Feeling defeated.

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I am the youngest of 4 children. I have been caring for my 80+ year old parents for 2 years now. I make sure they get help from CNAs morning and night. The CNA makes sure they get a hot meal in the morning and usually they get a sandwich for lunch and I cook a hot meal for them at night. I do all the bills, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and anything else in between. I also have 3 small children. I feel very tired and sad all of the time, because I feel like I get no encouragement from my siblings (much less a shoulder to lean on). They lead their lives and have their freedom and I am here. I don't mind helping my parents, but sometimes it would be nice to hear a THANKS from my siblings or lend an ear just to talk. I just feel so uncomfortable around my siblings because I have some harbored anger about all of this. They don't even email me EVER to see how things are going. Life goes on I guess.

52 Comments

I don't know what CNA is but our visiting nurse group has social workers. Check this out and schedule a family meeting. The social worker will talk about long term plans and living arrangements. Go with a list of what needs to be done and what help you need. Offer a schedule for them to visit, shop, doctor appointments.. whatever they can help you with. I do not believe we are expected to give up our lives, health and personal happiness for someone else. I am in the same kind of situation. My siblings do visit and just sit! Fortunately we are able to hire companion care so I can get out of the house. My husband says nothing will change until Mother or I die....they just don't get it. Well they are getting ready to because husband has decided for my health it is time to retire and move to another smaller city. Good luck and God bless!
CNA means Certified Nursing Assistant. Basically they come in and make sure mama and daddy are clean in the morning and at night...and mama and daddy take meds and have eaten when I am not there to monitor them. They also help with laundry and house chores like cleaning the floors, vacuuming, and dusting. I am afraid I am past the sitting down and having plans about long term arrangements with my siblings. My oldest brother said I should just put them in the nursing home. I can't do that. They are happy at home. I'm just glad I have friends here who support me. I have a friend coming tomorrow to bring mama and daddy a meal. People do that around here a lot. It is nice to know there are other people around who know what we are going through. All we can do is pray and do the best we can do! Take care of yourself!
I am in the same boat, only my mom lives with me and has dementia, have been doing this now for six years, none of my siblings call or come to visit and do anything to help so i have banned them from my life, i no longer have any contact with them at all, also am going to be going through a divorce now, i am almost 53 so mom and I talked and we are going to try and get her medicaid and placed in a nursing home where i know she will get the care she needs as i don't know what will happen to me as i also have major depression and high axiety and am not able to hold a job, so I am hoping for alimony to at least be able to have a roof over my head and food and my medicines, many prayers and hugs for you
ejbunicorn: I think you made a good decision as for as banning the siblings. While my sister truly does live too far away from us and is in bad health herself, she still calls Mama, sends cards, writes, sends gifts to her, and for that I am grateful. She does all that she can. Obviously, your siblings are not cut from that cloth. Good ridance! Just guessing, good ridance concerning the hubby, too. As for your mom and nursing home, there comes a time when we cannot provide 24/7 care. That is what nursing homes are for. Also, no matter how much you love your mom, I suspect your depression and high anxiety will lesson when you don't have to carry the entire burden of another's life. Praying for peace and joy for you and for your mom. Only1of3
I am sorry about that. I am not actually caring for my parents, yet, but I do a lot for them and I am about 30 miles away and have another sibling that lives in the same town but doesn't do much of anything to help them out except to ask for help at her house from them. I understand your harboring some anger, me too. I have decided to look at it this way. I will continue to help my parents because of all the help and things they did for my family and me when they were able to get around better. I know I will never have to say, I wish I would have told them I loved them or showed them that I loved them because they already know and I do show it. My siblings are the ones who will need to go through the should of, would have or could have talks with themselves. You are doing awesome and God knows what you are doing for your parents. I hope your husband is supportive of it also. It is a lot to do with 3 little ones. Maybe call your siblings and let them know what all has been going on and that you need help with some things because you can't do it all by yourself. Are they still at home? Maybe consider an assisted living apartment or something like that where others help you to look after them. It may be time to talk to mom and dad about other living arrangements in a matter of fact way. My parents and I have talked about "downsizing" them to something else as they can't take care of the house like they used to or enjoy it if it doesn't look like they want it to. We take them with us every year on vacation and pay for the whole week, $2-3,000, my siblings seem to think that staying in a cabin for a week, groceries, gas, bait for fishing, etc. is not that much. My brother is very understanding and he and his wife do help out quite a bit too now. God Bless you. Keep talking to us on here and we can be your support team from afar.
I am in a similar situation with my mom - and two sisters (one who lives in another state) who rarely come to help and who respond to my "vents" (which I need on occasion) by telling me I should hire outside help (this is their way of telling me that I have brought this on myself and absolves them of doing anything). My mom is in relatively decent physical shape, though frail and very emotionally needy. A social visit from my nearby sister once a week, or an offer to stay overnight so I can leave town would be nice. I believe that the depression I have felt is due not only to my day-in-day-out exposure to my mom and her complaints, etc. but is also a result of my ongoing resentment toward my sisters. As depressed as I get from caring for my mom and feeling so trapped, I have the additional burden of anger and resentment. Most of us seem to have siblings who have disappointed us and I actually think that is at the root of much of our depression - not only the caregiving.
@janets, I totally agree with you on that. The depression I think gets worse when you add the frustration of the lack of respect and support from the family that should support you no matter what and especially when you are taking care of their mother too.
daddysgirl1: Good advice from caringdaughter2. And janets, I certainly understand about the resentment as I have other relatives who bring that out in me, lots of judgment, no help.
i don't know if you are looking for what i am about to say here but maybe it will help. in my experience, my siblings were crawling over each other desperate for any grain of attention from my parents. this caused alot of friction between the siblings. it was the baby of the family who was always stepping up to say that she will rescue the parents when they grow up. the baby said this because she wanted extra attention from the parents. so, when the siblings grow up, the older siblings realize that they will never get any attention from the parents and they go their own way. they also deduce that the baby can have the parents since the baby always expressed that she wanted that responsibility. in other words, the older siblings harbor alot of resentment and don't really want to do anything for the parents. also, since the baby often generated alot of superficial attention from the parents (because the parents eventually realize they are getting older and will need help in the end,) the older siblings don't really pity the baby at all. the baby gets stuck holding the ball. hope this helps. btw, the baby doesn't have to take care of the parents, even if they have expressed an interest in doing so multiple times in the past. all the siblings have probably expressed that interest at one time or another.
@tiqualil: i never thought of it that way! that is some great insight into family dynamics. i have two half-siblings and admit that i just informed them of the current situation w/ our mom. they are very supportive, but i know that other caregivers that have gone through similar situations usually do fall into this situation. i think it is a good idea to see if the other siblings have thoughts that they need to express. if not, a person might have to lovingly detach from them. just a thought. good luck, everyone!

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