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I have tried for 10 years to get my brother and sister to help with my mother who is very physically disabled. In the past 3 years, it has gotten much worse, and they seem unaffected. She has almost died many times, and I have been the only one there for her. I have always helped with her shopping, cleaning, etc. Recently, she had a very serious neck injury (chronic spinal cord compression) which made her mobility almost zero, and she became incontinent. I changed her diapers, fed her, did laundry, shopping, held her when she cried, everything. All I asked my brother and sister to do was to call her 1 or 2 times per week to keep her spirits up... they could not even manage to do that! She had the surgery, almost died, but did make it through. She is slowly getting a little better, but has been in a nursing home for quite some time. I am moving her to assisted living near me when she gets out. I have asked my brother and sister to help me many times with cleaning out and moving her apartment items. They continue to ignore my emails, texts and phone calls, or make amazing excuses. I have fully given up on my brother and sister to help physically, and really need them to help financially. I keep asking for help, but they keep avoiding me. My new plan is to do everything, and to start keeping receipts and billing them for each and every thing I pay out for my mother. I am tempted to start billing them for a portion of my caregiving hours just to prove a point to them. I have started keeping a log of exactly what I do, and how many hours I help her because I am not sure they know exactly how much I do for her. I truly hate my brother and sister, and when my mother passes, I am going to let them know just how much I hate them. I am only being nice to them out of consideration for my mother at this point. I can't wait to tell them how much I hate them for putting me through 10 years of ABSOLUTE HELL.
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Jan 23, 2013
I can totally relate to your disdain for your siblings. I was telling a friend, just today, how badly my 2 sisters are gonna feel when my mom passes away. They will probably be the loudest ones in the church, crying and sobbing, trying to jump in the casket, and doing all the other foolery that goes on at funerals, when they know that they've not contributed anything to my mom's health and wellbeing.I just read another post that affirmed that we caregivers don't volunteer or sign up for this role- which is what I've always thought- but rather we are "chosen" to take care of our loved ones and to make their last moments here on earth peaceful and memorable. That shed a different light on the whole "caregiver" role for me. Your siblings are the ones that are losing out because in the end you can rest assured, knowing that you loved and cared for your mom as best as you could.As far as the financial support, if you were to bill your brother and sister, are you sure you'll be able to collect? If they don't return emails and phone calls, I'm almost certain that they'll ignore your request for reimbursement. I would suggest maybe trying your local Social Services office to see if there's any financial support that you and your mom may qualify to receive. It's worth a try... I can only imagine what you're going through. Be encouraged.
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I am amazed at what happens when it comes time to care for elderly parents OR a parent dies. Even in the "best" of families, I see the "worst" of behavior. Those parents raised every child in the family yet it usually falls on the shoulders of one child and many times not by their choice. How do the the slacker sibs sleep at night?I'm sorry you've had to endure this fiasco, JulieBell and rosey, and add me to the list. The resentment simmers. I didn't wait until mom died, I let my sis know I hated her when I got ready to explode. Of course, she hasn't talked to me in 4 yrs, doubt she ever will. She never helped with our mom, never spent a dime so I should be the one not talking to her. Could it be guilt on her part?If I were you, I'd try to get help elsewhere just to save your nerves. Your sibs aren't going to step up and billing them will probably hack 'em off. But if it makes you feel better, send them a list of expenditures, who knows, it might wake them up! I just hate to see you spin your wheels, you're under enough stress.Just remember, you can't make your sisters care or participate, unless you decide to sue them and that opens up a can of worms you do not want to put on your plate. Your sisters have to live with their muddied up consciences. Yours is clear, you can sleep at night knowing you are doing the best you can for your mom. I wish you the best.
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I read somewhere that foregiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Allowing resentment and hate in our minds and hearts, just allows someone else to take up space when you know they aren't giving you a thought.
I know it sounds pollyanna but all those bad feelings can make you physically ill while the worthless ones go about their life as happy as can be. Be better to yourself than that!
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Mar 3, 2013
You sound like my sister. When she was living with mom (read mooching off her) she would post nasty things on facebook about how everyone else should visit x amount of times (whatever she thinks the correct number is). How 'so and so' was not welcome at the funeral, if you drove within a mile of the house, you should stop and visit, etc. You get the idea. You've got to understand, you made the decision to care for your mother. You are the only one you can control.
