I feel that my sister is taking advantage of our Mom by using the power of attorney to justify her actions. Any suggestions?

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My elderly mother lives with my sister and husband and do not interact much with her other than feed her. Then complain thats all she does. My 84 year old mother was moved out of her house,by my sister's decision without letting the other siblings know, and nowlives with my sister and her husband. This sister made herself the power of attorney over mother's estate and has taken personal advantage of deciding to do with everything mother has ever owned without discussing it with her siblings. The sister is very stubborn about having her way and controlling irregardless of what others think. She's been like this since junior high school. You would think people mature and become more aware as they grow older. But that's not the case.

There are 2 other brothers and I, the other sister. I and the oldest brother live out of town and the youngest brother lives next door to my sister. They hardly if ever communicate. The sister does not discuss mother's care, etc. The only way you get any information, you have to ask - and at that, she questions "why do you want to know" or "that's none of your business.

We have all been quite concern for a very very long time, but because she is the agent/power of attorney since I suppose 1999, our hands are tied.

All mother does while living with my sister is stay in bed all day and night. They do not take her out. My sister does work during the weekday, but her husband is retired and is at home all day. On weekend, the sister goes to beautyshop/shopping/ showers/parties and outings leaving mother home alone. I've been informed by many people that mother is left alone and wonders who there to watch her.

When I come to town and visit, I feel somewhat uncomfortable - but it is there house. What concerns much is they complain that all she does is sleep all day. When mother gets up and wants to walk around, they question "where are you going" and complain that they don't understand why she's up. When mother wants to visit her son/my brother next door, they will say no one is at home. While the brother and his wife do work daily, my sister/husband should take her over when they are home just to get her out. But they complain about that.

Just recently, I surprisingly went to visit my mother on Thanksgiving Day, without telling them - although my brother knew. I really wanted to see mother and visit with her a while to get a feel for her mental, emotional and physical health. Upon driving up, I was overwhelmed at the 8 or so cars on my sister driveway/yard. When I entered everyone was in my sisters den enjoying the games, and mother was back in her room (very cluttered and designated as the junk room. My sister came out of the den, saw me and was of course shocked to see me there. I proceeded to mother's room. You can barely move around in the room. When I walked in, mother was lying in bed facing the wall. I said " mother, happy thanksgiving"
and she turned over smiled and called my name. I said "I came to see you for Thanksgiving". She was so happy to see me. Because I knew she would probably be left alone, I decided to spend the time with her. I even got on the bed, laid down near her and just talked about the good old days. She asked a lot of repeated questions (dementia) and all I could do was be on her page not mine - understanding that mother's not aware there she ask the same questions over and over. I was just happy and filled with job to be with her. She's a precious lady.

I have written earlier - regarding my sister moving her pastor in my mothers house and selling mother's car without letting any of the siblings know. Mother does not have the presense of mind and I feel that my sister is taking advantage of her by using the power of attorney to justify. The POA is not for my sisters desires, but to properly manage the estate of our mother according to mother's wishes. I think I need an attorney and try and get mother to revoke the POA.

Please give your thoughts and even suggestions. I want to act sooner than later.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
ssutton, you aren't going to like this much when you read this, but I just have to say it. I have quoted your post, and broken it down piece by piece and provided thoughts on the matter: Here goes.....

"My elderly mother lives with my sister and husband and do not interact much with her other than feed her. Then complain thats all she does."

How do you know this? Who is the source that reports this to you? Is this heresay? Have you heard it yourself? Have you been in your sisters shoes?

Young mothers 'complain" about all the stuff they do for their babies and children, but they love them dearly...sometimes it's all they know to talk about because their day revolves around that responsibility. What you interpret as 'complaining' may not be that--it may be just expressing feelings, thoughts and emotions.

"My 84 year old mother was moved out of her house,by my sister's decision without letting the other siblings know, and now lives with my sister and her husband. This sister made herself the power of attorney over mother's estate and has taken personal advantage of deciding to do with everything mother has ever owned without discussing it with her siblings. The sister is very stubborn about having her way and controlling irregardless of what others think. She's been like this since junior high school. You would think people mature and become more aware as they grow older. But that's not the case."

In a few paragraphs down, you state this happened in 1999? Really? Almost 14 years ago and you are now acting like you care?

Did your sister move Mom in with her to avoid assisted living or nursing home scenarios? Would YOU have taken your Mom in, or your brother for that matter. Your sister was willing to do it and take on the responsibility. Good for her.

Speaking of responsibility....Let's take a closer look at the word 'advantage' in the above statement; maybe it should read 'responsibility". Responsible offspring do exactly what your sister did.. Becoming POA or DPOA is absolutely the right thing to do.

