Dad up and died and left me to deal with my mom's Alzheimer's. I need so much advice

You did a loving thing. You and your bride deserve a few days of honeymoon. You made sure your mom was in a professional, safe place where she’d be cared for and have a predictable daily routine with activities and socializing orchestrated by trained caregivers.

No family members offered nor could have been trusted. You are a loving son but you also get to be a loving husband.

Mazel :ring: Tov!

Congratulations and have a beautiful honeymoon. Given the hand life has dealt you I think you’re doing a stellar job. Take care and lots of love!

You need this break. Trust me. When you are caretaking it can be darn hard to stay in touch with reality and darn easy to slip into being depressed or a nasty caretaker or many other turns. Breaks remind you to breathe, to live in the moment, to set down worry and enjoy a beautiful sunset and set your insides to rights. Have a lovely, lovely honeymoon.

Howdy.

It’s been a nice hiatus. Where to start…

Trip was AMAZING. We just sat in the cabin and had 3 gloomy days and 3 brisk nights. We lived in the hot tub and kept the fireplaces going. We watched the rain fall from the deck and the leaves fall through the giant windows.

Around the evening of the second day, I could feel my brain starting to thaw. I started finding I was concerned about mundane, silly things–the rise/run of the deck steps cause an awkward gait–gives you the sensation of a fake limp. “Wonder if they walked these and ever thought they got the stride all wrong.” That kind of stuff, followed by “holy shit! I’m not a knot of anxiety right now!”

Mom did as well as could be expected in the facility. When I arrived her bags were packed and ready to go. I had left her 4 typed notes I hid in various places reminding her I would be back in X days, and made a whiteboard for her to count down the days (which worked perfectly because she packed her bags first thing in the morning). When we were leaving, there was literally a line of nurses, staff and residents who all wanted to give mom a hug and tell her to come back and visit. She even danced at the Halloween party which I regret was not caught on video.

She was very happy to be coming home but she spoke lovingly of the place, “it was so clean, the people were so nice–however you found this place, you did good because even the food was good!”

I kept pressing the brakes every time she said that to slow and point back and say “we can take you back if you’d rather stay–” which resulted in an elbow in the rib.

I brought her back a little crank music box that plays a gospel song she loves. And we went by her house and got her a favorite but forgotten objet d’art, which she thinks is new to her. She was so elated that she “always wanted this and now she finally has one!” and profusely thanked my WIFE (I get to say that now!) because I said “look what she found” (which was technically true)…I didn’t have the heart to correct her. She’s STILL just bragging on finally having one.

I’m happy. I didn’t know I was going to feel this happy all the time just BEING married. It was such a big decision and I’m happy to have followed through, it just feels so right. Our wedding was a dream wedding–not kidding, I feel like we won at weddings. We brought the tears out with our shared “vows.”

I feel like I had all the debris cleared from my brain drain and the flood waters are receding. We’re now talking about our next steps, about the future. Mom’s now on a regular basis telling me on her own that SHE thinks the [best path forward for all involved] is the right move. This is important because it’s not me telling her what is best, it’s her mind deciding on its own she thinks it’s best. All of that is great.

My only anxiety is just what other shoe is going to drop with the family drama.
I haven’t heard anything from anyone, barring them sending texts–I wouldn’t know.

With blocked contacts, I can see if they tried to call, and they can leave voicemail, but I don’t know of any way to see if a blocked number has texted you. At any rate, I like that peace of mind, but weirdly I saw mom’s cell had a missed call from Sister during our wedding preparations–that one is weird because she left a voicemail “just thinking about you and hoping you’re happy, LOVE YOU” all phony baloney, as if she wasn’t demanding me steal her car not long ago. I’ve asked mom dozens of times if she wants to call back, she never wants to.

I know I have all of the videos of her saying she doesn’t want to talk to them, but I am still worried. I’m worried someone is going to accuse me of “keeping them from talking to her”–but I mean, Brother hasn’t called since the 3rd and he’s ignoring my email about calling me to make sure I get them in touch.

I realized recently he’s so deathly afraid of confronting me or having to speak to me that he’ll never call that way to talk to mom. I feel like that’s HIS problem. But I don’t want any more grief about oversight this or that or family rights, etc…I’m stuck in the middle. She legit doesn’t want to talk to them. I can’t make her, and far as I am concerned, they don’t exist.

I spoke with her psych and was told I should maybe put them on speaker so they can hear in the moment that she doesn’t want to talk. Because “a video is subject to prior manipulation” as in there’s no way to tell what we were talking about just before the video.

All of this is so stupid. No one actually cares beyond getting their paws on something valuable. And brother just feels TOTALLY ENTITLED to not be involved, not call–but by God I should be feeding him all the information in the world, including mom’s income and bank statements. Also, every crumb of information they do get is weaponized and thrown back at me as a dart.

