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Rifts in my family
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:12 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4110

It has been 5 years.  It has become somewhat easier but I will never understand how this all happened.  I was moved to tell my story briefly after reading the post what do i tell my kids...thanks for letting me post.



My mom had the signs of early Alz back as far as 05.  In 07 she was really getting confused and she lived in a senior community where social services was called and called me several times.  Mom also had a hernia that I knew about and she complained one day (she was in So CA me in No CA) that her stomach really hurt. 

My sister did not accompany my mom to the ER when mom had chest pains, and some other similiar incidents so I decided I should go check out the hernia.  


As always, I told my mom I would be visiting.  She in turn always told my sister.

I would arrive in So CA at night (after driving).  Mom and I would talk, then sleep and the next day she would have an agenda full of things to do.  We always went to the bank to get her cash; had lunch etc etc.  Then, when we returned I'd call my sister and we'd arrange when we would all get together.


This visit was no exception.  I assumed everything would happen as it always did.

While mom and I were in the bank talking about the possibility of closing her account, my BIL walked in...he looked at us strangely, I felt weird and the air became thick ugh; something was up. When I look back i realize mom probably didn't tell my sister i would be visiting so I have been blamed for something that happened because my confused mom just forgot to tell my sister I would be in So CA.


I called my sister when mom and I got home and she started screaming that I snuck into So CA and I was stealing mom's money.  She wouldn't discuss mom's urgent hernia problem.  Mom looked 6 mo pregnant.  I couldn't get two words in my sister was just ranting.  My mom was crying. When I arrived at moms condo there was no food; there were papers everywhere, unpaid bills, a collections letter, cancelled home owners insurance and more.  my sister knew mom's mind wasn't right but it was clear no one was checking in on mom.  Also, knowing moms mind wasn't right (my sisters own words), she convinced mom to spend 32k on cars for her children.  When my sister got done mom only had 30k in her savings.  That's all we had and it went fast.


I didn't have time for this nonsense so I decided on the spot and told my sister that I was taking mom with me to No CA.  She threatened me with nothing better happen to her.  Mom had surgery in No Ca and surgeon said if we don't hurry I won't be able to put her intestines back in.  I offered to bring my mother back to So CA for the surgery but my sister wouldn't answer my emails.


That was 5 years ago.  I tried to get mom back to So CA near her grandkids but my sister wouldn't help.  I have poa so my sister said you have all the power, you figure it out.  So mom is still here 5 years later.


I just wonder what other wierd families do.  Not only am I losing mom to Alzheimers I have lost the only family I had left.



Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:12 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 390


I am blessed with 3 sisters and 3 brothers who have pulled together to build houses, fix cars, sit in waiting rooms together. We share without someone keeping count.

We make group decisions and support an individual decision. As I said, I know I am blessed.


My wife has 2 sisters and 1 brother, none have visited her since this began 3 yrs ago. Her mother has very very bad RA, the brother has not seen his mother since their father died 6 yrs ago. I took care of my MIL about 70% until 5 months ago and I could no longer leave my wife alone. She lives an hour away, my wife cooked and froze all her meal for 8 yrs, then I took over for 2 yrs. Now she is on the meals on wheels. And no one gets alone with anyone. damn shame. And MIL is big time stubborn to add to the mix, insist on living alone at a crippled 83. I just try to smile and let it go in one ear and out the other. And, why? Her parents loved those kids as much as mine did. I don't have an answer. What one does, the next one take apart,

Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:24 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4110

@ Homer.  I am so envious of your good sibling relationships.  I might ad that i am being accused of taking mom's money (which I have not done, in fact I have spent a fortune on my mother), but my sister took 32k of my mom's savings when she knew my mother's mind wasn't right (my sisters words) and bought cars for her kids.  My mom signed the checks but my sister should have saved moms money for mom's future needs and there have been many!
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 6:53 AM
Joined: 12/19/2011
Posts: 146

I do not nor will I ever understand FAMILY MEMBERS.  If you have a family that is involved in the care of your LO, be thankful.


As someone who has 1 sibling who actually thinks I am the one with mental issues and that mother is fine, I am telling you to count your lucky stars your family cares/helps


I think most of us here have no family input UNLESS they think we are somehow benefiting from this sad situation.  And that makes this so sad.

