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Recently I went to see my sister in hopes that we'd come up with a plan in regards to my stubborn elderly parents. Thus didn't happen and in short her advice to me was, "Toughen up!" Her hope is for me to take over all the responsibilities of my parents home and life, pay the bills, treat the house like it's mine, and get super involved in all their medical care and activities. She wants me to internalize my emotions better and stop being depressed and deal with it. Eventually they'll die, and I'll get everything because mom loves me best.


I however think that's wrong and I will get nothing.


It's been over 3 years since my mother had major heart failure and every year something else fails like her mind, lungs, heart again. She's incredibly overweight, completely dependent on myself and my father, and stubborn as h*ll. Bonus: she's verbally abusive to both of us, a narcissist and a huge Gaslighter. My father is completely unmotivated, overweight, shows signs of dementia and is always confused.


She was begged to make a will and make me PoA and a medical PoA. It hasn't happened, documents will be written up and she refuses to finish them, it's always later or she's positive she'd done that already, but she hasnt. Plus, we're so focused on mom that we often forget my father has nothing in place either!


There's no discussion either because anything I try to bring up is meant with trade that are normally off topic. I just don't feel there's any point in trying.


Lastly about me, I live at home with them. I failed miserably at my career choice and it took me 5 years to find a solid fulltime job.


I want to get out! I think I can afford it now. Everyone is unhappy and I've harmed myself over the way they treat me and the overload. I have little to no life outside of them. Everyone seems to think that this is all in my head and I should just toughen up. I'll get rewarded in the end.


So should I just suck it up? Or bail and wash my hands of them?

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Who is "everyone"? Would that be - ooh, just guessing - your mother, your sister and your father?

If you can get out, go. Go now. Once you're safe and independent, you can come back to support them as their daughter and as you choose to - not as some kind of household retainer with great expectations.

Toughen up, my eye. You've done pretty darn well to hold down a job in these circumstances, if you ask me. They don't mean toughen up. They mean "cave in and do as we say." Love them dearly, but get away as fast as you can.
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Toughen up -- you'll need to be tough to take care of yourself. Then throw in the towel on these totally unrealistic and inappropriate expectations.

Your sister is not in charge of you. Your parents are not in charge of you. You are an adult. Take charge of yourself. Get out as soon as you can arrange it. You've grown up in a dysfunctional family, and taking charge of your own life may be particularly difficult. If that is the case, get some counselling.

As for being rewarded after they die -- Ha! First, if they have so much money that an inheritance is worth grovelling for, then they certainly have enough to pay for the help they need, either at home or in a facility. If their health worsens they may very well go through all their assets and not be able to leave anything to anybody. Even if they make a will, don't trust it. People like this might very well change it next week.

Dementia gets worse over time. Always. Narcissism does not go away. I say don't bother going to a lawyer trying to straighten out authority. You have no authority now, so you have no legal responsibility. Leave.

Absolutely, toughen up. Get tough enough to say, "good bye" and mean it.
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Ah, so you're supposed to give up any thought of habing an independent life until yourbparents die with no will.

Your sister has a funny sense of humor.

As Sunny says, get legal advice from a certified elder care attorney. Make a plan to leave.

I would not get sucked into this insoluable situation.
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It is completely unreasonable for your mother and father to expect you to take on all that responsibility without any written authority.

I would definitely get your own place regardless of whether or not you are made POA for your parents. You need your own space and deserve a life of your own.

Your sister does have a point about toughening up but not in the way she meant it. You do need to toughen up and have a hard conversation with your parents about them deciding who will serve as their medical and financial POA.

Doing everything for your parents without being their POA will end in disaster. Tell your mother and father that until they get their paperwork in order, you will be focusing on yourself and your first priority is getting your own apartment.

And shame on your sister for being so heartless.
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I would get a legal opinion from an attorney in your jurisdiction of course. Are there any documents like a Will or Trust providing you anything? Also, to be considered, is if your parents do ever need Medicaid to pay for Long Term Care, their assets may have to be spent down. Of course, there are exceptions and ways that their property might be protected, but, that requires time. See an attorney about that. Also, ask about if an adult child lives in the home and cares for the parent for 5 years, can they then keep the home, despite Medicaid. The rules are complex. Get competent advice before you bank on anything.

