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Mother moving to Continuing Care Retirement--Sister Against
Old 01-09-2017, 11:49 AM   #1
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Mother moving to Continuing Care Retirement--Sister Against

My mother (a widow, age 85) recently visited me for a few days over Christmas. Mother's mind seems OK but she is getting frail and seems to have balance problems and is having difficulty going down steps (even just a couple). Mother also has hearing problems, she wears a hearing aid but still has difficulty hearing. Mother lives alone in a small house in a small town. Mother still drives, but I am getting concerned about her driving and continuing to live alone.

A couple of years ago mother and I toured the only Continuing Care Retirement Community in her town and it seemed nice and gets good ratings. The cost of this CCRC seems very reasonable. Mother has said several times she might like to move there but that it "costs too much". The crazy thing is that mother is well off and could easily afford the entrance fee and monthly payment. (My husband and I have our names on the waiting list of a CCRC where we live which is substantially more expensive than the CCRC in mother's small town). Mother also has some Long Term Care Insurance that would help with some of the monthly payments if mother needs more assistance.

After I took mother home from her visit over Christmas I decided to make an effort to encourage mother to move into the CCRC. I called the facility, found out there is a current opening and got all the details. The CCRC cautioned me that mother needs to be independent and in good physical and mental shape to move in so she should not wait too long. I am 65 and the oldest of 3 daughters. I live about 2 hours from mother. My youngest sister lives about an hour from mother and the middle sister lives near mother in the same town.
I sent my 2 sisters an email detailing all the CCRC information and suggesting that the 3 of us discuss all this and then meet with mother. My younger sister immediately emailed me back and said she too had noticed that my mother was declining physically and thought the CCRC was a good idea.

My middle sister (the one that lives closest to mother) called me the next day after I sent the email and yelled at me for 15 minutes (I had always thought we got along OK before this). She said my mother was in great shape physically, had no balance or hearing problems, was a great driver and had no need to move into a "place". She said she would fight me on it and that I could not make mother move (which was certainly not my intent--if mother does not want to move I certainly cannot "make" her do it). My sister said she would check on mother everyday (to my knowledge she had never checked on her before). My middle sister also called mother and told her what I had said about the CCRC and got my mother upset at me. I was surprised at my sister's reaction since it had seemed to me she had not been much interested in my mother's welfare before. (For example, if my mother needs someone to meet with her doctor I have always been the one to drive to her town and meet with the doctor). I am at a loss to explain my sister's reaction.

I have read several threads on this Forum about CCRCs and people moving their parents into a CCRC. Has anyone had the situation where one of their siblings was against the parent moving into a CCRC and set out to block it?
Does anyone have any advice for me?

Thanks for any help, Jo Ann
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:34 PM   #2
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One of the things I would be worried about is what happens if she continues to decline Can she stay or will she be booted out

As you mentioned, there is not much you can do as long as your mother is competent... but in the stage she is in she might not be already...


Some people do not want to see what is in front of them... and there is little that can be done without causing family strife...

Good luck with whatever happens....


OHH, just thought... does anybody have power of attorney I have it for my mom, so in a way I could move her without her permission, but would not unless she is so far gone she will not know what is happening... sorry to say my mom is getting closer than I like....
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:42 PM   #3
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One of the things I would be worried about is what happens if she continues to decline Can she stay or will she be booted out
Well, since it's a CCRC they should by definition be able to deal with mental/physical declines.

But one does need to be clear on this - what happens if financial resources are exhausted on nursing home care? Many will allow the person to stay and accept whatever Medicaid pays. Others will not, and will place them in another nursing home that accepts Medicaid from the start. You will probably not like this place much.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:42 PM   #4
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You are experiencing a version of the "Daughter from California" syndrome, which was described in this paper over 25 years ago.

Decision Making in the Incompetent Elderly: []The Daughter from California Syndrome[] - Molloy - 1991 - Journal of the American Geriatrics Society - Wiley Online Library

More info:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daug...ornia_syndrome

https://expensivecare.com/2013/08/09...rnia-syndrome/

The bottom line is that the uninvolved family member often is in denial about the extent of the challenges, feels guilty about not having contributed equally to the care, and gets defensive and argumentative. The best approach to finding a consensus that is in the best interest of the client is for the health care team to lead a series of family meetings.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:02 PM   #5
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Parents deserve to live their own lives. And if that includes moving into a place they're going to enjoy more than living alone in a house, so be it.