I have the APS agent telling me I should VPO them; I have a lawyer telling me to keep making nice and basically coddling them to avoid legal recourse; then I have a doctor telling me I should make sure they know directly she doesn’t want to talk to them.

I sent that nice email clarifying what our plan was and asking them to back off. One day later I’m basically being threatened not to bring mom to her brother’s funeral because “they were invited…just letting you know…”

I just don’t know why I’m obligated to even have to deal with any of them ever again.

I’m so glad to hear the wedding went so well. Hearty felicitations to you both!

I wish your family situation were easier. If you have to pick between conflicting advice, I would say go with the attorney.

You continue to impress me with your ability to cope with all of this, and you’re doing a great job with your mom.

This is fantastic; and major. You’ve found a good facility. Next time you need to go somewhere, you now have a place familiar to her that she liked, and you can remind her that she enjoyed her previous vacation there.

Looks to me that you’re gonna win at marriage, also.

Fabulous that you were able to unwind, now don’t just pick up that burden without proof of family acting further against you or your mom. Check her house. Dance with your wife. Dance with your mom and enjoy the moment. Storms will pop up without you worrying them into existence. We are here when you need us. And even when you don’t.

So, any advice on how to navigate re-upping her health insurance? I do think we can do something better than what she has but I don’t know. All these commercials about Part C and other incentives but you have to call to unlock them…everything involving seniors comes off as so predatory.

This thread might be useful

Do a search here and read everything written by @JohnT about Medicare. Follow his advice.

I have Medicare Part A (inpatient hospital)-starts at 65.
Medicare Part B-pays doctors & lots of outpatient therapies-monthly premium, comes out of my Social Security
Part C-supplemental or Medigap. Pays co-pays.Worth every penny. Monthly premium
Part D-drug coverage. Again, a monthly premium.

Here’s a run down:

https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/medicare-basics/parts-of-medicare

Avoid the Advantage plans. They sound too good to be true because they are. I’ve had patients die waiting for chemo authorization or medical equipment. They died with extra money in the bank because of all that $ they saved with their advantage plan. They had the money but they were dead after doing without a lot of essential care. Medicare Advantage Plans are an advantage to the salesmen and the stockholders, not the patients.

That’s the thread I linked to, above. Excellent resource.

Well in case you thought it was all just easy breezy, I thought it might be fun for you to put your own eyes on the kind of texts I get.

BEHOLD!

This is adopted sister. I make that distinction because in subsequent messages she declares that her and brother both took DNA tests and “Big FUCK YOU Dad was my real dad you piece of garbage!” This is an old canard she would trot out time to time because of–I presume–some unsettled emotional baggage related to what I can only imagine were deep-seated insecurities from feeling rejected by her biological family. I’ve always tried to give her a wide-berth re: her relationship with dad because I legit cannot fathom what it is like to feel loved and accepted by a stranger, raising you as if you were their child.

But besmirching my dead dad’s memories with insane accusations of infidelity is beyond the pale.

I know they had a certain bond, but I also know it was predicated on her taking so much advantage of him. He gave her money…and cars–as of the 8/1 (dad passed later that month) she was bulldogging him to “let her move in” with them. I found an old thank-you note where dad gave her another vehicle back around 2001. She ran that out of oil and abandoned it on the side of the road. Dad had to tow it.

This new hostility at me–All of this stems from her wanting to steal an old clunker from my mom–an old clunker my mom specifically doesn’t want her to have. She called me demanding I meet her with a tow-truck when mom isn’t around so she can steal it. When I said no, when I explained we are under a medicaid audit or will be and that will mess things up, you know–logic–she came unglued and thought she could just bully me into stealing a car for her. Mom heard me yelling, figured out what was up, put the phone on speaker and let her have it. “The will says it’s all mine, he was MY HUSBAND and it all goes to me and you don’t care about me, don’t come to see me, you only want STUFF.”

I thought that would be the end of it but sister kept sending me messages wanting to know how and when I was going to comply with her demands.

I simply said “I know for a fact you heard mom say she isn’t giving you the car or the other stuff. I know you heard her and I have two witnesses to the conversation who attest as such. This is the final word on this matter, and all of this will be reported to APS and mom’s lawyer for the record.”

That’s where the screen shot above kicks in.She doesn’t seem consider mom a real person–mom’s only an obstacle to shit she wants.

I’m dumping this here because I don’t know what else to do with it. I am trying really, really hard not to engage with any of them, I feel like my time is more valuable than trying to explain estate law to drunk squirrels.

I mean, I want to:
Screenshot just the part of the Will that says everything goes to mom. But why bother? She’s not reasonable and will just flail wildly at me more.

