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Thanks ccflorida - this whole dementia thing makes us all crazy. Very challenging. Your story is helpful. Sad and funny at the same time. Good thing that only happened once to you (so far)! I'm sure it will happen to me again and I will try my hardest to get her attention that she is "going off". I wish all of you who have contributed to this discussion many good happy days in the future. We need some of those too.
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My sister went off on me (uncharacteristically) on the phone from across the US. This was on my Dad's birthday, and I had to yell back to defend myself and make her stop being CRAZY and attacking me. TURNS OUT, she was very very shaken by the fact that my Dad didn't understand what you do with lit candles on a birthday cake (make a wish and blow them out), and her extreme emotion of sadness somehow got turned into venom directed at me. She later explained, apologized, was embarrassed, and said I have a credit for the future. I may have to use that credit (of forgiveness) some day, because life is so challenging and exhausting- I don't think I'd go bonkers- but I don't know that. Anyway, I thought I'd share the story because it might show some similarity to your situation. No one is their normal self, and I think if you repeat some of her own words back to her (as I had to do), she might snap out of it enough to realize what is causing her to be this way right now. My incident was just once, but maybe some part of my thoughts could help you.
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Geewiz & Countrymouse - I am absorbing all your suggestions. I seem to relate to your "ways" the most. This has been a very helpful place for me to discuss such private matters. I do not like to talk to others about "my problems" because everyone's life is stressful enough. This site is turning out to be very helpful and I am very surprised at the amount of responses so far. And, yes, my conversations with sis are on the phone more than in person because we split our visits with mom so she gets more help. Occasionally we see her on the same day to make it more stimulating for mom. However, there have been those few times when I get yelled at. We update each other a lot via email or text so we don't repeat the same "tasks" but I like your advice about not "enumerating". I don't think I do that, but maybe it looks that way because I'm able to visit more. I thought of something else...my sister would be a very different caretaker than me. She is much more loving, TLC type, and great with food and making things pretty. I am more clinical, a bit detached, and just work within the nursing home food menu and the things they provide. I know she wants my mom to have more of her style of care. That bugs her a lot. Maybe she gets mad at me because I don't care for mom like she does. I think we compliment each other. I feel lucky mom has two of us so she gets a little of both types of care.
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This topic is very timely. I am ready to throw in the towel and see if I can find some semblance of my life. My twisted sisters and auntie dearest will then understand how difficult this has been, the hardest part has been the complete lack of support from them. Caring for mom and her hubby has been the easy part.

I have just had to increase Mom's seroquel to help with behaviors and let the twisteds and auntie know about it via email. Received a reply from AD (hmm, alz disease and auntie dearest). Am going to carefully reply to this to let them know how difficult they have made four years of caring for me.
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Pam, at least your sister is self-aware enough to realize her anger is misplaced and to apologize. Perhaps she is also wondering why she keeps getting angry at you, and perhaps she would be open to hashing it out with you. Try asking her the next time she apologizes "Of course I accept your apology, but I don't understand what you were angry about. Can you tell me?"

Your situation seems more promising than mine. My sister never spontaneously apologized to me and if I demanded an apology (by cutting off contact with her until I got one) she'd respond with one of these tight-lipped non-apologies like "Well, I'm sorry you got upset with what I said, but...." Would never look into the source or legitimacy of her own anger, or discuss that. For that reason, we're still not speaking after more than 3 years. I hope your situation turns out much better!
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Geewhiz.... it's so sad! How those of us that step up and DO things for our elderly family in need are the ones criticized, put down, and attempted to be controlled. I feel your pain with your sister-in-law telling you you "shouldn't" give up so much of your time taking care of your mom. My aunts did the same with my mom. And now, your'e helping your MIL. Why can't people just appreciate the love and care that you (all caregivers) give and not get so jealous and critical?! Because they personally feel guilty that they see YOU/us doing all these things, and they're not, so they feel bad about themselves and try to put you/us down, or bring us to their place of not helping. Still, just baffles me that adults act that way!
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GladI'mHere... YES! Our situations seems quite similar. My aunts were VERY concerned with my grandma's assets and basically, them not getting any money once she passed. Yet, they rarely went over to visit her (they only live a couple miles away!!!). Especially one of them. While my mom was there many days a week, before and after work. She also made a schedule of all of us caregivers (we hired a couple "professional" people and had a couple of my cousins help too), and keep the schedule month to month to make sure my grandma always had someone there. My aunts did nothing but give my mom a hard time and demand where my grandma's money was going. My grandma (then my mom) did pay all of us caregivers. Well, not my mom, since she was an "heir" and would inherit what was left anyway. But from the professional caregivers, to me and my cousins, we got an hourly wage and kept basically a timesheet. When my grandma was still coherent, SHE started paying us herself b/c she said that she'd have to pay professional people anyway, if we didn't help out, and she'd rather pay her family than strangers. So it all started with her and my mom just kept it up. Then my aunts got all fussy, saying I didn't deserve to be paid.

