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 Conflict among siblings 
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:28 pm
Posts: 463
Location: Minnesota
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I guess, Lynn, that those of us who share a home with our LO forget that some caregivers have long, tiring, drives to do what they need to. If I had to spend a couple of hours daily to even get to Mom to care for her, I think it would be the final straw. My sisters would all be getting an earful on a regular basis, or at least I hope so. With my family, I'm a bit of a wimp.

I do project management for my employer and have handled technology design and installation on 13 large buildings, used either for teaching or for research. I can give a little advice of my own as you talk with contractors.

Never sign anything that you have not read and understood. Be sure that definitions or explanations are written on the agreement before you sign it. Contractors have a way of hovering from the time they hand you the document to the time you sign it. Tell the contractor to leave the agreement with you so that you can get it reviewed by a friend. Go ahead and let them think the friend is an attorney. It helps.
Before you sign an agreement, make sure you get a statement of work that details the work to be done and the costs you will experience. Again, write anything down on the SOW that you agree to (or the contractor agrees to) and what, if any, additional costs you will incur. Finally, get a committed to completion date, written on the SOW or the actual contract. This is something that is often overlooked, even by professionals in the business, If you don't do this, the contractor will feel free to take workers off your job to put them on a more lucrative job. Remember that you have the right to inspect their work at any time, and inspect their progress. If something doesn't look right, ask about it. There are no dumb questions when you are handing someone a substantial payment. If the contractor's progress is slow and they appear to be behind schedule, ask how they plan to make up the time. The workers work for the contractor, so don't ask an individual worker for something. The contractor works for you. All questions should be directed to him and he should answer all questions in a way that makes things clear to you. You are, ultimately, the boss. You are spending the money that the contractor wants. And know that contractors are hungry. They should be offering you some great prices for the job. And ask for a "not to exceed" price, meaning that the contractor must complete all of the work agreed to in the SOW and contract without going over the quote. They will need your signature on what is called a "change order" before they do additional work that adds to the quoted price.

Good luck!

Kate

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Kate [i](Cared for Mom for years before anyone else noticed the symptoms, but the last year of her life was rough and we needed to place her in an SNF, where she passed in February 2012)[/i]


Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:56 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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Yes, I definitely have a long drive - it usually takes me about 8 1/2 hours from my house to get to my dad's. Then it is an hour from his house to the ALF where he's been for almost a year. With all the traffic Mon. it took me 9 hr. 45 min. UGH! My sister lives about 10 min. from my dad's house but it is so hard to get her to do much for him or the house. I leave the house clean when I go back to my home, but when I get back to my dad's a few weeks later I have to pick up and clean up after her because she comes to his house and uses various things, does her laundry here, etc. She is sorting through stuff and supposedly getting rid of stuff, but when she's finished she leaves piles of stuff on the dining room table, in the middle of the living room floor, whatever. No matter how much I ask her to pick up and clean up after herself it doesn't happen. I can be nice, I can be very firm, whatever, I just never know what shape the house will be in when I get here.
I'll update you later on the construction project - thanks for the advice. I had written about it but my posting got lost in cyberspace when I tried to post it. Lynn


Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:55 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:20 am
Posts: 184
Location: So Cal
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Hi, I feel the need to add my take on the sibling rivalry issue: first my bottom line: if you feel your parent is receiving sufficient loving care you may have to give up some control, especially from a distance. By sufficient I mean care that gets them through the day and night with a safe and secure home, proper meds and loving attention. My mom was diagnosed with AD at the same time my husband was diagnosed with AD, later to become obvious my hubby's was LBD. Although my mom had entrusted me with all her financial affairs and she and I had a previously very close bond, I could not care for both of them at the same time. When my only brother (from whom mom had hidden all money affairs) offered to move in with her and care for her I knew I would not get to make any decisions if they conflicted with his. And, sure enough, he took a very demented mom to an atty. who wrote up a new trust on her house (eliminating me as beneficiary altogether), drew up a new health care poa, and then proceded to drain her bank accts for purchases that mom would have never made. HOWEVER, I do know that he is caring for her, feeding her, monitoring her meds, and giving her outings that make her happy. I've kept my mouth shut about the condition of mom's previously immaculate house, the healthfulness of the fried foods he prefers to cook, and anything financial. That is because MY bottom line is I cannot offer to do it and I'm happy she isn't in a home. I still get to visit her once a week and if I alienate my brother he may take that away from me. I know this isn't what Mom or I had planned but I didn't plan on Lewy moving into our lives, either. I actually feel a great relief that I'm not trying to manage their affairs and they're actually doing fine without me. I hope everything works out and that you don't let this disease tear apart your family. Thanks for listening, Sher

