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We live in California (don't know if California Code pertains to some of the children who currently don't assist parent financially).
My sister specifically said I was not to go to mom's house as I stir her up too much and it causes her Crohn's to flare up. Mom agrees with her (sister has put mom totally dependent on her). She writes when she wants money "for mom". I don't send anything, but one brother sends her money (cash) every month without no thank you from mom or sister. Sister has promised mom that she would take care of her forever.
Question is: if sister decides to place mom in a NH or AL can she come after us for money?
Back in 2011, mom was diagnosed with early dementia and now things are better (according to sister). I didn't know once diagnosed with dementia, iyou could get better from it.

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Ooooo dear. I'm not sure you won't want a more sympathetic audience than you might get here, but my instinctive reaction is to ask "why does she have to 'come after you'?" Is your concern for your mother based on how often you're allowed to see her, or whether she sends appreciative little thank you notes?

As a matter of fact, I do accept your point of view: that if your sister wants to throw herself on the alter of caring for darling mama then that's her business; that you are not and shouldn't be held responsible for your mother's decisions; that people who are asking for favours would be wise to be a little more gracious about it. The difficulty is that you're talking to people who are bruised and battered from the reality of 24/7 care for elders - it does nothing for our manners or our tempers, and I imagine the same thing goes for your sister. Be as generous as you can.
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IMO, your question should not have been posted on this site. It is for caregivers -- people like your sister -- whether she is right or wrong. If she is wrong, this crew of caregivers would surely tell her so. You write that when your sister asks for money that you don't send anything. For YOUR mother?! That's like the father who doesn't pay child support but demands visitation rights. He may have legal entitlements, but what about his morality? When the mother who is attending to the child's every needs 24/7 has to ASK for financial assistance, why should she say, "Thank you?" The father should be thanking her. You still don't get it? Well that's a huge part of what care giving is: role reversal. The child becomes the parent. You did not come to this site explaining that your finances were limited and asking what could you do to assist your sister, the caregiver. But this generous care giving membership tried to help anyway. That's what caregivers do. They selflessly go the extra mile. Think about your sister. Now who are you?
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Well, it's only been 3 days since the question was first posted. If I had been the poster, I might have read the first few posts and never come back. And that might not be because I was the typical selfish sibling who doesn't care-give.

We had a chance to enlighten this person as to the difficulty of caregiving...instead many of us decided to vent all of our anger based on our own situations, on this sibling. We don't know enough about this poster to know whether his/her concerns are valid or not. There are, believe it or not, situations where a manipulative sibling promises the world to mom, gets mom on his/her side, uses the caregiving role to, in fact, take care of self. (Some people have babies for the same reason!) Not every one is nurturing, and motivated like those on this forum who selflessly give their life for their caregiving...some do it for selfish reasons, and don't even use the money for "mom"...

So, I think we have to really restrain reacting emotionally to someone asking for help. We need to get more information before we blast them. This might not have been the typical insensitive non-caregiver. It might have been a concerned adult child who is confronted with a sibling's manipulations and needing help. We may never know. But hopefully we will learn from this.

A hug to all on this forum for selfless giving...we know who we are...and others may never understand what we've done fully...that's life. Let's not harbor bitterness...let's support each other and enlighten whoever we can...
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You should be more gracious and help your sister with at least finances if nothing more. The physical and emotional toll of caring for the elderly is devastating, creating resentments toward siblings who don't / or won't help. In every family the burden is taken up by one compassionate adult child while the rest of the siblings watch and make comments. I'm in a similar situation and my advice to you is to help in any way you can because you have it easy. Put yourself in your sister's shoes and be more compassionate. Follow the Golden Rule. Would you like your children to treat you the way you're treating your mother? They are watching your example. Good luck!
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gonebabygone, I don't think it's a matter of people being rude - it's just that this post hits a nerve for a lot of people here - and the OP didn't give us enough information to give an informed response, other than what the law says...so many people are having a knee-jerk reaction to what they interpreted.

Always remember when you're viewing posts on the internet in a forum: you don't know who is behind the screen, what their background is, how rich/poor they are, what race they are, and in the context of this particular forum, you don't know what their relationship with their siblings and/or parents are. It's very easy to throw out statements that are judgemental, racist, sexist, or any other kind of -ist you want to name, because we are anonymous names on a screen while we're here. It's important to remember that while you are online, you can't see someone's facial expression or hear the tone of their voice or inflection of their words - so it's very hard to judge the way someone feels about what they're posting.

The other thing to remember is that this sort of forum brings together a HUGE melting pot of personalities. Some are happy caregivers, some are very embittered by their situation. Some are depressed, some may even be mentally ill. Some will be kind and gentle in their comments and responses, and some will just be blunt and say what they feel without sugarcoating it. It takes all kinds to make up the world we live in, and a forum like this is just a microcosm of all sorts of people and personalities. There are bound to be clashes from time to time, and some people will rub others the wrong way.

A good rule of thumb: "Be kind - for everyone is fighting some kind of battle".

It would be extremely helpful if the OP would come back and give more clarification to their situation, so we could fully understand:
-Why Mom gets "stirred up" when you're around?
-Why you're concerned that sis is going to "come after you" financially - what's the reason you think that? Has she threatened to do so?
-What is your family dynamic that sis keeps you from visiting Mom?

I truly hope the OP will come back so we can offer constructive help, other than just what the law says. Some of us are new caregivers, some of us have been at it for a very long time, and perhaps we could offer some helpful ideas.
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I have a somewhat different perspective, having seen a similar situation in which the caregiver was unstable, hated her sister, felt that her parents were cruel to her (they definitely were not) and was using the caregiving situation to her own benefit, not only to harass her siblings but to retaliate against her parents for perceived injustices.