My sister was a slave to my mother's needs after moving her into a very swanky apartment close to her. We ended up having 24 hour care to keep her from sleep walking--getting up middle of the night.

The pressure on my sister who started out taking care of my father too (on dialysis) was simply unbearable. It's now 6 years later after my mother's passing, and my sister's still not 100% mentally. Those 3 years were tough.

Your opposing sister needs to realize that you two caring daughters are going to have to bear the blunt of her care as she's not expected to be the caregiver. And living out of town makes it even a worse situation.

Your mom needs to be the one to make the decision on her future--while she's capable of making a decision.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:12 PM   #6
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No good deed--you sound like a great daughter. Middle sister sounds defensive, perhaps feeling like you and other sister think she has not helped enough since she lives closest. And perhaps thinks she may have to help pay for the care at some point. Were other sisters consulted before you decided to get the ball nudged? Feelings get hurt easily sometimes without us knowing. Perhaps repeat the pertinent facts to both (timing, cost, availability) and tell middle sister it's in her hands now. Mother doesn't seem to be in immediate need of moving, is she?
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the ideas--the good thing about this CCRC is that once a person is accepted and moves in they can move from independent living to assisted, to skilled, to memory care, it is all there. Also they will not kick you out for lack of money (but fortunately I don't think that will be an issue for my mother, since she has substantial assets).

Mother does have a POA, Will, health care documents, etc. I am her financial POA and Executor but the middle sister (who does not want mother to move to the CCRC) is her health care power of attorney which originally made sense since she lived the closest, but I wonder about now.

Meadbh, interesting reading about the "Daughter from California" syndrome. But since I am the daughter farthest away (but only 2 hours and I see mother frequently) am I the "Daughter from California" of is it my sister who actually lives closest?

i think mother is OK for now where she is, I just fear that she will fall one day or have an accident driving her car. I did not consult my sisters before call the CCRC to get the info about what was available but my contact with them was before I took any action as I wanted all of us to be involved.

Oh well, I guess I will have to wait now and see what happens. I am religious and have prayed about it so maybe that is all I can do now.

Thanks again, Jo Ann
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:07 PM   #8
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i think mother is OK for now where she is, I just fear that she will fall one day or have an accident driving her car. I did not consult my sisters before call the CCRC to get the info about what was available but my contact with them was before I took any action as I wanted all of us to be involved.

Oh well, I guess I will have to wait now and see what happens. I am religious and have prayed about it so maybe that is all I can do now.

Thanks again, Jo Ann
If your mother has indicated she would like to live there and you are confident her finances can support that, don't give up - instead, help her do that. The best time to move into a CCRC is when it is by choice, not necessity. If she does have an unfortunate accident, she might end up elsewhere, and may not like it.

When I faced sibling issues while helping my mother, I saw there was no point in arguing, as they would never see it my way, and arguing the case with mom present only created more stress for her. I took her to see a geriatric psychiatrist and met with her GP, discussing it with both. With their support in hand, when it came time to talk with the siblings it wasn't my opinion, it was the physicians, that ruled the day, and when the siblings chose to discuss it with mom, all I needed to do was remind (and reassure) her I was just helping carry out the plan discussed with her doctors.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:36 PM   #9
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Any chance your sister is worried that the cost of the CCRC will eat into her inheritance?
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:47 PM   #10
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Seven years ago, after my mother (87 at the time) had several falls (increasingly poor balance) requiring hospital and respite care, my brother and I convinced her to move into just such a facility. She was simply no longer capable of continuing to fend for herself alone in a two story 3200 sq.ft. home. We did not have any disagreement on the issue although my mother resisted a bit and even now sometimes pines for the way things were.

Rather than stay in the city where she was living, she opted to move closer to my brother and I was fine with that. It has worked out well although my mother doesn't think my brother and his family give her enough attention. So I would just say that if your younger sister hasn't been visiting already on a daily basis, it's very unlikely that it's going to start no matter what she says. Even with a walker, my mother has had several subsequent falls so far without serious injury thankfully. With her call pendant and 24 hr staff, they are on the scene withing a couple of minutes - don't think you'd get as fast a response in a home. She has a lovely 1 bedroom apartment and gets three square meals a day.

