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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister is bipolar, she was dx ed 2.5 years ago but didn`t tell the family. She said she was suffering from depression and started on lots of meds, which she said were for things like anxiety, high blood pressure, sleeping etc... I think my mom just was in denial about a lot of it. I live overseas and only see her once a year. Mom is into homeopathic healing and thinks all the drugs sister is on are causing her problems, as it seemed that she started having more troubles when she started taking so many meds. Sister self weans from allmost all meds.<br>
Fast forward to December 05, she went to Maine (family is in Ohio) on vacation/volunteering for the Red Cross/to meet an internet friend. Not sure of the true reason. Anywho was put in a mental hospital against her will. dx bi polar. Mom starts to read up on bi polar and goes to NAMI meetings. Gets out of denial and realizes what has been going on. Now sister has been on trips/vacation ever since the Maine thing. She went back to Maine, then drove to Mass. with one of her cats, was hospitalized again, parents ended up going to get her... then she was off to Wisconson. Finally they have her at home, left her car at her place, which is an hour away and think that she can start to take her meds, hopefully stabalize and get into therapy... well she rented a car and took off for parts unknow... dunno where she got the money for the rental car. BTW she has huge debts.<br><br>
So one of her friends had to bail her out of jail, picked up for drunk driving, and suggested to my mom she take guardianship over my sister.?The pastor at my sisters church has also suggested this to my mom.<br>
My questions:<br>
1. Has anybody done this, and was it helpful. Mom is worried that it will totally alienate sister. She was pissed at being hospitalized against her will.,..<br>
2. Will parents have to assume her debt if they take guardianship? There are credit card bills galore... recently a parking ticket and ticket for running the red light on the WI trip...<br>
3. Will she loose her SSI. She just gets state benifits for the bi polar. Having this should have tipped mom off a long time ago... she gets $650 a month plus food stamps.<br>
Seems like there are more questions about the process, but need to figure out if it is something we want to do first.<br>
TIA<<br>
Kathryn @ nakking and no spell check
 

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I believe there are different types of guardianships, such as Guardian of Estate (where the person cannot enter into contracts over a certain amount and does not manage their money; the SSI check would go to the guardian who then pays the person's bills and gives them spending money), Guardian of Person (where the guardian determines where the person will live, can commit them for hospitalization, etc). Its a court process and can be individualized; for example, the guardianships can be limited and the person can retain certain rights while others are given to the guardian.<br><br>
I would talk to the NAMI people and see if they have recommendations for a lawyer to talk to regarding guardianship.<br><br>
In my experience, guardianship doesn't help all that much because the person can still run away and enter into contracts (there is no way a credit card company, for example, would know the person has a guardian and shouldn't be given a credit card). Although the guardian can "force" a person to live in a certain place (a group home for people with mental illness, for example) most places will not take a person who doesn't want to be there. I could be wrong, but its my understanding that even if the guardian thinks its time for a hospitalization, if medicaid is going to cover the hospitalization (that is, if the hospitalization is anything but private pay by the guardian) the person will not be committed to the hospital unless they are a danger to themselves or others, or gravely disabled. And in that case, they would be committed with or without a guardian anyway.<br><br>
This is just based on my limited experience in working with people who are homeless and have a mental illness. I'm sure there are others who have more accurate knowledge and advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your thoughts.<br>
Tye-dye, my sister isn`t in the hospital now, she was just in twice for short term stabilization. I will tell my mom about the financial stuff. Until now my grandmother has bailed her out a lot, but that seems to be ending... I think my mom is coming to the point that she should suffer the consequences of her actions, ie. not paying cc bills or utility bills. I don`t know what the consequences might be...<br><br>
It sounds like guardianship wouldn`t accomplish much. We are all hoping she will come to some sort of insight and acceptance. And of course, become stable. My mom now realizes she needs the meds, before she didn`t understand why my sister was taking them. It also sounds like she wasn`t really on the right meds, or right doses.<br>
Hopefully things will resolve soon.<br>
Thanks again.<br>
Kathryn
 

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Read <i>An Unquiet Mind</i> by Kay Redfield Jamison. The author suffers from bipolar disorder, and this is a good explanation.<br><br>
People with bipolar disorder are notorious for stopping taking their meds; it's one of the reasons it's so difficult to control. And unfortunately, while she will have to face the consequences of her actions, the consequences are not going to have any effect on her while she's so sick.<br><br>
Good luck with whatever happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the book reccomendation. Not being able to see my sister that often, recently only once a year, makes it hard for me to understand what is really going on.<br>
nakking<br>
About the finances, it is sooo hard to understand what is going on. Sister keeps taking money from my grandmother. Some of it was given by gma, but recently sister used her cc with out gma knowing, then took her checkbook and signed her own name on the checks (and the bank cashed them!!!) and now she used the numbers on the checks to pay for her cc bills. When my mom asks her about it she claims she didn`t do it. I will tell my mom to call the bank and see if they can get the overdraft fees on my gma`s account waived. uhhh....<br><br>
Her phone got cut off, but somehow she managed to get it back on, it was only for local calls, then suddently she was making long distance calls again. She is into telephone dating these days, desprate to get married and have a baby. Her phone bills are huge. I have no idea how she got the phone turned back on.<br><br>
OK just rambling now, off to amazon to check out that book.<br>
Warmly,<br>
Kathryn
 
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