Anyway, I wish you all the best in your situation!!! I simply do not understand how these types of situations divide families SO MUCH! It's mind-boggling to me.
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Pamrs1 ... You have received great input here, but I have one question. What makes your sister think/realize the contributions you are making? Are you enumerating the tasks you do (without doing it 'for credit') And she feels she has less to discuss?

2 quick personal related stories. When my Mom started the slippery decline into dementia, I was trying (without success) to enlist more aid from my brother. It was a constant source of disappointment for me. I believe he and his wife were shocked at the steps I was taking to help Mom. One holiday, my sister-in-law literally cornered me and strongly told me I shouldn't give up so much time to help my Mom. I couldn't belive the conversation, here we are 5 years later and that relationship is (very) slowly mending.

MY mil is in assisted living. There are 5 kids, 3 w/spouses, 7 granchildren some in their 40s. From my perspective my weekly visits produce more than the whole lot of others combined. I report to my husband what I observe and insist that he NEVER mention to his siblings ANYTHING that I do. I know they would resent me big time. None of them are 'caregivers'. I organize her drawers, bring her body wash when she is getting low, clean her comb and brush, clean up her apt, put her laundry away, etc. I observe and DO. But I never allow it to be discussed as it would cause great resentment. I think the sibs believe that the aides in an understaffed AL have time to wash the dishes that the sibs leave in the sink!

My suggestion is to think back on conversations and see if you may be inadvertently talking about some things you did and sister feels she doesn't have as much to discuss. On top of that, one of my brothers was in such denial over my Mom's situation that he had barely accepted it by the time she passed!
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Pam, it's especially difficult if most of your contact with your sister is on the phone, because you can't just gaze at her or hold your hands up to say "whoa."

Look, if your sister is already apologising that to me proves that she's not angry with you, she's just angry. But you're right, she has to stop taking it out on you. Agree a catchphrase with her that you can use when she's doing it. Something like "not guilty your honour!" or "don't punch me" - anything that will stop her dispersing her anger and refocus her on whatever it is the two of you should really be talking about. You are a very kind person to be so understanding of her: it's all too easy to retaliate instead.
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This is directed to Countrymouse - thank you, I think your comment has come closest to what's going on between my sis and I. I know she wants to spend more time helping mom (she does many things for her) but, again, I have more free time. I will try your advice and try halting the conversation (which is very hard for me to do - a personality flaw!) and asking what is really at issue. I am growing weary of being a punching bag when it comes to this one issue of spending more time with mom. My sis seems to always apologize for getting mad at me which I am thankful for. It helps and I always accept. By the way, none of it is about assets, etc., my mom is low income on Medi-Cal (California). Watching a parent decline into dementia is heart wrenching situation and families need to be nice to one another even when mistakes are made or differences exist.
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Another thing that came up through all of this is that one of my sibs has deep seated resentment towards our Mom because of the wacky household this was. The dysfunction was caused by my mother and her unbalanced behaviors as we were growning up. Yes, growning up.
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Writer, same here. I provide the 24/7 care for almost four years now. Am ready for a new chapter, then sibs will find out that this is not a walk in the park. The attitude that they have taken is "well you get free room and board what else do you want". I have a home and have been lucky enough to continue to make payments on it, my 401K is drained. And why? Initially they said they wanted to pay me to care for mom, then that would make her assets drain too quickly. BS! They also told me that they were concerned about what was left for them when Mom passes. Astounding to me! Assets are for her care, doesn't matter who provides it. If my mom could understand there is no question in my mind what she would do. If she only knew!
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Pamrs, it could be for all sorts of reasons jumbled up together that even your sister hasn't untangled for herself - maybe she doesn't know what's upsetting her, exactly, either. But I wouldn't be surprised if at least part of it is anger about the unfairness and fear involved in the whole situation, that then gets directed at you because… well, because you're noticeably there. Pull her up short when it's happening, maybe, and ask her straight out what's going on?
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I can so relate to this thread!! Only I see it among my mom and her 2 sisters. It's interesting to me how similar many of our stories are!!!! My mom and her sisters used to have a pretty good relationship. But once my grandma's health declined, my mom was the one to step in and take control of her in-home care. This made my aunts feel alienated (though they didn't communicate this, and didn't actually DO anything themselves... but get bitter, angry, and resentful). Ever since, they've been quite nasty towards my mom. I definitely think it's what you all have said... competition (even though they're all adults!), jealousy, not wanting one to get more credit than the others, feeling guilty, etc. Again, it's so interesting to me how similar our different families really are! Now that my grandma has passed, my aunts are really mean and hateful to my mom. They're trying to settle my grandma's estate (which was left equally to the 3 of them). My mom just wants to get it all sorted out and have nothing more to do with them. It's sad. But reading all your stories makes me feel better that it's not just our family!! I'll share these with my mom and hope it helps her too.
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All you can do is reassure her that you do not have bad feelings about it. You cannot control how she feels. If she feels guilty, then she feels guilty, many siblings that do not help for whatever reason struggle with that. Does Mom have funds that she could pay you for care and your time spent? If she does maybe your sister would feel better about not helping. And if you do not need the money you could put the funds in a different/separate account that could be used for mom's care if she needs a facility at some point. But if you do this make sure you have a care agreement in place before accepting any sort of payment.
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I keep thinking about my question, "Why does my sis get so mad at me if she thinks I'm doing more than her to help mom". She is usually so appreciative of me and loving. She knows I have more free time than her. Yet she gets so angry at me when I am able to help mom more. She has never needed to be better, prettier, etc. than me. That's not it. It's just since mom needs a lot more care that this side of her has emerged. It's very difficult for me to understand and I'm at a loss on what to say to her when she gets so mad at me. I know she is angry that she does not have the free time to help more but why would she take that out on me personally? I'm afraid that once mom passes away, she might feel devastated she wasn't able to do more. That would just be wrong! The time she gives is way more productive than the time I give. (I'm a slow poke and she gets things done!)
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I know with me and my sister she has always been competitive with me. She always has to be the smartest, prettiest, etc. I've always been happy to be in the background.