I'm too far away to do much but I do call her daily. That helps her keep a connection to the outside world. Since your mother would be in the same town as she is currently, I'm sure that would allow her to maintain close friendships, something that was a problem for my mother when she moved away from her close friends.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:51 PM   #11
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Isn't this really up to your mom and not your sister (or you)? I think MichaelB also had a good suggestion if you worry about conflict with the sister.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:55 PM   #12
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My husband has financial and person guardianship of his mother. He has 5 siblings. There are 5 differing opinions on where MIL should live (always it's at some other sibling's house). The only one willing to have her move in was hubby and I - but MIL did not want this.

They all have opinions on the memory unit where she lives. And these opinions vary from day to day.

Support your mother in making whatever choice she wants... and have middle sister talk to your mom about what *her* (mom's) wishes are.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:58 PM   #13
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Any chance your sister is worried that the cost of the CCRC will eat into her inheritance?
Ever the cynic, that was my thought as well.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:59 PM   #14
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I'm sorry to hear about your challenges. Fortunately for me, my parents made their own decision to move into a home and they couldn't have waited a moment longer.

If it isn't yet, it will eventually become obvious to everyone that your mother needs to move and needs help. If she has LTC insurance, it can be a godsend. My mother is in a full care Memory Care facility and her LTC pays for it 100%. She has been thru all levels of care - from independent, to assisted and now in memory care. As she has gone up the ladder, so to speak, the care has changed a lot to meet her own changing needs and her LTC has helped at every level. It's not the best of times, but it's nothing to be afraid of.

My experience has been that isolation and neglect can have inestimable negative mental and physical effects at that age. Most of their friends from their generation are gone - either dead or in similar life circumstances. The social aspect of these homes is very positive and supportive of the needs of people at that stage in life. I saw my mother's behavior and health change dramatically for the better when she started to get the constant attention and care she needed.

On the other hand, I've seen facilities that tend to 'warehouse' their residents too, so the choice of facility is very important - visit more than once before making a decision, talk to residents that aren't tour guides, and I wouldn't hesitate to move to a new facility if the first one doesn't feel right. If she does make the move, be sure to take an inventory of her valuables and keep the best things in a safety deposit box. Some caregivers can, and do, take full advantage of their less-cogent residents.

If you have a sibling who is not in agreement, I would ask them to take care of your mother for a month so that she can see for herself the daily challenges your mom faces. I would also require that she take a look at the facilities that you are considering. It's not fair to say "no' when you haven't seen it yet. Once you start to look inside, it's not as scary as it seems.

Another option to consider is to hire in-home nursing to come over a few times a week. My mother-in-law didn't want to move, so we had a caregiver visit her 3 times a week for a few hours each. They were able to shop together and the caregiver provided social companionship and whatever support she needed to take care of her daily business. She even prepared meals in advance so my Mother in Law wouldn't have to cook for herself. You might check to see if her LTC insurance provide any in-home care and start with that. It could be a good learning experience for the family. It's interesting how people will behave differently with caregivers than with family - and share more than they otherwise would.

I wish you all the best. Don't stop asking questions and don't give up. Your heart and your head is in the right place. It's your mom...
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:05 PM   #15
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OHH, just thought... does anybody have power of attorney I have it for my mom, so in a way I could move her without her permission, but would not unless she is so far gone she will not know what is happening... sorry to say my mom is getting closer than I like....


I presume the POA is a durable POA that went into effect when signed, not one which goes into effect upon your mom's incapacity. If the latter, mom must be declared incapacitated in order to invoke the POA without her permission.

It seems that the most important person in this decision is being left out here. If mom is mentally ok and has already investigated the CCRC, why not talk to her about it? The decision where to live is not a medical one and middle sister has no say at all if mom decides it's a good idea. You don't need the permission of your other sisters to ask your mom about it.

You never know. Mom might be thinking about this and is afraid to bring it up with her daughters. Sometimes a parent is afraid to tell their children they could use some help. It could be pride, it could be the universal parental wish to protect their children from the harsh realities of life by pretending everything is ok when it is not.