"There are 2 other brothers and I, the other sister. I and the oldest brother live out of town and the youngest brother lives next door to my sister. They hardly if ever communicate. The sister does not discuss mother's care, etc. The only way you get any information, you have to ask - and at that, she questions "why do you want to know" or "that's none of your business."

Your little brother lives next door, huh? And he doesn't really know much? Really? When was the last time your little brother went over and offered to let Sister and her hubby have a bit of time off? When is the last time he bathed Mom, or fed her, or spent quality time just being there for her? When is the last time he brought her flowers or a cheeseburger and a milkshake? Maybe some favorite candy? Anything?

"We have all been quite concern for a very very long time, but because she is the agent/power of attorney since I suppose 1999, our hands are tied."

You stop that right now. Your hands are NOT tied. Your HEAD is. You have a guilty conscience. You say you have been concerned for a very long time (since 1999, mind you) but your hands are tied? Please show me where a POA or DPOA keeps the siblings away. POA allows caregivers to act on behalf of a person and does NOT restrict you and your brothers from becoming involved in your mothers care.

"All mother does while living with my sister is stay in bed all day and night. They do not take her out. My sister does work during the weekday, but her husband is retired and is at home all day. On weekend, the sister goes to beautyshop/shopping/ showers/parties and outings leaving mother home alone. I've been informed by many people that mother is left alone and wonders who there to watch her. "

So what do YOU do in your free time since you have no caregiver responsibilities?

Oh, and I want to know who these "many' people" are that seem to be informants for you? Your little brother? The one who lives next door but hasn't a clue about caregiving? And who else...do these people know first hand what goes on in your Moms house or do they just like to ignite some drama?

By the way, your sister and her husband do deserve to have a life. If she wants to get her hair done, so what? If she needs to do some shopping, so what's it to you? I know what your problem is..you are worried she is spending MOMS money on herself, aren't you? Lemme tell you something, she is entitled to compensation for the responsibility she has. And you need to get over it. Think of it this way...if you had a boarder in your home, you would demand a fee for that. Would you allow your brother to live in your home rent and utility free? Or anyone for that matter (other than your own children)? Probably not. Oh, by the way, caregiving is not a set hour job. It doesn't stop at 5pm and have days off every week. There are midnight and early morning hours and all seven days of the week. 24/7 on call for anything and everything.

"When I come to town and visit, I feel somewhat uncomfortable - but it is there house. What concerns much is they complain that all she does is sleep all day. When mother gets up and wants to walk around, they question "where are you going" and complain that they don't understand why she's up. When mother wants to visit her son/my brother next door, they will say no one is at home. While the brother and his wife do work daily, my sister/husband should take her over when they are home just to get her out. But they complain about that."

I have no idea if you tell the actual 'truth' or not. Your truth may be different from the real truth. Example: My sister has accused me of EXACTLY the same thing, even to the point of telling elder Services that mom was unhappy here and wanted to go back to the nursing home (which she had put her in and I got her back out), and so elder services came out that very day on a surprise visit and found Mom in good spirits and completely astounded that my sister would ever say such a thing. She has a beautiful room here, she is clean and healthy. Elder Services could clearly see my sister was just making false accusations. And they are welcome to drop in on any day and any hour.

'Just recently, I surprisingly went to visit my mother on Thanksgiving Day, without telling them - although my brother knew. I really wanted to see mother and visit with her a while to get a feel for her mental, emotional and physical health. Upon driving up, I was overwhelmed at the 8 or so cars on my sister driveway/yard. When I entered everyone was in my sisters den enjoying the games, and mother was back in her room (very cluttered and designated as the junk room. My sister came out of the den, saw me and was of course shocked to see me there. I proceeded to mother's room. You can barely move around in the room. When I walked in, mother was lying in bed facing the wall. I said " mother, happy thanksgiving"
and she turned over smiled and called my name. I said "I came to see you for Thanksgiving". She was so happy to see me. Because I knew she would probably be left alone, I decided to spend the time with her. I even got on the bed, laid down near her and just talked about the good old days. She asked a lot of repeated questions (dementia) and all I could do was be on her page not mine - understanding that mother's not aware there she ask the same questions over and over. I was just happy and filled with job to be with her. She's a precious lady.'

How nice you went to visit UNANNOUNCED, as your sister and her family has guests for Thanksgiving. Were you really overwhelmed to see 8 to 10 cars in a driveway on Thanksgiving?

Of course your sister was shocked. First, she has pent up indignation against you and your brothers, AND you just show up unannounced.

So glad that you spent some time with Mom, maybe you should do this more often. Your Mom is a Mother, she loves her children, no matter what. Do you have children?