Jamie J
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 7:31 AM
Joined: 1/19/2012
Posts: 83

You are not alone Bela.  My father has AD and my mother has always talked about how bad she has it being his caregiver and was actually telling people that she has no help and no one to come in if she needs to go to the doctor or anywhere else she needs to go.  That made me angry because she has had so many people, including myself offer to help her and she has refused all help.  She went into the hospital in January for what I'm thinking was caregiver stress and I decided to take a leave from work to be with her, take care of dad when she was in the hospital and then help take care of him after. Since the end of January I spent every week with them away from my family and used all my vacation time to do so.  I was hoping that she would see that I was there to help, watch how I interact with my dad (she is always angry and argues with him), and take some of my suggestions to make things easier for her, but the last couple of weeks she said I wasn't needed and she is either going to put dad in a home or he needs to come home with me to live. 


Our family doesn't talk about my dad's disease.  If we do, the focus is too much on him.  I tried to explain that when we help him we are actually helping her.  She complains about how bad it is but never talked to the doctor about adjusting his meds or anything else.  I started doing that but it's made her angry and it was to the point that she just stopped giving him some of the meds.  My brother is exactly like her.  The last time I was with them, they tried to convince me that everyone (including my brother who is out of state) wanted dad in a nursing home and I felt like it was me against the family.  When I emailed my brother and told him what was going on he said he never agreed that dad needed to go into a home now.  He also said we should have all been more proactive with the disease but how do you do that when the primary caregiver refuses to do anything at all to help the person with AD?  Something needs to change soon, but I'm not sure what that will be.  They cannot continue to live together but it makes me mad that my dad should have to give up the home and farm that he worked so hard for just because his wife refuses to do anything.  Sorry, that was a major rant but when I get going it just keeps coming out.  I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in regard to dysfunctional families. 

just exhibit Love
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 7:56 AM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 681

Hi Bela


forgive me I have not read your post on the thread what do I tell my kids..but I will soon...


may I share some thoughts with you..someday when you reflect back on your Life..


may you decide you did your best for your mom..


my husband and I had to Lower our expectations of his brother and his wife..


 we chose not to waste one minute of our time and energy..toward trying to encourage others to give what they could have given to a mother who deserved all the patience and Love she had always provided them.


we cannot change other people my friend.. or control what they are going to do ..or not do.


there is an old quote I love I think Maya wrote it..but it goes like this..'when someone shows you who they are..believe them'


yes it would be nice to be close with brothers and sisters..


but we each walk our own path in this thing called life..and  we go where it leads us... and I  believe it takes us...where we are supposed to chose to be there for your will have no regrets..


and yes my friend many of us have similiar siblings who needed to borrow or take funds from a Loved one..without letting other family members knows..but their is always a paper trail..that can be proven..


may you choose peace in your not worry..forgive your sister..


this I know for husbands mother Loved both her boys the same and she knew their strengths and weaknesses..


I feel things have a way of working themselves out..sometimes not like we expected.


but for the best for the good of all..patience my the answer.



Love Rosie


"To the world you may be only one person,but to one person,you may be the world"



Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:05 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 13

@Bela, I suppose I can give some more detail here. I wanted to get to the point of my question in my post, but thanks for your response


My mom and grandma never had a great relationship after my grandpa died 20 years ago (i'm only 30) so the majority of my childhood wasn't spent spending time with my grandma. They went years at a time without talking, my mom is very controlling and everything has to be her way, yet she will avoid conflict, specifically apoligizing, at any cost. So when they got into it about something, they just didn't speak for years. My grandma never felt she was in the wrong so never initiated a truce. My mom is also a martyr in every sense.


