Dementia and family strife and feeling awful about it

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by GBFast, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. GBFast

    GBFast Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015
    I have already posted about this but this is an update on things.

    My MUm was in the Victoria Park Nursing Home, that is one of those announced for closure this month, so in December there resident nurse there gave me the name f a few homes that might be alternatives because Victoria Park was being emptied rapidly.

    Meanwhile, my sister, had the idea that she would bring Mum to live with her (and two children and dogs that have the run of the house. She was told by a care manager that it was not feasible. For a start, the authorities would not install or maintain a stair-life, and my Mum needs 24 hour supervision. I don't think it dawned on her that her life would be changed dramatically.

    So, on the nurse/care manager's advice, my Dad and I went and see the homes that the nurse recommended (Ihad also had to do that in June when my sister made promises she couldn't keep.). My sister said we were going behind her back, and he care manager agreed to see her. She didn't bother to turn-up at the meeting - that's how reliable she is. She said she would never forgive Dad or me for going behind he back, though that didn't last long, because she likes the new home, knows we were't doing anything behind her back and her idea was now totally unfeasible.

    I still gave them money for Christmas presents, but my sister said (they couldn't even wish me Happy Christmas) the children were ungrateful and I tore-up the cheques. Now, I'm getting blamed for that

    However, she still turned her niece and nephew (21 and 17) against me about the whole thing, and they won't forgive me.

    Then, yesterday, my nie ce arrived at the house to go down to see Mum. She moaned about why i wouldn't take Dad down (which would have meant two cars instead of one). She also mace lunch for Dad. He told me there was too much, and told me to east the rest. My niece said she had made it for him, not me, and I wasn't to eat it.

    This whole thing is hurting me, but heartbreaking to my dad. I have not done anything wrong in all of this, other than try to pick up the pieces and make sure that Mum had a place in a home. I think that my sister and nicece and nephew know that they are wrong and are trying to throw out hatred in my direction because they feel guilty and are ganging-up on me. They can't even be civil - and don't see to care what this is doing to my father's health.

    But that doesn't make me feel any better (I have tried to be such a good a generous uncle over the years and also been very supportive of my sister) and is heartbreaking to my dad. He has a small, split familiy on top of his love of 48 years having severe dementia.

    I have apologised (even though there's been very little for me to apologise for other then telling my sister her idea was mad and the authorities would not support it. All the guilt is on the other side.

    I really feel I wan to cut the three of them out of my life because they are making me so bad with their toxic behaviour - but i dwell on things, so don't know how to do that.

    I realise this is as much about family disputes as it is about demenetia, but know that such disputes are common with this awful illness, and would appreciate the perspectives of others.

    Thank you.
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Oh dear, I am an only child so I don't have any advice to offer except that my closest friend has a very similar problem with a sister so I do understand. She did cut them out of her life eventually but it was hard, so hard. I just wanted to stop by and say I really feel for you and your dad, it sounds like so much nastiness. You need to try to make sure it doesn't affect your health - you must try to keep well because you are doing so much for everyone else. Do you have a local carers group (carers cafe) near to you? If you do, please join because it means that one morning a month you can sit and have coffee with people who really do understand - it was my lifeline.
    I can't help but I will be thinking of you x
  3. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    #3 CJinUSA, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    Your parents - especially your father - are so lucky you are there to help them sort things out.

    So first a tiny suggestion - please get the power of attorney for health matters and the one for financial matters in your name alone. That way, you can see to your parents' best interests at all times. Perhaps you have these already; I have not read the other post(s) you have mentioned here.

    I have a similar story but different. When my father died - vascular dementia so bad that they straitjacketed him in hospital, the only strategy known of in the early 1990s in the small industrial town where my parents lived - we discovered that the family was dysfunctional. My sisters are extremely competitive, and they had difficulty dealing with the idea that we were left with my mother, not my father, whom they doted on. The two oldest sisters never got on all that well with my mother. The one closer in age to me (youngest) gets on fine - in fact, she was my mother's favorite.

    As my father was dying, all hell broke loose. Once he was gone. the two oldest ones sort of slipped away, though one of them (who said she would take care of my mother) lived near her. Despite the fact that I lived 3 hours away, I ended up being the one who ultimately took care of my mother while she was in her home, and now she is here with me.

    Families work in mysterious ways. Like your father, my father would have been just heartbroken to see us kids fighting.

    I have some things on my mind about your situation and how you might try to make amends with your sister and her family. I can't tell whether you have children or family or not. And I can't tell if you are the older sibling. If you do not have children, the easiest way to explain why you feel you had to help out, and promptly, was that you have fewer obligations - no children, no dogs, etc.

    If you *do* have these at home, like your sister, then a different tactic might be that, being a man, you are hoping that your dad might confide in you about the way he is feeling, something your dad might be less likely to do with his daughter than with his son (not having brothers, I don't know if this is true, or not).