I would also consider how feasible it would be for you to provide around the clock care in the home for two people who have dementia and serious medical problems. I can't imagine how exhausting and stressful that would be. Even if you have outside help come in to help you......I'd research a lot to see if it's doable. You sound as if it's not something you really want to do. I'd likely be realistic about it. Turning down a good job, for something that does not provide you stability, would concern me.
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Either run now while you still can or you'll go out crawling and broken later on. The ones that are telling you to hang on for the 'bonus' round are the ones terrified they'll actually have to do something themselves if you save yourself. And they will be the very ones fighting you in court for your 'winnings' when its over. I speak from experience ...
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The mind is the most valuable asset we have- so if it is all in your head, GOOD. It can affect your emotional & spiritual outlook- your physical and mental health.

I am ready to leave as well. I had therapy to live with a NPD father and alcoholic mother in their home. I have been the butt of their rages, anger shame and guilt as I am the family scapegoat.

I have suffered due to some sort of existential notion that my disposition can be improved to the degree that modelling healthy behavior and enduring their unhealthy behavior would change things. It changed allright. It changed to a huge fight within a family that has been emotionally and verbally cruel to me since childhood...so much that I finally was ready to change MORE because nothing I did is or was good enough. The childish antics of my parents has led this family to a life of burden.

I am not a punching bag anymore. I am back in therapy & a huge advocate of it as well as a 12 step program. If you can get out to save yourself because you are losing your own sanity - I think you should.

Gather support and help. There are people in this world outside this microcosm of home health care that may bring happiness and stability if you seek it.

I am done with guilt, shame & disrespect of me as a person and human being. I get blamed for everything and my compassion is not enough to keep me here. These are adult parents and my siblings are adults. If they could have handled this they never stepped up. Their solution is to kick me out and put my parents in a ALF. So be it. I cannot save anyone other than myself and there is no one lined up to help me. I have to do it alone right now.

I am trying hard to imagine a better life and it is hard when they are acting out. As I am sure it is for you.

You haven't failed. We make mistakes and things don't always work out. I encourage you to find support and resolve the struggle within - knowing it will take time.
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They mean "cave in and do as we say." CHURCHMOUSE nails it again.

For those of us who are accused of toughening up - ha. This is not a matter of toughness. We are encouraged to seek help and when we do the first ones to shut us down are those who say we need to toughen up. FAMILY in a lot of cases.
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Dear Minako,

I'm so sorry to hear what is happening with your sister and parents. Its horrible situation to be in. And I'm sorry your sister was so hurtful and dismissive of your feelings. Its just not right. You are entitled to your feelings and concerns.

Its not a matter of toughening up because if you give in, it will only lead to anger and resentment. Because that is what I did for my parents. I feel like everything was dumped on me. I became responsible for everything. I just did it but the anger was consuming me.

I know its hard to find agreement in a family. But if no one will cooperate with you. Then yes, I have to agree with the others, its better to get out now. I know you love your family and don't want to abandon them. But then maybe they will know better than to push you around and take advantage of your good nature.

Give them one more chance. Set out the rules and what is needed. If they can't compromise be prepared to walk away.
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My family, parents and only sibling live in California and my parents had an elder attorney draw up an irrevocable trust that included wills, medical directives and POA's. I am primary and my only sibling is secondary on all legal documents. All of their assets are to go to me and my sister equally. My parents have been married for 60 yrs but separated for 10 yrs and my mother did not want him on any of her legal docs. My father helps still lives in the family home and my mother lived is in LTC. My mother has pulmonary Mucormycosis (Google the photos, it's horrifying when it's in your sinuses or brain) which was discovered only because of my demands of her Kaiser doctor (don't get me started on Kaiser). I do all of their bill paying, appt scheduling, attend doctors appts, all insurance etc and I'm plain worn out. I worked partime as a manicurist from my home and each time something was going on with mom, I would have to reschedule clients, stay all night with her in the ER, fight with the doctors, hospitals etc. My sister felt that since she worked full time she couldn't just leave when she wanted so it was easier for me to reschedule clients and take care of mom. When she calls moms facility she refers to herself "the one who works". My clients were wonderful but I started to resent my dad and sister plus I had caregiver burnout. I finally told my dad and sister that they had 3 choices. 1. I would quit my job and they could figure out how they were going to replace my income 2. They could start helping more or 3. I would go get a full time job away from home and we'd all be screwed! Dad said he would pay for my missed clients and I said that wasn't a choice it was either I quit altogether and they replace my income.
What they don't see is the time I'm on the phone with doctors, insurance and etc. Its not just what I do in person it's also the time to pay they bills and make sure they're correct, schedule doctors appts and transportation, buying moms clothes, washing her clothes so they're not stolen or damaged, she's had 5 phones in a year but that's for another story. My family stepped up but I still have to remind them now and then. Good luck it's not easy,
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