5 years ago my cousin (who was my grandmas POA) called me and said my grandma had a heart attach and was in the hospital and needed a pacemaker. I immediately left work and visited, she didn't know who I was but was glad to see someone caring. My POA cousin is 2 hours away. Later my mom went to visit (after another span of several years of not talking to my grandma) and my grandma was so upset the hospital had to sedate her and make my mom leave. Because I was close I visited rehab facilities for her to visit and set up hone care after that. Once home I quickly realized that she needed a lot of help and for 2 years I went to her house daily to do cleaning, meals, fill her med bottles for the week, dr appts, etc. After much complaining from her about not seeing her children, I got my mom to come over. She started visiting once in a while, not doing anythign productive but did visit so on the days that I had to run over to grandmas and just drop stuff off because I had other things to do it made it a little easier. At the time I had 3 kids, a full time job, my own home to care for and of course my husband. So 2 years in my cousin and grandma talked (without my knowledge) and decided to change the POA to me, I was the one doing everything at this point. In that change she also left her home and everything she owned to me (originally it was to be split between my mom and Uncle). I was only aware of this when I got a call from the attorney to sign paperwork. Grandma had often said she wanted me to have her house and other various things, and I always said we don't need to decide that now. HOwever when she said things like that to my mom and Uncle, they were happy to take anything at any given moment, they were clearing my grandma house out while she still lived in it!!


Fast forward a few more years and my grandma suddenly declined a great deal. It was becoming apparent to me that she very soon wouldn't be able to live alone, even with me now visiting 2-3 times a day, plus I knew I wouldn't be able to pull that off too much longer. I tried talking to my mom and asked her to visit facilities with me. She immediately and consistenly told me how good my grandma was doing every time she visited and that taking her dog away from her and makign her leave her home was the worst thing to do. I got lucky and we had a bad storm and her power went out and I was able to get her to move in with me (although she thought it was for a couple hours til power came back on). Eventually I decided I needed to take care of things on my own. I went and spoke with an attorney and was told to cash in all her assets to pay for a nursing home or put them into her home, apply for medicaid and let the state pay for a nursing home. I decided if I was going to spend all this  money on her home, I would do it so I was able to keep her home. The move to my house pushed her down a little also. Keeping her dog was no longer becoming an option as she wouldn't let him out of her sight and he was becoming mean and snapping at all of us. He was always trying to hide and she would always make us go get him. He even bit her once becuase she would always wake him up to make sure he was ok. Then she got the dreaded UTI, which ended up dehydrating her and pushing her into acute renal failure. Ended up being a blessing, in the 2 weeks in the hospital and 4 weeks in rehab we completely remodeled her home, making it handicap accesible, added a ramp, built rooms in the basement for the kids to hang out, moved my family in and found a new home for her dog. When she came home from rehab she never brought the dog up again, doesn't recognize her house but is thankful we allow her to live with us. My mom can't stand that the house isn't her moms anymore so she refuses to visit. That eventaully lead to her not talking to me or my children. Yet she spends a great deal of time helping care for my dad's parents (her ex husband that she now lives with???) My mom and 1 sister hate that I got a 'free house' and they get nothing. Meanwhile I am at home 24/7 with my grandma with no option to work.


I have 1 sister who lives 4 hours away but is my life savior, she talks to me whenever I need it and completely understands my family dynamics and why I have no desire to fix thigns with my mom or push her to have any involvement with my grandma. in the end I feel my kids are better off without her also. She will never be honest with them about why she is no longer in any of our lives, she always has an excuse that doesn't make her look bad. I have another sister who is pretty neutral, she away at college, not helpful but not hurtful and is also only 19. Another sister who is just like my mom and hasn't spoken to me since I refused to sign a letter saying she took care of my grandma for 100 hours for her community service. I also have a brother who lives with me and in incredibly helpful, yet at the moment in unfortunately in jail.


