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Caught In The Middle Caring For Elderly Parent

Sat, Mar 31st 2012

Hello,

My 88 year old mother lives alone in a beautiful condo that she owns. While still able to care for her own personal needs, by her own admission, she is beginning to feel the strain of paying bills, and all those responsibilities associated with being a property owner. She also owns a condo in Florida, where she goes for the winter months. My sister, Ellen, and I do not live in the same city as our mother. I live 2 hours away and Ellen is 6 hours away but we are both very involved in her care despite the distance.

Mom is beginning to have memory problems and has expressed some interest in moving to the same assisted living residence where her sister and brother-in-law currently live. It all sounds wonderful and I am fully on board with this idea, especially since neither my sister nor I can get to our mother quickly should something happen to her. Ellen has mixed feelings about our mother's move. She feels that the anxiety of moving will cause a rapid decline in Mom's mental state and that she will have difficulty adjusting to a new home. Also, while I see my mother moving to the same facility as her sister as a positive, Ellen believes that an old history of sibling rivalry between our mother and her talented older sister will rear its ugly head and that our mother will lose her individuality. True, as she reminisces, my mother has related instances where her sister treated her unfairly, but this is true of all sibling relationships.

There isn't a day when my mother and her sister don't speak to each other. Despite their differences, they are very close. In my opinion, Ellen, who is 6 years older than I am, cannot bear to watch our mother age and this next step of assisted living is more of a problem for my sister than for my mother. I think she's looking for any excuse to keep our mother away from this assisted living residence. Mom is on the fence about moving and my sister could easily dissuade her.

I'm terrified that this will happen and don't know how we will deal with our mother continuing to live in her own home without adequate safety measures in place. How do I deal with my sister and get her to see that this isn't about her, but about our mother's best interests? Thanks.

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