I want to:

Logically try to explain the situation, or explain things from a legal standpoint.
Or
just say “if dad promised you car, I know he put it in writing and gave it to you and had it notarized and all of that. So all you have to do is submit your proof and documents to mom’s lawyer and we’ll see what they can do.”
or
“Lawyer said we could sell it and fair market value, I’ll give you first swing.” but mom refuses to sell it to her.

But I know none of it would stop her hounding me. I’m thinking maybe we’ll just sell it ASAP so it’s no longer an issue. The car doesn’t even run for cripe’s sake. It’s a few grand, tops.

I have this toxic trait where I HAVE to explain my side of things, like maybe the poisoned people will stop and think “oh, shit–I had this all wrong in my head and I was being unreasonable…” but I know that’s a waste of time.

One thing I did do is I gathered all of these texts from everyone up in a single file, and now that I have done that, it really paints a picture: It’s the family recoiling from responsibility, justifying it by saying I’m such scum I don’t DESERVE to have help with mom, and they “will not be offering to help out ever again” (I had missed that line). This was right after dad died, so they nope’d out early on. But what gets me is they still feel entitled to information, all while tacitly admitting they have no intention of having a relationship with mom in any form, which AGAIN is justifiable because I’m such scum.

My toxic trait is I want to defend myself, which I can’t–there’s no specific allegation to defend–so I just internalize it. Then I’m having fights IN MY HEAD, all the time. The other day I literally rebutted something in my head OUT LOUD then had to explain myself to the other person in the room.

So I dump it off here. I can’t find a therapist, the world is in ruin and no one has any openings.

In other news, I’m having trouble reaching the neuro-psych to get the report. There was some issue with insurance and I’ve reached out several many times since then and not heard back.

Also, I’ve been thinking about getting some kind of direct “press to touch” communication device? I looked at apps but I can’t find anything that fits the bill, and she’s pretty well averse to the cell altogether, so learning a new app isn’t a great idea.

What do you want the device to do?

One idea: search for kids smart watches on Amazon and see if any might be close.
Simpler would be best, gps tracking so she can be located if she wanders off and one push to call you or for her to answer a call from you.

Maybe others have advice about kids smart watches, good brands, etc. I know my kids (32 years old, 34 years old) say an Apple Watch would be way outside my skill set, which is why I suggested a child’s smart watch.

Your sister is messed up. You know that, of course. (And by the way, please don’t refer to anyone adopted as someone who feels “loved and accepted by a stranger, raising you as if you were there child.” When people become your parents, they’re not strangers, and when they adopt you, you ARE their child, no “as if” about it. That’s not to say no one who’s adopted ever has any issues with it, which I’m sure is what you meant.)

I’ve found it very helpful when dealing with toxic people to imagine them as strangers yelling that stuff to me from a psych ward window. That way I’m more objective, feel less anger, and can even see them a bit more sympathetically.

But why are you communicating with your sister at all? I know you’re practically buried under the avalanche of stuff you have to do, but getting a more aggressive attorney should be near the very near the top of that list. Then you tell your family to ONLY communicate with you through your attorney. Your angry, twisted siblings are not going to stop trying to get at you verbally. And it’s going to continue to be almost impossible to avoid engaging with them, which in turn will make you angry and upset for no good reason. You cannot convince them they’re wrong. They’re a lost cause. So save yourself.

Really, get a new attorney.

As for Medicare, another vote for John_T’s excellent thread. It’s been very helpful. Your state–can’t recall if it’s Arizona or Nevada–has a State Health Insurance Advisory Board (SHIP) that can walk you through everything. They’re worth their weight in gold.

For Arizona:
des.az.gov/services/aging-and-adult/state-health-insurance-assistance-program-ship
Phone: Statewide Hotline 800-432-4040 (leave message)

For Nevada:

adsd.nv.gov/Programs/Seniors/SHIP/SHIP_Prog
Phone: 800-307-4444, Carson City 775-687-4210

And if I’m totally nuts and it isn’t either of those, check here.

Hang in there. You’re doing great so far.

For the most part I would like something where she can contact me with some easy press of the button or with a screen just on.

But I’ve put some thought into this and I think I might have a solution:

  1. Her phone is a problem because she gets around 15 spam calls a day, each of who are blocked w a security app but they are still able to send spam texts and leave spam voicemails.

She’ll assume every one of them is real. For now, she’s mostly forgotten about the phone. I check things daily but NO ONE calls or anything, all the professionals know to contact me. I’ve slowly been replacing her number and email with mine so I know I will see any important things like her missed dental appointment (I know her dentist now and can call and fix things!) and home security system/wifi all goes straight to me.

SOLUTION:

I think I’m just going to change her number. More and more all of her friends and any remaining family calls me and I put her on speaker or whatever. I need for her to be able to contact me and I need for her to be able to answer me, and we can do video calls. And I wouldn’t have to worry about her getting in some mess with all the spam nonsense (at least not for a while).