One more thought...old people like solitude. They don't like crowds and they don't like to impose. They already feel like they are a burden anyway. I know my mom does. She LIKES being in her room where she can feel comfortable. She has everything she needs, she has own space, and I keep it clean and tidy. But some people LOVE their 'things". If it's trash and crap that clutters your mothers room, that is one thing. But if it's just 'stuff, and she likes it there, that's another.


"I have written earlier - regarding my sister moving her pastor in my mothers house and selling mother's car without letting any of the siblings know. Mother does not have the presense of mind and I feel that my sister is taking advantage of her by using the power of attorney to justify. The POA is not for my sisters desires, but to properly manage the estate of our mother according to mother's wishes. I think I need an attorney and try and get mother to revoke the POA.

Please give your thoughts and even suggestions. I want to act sooner than later."

Revoke it and give it to who? You? okaaaaaaaay, and since when did you decide you could handle what your sister does.? Like one other poster said, if you haven't walked in their shoes, then you don't know.

Was your mom sick? Was she stinky? Was she showing signs of malnutrition? Was she living in filth? Did she had bruises or other signs of abuse? Did she want out of there?

Can you spare your unconditioned time and dedication 247 and care for another adult? Do you really want to uproot your Moms daily routine just because you decided it wasn't right for her?

I am waiting for the day my sisters try to pull something like that on me. I am happy to call elder services, and happy to call an attorney. Neither sister has been involved in Moms care, just me now and my hubby, and I really don't mind it at all. She is safe and sound here. I have a brother too, and he recently came to visit for a few days. I noticed he never went into Moms room to say hi the first day, so the second day I said "hey, you better go say Hi to mom, she knows you are here and you haven't said hi yet"..... and he did. Like it was a chore he dreaded. Some people just don't know how to be around elderly, even if it is a parent.

ssutton, if the situations isn't broke, don't try to fix it.


SS is so RIGHT!! It sounds like the same thing that my sisters may say about me. I took on the responsibility to care for my mom because neither of my sisters stepped up and handled the task. It is so easy to see and say what you THINK someone is doing wrong without realizing what they are doing right. Do you know how hard it is to care for a parent with dementia? Like SS I am in my fifth year and I have basically given up my entire life. You say she stays in bed all day? Well that's what dementia patients will do if they have no activity. Offer to pay for adult daycare for your mom. You say she does no take her out? Give up a month or two of your life and time to give your mom an out. It is really hard to entertain a parent with dementia when their interest has changed, they are confused and you have spent your entire time caring for them.
I'm not saying you don't love your mother or not concerned, but until you have spent your entire day caring for her you will never understand the cost, time and stress of this job. Try just sitting down and talking to your sister about what you can do to help and make sure you follow through! It is frustrating for someone to say that they will help and then never show up or follow through.
Trust me your sister is not living a happy carefree life you think she is. At least you were able to travel to see her, where can your sister go?
always remember * the people who do the least have the most to say about it *
I would suspect that this is a combination of your sister taking too much liberty in your mother's affairs and her (and her family), being burnt out as a caregivers. Since you haven't had (or at least you haven't said you've had), 24/7 responsibility for caring for the elderly with dementia, you can't really walk in her shoes. It's life altering. I'm sure she's made decisions that you don't agree with and you want a better quality of life for your mother at this stage. Then you need to assert yourself and take on that responsibility and understand everything that comes with it before you do.

Maybe your sister doesn't have the energy to take your mother out once in a while as you suggest because she is too tired from caring for her in every other way. Maybe someone else could take on that roll and take her out once a week. Could that be you? If not, you could offer to pay a caregiver to do that. That would change up you mother's schedule and give your sister a break. Is this about money or quality of life for your mother or both? If you really want to change things then offer up some help and offer to take your mother in for a few months. Would she allow that?

I am a caregiver for both parents with no help from either sibling. I have asked many times and they both say, no. One is just too lazy and lives further away and the other wants access to my parents money (they don't have any), and says they won't help unless they have that. Nightmare. So I am stuck in this mess, now in my fourth year, and it has altered my life, my marriage, my body and mind. But I am the one that offered to help my parents 4 years ago, not the other two. I've recently learned they never planned to help me.

Good luck.

