Do my brothers and sisters even care about mom?????!!!!!!

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My mother has health issues as a result of having 2 strokes. She moved in with me unexpectedly 4 years ago. I am single & recently unemployed (as of June 2012). I have 3 siblings, all with 2-income households. I live in a one bedroom apartment & sleep on an air mattress in the living room so that my mother can sleep in the bedroom. All of my nieces & nephews are 18 years old or older.

My mother has 4 children & they all live within a 20 minute drive, but never visit or invite her to visit. All she gets are phone calls 2 or 3 times a month, telling her about their vacation or their new car. I feel horrible going out without her because if I don't take her anywhere, she'd stay in that small apartment all day. Now without a job, I can't afford to keep up our regular movie & dinner out night.

Whatever social life I had is over because I'm too embarrassed & depressed about my living arrangement & financial situation. The difficulty in finding a job doesn't help either.

I find myself so angry at my brother & sisters that I think that maybe I'm just being extremely selfish......or that since I don't have children that I SHOULD be the one that takes on caring for her. I haven't seen or spoken to my brother & one of my sisters since January. The other sister keeps telling me how grateful she is that I'm caring for our mother & that I need to go out. She still never offers to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy or take my mother to a doctor's appointment or the grocery store. If something were to happen to her, none of them would know unless I told them.

I end up feeling incredibly guilty for their lack of interest in her well-being.

Before, when I saw an elderly person shopping alone in the grocery store, I'd say to myself, "Where are his/her children?" Now I see that that would be my mother if I were never born, because my siblings just don't seem to care.

Am I the only one that has this going on????

16 Comments

NO!!!!!!! You are NOT the only one. I took care of my mom and her BF for 6 years. My sibs hardly called or even stopped by. I, too, am single with no children and on disability. My mom BF started abusing his morphine. I kicked him out of my house. My mom wanted to go with him. Nothing I could do as she could still make decisions. I couldn't afford my house and had to sell it. I moved 3 hours away from them. A year later my bro and I talked them into moving where we live as to take care of my mom since her Alzheimers was getting worse. I took her shopping, doc appts. rides, etc. I wouldn't do anything for her BF as he had disrespected me numerous times over the years. My mom's BF ended up going to the hospital. My sis refused to come over and take care of my mom. My bro told me to do it. I am the youngest. I did it for almost 3 weeks with no help from either. I have a mental illness, Bipolar anxiety and PTSD. I couldn't handle it anymore. I told my bro and sis to handle it because I couldn't. They are mad at me and want to punish me and my mom. I am banned from seeing her or talking to her. This has been since Labor Day. I called twice to talk to my mom. Once she told me to come over, she's at my bro's. He moved 2 weeks before all this happened and didn't give me his address. When I told my mom I didn't think he would give me his address she said he would. She handed him the phone and said give her your address. He took the phone, said OK then hung up. I called another time. My mom cried when I said I loved her. No more calls from me because she cried and my bro didn't want the drama. NO! They don't care. They don't want their lives interupted but it's OK for your life to be unimportant. I have tried talking to my family and they want nothing to do with me because I won't do what they want, 100% of the care as I did for the 6 years. Try talking to your siblings and tell them what you need. Your family may be different than mine. Mine are all selfish. All you can do is try to let them know what you need. Some families on this site have had luck with their sibs helping finacially, emotionally and hands on. I don't know what that's like. Just try telling them what you need. It can't hurt! Best of luck and God Bless you for caring so much for your mom.
((((((hugs))))) Gabby, no, you are not the only one. There are many here with siblings who will not help, andnd worse, many of them criticise the one who is helping. This will not likely change unless you make some changes. It might be an idea to enlist the help of a social worker, or the local agency on aging on ideas of how to set some boundaries, so you have some time for yourself to look for a new job and just for "me" time, and get some help from your subs. Sometimes you have to get quite firm about the help that you need. They are getting a "free ride" as regards your mum, and it seems there is a selfish streak in some who are -quite happy to take advantage of another's good nature. Could you take mum to one of their houses, to saty fo9r a while, and say that you need some time to yourself and don't have room for herl, and they have to pitch in - or something like that. Truely your arrangement is far from ideal for both you and your mum. I do think bringing in professionals could help you draw up a plan for you and your mother. Her health will not get better over time, it will get worse and she will need more care than now, and probably more than you can give her at some point. Ths in not going to get betterl Some have sggested calling a family meeting, and laying out what you will and will not do, and telling the others they have to pitch in. I hope some others here will have more suggestions. You are not alone.
Emjo, you have said it better than I could. I said what I wrote out of anger towards my sibs. I know not all families are as dysfunctional as mine. Gabby, there are many more people on this site that have more experience and wisdom than I do. Ejmo is right about the professionals. Caregiving is a tough, thankless, yet sometimes more often than not rewarding. You just need to have the right tools to HELP you, too. Take care of yourself first and foremost for no one else will do that for you! Look at numerous topics on this site. The site is great, informative and a good way to vent when need be. I don't do a lot of postings but what I have posted, I have gain valuable insight and info. Caregivers here are all wonderful people and very supportive.
Gabby, IF you had never been born, your deadbeat siblings would've figured something out so mom wouldn't be living on the street in a cardboard box, believe me. So... maybe it's time you let that part go, that YOU are the only person in your family that WILL do anything for your mother. They can, but don't want to. Start making some calls to find a place where mom can live comfortably. I have no idea of what kind of money she might have for assistance, but now might be the time to explore that. Tell your siblings that if they WON'T take mom in, then you're going to be needing money for her support, because she's not going to be living with you anymore. OR if they cough up some money, then you can move into bigger digs where you and mom could each have your own room, and you can hire some help. Time for a family meeting. They've appointed you, because you've appointed yourself I'm afraid. Look into Adult Foster Care if you have it in your state. Much better in my opinion.
Yogibear, Emjo, & NancyH ---- Thanks for you advice & support. Maybe my venting came off the wrong way. While my siblings do not offer any help, my intentions are that my mother will be living in my home until her final days. We've already tried her living with oldest sister (when she was discharged after her 2nd stroke), but that didn't work out because my mother required more attention at that time than she was willing to give. Neurosurgery to prevent more strokes left her with diminished cognitive skills, so my mother had to learn to walk, talk, chew, & swallow. These tasks were very hard for her to re-learn & she was depressed for a while about losing her independence. Her short-term memory is not the best so she likes to talk about things that happened before her strokes (mostly to prove to herself that she doesn't have dementia), so everything "reminds her of that time when....". Her problem-solving skills aren't what they used to be either.

