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Willow2019

Father wants to live somewhere unsafe, with my sister

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My father is 91, has congestive heart failure and is now in hospice.   I live closest to my father and has been the closest to him.  I am married, one son.  I am his primary person on the advance directive, and I am the executor of the estate. My older brother had an up and down relationship with my father, and my younger sister had a very volatile relationship with my dad all her life.  She is very reactive, has a bad temper, has yelled at my dad, called him names to his face and behind his back.  She cannot handle any kind of stress, it is like you are walking on eggshells with her all the time.  She yells at her son all the time, her husband, me.  Her 15 year son is in therapy once a week, and has been for years.  She is very passive aggressive, has done things behind my back to undermine any suggestions I have made, and did some pretty crappy things to me (and my dad) when my mom passed away 9 years ago.  I basically avoid her, and really only interact with her because of my father, see her on the holidays.  However, the last two years after she retired early (no one knows why, she is very secretive, but money is tight for them) she has started to take my dad to the grocery store twice a week.  The whole time she has complained to my brother and I about doing this, and has said multiple times over that he needs to move into a home.  We also have had a caregiver who would come every Wednesday and every other Friday to the grocery store.  My sister keeps saying how much my father does not like this woman, but when I question my father, he says he does. 

So fast forward to the present – my father asks my sister to take him to the hospital, she refuses, says it it not necessary, he calls me, I bring him. He has congestive heart failure.  The palliative case worker wants to have a family meeting.  My sister says to just have the meeting without her and to tell her about it.   The palliative case worker stressed it is best to keep care giving and family separate if possible. My brother, father and I with hospice discuss options of bringing in a caregiver or moving into a home, we discuss pricing, etc., and we start making the calls.    My father has said for the last 10 years he wants to die in his own home, where my mother died, in the house he helped build.  I called my sister to tell her these options, let her know what the costs associated are.  She said she needs to “process”.  The next a.m. she sends me a text saying she has decided my father should go live with her and her husband.  She called my dad in the hospital to tell him, he says maybe, then hands me the phone.  I essentially tell her I do not think it is a good idea, she won’t be able to handle it, I remember the way she acted when my mom was dying, she basically swore at me and hung up the phone on me.

We get my father home situated with hospice.   He is still mobile, can shower himself, feed himself, dress himself. The next day, the social worker at hospice called, wanted to meet with my dad. Turns out my sister had called hospice about moving the bed to her house behind my back, but because I am the primary on the advance directive, they need to talk to us.  Social worker comes over, talks to my dad, he said he wants to stay at home.  The nurse comes over same day, asks same questions, he responds the same way.   When the doctor comes over, he tells him the same thing.

That Saturday, my sister comes to see him.  The next day, I am with my dad, and he comments he may want to go live with my sister.  I get upset because I feel it is not safe for him, I fear the way she would treat him, it will not be good for her mentally, and feel it is best if he stays in his own home, where he has said for years he wants to die.  I remind him - she did not want to bring him to the emergency room, she did not even come to the palliative care meeting.  Her actions are of someone who really does not care.  Look at her actions, don't listen to her words.  She only wants him there to save more money for her to inherit.  

So now we are in this struggle – a power struggle - where after she visits, he says he might want to go live with her. Back and forth.  My brother, really does not care, and just wants to do whatever is easiest for him, not necessarily right. He and I both agree however, that she is only offering this option after she heard how much a home or live in caregiver would costs.  We both agree that is the only reason she is doing this.  Remember, for 2 years she has said he needs to move into a home. So for now the scenario is my father stays home for now, until maybe when he gets worse, then if he wants to go to my sisters, he can go with stipulations on her behavior.

As the days have gone on, I can see my sister manipulating my father more and more and more.  He and I have discussed her past behavior, and he keeps saying she has changed, and I explain to him how she still treats me, showing she has not changed.  I show him a recent text from her, saying that being with my dad is mentally exhausting, to try to show him she will not be able to handle this. (I have many, many texts with her saying horrible things about my dad, but have chosen not to show him those).  If she can barely handle driving him to the grocery store for an hour twice a week – how will she handle him living there?  He essentially says he knows I have more sense,  but says since I did not offer to have him live with me, she did.  I explain since I work, we would have to get a caregiver to come over.  I try to explain to him she is offering for the wrong reasons, and I fear for his safety.    Look at her past pattern.  She has already removed his wedding ring from the house, as well as taken china, etc.  My father owns his home free and clear, and has quite a bit of cash, so it is not like he cannot afford to have caregivers or move into a home.  

