Caregiving resources for every stage of the disease.
RSS Feed Print
Dealing with My Father's diagnosis with sibling who doesn't want to admit the diagnosis.
Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 11:19 PM
Joined: 9/13/2017
Posts: 1

I discovered while arranging for my father to come and stay with my sister that my father had been diagnosed as having Alzheimers.We had his medical list of medications,where the diagnosis was printed on the  medical list from the doctor.My sister and I live in the same state ,unfortunately my/our father lives approximately 7 hrs. drive by car away.My sister; who he is staying with for a few weeks,has and is avoiding discussing the information. Actually getting angry and refusing to talk, if I'm going to "argue" with her. I wanted to discuss the paper that his medications were listed and the diagnosis of Alzheimers. My father is very closed about his medical issues. I believe my sister knows more than she is sharing.Her name was listed on the sheet I saw. I'm just concerned for my father and his safety and want him to get the care he needs and plan for what may be necessary as the disease advances.He has had some car accidents, forgotten food in his car,lost large sums of money,injured himself and many other things.He has food dated from 2013,14 in his cupboard, won't allow us to throw old food out,help with things;like cleaning,bills,etc.He has had things disconnected -because( I think) he hasn't paid the bills-- so much more! She says,"I forget things,too".(As though to smooth over the issues and make them not so serious).Can anyone please suggest how to approach a sibling who isn't willing to face up to what is happening? I know she loves our father,and myself. I hope to handle this with my sibling,but not sure how to.I'm the "Younger" sibling and she is the oldest.We lost our middle sister less than a year ago, and our step mother three years ago.My father has been by himself since then.We have step siblings,which our father doesn't trust or willing to help(they live near him).

Thank-you,for any help,suggestions.

Relocated Daughter
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 12:10 AM
Joined: 7/21/2017
Posts: 83

The Alzheimer's Association has some very helpful resources to guide you. Besides, in-person classes and support groups, there are several online courses. Perhaps you could take one, such as "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters" and share the info with your sister. That could help open a dialogue with her.
Does your dad have his financial and health affairs in order? For instance, has he named either you or your sister as his Power of Attorney for healthcare or finances?
I have found the more I learn about Alzheimer's and care giving, the better I'm able to help my mom.  

His Daughter
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 9:00 AM
Joined: 6/25/2014
Posts: 1991


   I'm sorry and I know this is frustrating.  I had the same situation with my sister.  She is 9 years older than I am,  the RN of the family, and lives 6 1/2 hours away.  The only difference was she rarely saw Dad, and although she said she loved him, I personally question her definition of "love".  And throughout Dad's illness I rarely, if ever, saw any support for either him or myself.  But it all comes back to that pesky little thing we call DENIAL.

   In the early stages, I had called my sister repeatedly to relay odd and frightening changes I was seeing with Dad.  I knew something was definitely wrong, and I was looking for her medical background to help guide me, as I was completely inexperienced with all this.  I'll never forget the day I called to tell her he'd gotten lost driving to my house, something he'd done weekly for over 30 years.  My jaw dropped when her response was, "Well we'll just have to wait till he's walking in the streets naked."    This sort of dismissive behavior went on and on, and I have hundreds of examples.  It didn't take long to recognize she wouldn't be of any help.   

   Finally when I had him tested (something she told me not to do) and a firm diagnosis of Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia in writing, I just mailed a copy of the written report and a disc with the CAT Scan of his brain to her.  I figured that with her medical background, she could no longer DENY Dad's condition.   

   I'm not sure how to respond about your suspicions that she knows more than she's willing to indicate, and that her name was listed on some paperwork.  But that may be something to carefully consider.  You've stated that she truly loves your Dad. (That's a wonderful blessing) But in MY situation, I was forced to realize that my sister's denial was that she didn't want diagnosis or follow up, because she knew I'd be spending money (her potential inheritance) for his obvious needy condition.  Incredibly sad motivation, but it was very true.  

  All I can tell you is that this game of DENIAL is about as helpful as a handful of dirt.   It serves no purpose, except to allow the person a temporary place to hide.  But eventually they have to catch up to reality.   And they will, when it gets to the point that they'd look like a total fool to deny it any longer.  

  What's important here is that you know the truth and are doing everything possible to help him.  He needs that.  So my thought is to give her the information, and let your sis live in lala land for now.  While it's helpful to quickly get everyone on the same page of support, it's not always possible.  You know that old saying, you can lead a horse to water.............

   It's often recommended to have the DENIER spend some extended time with the PWD. So having your Dad go and stay with her might be of help.  But unless she's willing to open her heart and mind to all this, I've personally witnessed some really off the charts DENIAL behavior.  Your only concern should be that your sister won't provide adequate supervision for your dad while he's staying with her, related to her denial.  

  Please take note of Relocated Daughter's words of wisdom to make sure his legal paperwork is in order.  And hopefully he will have you as his MPOA, DPOA,  and Personal Representative.  It serves no purpose to have a person in denial in charge of anything.  

Good luck on this.  As I said, I personally know how frustrating this can be.  But march forward with a clear head and heart, knowing you are doing the right things for him.  Eventually all the nay sayers will have to catch up.  As I've often said, this is the one time I truly hated those words, "I told you so."    

Mimi S.
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 9:13 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 6266

Dear Bkdorn.

We're so glad you found us. Welcome to our world 

Please call our help line 1-800-272-3900 and ask to speak to a Care Consultant. Discuss your situation with her. 

Is your dad living with your sister now?  Has her attitude changed?  If she has the POA and you believe your dad was capable of signing such a document, there may be little you can do as long as his physical needs are met.
× Close Menu