Hopefully, you are doing a better job than my sister. I finally had to pull mom out of her own home to protect her. I can tell you from being on the opposite side of vitriol, that many times there is a reason. I did not visit as often as my sister 'thought' I should because it was a long drive and gas is expensive. When I did visit I had to do the laundry, including piles of nasty underwear because she wouldn't enter mom's room because it was so dirty. When I hired help for the cleaning she accused me of not wanting to visit. I choose not to provide Mom's care, so when I visit I don't want to spend the whole time cleaning up after mom and sis. She didn't care about that. She thought it didn't matter that we had discouraged her from moving in with mom. Mom had lived with us previously and we knew how hard it was. She was convinced she could handle it. I hope you really are 'being nice' but from my experience, I find that hard to believe.
Now that mom is safe and away from her and mom's money is no longer at her disposal, she won't visit or call. I don't hate her. I am afraid of her and for her. Mom is better off without her. There was constant drama and chaos. She hates everyone and will end up alone. When you are consumed by hate you cannot be taking care of yourself or anyone else.
I know I'll get hammered by people that think they are doing too much and everyone else should dance to their tune. I think I'm doing too much, but I know my limits and I cannot do more. I wish both my sisters and the nieces and nephews would visit more or at all, but I can't control them. When mom cries because she's lonely, it's just part of the disease and partly she brought it on herself, by being mean and manipulative her whole life. I don't hold it against her because she's helpless now, but some of the family does.
Sending them a bill will only make you feel, well I'm not sure what you'll feel, satisfaction maybe, then more anger because they are not financially responsible for you or their mother. You may not like that but that is the truth. Morally they should honor their mother, but other people don't get to decide how they do that. As long as they aren't stealing from her, it is no one else's business. They are morally obligated to care for their families first. I know that their mom is in the family, but she is not their responsibility. If you choose to make her your responsibility, then embrace it and live it, but you can't expect others to meet your expectations and have peace.
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Each person in a family gets to make their own decisions about what they are going to do for or with their parents. Your siblings have made it very, very clear what their decisions are. They want no part of helping, in any way. You've been getting this message for ten years. I think it is time for you to accept it. Look for your help elsewhere. It is not coming from them. And since I don't know the background or their reasons, I'm not judging them. Maybe they are selfish. Maybe they were abused. I sure don't know. But what I know is that for you to keep up the idea that they might help is futile. Ain't gonna happen.
They do not owe you or your mother for money you have spent on Mother, unless they agreed in advance to contribute financially. And even if they did agree, they could change their minds. Don't waste the stamp sending them receipts.
If mother does not have enough money for her own care, apply for assistance for her. Call your county's Social Services and ask for a needs assessment for Mother. It is likely they will recommend applying for Medicaid, and/or they may have other resources to suggest to you.
It is time to turn your attention and efforts toward a source that can actually help, and stop wasting time on what you wish your brother and sister would do. Wishing won't make it so. Contacting the right agencies will get results.
Hang on to your hate if you want to. Sounds like you are entitled to it. (Although I suspect it will hurt you and your siblings won't be troubled by it at all.) But please accept that you have to do something to get help besides trying to control the decisions your siblings make. You have plenty of evidence that isn't going to happen. Move on to more productive efforts.
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Aug 18, 2013
Everyone agrees on the basic premise; you can't force your siblings to help. Give it up. Live your life without them. Find outside sources for a support team. I am one of 7 siblings. I have a sibling Helen, who is wonderful. She gives me 2 days a week to myself. I got this respite because she walked in as I was crying. I frankly told her I don't think I can do this anymore. I must have scared her, because both she and my brother have been very supportive lately.
I have 2 sisters I hated. It tore me up inside because I want to be a loving person, not the bitter vindicative b*tch I was becoming. They give no help, rarely visit. I asked the therapist how they can be this way. He said they tell lies to themselves. I have decided rather than hate, I will have no interaction with them. They can tell any lies they want, to be able to look themselves in the mirror, but in my eyes they are scum. I don't like them, if they weren't family I would have no dealings with them, so now I don't. I haven't got to a loving acceptance, but I feel so much better. Better yet, I have jolted them out of their Lady Bountiful, Dad needs no help, Kathy can handle anything, fantasy. I feel great, and they don't get any reinforcement reward for their neglect.
Here are the guidelines Don't interact with them. Accept no calls, block emails, walk out when they come into the room. Say nothing bad about them to anyone.
I am working hard on not saying anything bad about them, but I feel free of hate, at peace with myself.
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I find it fascinating how those siblings who are not the caregivers of the aging parent(s) always say that the sibling who is the caregiver "chose" to be the caregiver. This is the way they relinquish their guilt because they are weak individuals who don't have what it takes to live with and care for the person(s) who gave them life and raised them. They cannot bear to watch their parents deteriorate so they convince themselves that the sibling that stepped up to the plate and cares for the parent as best as possible did so because they WANTED to. No .. we are not caregivers because we want to put our lives on hold, have no social lives, and walk away from our own homes for a few years, we are our parents caregivers because we want our parent's remaining time on this earth to have some respect and dignity. So for all you siblings who want to sit at home living your life, convincing yourself that the sibling who is looking after your parent CHOSE to do so, trust me.. your parent knows who the child is that is looking after them during their final years and months on this earth, they also know who isn't there, and THAT is what YOU will have to live with for the rest of your life. For those of us that are the caregivers, we will be able to live the rest of our lives knowing we have nothing to feel guilty for and we did our very best.. and with love.
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I am constantly amazed how so many people can come up with the caring ideas to help so many of us. Kudos to all of you.My family lived in the Midwest when my Mom was elderly. I have a sister who lived near her in the east and who resented her care giver role. As the sibling who wasn't there for her I felt badly - but was not included in my 2 sisters plans for her. My fault? Probably - but being the youngest of we three, I simply was excluded. After my sweet mom passed on, my one sister made it clear that she had been stuck with our mother - which I knew from some of the comments my mom would make to me. It's been 30 plus years since she died and honestly, I still remember the hurt I felt when I was reminded that I was not there and therefore should go back home. I guess my point is -- sometimes things are not what they seem. Each of us had our own guilt - deserved or not - that we need to deal with. (Never end a sentence with a preposition!)
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I have to do what makes me feel good about myself. I've wasted too many hours angry at my siblings. I have chosen to move on. They have to live with there choose of not contacting our Mom, not me.
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This topic is so close to home. Sigh. I offered to "help" my mother when she was 64, and I took my youngest brother from home to help him enter the adult world. He was born when Mum was 44, with developmental disabilities. I had received help myself, and had overcome some habits of isolation, and thought I could teach my brother, and I offered to try, not even sure that my mother would FINALLY see me (the neglected outcast child) as "grown up" enough to be trusted with the responsibility. My mother was no fool: she put my brother on the next bus headed towards me, and I held the responsibility for him for the next 40 years!!
We have so many mixed reasons why we help, and truth is, I enjoyed helping him, even if it cost me. My other siblings wanted nothing to do with me, because they felt judged when my explanations of my struggles were emotional. When they had different ideas on how care should be given, they accused me of not understanding "teamwork" - but they did not understand that the person closest to the situation, who plans the basic care, needs to have a leading voice in care planning - all others are essentially backseat-drivers. It is important and often valuable to listen to them, but the person doing the daily work, needs to have a prominent voice. This role often changes historic roles between siblings from the past, and it is confusing for all to adjust, including the caregiver sib. I had to learn to communicate and changed a lot and am grateful, many issues are improved. YES: SEND the receipts and keep copies. You may or may not get reimbursed, but you will know you communicated - and if you don't keep track, it is much worse to try later to explain all you did,. So keep them in the loop. When you can, try to say some nice things too. I learned over the years, to find value in other ways with my sibs, because arguing over care is like arguing over a family business: not as simple as many expect. Our society became much more mobile in the last half century, and many sibs remember days when neighborhoods were more stable and elders didn't live so long, so issues were not so isolating for many years, as today.
And many distant sibs think that professionals can replace family, but our professional system is fragmented, and care quality varies by year, by place, and the challenge is to coordinate to address all needs in a coherent way.
My family finally - after years of my shouting and crying, arranged to send me a monthly stipend from the estate, and I'm grateful for the increased goodwill. I use some for me, and some for my brother, and he is now safe at least in a nursing home, but his needs for community related to his age are missing. I now used the stipend to finally hire a Geriatric Care Manager to help me worry less, and I am just now making plans to send my siblings her monthly reports and her bills, and request a bit higher amount to include this. So, keep trying, try to drop the expectations for results, but express the judgments and the ideas of how it should be. Keep track of what you do, and eventually, the record will form a more solid background for future discussion, and maybe save your relationship with your sibs when the parent is gone.
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