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Dear Gramps,

I am single, 51, the primary care giver of my 85 year old mother who has Alzheimers, the brother of two sisters, and the only member of the Mormon Church in my family. My father worked hard and my mother saved and they began giving money to us before he passed away 9 years ago. From that time until my mother was diagnosed 5 years ago, I helped her off and on. Since her diagnosis until now, I have been with her full time.

The Lord blessed us with long term care insurance only a short time before her diagnosis. It pays $70 a day and I have two wonderful ladies whose help is a lifesaver to me. After her diagnosis I kept her without any outside help and little help from my sisters. There is a limit to the insurance (maybe two more years). Mom is pretty strong physically and we have taken some vacations recently. Now I am with her approximately 57 hours a week not including nights. We live in a small but growing town in east Texas two hours from the Stake Center and 1 hour from Dallas.

I have kept records of living expenses and have not taken a salary. I have taken money for necessities and most of my money is gone except for some IRA funds. I found a financial planer who graduated cum laude from Peperdine U.and charges 1%

About eight months ago, one sister moved into the garage apartment, but has helped very little. She works many hours and commutes to Dallas. The sister who lives here brought her twenty two year old, pregnant daughter and son-in-law here. They have used “every drug” and have been clean 3 weeks.

I feel this sister is abusive to me and her words and actions create a lot of tension in me and in response I try to get away. I searched the internet and found an abuse warning list to recognize people who want to have power and control. It listed ways people go about this. I recognized 13 or 14 behaviors from the list which my sister has manifested. She will not accept a Book of Mormon. Whenever she wants to talk I develop tension which makes me want to sell the house or take a vacation or escape in some way. My last thought, which has persisted for 6 days, is to turn every thing over to the Lord and move to Utah. I am reminded of a church leader who amidst persecution left his front door open before heading west. Although I am not perfect, I have a degree in Psychology and have tried to get my sisters to see a psychologist (who is also a bishop) since my mother was diagnosed. We have not done that yet, though I have seen him 4 or 5 times.

So, what do you think you would do in my place? Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. Do you know others like yourself on the internet who answer questions? Also how did you get so smart? I would be happy if you adopted me as your grandson. What are we having for Thanksgiving dinner? I will rake leaves after diner.

Kenneth

 

Answer

 

Dear Kenneth,

Let’s see if we can’t identify the specifics of your concerns-

1) You are the primary care giver to your mother, who suffers from Alzheimers.

2) Your two sisters contribute little to help their mother.

3) One of your two sisters has moved onto the premises with her two children. She is not able to help much with the care of your mother because she commutes to work and works long hours.

4) You feel that your sister abuses to you to the point where you are contemplating moving away.

First, you are to be commended for the care you give to your mother, and there is no doubt that you will be richly blessed for any sacrifices you make in her behalf. The Lord has made to us this promise-

Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord (D&C 98:3.)

Your main concern seems to be with your expectation of more help from your sisters. They may see that since you are living in the home and are providing adequately for your mother that there is no need for their further participation. That could be their perception even though you explained to them how you felt that they could help.

The life style of your one sister and her children seem to be of concern to you. There are limitations, however, to what we should and could do to change others to our ways of thinking and acting. There is an Article of Faith that says-

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

It is often more difficult to persuade those who are nearest to us to adopt new ideas than it is to persuade strangers. Usually in such circumstances the power of example is much stronger than the power of words. Perhaps your sister would be less abusive if she felt that you were not critical of her life style, and were accepting of her as a person. That does not mean, of course, that you would condone any actions of her or her children that were not according to gospel principles.

Perhaps it would ease the tension if you could let her know that indeed you do love her and that you respect her right to choose her own life style, as you undoubtely demand of her that she respect your right to choose your life style.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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