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Ask Lively Your Own Question
Lively, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 260
Experience:  Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, 10 years experience working with individuals, couples, & families
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My 54 yo sister lives 2 hours away from my mother and I. She

Customer Question

My 54 yo sister lives 2 hours away from my mother and I. She suffered a stroke in October and refused to continue rehab therapy after discharge from hospital against medical advice. She cannot return to work until March. I am 51 & our relationship has been strained for years. Classic sibling rivalry since I was born. But I was the one who drove back and forth w/Mom (76 early onset dementia) and took care of my sister's affairs, house and 3 dogs weekly for two months at my expense. Now she is beginning to show signs of mental illness. Have always suspected but yesterday she had outburst with profanity to me and Mom. What can we do? How can we get mental care for her without her permission? Before being discharged from hospital the psychiatrist on the team requested continuation of her therapy but she refused.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lively replied 8 years ago.


While you say that your sister is not a danger to herself, the fact that there are feces and urine all over her house suggests that she is unable to care for herself. In some states there are provisions for hospitalization for people who engage in "self neglect"-- this is something that you may want to look into in your state. (I would call the district court in your area to ask about this.)


If your sister really doesn't meet any criteria for involuntary hospitalization, you might try asking your sister to participate in a family therapy with you and your mother. You can frame it as your own struggle with certain issues and ask her for her help. This may or may not work, but if it does get her in the door, any good family therapist will be able to pick up on the issues and concerns that you are having and will help you figure out how to proceed from there.


Good luck to you!