How do I prove to siblings that I need some time off from caregiving?


Q: Is there an ideal time off (respite) for caregivers that I can show my sisters to help my case for getting time off?

A: Ohhh, so sorry you are feeling so burned out and it sounds like unappreciated too! You know, I have never seen an official "Required Respite Time" statistic because of course there are so many factors and it's very individual, but I would boil the need for respite down to this: As often as needed!

Getting respite was also the big problem I had during my caregiving, as I was so overwhelmed and burned out with two parents needing fulltime care at home—and I didn't have two sisters I could call up and beg to relieve me. I think you have to put your foot down with your sisters and get a plan in place that works for YOU—whatever your level of respite need is. And aren't they lucky to have a devoted sister who is willing to be the primary caregiver. Be sure to remind them for me that if you go down, they will have to step up and share fulltime caregiving—so they better be thankful and grateful for you!

Also, please get your mom enrolled in Adult Day Care, as that will be such a blessing for her and will also give you several hours of respite each time. I wish I had gotten my parents enrolled sooner—it was so helpful! My father was a sun-downer, meaning he slept all day and would be up all night. And of course, Mom was the opposite, meaning I was up most of the time. I just couldn't turn Dad around until I got them into Adult Day Health Care (they had early Alzheimer's), and then they were busy all day with fun activities and they both sleep through the night. To locate one, contact the National Adult Day Services Association at I am such a huge advocate for Adult Day Care, they gave me their "Media Award" a few years ago.

Jacqueline Marcell is a former television executive who was so compelled by caring for her elderly parents (both with early Alzheimer's not diagnosed for over a year) she wrote "Elder Rage." She is also an international speaker on elder care and host of the popular Internet radio program "Coping With Caregiving."

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I know exactly what you are going through. Last year my husband and I took in my mother-in-law and both of my husbands sisters promised they would help out. We have not had one day alone together in a whole year. We have all duties, including handling her finances, medical and legal. My husband tried to talk to them but they always seem to have one excuse or another why they can't come and take my mother-in-law out for the day.

We still have a 12 year old daughter at home who still requires our attention and they have no kids left at home. I finally had enough and sent an e-mail asking them to step up and give us a break and how it is affecting our marriage. I'm sorry to say I got a less than enthusiastic response.
well, sounds like someone has been looking in my window. All the last comments sound exactly like what I am going through. My husband of 45 years has Alzhemiers (3 years now) Not only am I the only caregiver I have lots of family. much fun would it possibly be to stop your life and care for a member of the family that can't do for himself?? Looks to me like a big part of the so called Family are afraid they will catch something. Just a little time every once in a while by my self. But...its ok I will take care of him as long as I can and I sure hope everyone else in the family has lots of FUN!!! Not bitter just burn out and need a good long cry.
My four brothers work. I know they can do more but being the only girl I became the obvious candidate to care for my 77 year old mother. At first they played dumb then we came up with a rotating schedule of weekend outings. Two brothers complied the other two continued to play dumb. Recently we have had two hospitalizations in the last month and I finally put my foot down on the boys by obligating them to help pay for in-home care. I divided the cost equally among us and sadly this has worked the best for me. I realized they would rather pay than face the issue........