the same info and could refer back to in the event any one of us need to take Mom to a follow up appt.
Brother only sees Mom @ every 3 wks and tells her because traffic is so bad he can only stay around 3 hrs. (He only works part time, is now an empty nester.) Sister that lives 1.5 hrs away visits 1x month, for @ 2-3 hrs (because volunteers in her community). The sister who lives 10 hrs away has only visited Mom 4 times in 3 yrs (and had Mom for a weekend stay 3 times).
It appears my sibs are not very considerate to Mom. Brother helps Mom with her rentals: 1 house, 1 duplex, property mgmt oversees. Brother speaks rapid fire,throws out figures & real estate terms that Mom is not used to. He is smart but has no patience. I have had a Nurse and a cousin approach me to share their observations that when brother is with Mom she is noticeably more confused & agitated.
Little sister tries to boss Mom around. She decided Mom needed a journal to write things in and then got mad when Mom didn’t use it (Mom has her own system of leaving notes on the back of her front door & a large desk calendar for appts on her desk). She rearranges Mom’s furniture to what she thinks looks better then gets mad when Mom moves it back. That sister also wants Mom to stop walking. Even though 5 of the Nursing Staff have commented that she is a good walker, her walking routine is keeping her healthy and alert. I also asked Mom’s Dr. about the walking (30-40 minutes 5 x week) and he has no concerns with her gait. Sis wants Mom to participate in group exercise instead. She doesn’t realize Mom loves her independence.
My sibs complain constantly about Mom: “She’s losing it, she needs a personal caretaker”, “She lost the crossword puzzle book I gave her!”, “She repeats the same stories when I call”. I really have looked at past emails/texts I have received & the ‘positive Mom comments’ from any of them are few & far between. When I try to offer tips or share what has worked for me I have been told that I am being “Pollyanna”, or that Mom only acts that way with me. But all Care staff I encounter say Mom is a joy and so high-functioning.
I now I have proof of what I suspected –my sibs are conferring together w/o me about ‘how bad Mom is’ and want to make changes. They accidently used the wrong email thread for their Mom bashing.They want to see about getting her moved to a Memory Care facility; saying that when the farthest sister comes back to visit Mom in a few weeks that she will be in a position to share new 1st hand info. (Uh, what about my time with Mom?) Mom does not have a Med. POA yet, brother let it slip that he thinks this should be him. This from a guy that can only visit for 3 hrs & can’t take time off work for 3 days of the work week. I work freelance and can take Mom to appts any day, any time. It appears they do not want me to share my observations. And when I say Mom should be in on all discussions regarding her, the three of them all bristle.
I am shocked, I feel like I don’t know these 3 people anymore and feel like I need to protect our Mom. Thanks in advance for any help.