Siblings dropped the ball on Christmas Day.

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I'm very disappointed/disgusted/annoyed with my siblings today. I have 6 siblings, two of whom live within a mile of Mom. (I live 90 miles away but stay at Mom's a few days a week to help her because it's too far to drive back and forth). One sister hosted Christmas Eve at her house. I hate Christmas and didn't really want to come, but they all make a fuss if I don't join the festivities, so to keep the peace I stayed over after taking Mom on shopping and errands earlier in the week.

I realized from talking to Mom that nobody had invited her for Christmas Day. The sister who hosted Christmas Eve was spending it with her grandkids - the other local sister never even bothered to check with Mom if she had plans. So Mom would have been left home alone with nowhere to go and no dinner. Reluctantly, I extended my stay and threw together a roast, a loaf of crusty bread and a nice bottle of wine for Christmas dinner for me and Mom. Only one of my six siblings even called my mother to wish her a Merry Christmas.

I'm not complaining about doing what I did - in this case, it was my choice, and it was far preferable to leaving Mom home alone for Christmas. She would have been so upset, and she doesn't have too many Christmases left. I'm just disgusted with my siblings though. The local ones, for failing to even check if Mom had plans for Christmas Day, and the distant ones, for not even bothering to call. Bah Humbug!!!


It's time for a family meeting, you and your sibs, via Skype or combo in person and skype. No accusations. Just, okay, what's the plan? Who has poa? Who has hcp? Who is going to take her to Dr appts? What are her assets? What level of care does she need. Going forward, who is going to be able to tend that big old house. Is it time to downsize? Try not to make this a me against them thing. Just tell them that you're not going to be able to do this any longer, so there needs to be a plan.

You are taking up what you perceive to be slack. Siblings see you are doing a good job and don't want to upset the apple cart. If you want it to change, you have to tell them that. Most of us who end up as caregivers are the kind of folks who see what needs to be done and do it. Not everyone sees as we do.
I agree with Babalou above, that "not everyone sees as we do" as to what needs to be done.

I know my sig other is totally clueless when it comes to taking care of someone. Anytime I am down with whatever ailment, I know I am pretty much on my own because he doesn't know what to do, even with a half dozen reminders.... [sigh].... but he's good at setting up appointments and driving me there :)

CarlaCB, I am wondering on the days you weren't at your Mom's, if the siblings had called your Mom to come to visit and she had turned them down so not to make a fuss [but since had forgotten about it].
Sure, try a family meeting. It could be that some of the sibs don't really understand the full extent of the need. Make sure that everyone has the same knowledge on which to base their decisions.

And then acknowledge that everyone gets to make their own decisions. No one, and that includes you, is obligated to do a certain amount of care for Mother.

That a son or daughter won't even call on a holiday seems deplorable to me. But I don't know the background. Maybe your sibs are true grinches, or maybe there is something more to the picture. In any case, their behavior is not your responsibility. Having a family meeting sounds like a good idea. Just don't get your hopes up that Mother's care will magically be divided evenly 6 ways.

For purposes of planning how much time and effort you will devote to your mother's care, consider yourself an only child. You may not be able to count on help from your sibs, but there are plenty of other resources out there. For example, would Mom benefit from an adult day health program a few days a week? Is she going to need to downsize from a big house she can't take care of?

BTW, who has Mom named as her Power of Attorney?
A few clarifying points to my post above. Four of my sibs live out of state, and visit maybe once a year. When they do they're on vacation - they don't offer any help and rarely spend more than a few hours with Mom. Of the two local sibs, one is helping as much as she can and the other one barely speaks to me or Mom. There are major issues with her, ones that I've unsuccessfully tried to resolve many times before. I honestly think a family meeting is a lost cause. I believe none of my other siblings will step up unless I die or leave.

We moved my mother a few years ago into the community where both my older sisters live, so we could share the caregiving among the three of us (obviously this hasn't gone as well as expected). There are no apartments and few rentals in the community, so I helped Mom buy a house. I have POA (which means little since Mom has no assets and barely covers her monthly expenses); the two other local sibs have the health care proxy. I also co-own her house, since I supplied the down payment. I could live there, but I'd have no privacy and she drives me crazy expecting to be waited on constantly. Of course, all the other sibs think I should just move in with her and that would solve the whole problem, but no thanks. She loves her house and she can manage alone with help - housework, yard work, transportation, etc. My sister and I take her shopping, to the library, to doctors visits, etc. I do most of the house stuff or help pay for services.

As far as the holidays, I was shocked that most of them didn't even call. I was surprised that the local sisters didn't even think of spending Christmas Day with Mom or ask her if she had any plans. Look, I don't get along with her either, but she's 83 and she would have been very sad to spend Christmas Day alone with no company and no dinner. It bummed me out that they were all so thoughtless.
Yup. You are entitled to be bummed out. I would be, too. Just know that being bummed out doesn't change anything.

WIth POA you don't need to ask your siblings to hire help. If Mom can afford yard work, housework, transportation, etc. then you can help her go ahead and hire it. If she cannot afford the basics then perhaps it is time to call on her county's Social Services and ask for a needs assessment.

Mom may live ten or more years. Stick to your guns about not moving in with her, unless you are prepared to be miserable all those years.
Heck, mom could live another 20 years.
I don't have any advice or suggestions for you, but I want you to know that you are far from alone. Many of us are alone when it comes to caregiving or including an elderly parent in family gatherings. My only sibling has not spoken to my mother in years and can't be bothered to send a card for her birthday, Mother's Day or Christmas. In his case, he found out that he wouldn't be able to get his hands on mom's money after dad died, so evidently he thinks that if there is nothing in it for him he is not going to make any effort for her. Pure selfishness. After all these years I try to not let this bother me and just do the best I can for mom despite her maddening behavior. The upside to this is that I don't feel any need to include my brother in any care or financial decisions. In my opinion he has given up any right to question my decisions.
I don't have much to add except I feel your pain. We care for my husband's 84 year-old dad who has 4 boys, of which 2 are alcoholics and good for nothing..... One did not even call on Christmas - such a loser :( But I will say this, it always ends up with one person being the main caregiver and it is the one with the biggest heart, and obviously that is you. You (unlike the others) will find peace in the end knowing you have given your heart and soul. Blessings to you.

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