My parents established a living trust in 1997 for senior care, naming their children as secondary trustees. In 2003, my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and told my siblings about the trust documents.
Dad checked himself into a care facility to get the medication he needed. Mom had the beginning of dementia. My siblings decided that I was to take care of mom. I would do all of the work but get none of the rewards. The work included taking care of her, the house, property and her geese (YES, geese!)
My siblings refused to help. The more I said “no”, the more they abused me. One sibling told me: “We want you to micro-manage Mom and report all details to us”. Another said, “I don’t want to boss you around, but have that right when it came to mom’s health care”. Mom trusted me and told me many times that she did not want to be in a care facility.
In 2004, we made an agreement on how to take care of Mom. The first weekend it was in effect, no one showed up to help. My siblings said it wasn’t a legal document. I was supposed to adhere to it — they didn’t have to.
My siblings started spending Mom’s money on themselves. One took $1,500 for her 3 daughter’s graduation presents — even though one daughter wasn’t even graduating that year.
I needed help, so I worked with an attorney to get a guardian. My brother met with the guardian before we went to court and made an agreement that said Mom would be forced into a care facility the next time she was hospitalized.
In 2005, two siblings went onto the property and took most of Mom’s geese. She was devastated. I tried calling my brother but was told I had to drive out to his house in order to talk to him – as it was a game of control. I called APS about Mom. They sent the case to the King County Sheriff’s office for investigation. The Detective thought it was a “civil matter — not criminal”.
In 2006, we got a guardian and had care givers in the house. Mom passed out in March and the guardian — against state law — forced Mom into a care facility. She was drugged; she “walked into a wall” and had a big ugly bruise over her eye. My siblings didn’t care. Because I was advocating for Mom, my siblings decided I had violated the trust and would be disinherited.
In early 2007 mom was diagnosed with a MRSA infection. In June, she gave up on life and died (the way she wanted to).
I can’t help mom any longer — but I can help others from falling victim to elder/guardian abuse. In late January, I was in Olympia talking to some legislators about changing the laws regarding financial exploitation of elderly citizens and about guardian abuse. Protect your elderly parents from abuse.