    Another thing you might do is show her Lisa74's eloquent plea here that no one should take a grandparent into the home. You definitely should show it to the niece and nephew.

    It is very possible you can't bridge the chasm that your sister has created. Or it's possible that you will have to wait until your parents are gone to do so. The niece and nephew are children still - they are too young really to process what's going on, and they are just feeling sore for their mother's sake. Most kids would behave this way.

    It sounds like there might be, as there were in my family, old old jealousies being harbored by your sister. We got over the hump by honest talk and consistent behavior toward one another. The biggest thing was the honest talk. Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver. One of my sisters did express interest in having my mother, but she was the least consistent of them, and she would not have been able to turn her life into a caregiver's role.

    Finally, my impression is that your sister might feel that by not stepping up to the plate she might be giving your father the impression that she does not care. It seems as if she feels she is in competion for your father's attention. And this has brought on a kind of defensiveness in the relationship. If you could possibly let her know you are not competing with her, nor finding fault, nor making any kind of comment at all about her, perhaps this would set her heart at ease. This is not about her; it's about your mother and father, whom you know she loves as much as you do (and think of other kind things to say). Your sister needs to know she is still loved and lovable, even though she is losing her beloved mother to dementia and hasn't been able to be part of the picture of assistance. Her children need to be part of that conversation, too.

    Sometimes honeyed words help keep the bee from stinging.
  4. GBFast

    GBFast Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015

    I've tried all that.

    I think the three of them are a toxic combination, and it's best that I just avoid them.

    I also think that, ultimately with a new boyfriend (having been married twice before), my sister doesn't really care about anybody about herself. S=Ansd she's got worse since she started going to church (because of her boyfriend).

    I am not married, have no children and a gay. So I have difficult issues of my own anyway, and I think stuff is heaped onto me because I have no family of my own.

    I just don't think it's fixable - and it's my Dad I feel devastated for (and, as i am a sensitive sort of person, that affects me). MY sister couldn't case less, and has passed it on - even though she caused merry hell when her children were young and my parents actually had to adopt them and I helped out. She;s simply an ungrateful specimen.
  5. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    East Yorkshire UK
    I think it is the case that family tensions, which may well exist anyway to varying levels, are hugely exacerbated by something like dementia because there is the care, the guilt, the inheritance (I feel as if I'm always saying that!) When it comes down to it, family is often based around 'home' which for many people is where their parent(s) is.

    I often feel that Mum, as the last person in our immediate family living in the area where we were brought up, is in some respects the last link for a family living elsewhere (one half an hour away, one an hour and a half away and one abroad). Otherwise would we ever bother to have much contact if we don't get on?

    We don't have the same issues as you but I still find myself not really wanting contact with the sibling I don't get on with but having to put up with it for Mum's benefit. I have tried to improve contact, to increase contact, but now feel that really I want to minimise contact for my own emotional wellbeing. I suppose in some respects it's a bit like two divorcing parents with a child to continue to care for. Tough.
  6. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    Ah, much clearer now. It must be very hard on your father to have had a daughter turn out like this. The impression I'm getting is that she is dysfunctional and has passed this on to the kids. So glad you are there for your parent. Is he still a guardian for the two children, or are they past age?

    I hope you have a partner and support network to help you get through this. Is your father still on his own? And if so, will he manage okay?

    I can tell you are a sensitive and caring person. So happy for your parents that you are active in their lives.
  7. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015
    Words fail me! But just want to send you support. Continue to do as you are doing and if family don't like it, that is their problem. Easier said than done. The aggravation some people can cause is desperate.

    Aisling (Ireland)
  8. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    East Yorkshire UK
    After my calm consideration of family strife I am now hopping mad after just being told off (the most accurate term for the communication) for getting rid of excess cutlery cluttering Mum's drawers to a charity shop without consulting my sibling. I did this around 9 months ago. I have been told I should not dispose of anything else without consultation. Oh, and that I should instruct the carers to change mum's clothes daily. It's really helpful isn't it!
  9. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    Don't you just love it when they offer opinions instead of assistance. Sometimes drives me nuts.
  10. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    GB - to be frank, your sister sounds self-absorbed, defensive and difficult. I agree with your strategy of giving them all a wide berth because you have enough to worry about, with your parents' situation. You also deserve a life, to meet a partner of your own if you do not already have one, and to be valued for the obviously kind and sensitive person you are. Don't let any of what's going on in your life now make you forget that. *hug*
    PS: I was given a tip when I was stressing out over my father's dementia -- to hold him and his problems (in this case your sister and her family) at arm's length. If speaking on the phone I would literally hold my arm out if he was being particularly unpleasant. In person, obviously that is not an option but it may help to visualise it. Well, it helped me a bit.

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