  1. I wanted a device where all of the sudden my face is on a screen and a camera is on mom and we can communicate directly. I think there are many devices or even computer/tablet apps I could use to make that work.

Yesterday I experimented with running a few quick errands alone and left her mom. About 50 seconds before I pulled into the drive a solicitor had rang the door bell and mom was kind of panicky by the time I pulled up to see what was going on. Just someone looking to paint house numbers on the curb, but the second mom saw I was taking over she SHUT THE DOOR on all of us and noped out of it. I hadn’t expected anyone so that really shows me yet another lesson about what can go wrong when she’s alone.

Live and learn.

Anyway there are a host of “geo-fencing” wearable devices, even some that sense if she’s getting up and wandering around in the night. Pretty neat what tech there is and how many options.

Thank you for the gentle steerage. I meant no disrespect, I just would never assume the strength of their bond or the meaningfulness of that connection. But, I digress.

Things are going pretty well, everyone is settling more and more into a groove. I have a lot of stuff I need to get done but we’ll work it out (both just with all this estate business and with a few work projects I have to finish before Christmas). I’m a little stressed but it’s manageable.

Regarding looking at blocked texts: I shouldn’t be, and that does defeat the point, but the reason I found it out is because I was worried there might be some juicy “save for posterity” stuff I wasn’t going to be able to archive…you know that phrase “give a man enough rope?” I was giving a lot of rope and I wanted to see if anyone was hanging themselves.

Anyway in the middle of all that (there were other missed texts) but one was from my youngest nephew’s mom. I had sent her a thank you note (I sent everyone who sent anything a thank you note–that was the worst part of the funeral, having to write all those!). I held my tongue but I did write “I am sorry to learn of * your son’s * low opinions of me, but we are onward and upwards!”

She was blocked, too, so I saw a text from her that just rubbed me the wrong way. It just seemed condescending. That kind of “aw hun, I’ll pray for you!” type of shit.

I slept on it a few days. What I had been doing was compiling and organizing all of their antagonistic texts into a single, cohesive file because I want it added to any reports necessary for posterity. Going back through they had said, it was gnawing on me…so when I saw that text. I dunno. So I thought and thought and thought then let it fly.

I told my wife I’ve been this stoic bastion of silence, now I’m going to trebuchet a few hot rocks over the walls.

So I replied with something really well-thought out, but brutal and final. I started with “Save your prayers for your son, he has a poisoned heart…” then mentioned the most egregious of his barbs. Mostly the point was the bridge is burned, and I’m not going to look back, and that THEY did this, I’ve been cleared of any wrongdoing or shortcomings. But I made it clear and itemized all of the texts and viciousness from such-and-such individuals whose texts I am submitting/reporting/running up flagpoles/sky-writting/etc.

My point is I just want them to know they don’t just get to say anything they want without consequence, and if I’m being accused of something that resulted in an investigation, all of that antagonism needs to be noted.

A short time after sending that off, my niece (who is perfect and awesome) was blowing me up wondering what had happened.

I spun nephew’s mom up into a frothing lather, she freaked out on him, he freaked out on his half-brother, he freaked out on his wife, and so on and so forth and I could track the family freaking out like a storm on radar, from person to person. It was so gratifying for me–and it’s all “dude no, please don’t show people/say my name/involve what so-and-so said.”

It was nice to play a tiny bit of offense. It was nice to purge that toxicity. I told mom it was like a putrid belch that stunk up the room but I felt like I burped out a dead demon.

I was hoping someone else would respond because others will have more and better insights than mine.

I understand why it’d feel cathartic to “play offense,” as you so aptly put it. You have some highly toxic people in your family. If I understand you correctly, these tensions, poisonous attitudes, resentment and acrimony have long roots that go very far into the past. All those things would make it especially difficult to avoid reading their texts, especially since you need to keep records of all this. And you understandably want to get back at them for all the crud they’ve said to you and all the disservices they’ve done to your mom (and dad).

I think that it’s dangerous, however. You may need to make it VERY clear to a court that you are the Good Guy, and that all the vitriol has been aimed at you, not from you.
Is there anyone who could read the communications from them FOR you, compile them, and only tell you what you need to know?

Since the roots of all this run so deep and have been around so long, I hope you will consider therapy at some point so you can learn better ways of coping. I can’t imagine anyone could grow up in your situation and NOT need a mental guide.

Hang in there. You’re getting closer to getting everything resolved every day. Hope that honeymoon glow hasn’t worn off yet!

Hope the honeymoon glow never wears off.

@nelliebly gives very good advice. Let us know if we can help you pursue those wise ideas.

Thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t figure out how to say about retaliation. Remember, it’s often not the person who strikes first who gets caught by the school principal, it’s the kid who retaliates. That truism is the same for adulthood and families often contain the same bullies school does. Take notes, but please walk away. I’ve been learning this the hard way myself lately.