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Sher (53) married 29 years to Ken (66) who was diagnosed with LBD in 2008, but it most likely began many years before.


Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:13 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Kate - I did manage to the get big construction job done, after having several different construction crews doing various parts of the job and civil engineer visits. The last crew spent about 8 hours "demolding" the basement and now it is dry, can actually be used, and has 2 large battery back-up sump pumps. I can't believe it's finished!
Just before that job was done I found out that one of the additions has a major foundation problem! What else could go wrong?! But, I have decided that I am going to leave that one alone and we'll just have to reduce the price some day when we can sell it, and let someone else jack up the room and replace the foundation. (another $20,000 job). Just can't do anymore.
Re: the sibling thing. After kind of yelling at my sister a few weeks ago, she actually stepped up and started doing a little more. That was helpful until I got 3 phone calls from different people at the ALF this weekend about something she said about my dad, in front of him, when they were taking him to the dentist this past week. People there are so upset with her they don't even want her to visit. What she said was unconscionable, and I don't even know how to bring it up with her. Given her "bull in a china shop" behavior, I don't think all 3 people are lying. Now I know why he was so aggressive at the dental appt. Next time either I will have to go down for appts. or ask one of his friends to do that. I just can't subject him to her and have her say something so incredibly hurtful. I'm just hoping that with his dementia he's forgotten what she said, but this is something that would be very hard to forget. So, as much as I'd like and I try to download things to her, my dad needs to be protected from her. I am probably going to have to ask her not to visit him anymore, and I'm thinking of asking her to go get tested to see if she has Asperger's. Honestly, what she said was off-the-charts uncalled for and extremely hurtful. My poor dad.
Annie - I have had several people say to me "you just can't keep doing all this to the point you are sick and you are neglecting your own family. You have a right to have some life of your own, and your dad wouldn't want you to be sacrificing so much." All true, but how can I ignore my father when I can't get drs., after 5 mo. to deal with his aggitation meds, one dr. says it's the other one's job, so no one does anything. The drs. don't respond to face to face meetings, phone calls, emails or letters. And, my only sibling says some of the crazy stuff to him that she does? Whose job is this? I did talk with the ALF director yesterday and I am hoping she will deal with all the med. stuff that needs to be done that I can't get done. She said she'd call me Mon. evening and that the meds part should be taken care of.
Thanks for all your advice and support, everyone. It's so comforting to know I have friends here who totally understand. Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:13 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:28 pm
Posts: 463
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Aw, geez, Lynn. You're danged if you do and danged if you don't, aren't you? I kind of have an idea of what your sister might be putting you through now. She sounds a bit like one of my 3 sisters who is bipolar and we're afraid of what childhood "memory" she might confront Mom with next. Especially as she is the only one who remembers these things in the way she remembers them - or your sister might be something like another of my sisters who has "mood swings." But then, the bipolar sister is under a doctor's care and the sister with the swinging moods is my greatest help. But I never know what either is going to do next. At least my 3rd sis is on an even keel. She and I are the middle children.
Because I have interesting sisters, too, I'm going to make a suggestion or two. But I haven't tried them myself, so take them with a grain of salt. Are there tasks that need doing that don't bring your sister in direct contact with your Dad? Maybe not even particularly for your Dad, but for you so that you are free to spend time with him? How critical is it for you to deal with the house? After all that renovation work, I hate to suggest this, but if you aren't planning to rent it out, or sell it now, how about leaving the house management completely to her? It sounds like the house isn't in such great shape after she's been there, but maybe there's a method to her madness. Given enough time, with no one seeming to check up on her, and the full responsibility for keeping the house in good condition and getting rid of things that aren't important would keep her involved but not alone with your Dad.
Realistically, you can't cut her out of things completely. But you can try to be there, or have someone else there, whenever your sister plans to spend time with your Dad. Even if the presence of another person doesn't restrain her, whoever is with them can try to turn the subject, you know - "handle" her. And try to keep her busy with things that need to be done, but don't give her an opportunity to put her foot in her mouth. Maybe, if no one else can be around if she makes a surprise visit, just maybe the ALF could arrange to do routing checks, like BP or something, or a bit of therapy while she's there. It'd give her an excuse to leave and also provide a distraction to what can't help but be an awkward visit.
Someday, you're going to need her to come through with some help. I think it's better to keep her involved, even at arm's length, so that she is interested and around when you really need her.
Lynn, I'm one who has said you should take time for yourself. But I know how hard that is. And it's not just about finding time or cost or anything. There's also what I can only call the control freak in all of us that do the primary caregiving. We just can't quite trust anyone else to do the caregiving in the way we do it or the way we want it done. I know you have a lot of activities that help you relax. I've always wanted to try kayaking, myself. But aren't they short term things? They're calming, but maybe what you need is something exciting enough to get your adrenaline flowing and the steam released. My doctor endorses kickboxing. At any rate, you do need to get away and really have a rip-roaring, blowing steam off, time. It's kind of obvious in the things you write. That's why we're all reminding you to take care of yourself. We care about you and don't want all this to completely pull you apart. We're all entitled to time to ourselves, whether calming or relieving steam. It's not just you, but all of us who need to figure out how to trust someone with the care of our LO so we can take care of ourselves NOW instead of waiting for "someday when things settle down." So I'll say it again. Take care of yourself, get away, cry your eyes out or hit something. It's such a pain to always be so brave.

