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My sisters and I are trying to figure out how to care for my mom. I'm worried that my youngest sister will take advantage of my mom's finances. What can I do?


Question:  My 75 year old mother is at a skilled nursing facility (SNF) getting rehab after falling down and breaking her arm. Mom also has diabetes, kidney disease, heart arrhythmia, a torn rotator cuff in the arm that's broken, chronic urinary tract infections and skin wounds, and mild dementia. One and a half years ago my parents were in an accident that killed my father and put mom in the hospital/rehab for four months. Now, we three daughters have to decide if mom returns home with more care or goes to assisted living. Two of my sisters live near her but I do not. My youngest sister insists she can temporarily move in with mom to give 24/7 care while working part-time, and piece together home health care, outpatient rehab, adult day services, transportation etc so mom can stay at home. But my other sister and I suspect that sis is high functioning BPD or has Narcissism. Her caring for mom seems to be all about sucking my mom and us into her drama, while alienating and demeaning mom's caregivers. Mom just wants to go home, so she just goes along with sis (who a few months ago wrangled herself into being health care POA, even though mom initially wanted to name my other sister). I am financial POA, so I worry that allowing my youngest sister to take over care is not looking out for mom's best interests. I believe sis has taken advantage of mom's finances in the past. Can I do anything to set boundaries or even prevent an unsafe in home situation? SNF health care professionals won't give their true opinion, saying the family has to come to agreement. Working with the lawyer to name a POA over the summer was expensive because mom refused to pick anyone. 

Dr. Amy:  Caregivers sometimes tell me that they find managing the family dynamics to be more work than actually caring for their loved one. It sounds like you are in this situation. One of the best ways to resolve the issues you face is to hire a geriatric care manager to assess your mother and the family situation, and recommend the best options for your mother. Skilled Nursing Facility staff do not have the mandate to play this role. The advantage of engaging a geriatric care manager is that he or she has no vested interest in the situation and will offer impartial advice. These are professionally trained people who have a lot to offer. The National Association of Geriatric Care Managers can help you find a geriatric care manager in your area (see and look under “find a care manager”).

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. October 24, 2011 at 12:22 am | Posted by Mrs Carolyn W McGill

    Dear Adult Daughter: Count your blessings that you have your mothers power of attorney. Your sister will need to go through you to spend money in her mothers account. The adult siblings need to communicate in a loving manner with each other about your mother. You need to keep you mother in the loop about any money spent from her account. The siblings in the family need to discuss (openly and honestly) all activities that may go on in her intrest. She may or may not remember every event. If your mother ask for a copy of her bank statement,b e sure one of you give her a copy. I within the last year went through hell emotionally because my Non-Blood kin sibiliblings illegally grabed all the medical/power of attorneys from mothers own birth children. She ask my step- sister and brother several times to show her a recent bank statement. They never did honor her reqest. When the step-brother finally sent me a recent finical statement, I showed it to mother when I traveled from my home in Alabama to the LTC in WNCarolina to personally check onher physical ,mental, and spiritual condition. I think that all adult children should be given the chance to take care of thier mother. If one of the children don't want to help whith the physical care of thier mother, remind that person that leaglly all family members will eventually have to help pay thier mother's LT C bill & any other bills that her insurance may not pay. Family members should get the help of your local County Social worker/workers to help you as a group plan events regarding your mother. Be sure your mother is physically able to stay at home with her adult children. You will need to be sure that your mother has enough medical equipment at home for your family members to easily take care of her physically. I don't know if your family believes in God if you do before acting on a situation ask youself "Would Jesus do the action I am about to carry out", if the answer is no to that question then rethink you decisions. May you have a wonderful week. Shalom Mrs. Carolyn W. McGill, St. Stephens Minister


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