Feeling alone and a bit bitter.

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I live with my dad who is 89 and in good health but he is 89 and declining. I live and work from home so we are together all the time and he is pretty dependent on me for almost everything. I do the cooking, cleaning, shopping, I keep him company, I make sure he takes his meds. I love my dad and would do anything for him and I am honoured to have the role I have. However, I have 4 other sisters who are not around, rarely call, very rarely visit and never ask if I need a break or a hand. The grandchildren are another story, there are 9 of them and 4 great grandchildren and dad is lucky to see them once a year. We've even stopped having Christmas together, which is so heartbreaking because everyone says they are too busy, have their own families now, don't want to drive so far, etc. My mom passed, at home in her bed, 2 years ago and I cared for her before she died. I have promised my dad that he will get to pass away in his own bed too. I just never thought I would be all alone in doing this. I am feeling a bit anxious and angry with my siblings and I recently hung up on one of them after she told me that she was too busy to help or visit. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get my sibs on board without being mean or bitter about it? If I can't count on them now when dad is great and healthy and would love visitors, how can I get them on board in the future when he really declines and is not so much fun to be around? Looking for any advice!


Jack, it is very difficult when sibs will not cooperate or help. I provided 24/7/365 for my Mom and her hubby for four years with nothing but added stress from two twisted sisters that live within 10 miles. And the more I asked for help the further away they were pushed. I had to resolve to be satisfied with any assistance I received from them. Getting more angry and frustrated only harmed me.
When I first started posting here, I would have tried to think of ways to involve siblings. After only a short time, it's become apparent that some siblings will participate and some won't, at least to the level of the caregivers' expectations and hopes. That seems to be as true as the sun rising in the morning and setting at night.

I've come to accept that I'm alone on this journey, and even though I resent it, in many ways it's easier than having to share decision making with someone else.

You can try a few things though:

1. Ask your siblings HOW they would like to help and put the onus on them to address their noninvolvement. Shift the emphasis to them to come right out and state (or provide excuses as may be likely) that they won't help.

2. Create a list of things that need to be done, send the list to all and ask them to indicate which they can do, and/or what they will do.

Keep all the lists, responses, etc. for later in the event they complain that they're not getting their full share of assets after death, or raise some other unfounded complaint. One never knows what will come out of the mental closets of absentee, non-participatory siblings.

And accept that you're on this journey alone; if they don't want to help they aren't going to, but don't allow their negligence to embitter you. And do document their refusals.
I cant tell you how nice it is to feel heard instead if hearing "but, we are busy", or we have our own lives or you make it sound like dad cant be left alone. I feel like I am not all alone now. Thanks!
Just going to be blunt. You need POA,DPOA and MPOA NOW! Get these documents before the dementia sets in. I have a bad feeling that the only "help" you will get from your siblings is harassement especially if they think you are "getting all dad's money". Your dad is lucky to have you but you must protect yourself and in doing so you will also protect your dad.Please get these documents!
I am a only child I am 70 my dad is 95. My mother died 2 years ago. I went to their house and set her up with hospice and in home care. We were told she had 6 months she lasted 22 days. The night we picked out urns my father tells me he is not my father? Last month I sent in tests it came back he is for sure my father. I feel alone. He wants my constant call everynight or he keeps calling? He has always been a controllying person. I want to help him but at the same time I resent him so much it is consumes me. I have no one to help me with him? I have 3 daughters but my Mom and Dad never tryed to have any kind of relationship with them so they have no interest in helping him? He has greatgrand children he has never seen? I do everything i can to help him. but it is never enough? I live 400 miles away from him. I fly down for a few days but i have a full life here and its busy. I have done many things for him but its never enough? I get angry at him but i never let him know it? It gets to me some times and I dont even want to talk or see him again. Then I remember Its time to call him tonight.
wow I cant even imagine how you must be feeling I wish I had some powerful words of wisdom but all I can say is you are doing a great job and you are there! Who knows why your dad said what he did but he is your dad and you know that for sure. Living so far awsy as the primary caregiver must be frustrating and you csn only do so much. if you want to chat more let me know. Maybe we could set up a helpline between the two of is to vent and get ideas. let me know.
timbuktu, thanks so much for the advice. I had not even considered any of these things. I guess I have to be realistic and not be so sentimental or emotional. thanks!!
Get these documents ASAP before anymore mental/physical decline of your loved one. If you are going to be the primary/hands on caregiver you need all these documents.Also have you applied for Medicaid? If you are going to be the primary caregiver there is also a lot of paperwork that goes with it. Keep coming to this site because there are many who have already been down this road with absent do nothing siblings until one of them thinks they smell money.You need those documents.
I have taken care of my mom for 13 years and my mom and dad for 9 years together before he passed away. The extent of my brother's help is he now calls my mom once a week for a few minutes. He only did that after I asked him to. And then he'd forget to do it. When I called him on it, he insisted that he'd been a good, responsible son overall. Go figure. He does send occasional gifts to mom. He hasn't been to see her in over five years, even though he's retired, no children, and very well off.

But after a number of years of me being totally bent out of shape about my brother's non-involvement, I realized that the only person my anger and frustration was hurting was me. So I was able to let that go and I'm a much happier person for it. I doubt my brother will feel guilt when my mom passes - he's too self-involved. I know I won't be there to help him if he ever needs it; he's burned that bridge long ago for me.

But I also know I've done the very best I could (and will continue to) in caring for my parents. And I'm very proud of that. So my advice is do what you think is right for your dad and let your sisters do what they will (or won't) do. It's out of your hands. You sound like a wonderful son!!
Blannie, well said, insightful and reflecting a maturity that comes with recognition of what's realistic and what's not. You raise another good point which is that nonparticipatory siblings won't be on the receiving end from caregivers when they themselves need help. I made that decision long ago as well.

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