Kate

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Kate [i](Cared for Mom for years before anyone else noticed the symptoms, but the last year of her life was rough and we needed to place her in an SNF, where she passed in February 2012)[/i]


Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:19 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Hi Kate - my sister is a hoarder. Her house is piled high with everything imagineable, and because it's so full of stuff there's no way to clean it. So, it's not just that it's cluttered, it's also very dirty. Leaving her in charge of managing my dad's house would mean even more work for me. She also exaggerates greatly, so when she calls about some "emergency" at my dad's house and a repair person goes over there, it often turns out to be some non-issue. I end up having to repair relationships with these people that I need to rely on to keep my dad's house in good shape. I am done with the construction work. Anything else that needs to be done can be done by a new owner some day.
My husband and I are going to Wyoming to see my oldest son in a few weeks. That will be fun, relaxing and I am going to tell my sister she needs to take all calls about my dad unless it is a dire emergency. I may be able to get one of my cousins to kind of "fill in" for me too. She lives a couple of hours from my dad but she would probably be willing to be a backup person for me.
Last Fri. when I was at an absolute breaking point, I knew something was going to happen. So, here I am in bed with the flu, which I came down with Sat. night quite suddenly. This really stinks! Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:40 am
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Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:59 pm
Posts: 1978
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Lynn,
Do feel better, I am glad you are getting away for a visit with your son I am sure it will do you a world of good!

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Irene Selak


Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:49 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Thanks, Irene. At least my temp. is starting to approach normal! And, I just bought a ticket so my youngest son can fly down to see my dad and take my place for the Sept. visit. I've just got to get others to step up and do more.
Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:19 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:59 pm
Posts: 1978
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Lynn,
That's good that your other son can go in your place and yes getting others to pitch in is going to help a great deal.

I am glad the temps are starting to come down and hopefully will feel better soon, I am still recouperating from my ordeal and the Dr says I am 2/3's there with healing so that's all good too!!

Just rest as best as you can!