When it became apparent that My Mom needed extra care I just stepped into that role voluntarily. I didn't check in with my siblings. When I saw that something needed to be done I just did it. My siblings knew this was going on and as long as I was the one doing everything they could go to bed at night knowing my mom was fine because of me.

I think now my sister resents me cause she can't be number one in this situation cause I know how to provide for my mom better than she ever could and she knows this and it bugs her.

Could this possibly be the case in your situation pamrs 1?
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Thank all of you for your suggestions. This is like free counseling. I think my sister's anger could be both like some of you have said, guilt and competive. I am not at all competitive and so I don't comprehend that angle when I speak to someone who is, therefore, I must be angering them somehow. I need help in knowing what to say and how to communicate with my sis. Any more suggestions? Mom is in a nursing home which we BOTH hate even though she is receiving good, not great, care there.
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My oldest sister (whom I'd previously been quite close to) started becoming very nasty to me as soon as I started taking care of Mom. It got worse when I began seeking her help, but it started before that actually. I couldn't understand it at all. She became like a different person - hostile, suspicious, fault-finding, nothing I did was right anymore. After several years and long consideration, I believe she was hoping that Mom's aging would put her in the central role, and she would finally have the appreciation and attention that she had always wanted from Mom but never had. Not that I had it either, but I think I became in her mind the concrete reason why she wasn't getting it. Not that she even stepped in to help, but she had been sick a lot earlier that year and I think she believed I took advantage of her illness to usurp her favored role with Mom. It's crazy, and I would never have expected it. It's just what I managed to put together over the years based on the particular things she got upset about and the particular ways she expressed it. Like when I was griping to her about how demanding Mom was being, suddenly blowing up and shouting at me: "I think you ought to be grateful for your own good health." Like that had anything to do with it. In mind, it didn't. But in her mind, maybe it did. So I think competitive but maybe guilty too. Maybe in her mind you're making her look bad, and some people can't stand that.
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One reason. She is feeling guilty! She feels as if she should do more but because of her responsibilites and schedule she is unable. If you wern't helping and mom was in a facility would it be different? I don't think so. The tasks will still be there but will become different. My sibs are very angry with me and just want mom in a facility. It is coming soon. Then they will find out how difficult caregiving is.
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Maybe you could ask her?
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Do you live in the same town? What do you mean by doing more?
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....Because she's competitive?
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