Anyway – the reason for my post is – I realize instead of concentrating on my father at this time, I am more focused on this battle with my sister.  It feels like a losing battle for me, and he will eventually go live there. 

I am trying to figure out a way to reconcile my feelings – I am angry with my dad for choosing to ignore the past and her past behaviors.  Each day I go back and forth with my feelings – one day I think if he moves there, I will never visit him ever in her house.  The next day, I convince myself I can go and if that is what he wants to do, let it go.  I guess it is my pride getting in the way, but I am really disgusted with how my father is listening to my sister.

I have just started therapy – had one session.  He agrees based on past behaviors my sister's is not the safest place.   But any suggestions to move past the fact that my father will be moving somewhere I do not find safe, with a person who I do not trust, and my letting go of this resentment and visiting him? 

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Hi, welcome here, I am sorry for the situation you are in.

As you have your father's best interests at heart, it's going to be important to separate what he does/thinks, from what you do/think.  He is your sister's father, and that relationship never dies, no matter how she is.  BUT keeping in mind:

20 hours ago, Willow2019 said:

The palliative case worker stressed it is best to keep care giving and family separate if possible.

IMHO I think it's best if he lives in his own home as he's always wished, with a caregiver coming in, especially since he can afford to do so and you already know your sister's history shows her not to be up to the task and that you can't count on her doing what's best for him.

BUT if he changes his mind about what he's always wanted and decides to go live with her, you'll have to respect his wishes.  This reminds me, when my daughter was a child and taking skating lessons, which she wanted, she'd get tired from it (I once counted 52 hours she put in skating in a week, she did competitive skating) she would say she wanted to quit.  Knowing she felt that way at the moment but tomorrow would feel different, I told her we'd talk about it in one month.  When a month came, she'd change her mind.  I kind of wonder if you do this with your dad...give him a period of time to think about it and then see what he says.  It's easy to act on the impulse but sometimes we need to think things through not just act on our emotion.

I'm sorry you're in the middle of this sticky situation...is it possible to remove yourself and truly let your dad make his own decisions?  It's hard when they age.  Does he have a caseworker you could talk about all this too?  My mom had one as she aged (adult and family services) and they were of invaluable aid to us and great at mediating!

Letting go of resentment...sometimes a difficult task, I know only to pray, I don't know how others accomplish this, only what works for me.  Letting go of all the ugly, breathe in, breathe out, meditation is great at helping with that!  I know with my head it's important to not let bitterness take hold, for it doesn't hurt the other person, it hurts us.  I hope you won't let any of this affect your relationship with your dad.

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Thank you for your reply.  It was helpful to me to just write out the whole scenario I posted, because once I did, and re-read it a few times - I was able to take away there is incredible hurt on my part from my sister and her behavior towards me, and I see that needs to be dealt with separately.  I think I will be able to push that aside for now, knowing I will have to deal with it at a later date, and right now, just concentrate on my dad.   I have come to see if my father does in fact want to go live there, that is his choice, his life, and even though I do not agree, I will have to accept it, and just hope he is safe, and if he is not, make sure he is.  I have done my part throughout all the years being by his side and have no regrets on how I have treated him and my relationship with him, he has always known I was there for him.  My sister has not, and maybe this is her attempt to do that. 

I still do hope he decides to stay in his own home, and lets us increase the hours of the current caregivers, and he can be as comfortable as possible, and be where he has always said he wants to be.  

Thanks for letting me talk about this and your helpful suggestions and thoughts......

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I know it's a hard situation, doesn't seems like there are perfect answers, but I'm glad writing it out helped you with your perspective.  Yes it's true, we can't control other's decisions or actions, even if we know what's best.  It helps to compartmentalize sometimes, like your putting aside your hurt with your sister to deal with another day and focusing on your dad for now.

I also hope he decides to remain in his home because if that's what he's stressed all these years, that's probably what he wants...but then again, maybe he's changed his mind.  Only hope she keeps her complaining to a minimum for his sake and gets help for him when needed.

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On 9/25/2019 at 5:49 PM, Willow2019 said:

My sister has not, and maybe this is her attempt to do that. 

I think this is a most gracious way of looking at a very complicated situation with very complicated people involved. 

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