Has anyone discussed this with mom? You don't need a "family meeting", you could just start a conversation with mom.

Your last post suggested that you plan a passive approach. I'm not sure what you are waiting for.

Don't wait until she has a car accident; she could hurt someone else because you waited. And don't wait until she is too incapacitated to move into the CCRC.

Read some of the posts recently written by one of the forum members, imoldernu. Perhaps the perspective of someone who actively chose the path you are contemplating for your mom will give you the courage you need. You spoke of prayer. You should be praying for guidance on how to act and the courage to act. Prayer is not the only thing you can do. It sounds as if you feel powerless. But you aren't powerless. I can't figure out what you are waiting for. For your sister to change her mind? Will it take your mom getting hurt or hurting someone else before anyone does anything?

Talk to your mom.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:21 PM   #16
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Any chance your sister is worried that the cost of the CCRC will eat into her inheritance?
^This^
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:26 PM   #17
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Any chance your sister is worried that the cost of the CCRC will eat into her inheritance?
My first was this ^
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:31 PM   #18
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Thanks for all these very helpful responses. I have talked to my mom several times about moving to the CCRC. She has a cousin and several friends there. A couple of years ago when we took a tour of the place she said she was to young to go -- it was "all old people" there (she was 82 at the time). I talked with her most recently when she visited me at Christmas and then she said she would already be there but "she did not want to spend the money". I went over the costs with her and went over her assets and showed her she could well afford the CCRC and would never run out of money. She still never said she wanted to go to the CCRC and I know it has to be her decision. Now that the middle sister is so dead set against it and has talked to mother, I doubt if mother will ever want to go.

MichaelB, good idea about talking to her doctor, if mother will let me I might pursue that.

My mom's LTC policy will pay toward in home care so that is a possibility but I think she would be much better off in the CCRC. Mother is very out going and likes to do things so I think she would really like the CCRC once she got there.

As for those who suggest that my sister is concerned about the cost of CCRC eating into her inheritance, that has definitely crossed my mind. My youngest sister and I are financially well off, my middle sister less so. I have seen situations where people's financial plan is to count on an inheritance. I hope this is not the case with my sister but her extreme reaction to my suggestion of the CCRC makes me wonder.

Thanks again to everyone. Jo Ann
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:45 PM   #19
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The best thing my Mother did is move into a CCRC . She had her own apartment and knew several people in it .She loved the social aspect . I was lucky in that my two sisters were in agreement . We tried home care and it was okay for awhile but the CCRC was the best . My Mom fell and had to be in the nursing part for awhile and I think that motivated here to work hard to get back to her apartment . She actually was in an independent apartment until her death at 99.We all lived a distance apart from the CCRC so we would spend nights on her pull out couch .The worst thing my Mom did was move into my Sister's house . She was isolated and unhappy and my Sister was also unhappy . By the way when my Mom had to stay in the nursing part she was upset because all the people were so old . My Mom was 97 at the time .
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:05 PM   #20
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Hi, my socially outgoing Mom absolutely loved her CCRC. She has since passed, but was very happy there the entire time, and passed in their independent living apartment. She was more lively in that social surrounding than she had been able to be for years.

It is often true that people wait too long. Once someone needs assisted living or nursing care, it would be too late for the CCRC my parents moved to. Had they waited six more months, it would not have been possible. We didn't know that at the time; things changed fast. They should have moved a few years prior but Dad didn't want to. I understand but it was making their quality of life suffer.

What I did is called my siblings and told them I wanted the parents to move to a CCRC near me so I could help them since they were needing more help and living alone wasn't working for them anymore. Parents had finally decided it was time to move. But did either of them - the siblings - object to the parents living near me because they wanted to be the one to primarily help the parents? Since we were all scattered and parents didn't live near any of us, there was going to have to be one of us who was nearest and became primarily the helper. They did not object and it has worked as well as this stage of life could possibly work.

I have found with my caretaker friends that the family member who objects the loudest is usually the one who won't take responsibility and provide much care, but they are quick to criticize the primary caretaker. I hate to see that but have seen it play out often.

I have supportive siblings who never criticize and who come visit and help regularly. I appreciate them very much. They also know our helping the parents couldn't be split evenly because of where everyone lives and they seem relieved they didn't have to explain why it shouldn't be them.
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