My mother was diagnosed with dementia about a year ago, at first she was doing ok taking care of herself and then things started to go south quickly. My youngest sister was going through a divorce and foreclosure (she doesn't work.) the other sisters thought it would be a good solution to have her move in with mom to provide better care. My sister and I have POA and my mom's will, which splits all assets between us equally in the event of her passing. Since she has lived there numerous, expensive upgrades have been made to the house in the tune of $15,000-ish. She has been living with mom for 6 months now and younger sister takes mom shopping daily! At first we thought it was good to get her out and about, now we are seeing the financial implications.... They eat out at least daily on moms dime. When we go to visit mom the live in sister won't leave us alone to take or spend time together and mom doesn't want to leave the house. When we call, to talk to mom which is every night around 2030, live in sister screens her calls. Depending on how she is feeling about us at the time will determine if we can talk to mom or not. This last visit turned ugly when we asked for some time alone with mom, we were told to get out and not return unless she wasn't there. This was now her house and she made the rules. We informed her this was moms house and we just wanted time with her. Mom said she loves her now this is her house. I'm so worried that not only will she convince my mom not to talk to us, but that she may have an additional will added or try to get POA. We are at a loss how to protect our mom.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
You said you and your sister have POA - is this jointly or one primary and one backup if primary is unable ? Who is currently handling mom's finances- her checkbook and paying bills?

I can tell you that mom's house built in 1948 is in need of a lot of repairs and $15,000 wouldn't cover much of anything except a cheap roof

I was sole caregiver for years and I took mom out to eat nearly daily - she said she wasn't a house plant and I was in no mood to cook and clean dishes every day - we could afford that so it wasn't an issue

despite having had a routine for 15 years -6:30 pm is not the time of day to call your mom - it should be before 1:30 pm or so - it's hearing your voice that's the important routine

as other posters have said even if you had a live in caregiver you would need to pay a salary in addition to room and board - have a sibling meeting - all come to an agreement on who will do what and what mom can afford - does she have an income stream or assets to use for a move to a care facility when the time comes?

You need a plan or you'll be in a crises one day
Helpful Answer (1)

I assume your live-in sister gets room and board at no cost to her.
How much above that is she getting paid for caregiving duties?

If you had to replace sister with three shifts of caregivers or a live-in caregiver (with a backup for times off), how much would that cost? How does that compare to what you are paying sister?

Add in the lunches out everyday compared to paying for the groceries. I'll bet sister is still getting way less than what it would cost you to replace her. Right?

And the daily shopping ... is that for a few trinkets at the dollar store, or expensive trinkets at a fine jewelers? Could the family sit down and figure out what a reasonable weekly spending allowance is?

Eating out and shopping can be therapeutic activities for Mom. Obviously they have to be within her budget. If they are not, then the person who has financial POA should help set up some spending guidelines.

As to the will, I'd forget about that. Very few people with dementia or other chronic diseases have anything left at the end for anyone to inherit. This is one reason that it is critical for the caregiving sister to be compensated now, not told to look forward to the will. Even the house may need to be sold for Mom's care, or will have a lien on it from Medicaid. No one should count on an inheritance. Sad, but generally true for the current middle class oldest generation.

It does sound like something not entirely healthy is going on there, though. You should be able to spend time alone with your mom.

Is sister still struggling with the emotional aftermath of her divorce? Does she have some issues of control that she hasn't worked out? I think I'd be as supportive as I could be as she works out her emotional problems, while still overseeing what is right for Mom.
Helpful Answer (1)

The house does need some repairs, but many of them are ones that we can do ourselves. Instead of hiring an exterminator for sugar ants we can spray and clean, instead of hiring a gardener we can pull weeds and spray.... she does need a caregiver, just to ensure she's taking her medicine properly and eating balanced meals.

She does have sundowners, BUT I have called my mother every night around 830 for 15+ years.... It is part of her routine and the doctors suggested that we maintain it to avoid confusing her. Freqflyer, you are correct! I am just as confused as you are about the leaving the house, she won't hold a conversation without the live in sister being there or leave without the live ins prompting. I've asked the live in to give us some time to chat alone at the house and her response was that it was her house and she didn't have to go anywhere. I'm very confused and hurt, which I feel doesn't help any of us make good decisions for what is best for our mom.
Helpful Answer (1)

One has to realize that being a caregiver 24 hours a day can be exhausting. Could be after 6 months of helping Mom, your sister is burnt out. So now she needs to set boundaries for her own sanity. Dementia as you know never gets better, it only gets worse.

I am confused, you said your Mom doesn't want to leave the house, yet prior you wrote that your sister takes her shopping daily.

Suggestion, with dementia can come "sundowning" which happens later in the afternoon. My Dad has that and his memory can go off the rails more so than during the day. That could be the reason why your sister is screening Mom's calls in the evening. It might be better to call your Mom in morning when she is thinking much clearer.
Helpful Answer (0)

I had a couple of thoughts. Did the house need the upgrades? Many times if someone has been living in a house for years, they neglect repairs. There can be a lot of repairs that need to be done. This has been the case for me here with my mother. Their house had terrible water damage that happened during 50 years of neglect. One would think I was spending the money like crazy, but it was just making up for all the maintenance not done over the years. It still has a lot more that needs to be done. My parents lived in the house since 1949 and did very little to keep it up.

Does your mother need a caregiver? Or is she fairly capable by herself? What kinds of things do they shop for? It sounds like they need a better way to entertain themselves than going out shopping and eating. I wouldn't concentrate on the will so much, since inheritance may not happen with your mother having dementia. You will want to make sure she is keeping her money to take care of herself, though. If she spends too fast, she may not have enough to go into a facility if it is ever needed. You do need to find a way to put the brakes on overspending -- easier said than done. Maybe you can set aside some money in an account your sister has no access to.
Helpful Answer (2)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter