Married siblings using their marital status to avoid caregiving.

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My married sister, who does not help at all with caregiving, has implied, (although not bluntly) that the situation is different saying "She is a married woman", when asked if she will do caregiving, and implied that she is a step-up on the social ladder, since I am not married. In addition, she has said to me that she will not give up time with her husband to help me. This is nonsense, since her husband works during the week and she is at her home all day, 20 minutes from our folks, and still does not visit or offer any caregiving help. Her two kids are away at college. She visits our folks about three times a YEAR, (holidays). Is anyone else in a situation who is single/divorced and has a married sibling who uses their marriage "status" as an excuse not to help out? In our society, marriage is respected, and I think she uses that as her "out" not to help out. Any comments or similar stories?

15 Comments

You sister doesn't want to help. She is using an excuse that may help her justify this decision to herself. The fact that it is nonsense is really not relevant. She has decided not to help.

Now you have decisions to make. What would you do if you were an only child? You need some help in caring for your parents -- how are you going to arrange it? Start solving that issue and leave your sister out of it. Expecting help from Sister is a dead end. Being concerned about who is where on the social ladder is not getting the issue solved.

There are lots of articles and posts on this site about arranging respite, in-home care, and various types of help. If you want to describe in detail what kinds of caregiving services you now provide and what kind of help you need, people with experience can give you specific suggestions.
You can't give someone a heart----this isn't the Wizard of Oz unfortunatly. Wishing it were so is just fruitless and burning up the juices in your stomach and your head and heart. Nothing you say will do anything to change this cold hearted witch so start on your own to look around in the community. There are all kinds of things out there to grab for but you have to learn to invesitgate. Sites like this are a good place to start. There are day care centers--respite care, assisted living--people in churches willing to help out but you have to stop trying "FIX" the unfixable. How much time , brain power and emotion have you stuck into HER (sister dear) Start putting all that energy where it counts. You put one foot in front of the other --think outside the box---call---ask questions of anyone on the other end of the phone or computer. People are out there waiting waiting waiting for folks like you to contact them. It takes time and effort--but--- you can put the effort into ---your sister- which you must know is a waste of time---or put your energy towards you and your own sanity. I vote for the latter. It took three months to get my mothr from Cal. to Minnessota and get her into assisted living. I spent hours investigating along with my brother----but---we kept looking and looking and looking and talking and investigating until we got the answers we needed for our family---that would fit the mold for all three of us--Mom, me and my Brother. GETER DONE GIRL--You can do it. Forget Sis---
Well, I'm married & I was my mom's caregiver until she passed, so your sister is just making a lame attempt at an excuse. You're not going to be able to change her mind - I tried and failed with my sister - and get her to help if she doesn't want to, so save yourself the time and aggravation and move on without her help. Do yourself a favor and ask your mom to sign a POA for you so you can have control when need be - you don't want your sister to swoop in and suddenly be "concerned" when there's financial decisions to be made at a later date, if you know what I mean.
I have two sibs within 10 miles of her, seldom see mom, one married the other divorced as I am. Divorced sib is just too plain stubborn, obstinate and self-centered to want to get involved and blames her complete lack of involvement on me over something she was not happy about two years ago. But I serve as her excuse. She lives 5 miles away, has seen mom 3 or 4 times this year for 2 or 3 hours. So, there are subs willing to help and those that are not, your sis sounds like the later and is using marriage as an excuse.
Whitney,
Set the limits of what you are willing to do based on yourself, and accept the limits others set. That is all you can do. Your sis is using her husband and children s an excuse. Too bad for her, the example her children see is the example they shall likely follow. You cannot make her be more helpful, you can ask.

Do not give up your life to take care of your parents, keep your job or career, especially if you are a single income person
I was a single mom with a sixteen year old son when I agreed to live with my mother, I read the 36 hour day, and I believe it states somewhere that a single mom who works fulltime is not the ideal caregiver. Boy was that an understatement. LOL the challenges of a teenager alone and add demented mother to the mix.. Talk about stress. I think its an excuse for your sister, because I would think the opposite, someone who is married and has help with the household financially and emotionally would have a better support system. I had a great sister that was a huge support for me , one brother and his wife gave suggestions and became houdini,, the other brother was skeptical of my complaints but took the time to come down with his wife and live with us for one week. After that week (my mother was in true form) they were on my team. I truly believe you have to live with someone with dementia to truly understand how hard it is. I dealt with alot alone for sometime before this happened and within a month my stress was so high my siblings were a fading memory , I didn't have the energy to argue or try to make them understand, I just gave up on them because it wasn't worth the extra stress.. I love my brother for taking the time to come and live it himself, unfortunately such as life in most cases it has to be personal for someone to understand.. Good luck and God bless
Sylvia, you are so fortunate to have a bro that has a good idea sin he took the time and made the commitment to stay with you! I wish more of our subs would do the same, maybe some of the sibling issues would decrease or resolve.
Yes that is so true, I think its a fair thing to ask of siblings. Because It takes living in the home to know and understand what life becomes.
Same thing here, one brother and one sister, neither one care about their Mom. Mom just had eye surgery, not a phone call, nothing. I am so tired. I've been telling myself this: I do ALL things in service to the Lord. This is helping me thru. Church, Bible Study, Christian Radio/TV also help me. Find new friends that may turn into family, that's what I'm trying to do. Hang in there, your loved one needs you, and sounds like you are all they have!
I am single as well and have heard the excuse of not helping due to the fact that my brother "has a wife, and has a life" ...I have decided that it is an excuse as well. Neither he nor his wife want, or are going to help. His wife has not been to visit my Mom since Easter of 2012. She passes the turn off to our home every week on the way home from their weekend "lake house"....I have been angry for so long and all it is doing is making me angrier and ill. They are going to change because they do not want to. A little appreciation would be nice now and then, but that isn't coming either...so I revert back to why I am doing this in the first place....for my Mom. I do get frustrated, aggravation, angry even, but I do love her. This is too difficult of a job to do it for any other reason...love. I have my moments...I seem to have a lot more of them lately. I had stopped expecting anything from my brother or my sister in law and it is going to be their loss one day. I will have no regrets...they probably won't either...but then again they might ..and then it will be too late....

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