How to Keep Sibling from Spending TOO Much Time With Mom in Assisted living?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Mom lives in an assisted care home. She has Alzheimers and is easily swayed. I have POA. A sibling with mental health issues has in the past and is again smothering Mom so much that she is taking away her independence, her ability to make decisions, her time with her peers alone, etc. When this happens Mom gets so dependant on her that she becomes sad , lonely , cries alot from missing Dad ( deceased ). The other peers agree. Weve been thru extremely difficult times already involving laywers and police in the past to try and control the damage this does fnancially and emotionally. Any ideas how we can enforce reasonable time amounts spent with someone who doesnt understand boundaries and has an unhealthy attatchment? We really need to correct this quickly before it escalates again. Thanks for any suggestions.


Expert Answers

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of AgingParents.com.

Caregiver and POA: As POA, you have the right to set limits on visitation and to see to it that those limits are enforced. I recently mediated a family dispute of this very type. The process involved getting all siblings together, both in person and via Skype, for a family mediation, to establish what agreements they wished to make about visitation. The problem sibling had mental health issues and an extremely unhealthy attachment to the Alzheimer's affected mom. The POA wanted to set limits but had been unsuccessful. The siblings all did reach agreements. An elder law attorney was also involved in formalizing the agreement and making it a court order.

It may be very difficult to accomplish what you want to do without mediation and/or legal intervention with the assistance of an appropriate elder law attorney. I suggest that you consider mediation first. An elder mediator is the best choice for this kind of matter. You need one experienced both with litigation and with elder/family disputes. We co-mediated the case described above with a licensed psychologist, which was immensely helpful in dealing with the mentally ill person in the family. Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney, Mediator, AgingParents.com