I'm angry that this is all on me when I have a decent amount of family members that could help, especially since I am the only one in the fanily with 3 active kids. I'm angry that at 30 I'm the sole cargiver for my grandma when I shouldn't have this responsibility until my parents are her age and needing help and I'm angry that my inncoent children have also lost out on grandparents and an aunt and cousins. However, thru all of it I feel it probably would've happened regardless for some other reason, this is who my fmaily is. This cirsumstance pushed the "rift" in our family but it could've easily been something else. I'm glad everyday that I choose to keep her home with us and that we were able to work things out how we did. I'm thankful that my kids are a part of it and see the sacrifices we are all making because I want them to grow up knowing that THIS is really what family is. But most of all I'm thankful that my granpa knows I'm doing this. This is what he would've wanted. My grandparents would've done this for any of us if necessary. They deserve the same. To this day she doesn't know I'm her granddaughter, but she knows my name. She often wants to visit her mom and dad, but never asks about going "home" she is now completely incontinent, and after 8 years I'm back to changing diaperes. Her and my 10 year old rarely get along, but the other 2 children are generally great with her. She thinks my husband is "the boss" has no idea that he is my husband or the kids father, he's just the big guy that comes and goes around here She adores my dogs and while she thinks they sleep too much she often tries to keep everyone quiet for them and will make my kids get off the couch if she thinks one of the dogs wants to sit there. She steals my kids jewelry but luckiily only has 1 hiding spot and she loves playing dress up with them and my kids love doing her hair and make up. She never recognizes herself in the pictures my kids take of her afterwards but nonetheless I have those pictures to show my kids and remind all of us of the joy they brought to her in the midst of the hell all of our lives are right now. We only have so much time left, she is only stage 6ish right now, but her pacemaker only has 1.5 yr left on it's battery and my sister and I have already decided we will not replace it. So in that time we will do what we have to do for all of us and in the end I know i did what was right by her and my grandpa, along with teaching my kids a lesson many won't even come close to understanding. And I enjoy having 1 more Easter basket to make and 1 more stocking to stuff and 1 more chair at the dinner table.

dutiful deb
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 11:21 AM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 1876



I have one of those wierd families, too. I'm the main care person for Mom, my sister who is sympathetic lives several states away, and my brother lives in the same town but is both clueless and careless.


When Mom fell on Sunday, my siblings were both notified and because my sister shows more concern and because she lives so far away, I communicated with her several times, and she called Mom yesterday to check on her. My brother's way of dealing with tough situations has always been to use sarcasm or to avoid the situation. He has a very difficult time showing affection. He joked around with Mom about kissing the sidewalk and then told me to text or e-mail him if I found out anything more regarding her fall. To my knowlege, he didn't call my mom and hasn't contacted me to check up on her.


I have stopped trying to understand my brother and have accepted the situation for what it is. Mom has taken care of her finances so that I'm on her accounts and have durable POA. She has signed me on as her healthcare representative and has signed the necessary release forms with all her medical care professionals so that I can confer with them. She trusts me completely, and has said she doesn't trust my brother to handle her care or finances. She loves him, but also knows that she can't depend on him for her care. On a practical level, even if he were more nurturing, he has a job that takes him out of town on a frequent basis and he physically can't always be here.


For a long time I struggled with my feelings--anger, resentment, etc.--but I let them go and have accepted, and even embraced, my role as Mom's care person. That's not to say I don't get frustrated; I had a cat litter box experience yesterday that made me want to jump off a bridge, but I have also come to think of caring for my mom as my way of ministering to her.


I know this probably doesn't answer your question, but hopefully it helps to know others are in the same boat.

Blessings to you.............Deb



Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:43 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18481

Bela...I remember your story!
King Boo
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8:42 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3250

It is a sad story.  Sometimes there is nothing to do but let it go.  It becomes another loss that has to be delt with, not easy when facing all the losses that go along with ALZ.

It is clear that at least part of your sister's upset is that she was "snagged."  She was caught in the act-she stole from your mother to buy cars for her children.  And left you holding the situation.

Unless she of her own free will steps up and tries to undo the great wrong, she did it.

Miracles do happen sometime - it happened with my brother, who accused me of costing my mother's estate thousands of dollars.  He eventually came around and is more or less on board with our surviving parents care.

However, 5 years later, it is unlikely.  I am sorry for your situation. 

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:58 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4110

Thanks King Boo.  Sister will never ever admit to any wrong doing.  I have as you said multiple losses and its not easy to recover.  Thanks for your thoughts, they really helped me.
Jamie J
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:41 PM
Joined: 1/19/2012
Posts: 83

bela wrote:
I have as you said multiple losses and its not easy to recover.  
Bela, this is exactly how I feel right now.  Not only am I losing my dad to this awful disease, it has become very difficult to have any kind of relationship with my mom.  Instead of enjoying these moments together she is so focused on proving to everyone that he is an awful person when no one else sees it but her.  She's gotten to the point of trying to bring out certain behaviors in him when others are around.