-SS
For the sake of your family, please don't hire an attorney against your sister. You should try talking to your sister in private (maybe go to lunch, etc.) and don't put her on the defensive. Just let her know how you feel while not attacking her actions. I had POA for both parents whom I loved very dearly and my older sister hired an attorney against me and my husband because of money issues. We were the only ones to step up to the plate so to speak when Mom and Daddy had to have assistance. I'm the youngest of three daughters and was always very close to my parents. My husband resigned from his job to take care of both my parents in our home while I maintained my government career. My husband is a wonderful person and we were all so thankful that he was willing to take on this task of cooking, cleaning and social interaction with my parents. They have both passed on and I'm so thankful to have been there with them in their last days but miss them dearly. But now I have no contact with either of my older sisters as a result of them hiring an attorney, etc. Take my advice, try to talk to your sister with kindness in your heart.
I am shocked at how this scenario sounds almost identical to the complaints that I have to live with from my siblings that live OUTSIDE of the home. I noticed that my mother needed more care around 5 years ago when I lived 5 hours away, I contacted all of my siblings, all 4 that lived within a 20 mile radius, they ignored my concerns and continued to ignore our mother. My mother hearing began to fade, paying bills began to slip, housekeeping became hoarding, early stages of dementia began to become very noticeable. I began to visit twice a month to clean house, wash and do laundry, I made the house more handicapped accessible, upgrading the home. I even purchased new phones for the hearing impaired, I began to spend so much money and time to help her. Meanwhile, my other siblings went on with their lives, passed by the home everyday as our mother called me about noone visiting or checking on her except for an occasional phone call. Eventually, I had to put my home on the market and move into the home with her after she had to be hospitalized. This decision was extremely hard for me and I felt and feel that I have no life because my siblings have chosen to stand by and do nothing. Now that I am here, these same siblings are accusing me of causing our MOM Stress. If she is sick, I am to blame. I am spending and doing everything I can to make her life better to the point that I have had a nervous breakdown myself. The paranoia, the forgetfulness, even my Mother accuses me of moving things that I have not even touched. She loses things constantly and I find 99% of the items right where she puts them.This is everyday!

So to others.....if you are not going to put the time, money and all of your efforts in to making the caregiver burdens a little lighter, if you will not take in your own parent yourself, then STOP criticizing the caregiver.
Sounds like your sister and her husband have been caring for you mom for a long time, since 1999. And that siblings are not informed of anything unless they call? Why wouldn't you call? Why would you expect a sibling who's taking on this work, to call you? And your sister not having much to say about it when you do call, well the fact is caregiving does become routine after a while, been there, it's like you have nothing new to tell anyone, mom is the same, her health is the same. Maybe she has a doctors appointment coming up. So often there really isn't much to say. As for her car being sold, if she can't drive, then why pay the property tax and insurance on it? The car should have been sold, and the funds should have gone into an account for mom, to provide her with things she needs. Better than if they kept he car and drove it themselves. Your sister as POA, doesn't have to inform you of any financial decisions for your mom.

It was very nice of you to curl up with your mom on her bed and talk to her on Thanksgiving, she'd probably like more of that, more involvement where you can. It might be nice for you to offer to pick her up once a week and take her out somewhere. Also elderly folks no matter what their condition, get fatigued easily, I saw it with my grandparents and I see it with my dad. After every meal he wants to go lay down, and he'll sleep for an hour at least. Physical activity does the same thing. He sleeps about three to four hours throughout the day. It sounds to me like a routine has set in likely in your sisters house and part of that is likely that your mom wants to rest in her bed. Your sister and her family sound like they're trying to have a normal life, movies, a dinner, people over, and they should, it's healthy. Your mom might be involved for a bit in some activities, and it just wears her out. As far as a junk room, I have one, it's called my guest room and I have folks over who stay in it all the time. I doubt I'm alone in that regard. Maybe some of that stuff in that room is your moms and she can't part with it, refuses to. You just never know. I here nothing that indicates any kind of abuse. Now if you were over there on a regular basis and found that she was filthy, with sores, malnourished, then there's a case there and you'd need to get an attorney. Otherwise I would recommend you spend more time with your mom, offer your sister some help.
You have a brother who lives next door who expects your sister to take your mom over to his house for a visit? Why doesn't this wonderful, caring younger brother go to your sister's house and take your mom out on a weekly outing? The reason, more than likely is because your mother doesn't want to go anywhere. My mother will only go someplace if I tell her we are going. If I ask her if she wants to go anywhere, she says no. She doesn't want to leave her comfort zone. She doesn't want to be a bother to anyone.
When your sister asks your mom, "where are you going", could it be that they are concerned that they need to be with your mom in case she falls, in case she makes a mess on herself? Whenever my mom gets up I have to watch her. I have to know where she is going. If I am not there she can fall. Or she can go into the bathroom and get feces all over herself and the room, the light switches, etc.
If you have not taken care of someone 24/7, and it sounds like your sister and her husband have been doing this for a very long time, you have no idea what it is like. Taking care of an elderly person isn't an easy task, especially when they have dementia.
If you want to take POA away from your sister, you darned well be ready to take on the full time care of your mother. I personally feel that the primary caregiver needs to be the POA. There are so many decisions that have to be made often that having a POA that is not there in the house, even an hour drive away, is impractical.
As for your sister possibly being paid for her time and stress??? God forbid someone be paid for taking care of someone 24/7. No time off. No breaks from the constant worry about the safety and care of the person you are taking care of.
For the few short months that my mom was living with my brother and SIL, we gladly paid them $650/month out of my mom's money to take care of her. We even offered to give them more money because my SIL no longer wanted the responsibility. You know what, we couldn't pay her enough to take care of my mom.
So, mom is with me and my husband. Should we be paid for cleaning up feces all over the bathroom. Should we be paid for cleaning up drips of urine on the floor every morning (we still can't figure that one out). Should we be POA because we are the ones who drive her to town to the doctors, pick up prescriptions, buy her Depends, you're damned right we should.
I get so angry at siblings who do not take on the responsibilities of caring for their parents but can complain all day long about the care that they are or aren't receiving.
If your mother isn't covered in urine or feces, isn't suffering from bed sores, isn't battered and bruised, isn't being mentally abused, are you going to take her out of a situation where she feels comfortable?
Maybe you can go to your sister's house one day and try to be helpful? Maybe help to organize that room that your mother is in. See whether or not it is your sister's "junk" or maybe these are things that your mother doesn't want you to touch or move? My mom loves to hoard things. Her house was horrible and we were able to get her out of it. I keep her room here clean and tidy but she is collecting things. Fortunately I have some control over that. Maybe you can help your sister and find out how you can be of help. And, get that brother who lives next door to your sister involved.
And, call your sister, rather than waiting for her to call you for an update. I have siblings who haven't called since January when my father passed away. They don't give a shit about mom but they will be the ones who scream the most when she passes and want to know where every dime went.

