My dear Mother is 90yo. She lives in an assisted living center 110 miles away from me. My sister has POA and won't tell me what is going on. I call Mom once a week. Every time I call she is in her room with the door shut. When the nurse brings the phone, Mom yells at them, to get out of the room and SHUT THE DOOR. She is constantly yelling at the aides and nurses when I visit her. Mom is very cranky as she has been for many years. On the phone when I try to visit with her, she talks in monosyllables, I say how is the weather, she says fine, if I ask about the meals, she says just fair, etc. So apparently she is her room all day by herself. She won't read and has no radio or tv. She won't even look out the window. She won't do puzzles. Of course I feel she is depressed but POA says that she isn't. That "our family" doesn't get depression. "We are above that" says the POA. So Mom only leaves her room to go to the beauty shop, meals, and bathing sometimes.
When I ask POA about Mom, POA says, "why do you want to know?" And won't answer my questions. So the way I see it my problem in this situation is the POA and no communication and Mom's mental state and my frustration in not being able to help my Mother.
Unlike some of you, Mom was a very sweet, nice lady when I was growing up until she had a stroke about 25+ years ago. She would never raise her voice when she was young. She considered the feelings of others and volunteered in the community.
I have seen a lawyer but the lawyer says it would be a costly thing to get POA to open up and be cooperative. I am so frustrated. I would like Mom to live closer to me, I would like POA to share info, I want Mom to have some meds to improve her mood. So I am asking the forum, what should I do? Your expert advice is most welcome.

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Two things you might try; 1. visit your mother with someone who has a notary signature and have her sign a new POA for you. The date of your new one should overcome the old one she has with whomever is the POA.

The second thing you can do if you want cooperation is to bluff the POA. The POA would likely not want to go throught the trouble of producing all the financial data they have on what they have done financially. So tell hiim or her that if you don't get cooperation you will hire an attorney to do a qui tam complaint. This of course is a bluff but it might get them to cooperate. However if you really do suspect something it may be a good way to go.
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I have to wonder about the people "in control". I have the POA and, I guess, responsibility. I'll gladly give it up. Anyone want it?
My brother pitched a fit about where my parents moved. He could not be inconvenienced so it had to be close to his house. Then, for some reason he has abandoned them for over 18 months now. I too am at the "past mad" stage. He also will not be contacted when Daddy dies. My sister lives over 5 hours away and works. She calls Mama at least every other day and talks to me almost daily. She will do anything I ask her to (within reason). She comes over at least once a month to help. How do kids who were raised in the same family turn out so differently? I heard, thru the grapevine, he is concerned he is being cheated out of what is rightfully his. It is nice to know he thinks so highly of me. As far as I am concerned, nothing is rightfully his. It is Mama & Daddy's & if they spend every penny, good for them. If there is anything left, I have told my sister & mother that I am going to write on the check going to him that I hope he chokes on every penny he spends. I just cannot imagine not doing your best for others, much less abandoning them. Especially if the issue is stuff or money.
I am so sorry you are having problems with your sister. Like everyone else, I think the best you can do is stay in contact with your mother. I don't know anything about your mother, but sometimes people want to stay in their room with the door shut. I spend a lot of my time when at home in my room with my dogs. It has become my sanctuary. It is where I can go and not have to interact with anyone. Sometimes I just need that. I destress. It could be that things outside her room have become too stressful to deal with. In her room it is not as stimulating.
Next time your sister asks why you care what is going on with your mother, just smile lovingly and reply because you love and care about them. Keep smiling, turn, walk away with your head held high and when you get in your car allow yourself to scream. Then go treat yourself to an icecream cone or something.
Lots of hugs.
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Really sorry for you. I feel you just keep in contact with her and that is all. If I remember correctly your mom has been like this for a long time if this is what she wants to do let her don't try to make her do anything else and just stay very positive with her . As far as POA person that is not right at all. I am in something like this with my Dad. Take care of yourself.
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I am my fathers POA. he had a stroke 3 yrs ago and he has lived in Nursing homes and has lived with me since the stroke. He also has Parkinsons. He can fly into a rage and it can get ugly. He is hard to get calmed down. he has had numerous hospitalizations during these 3 yrs. I have a brother 5 miles away and a sister 1200 miles away. They have helped with NOTHING. The same thing happened with my mom 10 yrs ago. I am way passed being mad. I can barely be cordial to these 2 when I do hear from them. I have sworn to myself that when dad has a emergency or is admitted to another nursing home or when he passes away I will NOT be contacting those 2. They don't deserve it!! I make sure that dads health care providers know not to release any info about dad to anyone other than me. This is the result of having to deal with OUR parents illnesses all by myself. I wonder if ur sister feels the same way. I'm not saying you haven't done ur share. I'm just giving you a look at how this caregiver handles her family's help or lack of it.
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I am guessing there is some family history here that would be too complicated to go into online. Your mother may well be depressed, but treatment of depression in the elderly is tricky business. Too often, they have real things they are grieving that no medication will help. Also, meds alone don't really help depression unless the person also has a counselor. I went this road with Dad, who was getting really teary many times daily when he talked about my mother, who died 8 years ago. An antidepressant did little to help, but he brightened up when people started dropping by more often. On the other hand, my cousin's mother did pretty much what it sounds like your mother is doing, isolating and losing interest in everything. I think it is a stage of closure. Almost a conscious choice. They get tired of living. They miss everyone who has gone, and they are angry that they haven't gone, too.