Before the strokes, she had always been a very self-sufficient, strong-willed person. My father always said that she was "too feisty for her own good". After the strokes, she was no longer as outgoing because her physical limitations sometimes frustrated and/or embarrassed her. The doctors said that, even though she shouldn't live alone or work, I should let her do whatever she feels her body will let her do. Because of the memory issues, we've agreed that she only cooks when I am home. When I am at work (or when I find work to go to LOL), she reheats leftovers in the microwave. She bathes on her own, but, again, only when I am home (usually at night). The ritual of taking her medication is not part of the short-term memory anymore, so she can remember to do it on her own (I still check the pill organizer to make sure though). Sometimes I watch her doing things in 7 or 8 steps that it only takes me 1 or 2. She sets the table practically one item at a time because she's so wobbly & afraid to drop or break anything, but she's happy just to be able to do it.

My anger towards my siblings comes from the fact that, in their selfishness, all they know is how much help she needed immediately after the surgery when she had a walker or needed someone to help her hold the fork & find her mouth. Once I remember my sister telling me that she thought that my mother could probably do more than she wanted us to believe. They really don't know how much she has progressed. Sure, I've been in a financial dilemma for a while, but I'm surviving. I have enough faith in myself to believe that I will be able to get back on my feet. It would just be nice to have them want to help.....or offer to help. It's a shame that when, on the extremely rare occasion that she is with one of my siblings, I worry that they'll get frustrated with how slow she walks, or they won't stand behind her on the stairs in case she loses her balance.

They basically know nothing about her as she is today. Yes, the stroke changed her. But it seems as if they treat her as if she's less than the person they remember. I, on the other hand, see her with a few new characteristics added, not taken away. It hurts me to know that she's not getting back the love & attention that she gave each one of them when they needed her.

I do stress out about taking on the responsibility of caring for her & I sometimes cry about not having the freedom to just go away for the weekend, but I'm mostly just grateful that she's still around to need my help. She would have kept having strokes until she died had it not been for the brilliant doctors that thought it was odd that an otherwise very healthy woman had 2 strokes so close together & decided to just check for a particular condition. She was very lucky & I really try hard not to forget that.

It's just good to be able to come to this site & just let it out. I have registered her at the local senior center & I'm working on getting her to take a class or go to an event. I just have to convince her that no one at the center is going to look at her crazy because of the way she walks & talks. I think that's what she thinks my siblings think.

So, I'm not at my wits end.......just stressed and frustrated. Just needed to get the thoughts out of my head.....down but not out.

Still glad I found this site and still appreciate you all for listening :)
Wow! that was a lot LOL
((((((((((((Gabby))))))))) I'm glad you have a positive attitude about taking care of your mom. It will get tougher as time goes on with her illness. Do as much research as possible to inform yourself of the progression. I can't tell you enough how great this site is with the resources available and the wisdom and experience of so many others.
I just don't understand my family. I want to help with my mom's care but I can't do it 100% by myself with no help. So, that isn't good enough for my sibs so I'm left out of everything. No talking, no seeing her. How does that make any sense??????
I doesn't make sense, Yogibear. If I were you, I'd look into how legal that is. They just can't keep you from seeing your mother if you pose no threat to her health & well-being, can they??? Fight for your rights...and your mother's!
Thank you, Gabby. I am no threat or not wanting to harm my mom. My bro raped me when I was a child for 4 years. We have never really gotten along well. I think part of this stems from that because he is afraid I will tell his girlfriend about what happened. I also think that this is his way of paying me back with guilt for all the years he has felt some guilt for raping me. Thank you for the website. Only problem I have is that I don't know where my bro lives. He won't give it to me and I need that for him to get served papers or have any type of welfare check done on her. ALL agencies I've checked with have told me the same thing. I need my mom's address. Otherwise, if he doesn't, he doesn't have to and that it sounds like a family squabble to them.

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