To the OP: First, unless you and the family/sister have a written agreement, specifying contributions from each, I don’t see how your sister could legally force you to contribute or “come after you” for funds for your mother’s care. She has no legal standing to do so - there is no basis for suit unless you have legally committed to arrangements which are subsequently breached.

She likely would also have to “open her checkbook” and provide documentation on expenses and her contributory portion, as well as how much of your mother’s funds she used.

That’s assuming that your mother remains at home, which I think under the circumstances is likely to happen because it allows your caregiver sister to maintain control, especially of your mother, and to enhance her campaign against your nonfinancial participation. This might be part of her emotional need.

Second, I would insist that your sister provide weekly and/or monthly expenditure lists, breaking down amounts spent on food, prepared meals (such as Meals on Wheels), transportation, medical supplies, devices, etc. In other words, everything she claims is being spent on Mom. Then either agree to a portion, or agree to buy some of things yourself. Make payments by check and keep your own records. Never, never ever give cash.

I am betting, however, that your sister would not allow you to bring over any supplies or such as it would give you the opportunity to see your mother, and control is one of the things she apparently needs to establish.

Third, any agreement should also address and provide for visitation rights. You’re entitled to see your mother unless independent medical or other professionals document otherwise.

Fourth, I might even consider involving an elder care attorney so that sister knows you’re willing to step up to your responsibilities but are not going to be intimidated by the emotionality of the situation.

Given the friction with your sister, I wouldn’t be surprised if she later claims that she wasn’t reimbursed or was forced to spend so much of her own money that your mother decided to (a) change her will (b) give sister more money now ( c ) make some other changes, which may or may not be true, to compensate the caregiver sister. I’ve seen this happen.

Fifth, I have first hand experience with the very negative aspects of someone who is emotionally unstable and uses caregiving to retaliate against both parents and siblings. And FYI, the emotional instability was determined by sources outside the family well before the daughter became self-appointed caregiver.

Sixth, there’s another issue and that’s one of the sister taking a controlling and dominating position in control of your mother. She may have her own personality and personal reasons for wanting sole control. I’m not sure it’s altruistic, either.

So protect yourself and document everything, including texts, conversations, etc. I think this could become a volatile situation over the years. In fact, I would try to limit communication to written ones so that they can be documented.


I understand the general attitude expressed by posters here in support of the caregiver, and ordinarily I would agree with that had I not experienced a situation in which the emotionally unstable person with tremendous needs to control her parents in their last stages of life enthusiastically moved into the caregiving role, expanded her ongoing self-pity, and blamed her sister’s family for not supporting her. This unstable person not only denied access by her sister to their mother but denied access to other family members as well.

What was learned only much later after legal involvement was necessary was the extent to which the caregiving sister fleeced her mother’s assets and instituted action to deprive her sister of her rightful inheritance.

So folks, before you condemn the OP, recognize that there might be another side to the sister who wants control of their mother.

And recognize as Twiedybird astutely pointed out that whether we support the OP or the sister, we're basing our remarks on limited information.
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One HUGE thing to remember, until you have had a sibling and been in this situation personally, you simply cannot understand the dynamics of how bad it can get. For me, I have always been the one who had to handle everything. It is heartbreaking to know that someone I grew up with and love more than I love my own life could be so uncaring and selfish...you really can't believe it will happen to you, until it does.
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Your sister is taking care of your Mother 24/7 and you are not contributing? Shame on you.
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Wow .. if u have money support financially what you seem unwilling to do yourself ..I would choose the writing of a check over the care of someone with dementia anyday ...count ur blessings that she is willing and don't expect a thank you from her she probably dosent get one from you for the sacrifices she making ....
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Honestly I would spend some money on an elder attorney and see just what the laws are and just what you are responsible for. I would also let sister know that if she wants money then unlimited visitation comes with that. Sis can't have it both ways. If you and your brother are helping to pay for things then you and your brother should have a say in your mom's care and how money is spent on mom - assuming you want that. Money you give her should be exclusively for your mom's care or respite care so your sister can have a break unless you give your sis a break and watch mom when she needs it.

I have my MIL living with us. My Husband is an only child so we don't have to deal with siblings. She had a stroke 18 mos ago but also has Dementia, Psychosis, high anxiety disorder, and clinical depression. For now we are caring for her and I am her POA. Even with that I am not required to fund her care from my private assets. (but I'm not in CA). We just had my FIL pass away from similar dementia etc in a nursing home so this isn't my first time down this road. I am a big supporter in lets find the best care for a parent and that doesn't always mean at home with family. I know for me once my MIL can't bath herself, toilet herself, starts to roam etc then I will be looking for a nursing home for her where professionally trained staff can give her the care she deserves to have.

I have an elder attorney that keeps me on track legally because with the Omama Care plan that still is in flux things can change monthly - so well worth the money. There are lots of agencies out there that can assist with lots of care items that are covered by Medicare, you just have to have to apply for them on your mothers behalf (if she has been declared incompetent). I actually get a few times a year grant money to help pay for Adult Day Care expenses from one of the local agencies in my area. Just received $1300 to pay for 2 months worth of care. Also because her income is just SS to live on there are lots of assistance programs out there to help pay for groceries, etc. but they have to be applied for and many folks don't want "charity" etc.

Is your sister Legally the POA or legal guardian (court would have to have been involved for guardianship) and if so has the POA been activated with a doctors note? If not then technically your mother is still considered to be responsible for herself and can still sign documents etc. That should be put in place before mom gets any worse.

In the end my feeling is if you are giving money then you should have a say as to what to do with mom, be able to visit anytime you want (even without money), and if sis doesn't like that then she can take full responsibility both financially and physically.
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