I honestly think that even if you had POA, health care proxy, or guardianship, that it would not make a bit of difference. Your mother is making her choices. If you were in her place, would you want people fighting over whether or not to make a different choice for you?

Call her. She may not be a great conversationalist any more, but she will know that you care, even if just for that moment. Visit her when you are able. Cards with pictures or memories as noted above are good ideas. And you can pray for her.

I am so sorry you are at odds with your sister. My own sister died 17 years ago, and though I am sure we would have argued over how Dad should be getting care, I would be so glad if she were still here to argue with!

Try the serenity prayer for yourself: Grant me the Serenity to accept the things that cannot change, the Courage to change the things that can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. It helps, it really does.
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Thank you everyone for good answers to tough questions. Ice cream, POA won't let me do anything but call or visit. Period...
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Brandywine, if I remember correctly (a big if these days) your mother has dementia and so does your husband, which makes it difficult for you to visit her in person. And you have health issues yourself. Is that correct?

Does your sister also have Healthcare Proxy? If not, there should be no reason that you can't talk to the director of nursing at the ALF or NH and get more information on her health. I think that trying to work through your sister is a dead end. Would your mother sign a HIPPA waiver form for you to converse with her doctor?

Perhaps your mother is depressed. Perhaps her behavior just reflects where she is in the progression of her dementia. If you can talk to the DON and her doctor, you may find out more and you may have a chance to give some input. But it seems likely to me that your sister will attempt to block this communication. Try anyway, but be realistic in your expectations.

It doesn't sound like telephoning Mom is very successful. How about sending cheerful or funny cards? Sometimes enclose a photograph, or something you've cut out of the paper or a magazine. You can keep the message short "Thinking of you Mom," or "The lilacs today remind me of the picnics we had across from churchyard" -- any small remembrance of the past might be good.

Brandywine, I'm sorry to say this, but it doesn't look to me like you have a big chance to participate in decisions for your mother. Do all the small gestures you can -- cards, the occasional gift or flowers, and be content with that.

Concentrate on caring for your husband, where you have far greater chances of making a significant difference in his quality of life. Take care of yourself. I think that is the best you can do, and it is a lot!

I've been taking care of my husband (who died last month) while my mother's health has steadily declined. My sisters and a brother stepped up to look after Ma, arranging more and more home care for her, and now finally deciding she can no longer live alone. Knowing that I was fully occupied with my husband, they gave me a pass on dealing with Ma. The huge difference from your situation was that I had full confidence in their intentions and ability to care for her, and they kept me informed. I am very sorry that is absent in your situation.

You and I are in circumstances that limit our ability to actively participate in caring for our mothers. I hope you can make peace with that.
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brandywine1949 I love your concern for your Mother. It is frustrating for you,that your sister won't explain your Mothers behavior. I can visit my Mom (dementia) 3 times in one day and it is like I am visiting a different person every time, in-fact's minute to minute, she changes. I had my Mom home with me for a year I tried explaining to my sister how she was acting and she either wasn't listening or didn't get it, or care. So I stopped telling her. I am not sure if your sister tried and now is just tired of it all. You should be able to ask her for a nurses report on her daily behavior and activities. Explain to her that it is hard for you to understand what your Mom is going through and your just concerned about Mom's quality of life, your not blaming your sister P.O.A. and explain to her you want to help not to complain. Your sister probably is feeling guilty, emotionally drained, etc. P.O.A. is not easy and very stressful. If you are serious about moving her close to you research Assisted Living in your area. Your Mom may have reached the next level of care, Nursing Home. Assisted Living is just that NH care provides more activity and keeps closer watch on behavior and medication.
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