I don't mean to seem harsh. Taking care of someone with dementia is a very difficult job. Are you more concerned with the money or are you more concerned with whether or not your mom is being taken care of? Look deep inside and ask yourself that question. Or are you simply mad that your mother chose your sister to be POA rather than you?

Hope you find some peace in your life.
I'd like to add something to my previous post:
My mom had 7 kids. my older brother has POA. I don't envy him at all. As my mom's mental ability declined, he had to weed through all her financials, file her taxes, pay all her house bills, insurance, set up a trust with an attorney, etc.

My sister and I are healthcare proxies. My sis works full-time and I work part-time and have children. We hired health aides to care for mom at home (i lived an hour away) took her to rehab, daycare, doctors, bought all her essentials. It was a full-time job but necessary. We realized that we couldn't do it all so now she is in a dementia AL facility and doing OK but we are still very involved..

During all of this, a couple of my sibs, plus an aunt, go on with their lives and visit occassionally. No heavy lifting. They look to me, my brother and sister to feed them regular updates. I don't go out of my way because that's time I need to spend doing other things like tending to my home, marriage, job and children. The best way they can stay up to date is to be present and help out sometimes.

She has a full-time job and is primary caregiver. That must be exhausting. Maybe you could suggest that it's time to move mum to AL so she will have more social outlets and sister can get more time to live her life. I am not criticizing you. Your concerns are legit but if you approach your sister with these things in mind, it may lessen your frustration with her. Good luck.
I am sorry but this sounds so much like something my brothers and sils would say about me too. Mom does stay in bed a lot. She gets up, eats, takes her meds and goes back to bed. She is not always sleeping (usually she is) but she stays on her bed about 80% of the time. We rarely go anywhere and leave her alone. She does this because she is tired, hurting, and takes meds. I suppose, at any rate, I can't get her to stay up, she doesn't want to. Her room looks like a junk room. When she moved in, she just could not turn lose of things and has it all piled in her room and won't let anyone do anything about it, although she complains about. She has a bit of a paranoia and hoarding tendencies. I have no where else to put this stuff as I have already filled an entire shed and utility trailor full but this is stuff she wants near her. What am I to do? Also, she does go back to her room and lay down when someone is here, even if it is one of my brothers who finally came to visit. And they complain about that because they think she should stay up with them and entertain them. They do nothing and rarely visit with her. They never take her anywhere. I do take her with me every where I go. I don't have POA, no one does. But if I did, and I think I should because I just spent 8 hours today trying to straighten out her bills and bank account. It was a mess!!! But if I did, it would only be to help her and nothing else. Maybe you should spend more time trying to help out instead of trying to take over. That is a move you would live to regret!!

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