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Irene Selak


Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:48 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:28 pm
Posts: 463
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
I'm so glad you're getting away and I think Wyoming is great. Remember what I said and do exciting things. Get on a horse and RIDE! I hear skydiving is pretty good there, too. Blow that steam away!
I've noticed that when our own intelligence can't get us to stop, our bodies step in and force us to at least slow down. They tell us they're not going to take any more. Good old bodies!
One little thing. When you get help from someone, you pretty much have to take it on their terms and let them help in their own way. Otherwise, they could leave you on your own. This is true even if you have to redo the task they just completed. Smile and nod and send them on their way with your thanks. No one wants to help a second time if they feel unapppreciated or that they've done things wrong the first time. And we all have to take help where and when we can get it. Even if we have to let something slide.
Now if I could only remember that when someone shrinks my sweater in the wash!
Anyway, have a great time on your trip. Dare I say that if you don't break or at least bruise something, you haven't tried hard enough? Come back with your share of bruises and lots of stories.

Kate

N

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Kate [i](Cared for Mom for years before anyone else noticed the symptoms, but the last year of her life was rough and we needed to place her in an SNF, where she passed in February 2012)[/i]


Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:06 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
I absolutely appreciate all the help I can get, whether it's done to my standards or not. My cousin has been great visiting my dad and she is balancing work and 2 kids in school. Whatever help I can get I am grateful for.
I'll be happy to go hiking, taking my "grand dog" swimming and going to the dozens of art galleries during the big art event in Jackson. As Lester Holt says "why would anyone want to jump out of a plane that has a working engine and 2 good wings?" I don't even like flying but have to do it to get to places I want to be. One of my best friends will be there visiting her son who is my son's best friend. We're having a cookout and campfire at her son's cabin and planning other get togethers with the young folks. It'll be great. They are all young, healthy, bright, energetic and active. They are rejuvenating to be around! It will be a wonderful break. Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:26 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Venting time re: sibling!!! I need a primal scream! Yesterday my son flew down to see my dad. Since he isn't 25 I couldn't rent him a car, but relied on my sister to pick him up at the airport and take him to see my dad. Since he is in MD only 3 days, I made the flight time so that he could get there early enough that they could go together for a visit with dad (since my sister isn't allowed at the ALF for a while they said it was ok if she came with my son) in the afternoon. She knew for weeks that the plan was for John to see him Fri. and today. She picks up my son, then proceeds to go shopping for 4 hours, drives back to her house, cooks and eats dinner, which didn't get over till 8:00 pm. By that time it was dark, he'd have a 40 mi. drive each way and my dad goes to bed about then anyway. So John took the day off work and college to go down there and my sister p@@@@s the afternoon away doing shopping that she could have done in the morning or some other time.
And, when I tried to talk with her about this this afternoon because she didn't answer her phone all morning, she has yet another "crisis" going on at her house, which is basically the status quo. There is always drama and trauma of some sort there, usually self-created. I swear, this needs to be the last time I ever ask her or count on her to do anything. All it does is get my stomach in knots because there is always an excuse for her needs to be ahead of everyone else's. Even our poor dad who can't do anything for himself comes way after her needs.
OK - I feel a little better, but I think I will write her a letter. Thank goodness there is a place I can vent! Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:35 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:28 pm
Posts: 317
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Quite frankly, I would not want to have a meeting with a Social Worker and family members who had no experience in caring for a person 24 hours a day, every day, every week, every month.

I would meet with a social worker who had had the direct experience of living in a house as the only caregiver of a person who had accidents all over the house, wandered all night and was suffering from delusions and hallucinations.

Siblings who criticize from afar have no business doing that unless they are willing to do their share of the direct care. After they have experienced it they can talk about it.

And social workers who are only responding from what they learned in a book can go out and get the direct experience FIRST.

Nan


Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:22 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3173
Location: WA
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Well said, Nan!

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:54 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:28 pm
Posts: 317
Post Re: Conflict among siblings
Thank you, Pat. I think I sound more angry than I am, but this week a social worker suggested that for my "wellness" maybe I could get an exercycle and ride it at home. I said, "NO. If I had an extra few moments, I would use them doing something that brought me pleasure...like reading a book so I could escape for a few moments."

I am sooo tired of peple 'helping' me by adding MORE tasks to MY day. I don't have anymore minutes in my day. None.

I guess I am just as angry as I sound. Go figure! Nan


Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:24 pm
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