How do I deal with my sister, who is the gatekeeper to Dad's finances?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom died August 26th due to COPD. My dad is 86 and in an assisted living facility and in fair health. In the last few days my dad's behavior has changed dramatically towards me. I do not have power of attorney since I live 500 miles away and my sister is closer. We would discuss financial things, the sale of the family home and moving the furniture and who is to get what. Now I am told I can't talk to him about "business", I must call in advance to see him and I cannot go to the family home by myself. His demeanor has turned very mean. I am concerned that now he is not able to make good decisions and my sister is having a very hard time dealing with the death and is on heavy duty meds. I can no longer talk to my dad and ask the questions so see if he is taken care and aware of things happening. I am at a loss. My sister is very secretive and vindictive to the point of calling me a vulture. I am not sure how to fix this. I am very worried about the financial advice my dad is receiving or lack there of now.


Expert Answers

Mikol Davis, PhD has worked in community hospitals with geriatric patients suffering from dementia, depression, and other psychiatric problems. He has a doctorate in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and has been in private practice in Marin County, California. Davis co-founded AgingParents.com with his wife, Carolyn Rosenblatt.

I am sorry you and your sister are having family conflict over finances. You wanted some advice on "how to fix it." Fix what? If you believe that your father is being "unduly influenced" by your sister, perhaps it is time to bring in a third party to mediate your family conflict. Determining who you trust that is capable of mediating your present concerns.If you cant agree on a family friend, it may be time to hire a professional mediator who has experience working with inter-generational conflicts. It is time to have Dad's doctor do a full assessment to determine if his change in demeanor has been caused by a change in his medical or emotional health. Sometimes elders behavior becomes mean and angry. This is often reflective of symptoms of depression. There are many treatment options that can eliminate the angry symptoms. Although your sister is difficult to deal with NOW, dont't put off confronting your real concerns. If you delay dealing with your family conflicts the quality of your dad's care may suffer. Furthermore, rather than wait until your sister is no longer on "heavy meds," deal NOW with the financial implications of providing the best care for your father. The burden of caregiving will fall on both you and your sister.


Community Answers

Altogetherb answered...

I think your sister is being kind of evil. Unless you have been so, I don't know. where were you when your mother needed help ?? do you ever call your father for any help and encouragement ? what trouble have you been in the past ?? Are you looking for the money, if he has any ?? That's always the problem, esp. when they get older. No one gives a hoot until their final days. You should know what's going on. I don't think you need help here..............why is your sister angry ?? I'm sure it's not for nothing.......there is a reason, and I think you know it. why are you worried about the finacial status, and not him ?? I'm sure you're sister is stressed out. she's all alone. I am in the same predicament so I know ! the vultures only come around when they see a dieing body............ I rest my case...........


A fellow caregiver answered...

I was always there for my parents even though I live several hundred miles away. I always did what I could if I could not be there and my dad was aware of it. As far as the comment on my dad's financial status..he is in assisted living and HE told me he was concerned. I am very concerned about my dad more than you know. I dont know the answer why my sister is angry. We no longer talk. It is avery bad situation. I rest my case.