Why can't siblings cooperate with the one who is POA?

Asked by

Being the adult child who has taken on the responsibility of being POA, making so many decisions for our mother in a NH, why am I being given a hard time by some of my sibs? Why can't they realize that I am weighted down with extra responsibility and have freed them up. Paying bills, researching elder law, consulting with attorneys, social workers, etc. all from long distance, not to mention my personal expenses in travel to complete my responsibilities. I love my mother and feel blessed to have the opportunity to support her in this way, so I am not complaining at all. I just am having a difficult time in dealing with my sibs who are so self-centered that they are making things difficult for no apparent reason. Temper tantrums over petty issues that are much to do about nothing, and only serves to make waves. Feeling like I am thrust back to junior high dealing with the mean girls!
Any words of inspiration or advice???

Answers 1 to 10 of 18
Top Answer
Oh, my friend...BIG HUG! There are so many emotions that everyone is dealing with ~ grief, denial, anger, guilt, etc. And, to add to the confusion, everyone is dealing with them in their own way and in their own time. Of course, that doesn't help YOU in this moment. First, and foremost, know that what you are doing ~ loving and caring for your mother is a huge blessing to both your mother ~ and you. Try to keep that at the forefront ~ try to let go of the rest understanding that, chances are, it really has nothing to do with you but something your siblings are dealing with. Have you tried having a family meeting to discuss what is going on? Can you have a trusted doctor, pastor, mentor or other professional talk to your siblings or mediate a meeting? Are you a member of a support group? What you're going through is so common ~ unfortunate but true. Keep talking to others ~ keep asking for support and help ~ and keep loving your Mom as you are. In the end, that is all that will matter. Warm hugs ~ p.
Mother has trusted YOU with this responsibility. You have taken on the task. How old are your sibs and do they not realize what a favor you are doing them? Have they offered help? If they have...give them a few chores...deligate & see how fast they back off.
We are all 47 - 61 yrs. old. No help offered, only complaints. I travel 6 hours to work on cleaning out her house, have shopped around for nursing homes, doctor visits, really everything, 3 siblings in her town do nothing at all. Sorry, should acknowledge that there is a 4th who is helpful in a limited way, so no issue there, but the others, I wish they did realize the favor they are getting. I'm discouraged and doubt if I will even try to have a relationship with them after Mom passes. So sad!!
I am a POA for an elderly great uncle who has no children. My seemingly uninvolved cousin remarked to me when I reached out for assistance that 'he didn't want to second guess my every move because that's what people do to him at work all the time and it isn't helpful'. The net result however is that he appears to be disinterested and I am left handling every decision. I think his remark can tell us something about human behavior and perhaps can offer something for you in dealing with your sibs.
Each of us has our own point of view and given any situation will probably come up with a solution that is different from anyone else facing a similar situation. Your siblings naturally have life long patterns of behavior with you and among each other. During times of stress (sick relative, etc) it may be difficult for them to realize that they must behave more objectively towards your actions because your role as POA is now different from your old role as a sibling. My cousin is being very objective (far too much for my satisfaction) but I respect his point. In the future (beginning now) I am very thoughtfully going to contact him and treat him more like a work colleague when we are working on a task for the 'great uncle project'. For example, I am going to clearly outline tasks that need accomplishing and directly ask him to take a few over. If he declines to do so I will be unhappy but at least i'll know where both he and I stand. I recognize that the stakes are much higher for you and you sibs than for me and my cousin. After your Mother passes on you and your sibs will be left to carry on the family. Perhaps it would be helpful to all of you if you could adopt a professional attitude towards your role of POA and let them know what you are doing. It may give some of them the opportunity to contribute at a level which is comfortable for them (and any legitimate help will be good for you). You'll learn who the self centered ones are pretty quickly if you don't already know. And once this chapter in your life is over you'll have the personal satisfaction of knowing that you did your very best, you will be square with your Mom and God and your sibs will know what you are really made of. Best wishes.
Ka, If you peel back all the stuff with your siblings, does it come down to money? I mean are they worried that they're not going to get their 'piece of the pie' so speak? If that's the case, then address that specifically with them. Either they trust you or they don't I would think. There's a reason why the Bible says that the "root of all evil is the LOVE of money" you know.
This story is all to familiar to many of us, and it calls to mind the children's story "The little Red Hen"

WHY is it easier to complain about what someone else is doing, instead of helping? WHY is it easier to find fault with what someone has/is doing than to help. Again this children's fable comes to mind. "Who will help me, asked this little Red Hen?"

Make a list of all the tasks you HAVE been doing and tasks that need to be done on an ongoing basis. THEN, have a family meeting (online, in person, however it would work) and in this meeting define what needs to be done and ask "Who will help me......" If someone steps up to the plate, you will have some help, if no one does, then you should have some 'proof' of your asking.

There is a website that is free, and allows you to 'assign tasks' etc to family members, its a private secure service and again its free.

Lotsofhelpinghand provides this service and having used it myself I will tell you, it helped ME explain what needed to be done,and who was doing it. It also allowed family/those with assess to the website a place to add notes, concerns, messages, pictures etc, with regards to Mom's care.

I hope this helps. If it isn't accepted by your siblings, so be it. DO WHAT YOU ARE DOING, and know in your heart that you are doing the best you can with the 'help' you have. God bless you and the sibling that ARE helping!!
Thank you for the advice so far. It is helpful. I am the 5th of 6 children. I believe that some of those older have a hard time me being the one "in charge" so to speak. So I think it is a pecking order issue. I also feel that some feel that my accepting of the role of POA meant that I do everything. Maybe it is a jealousy thing, I don't know. And for the record I am treating my role of POA as a professional responsibility. I do have to think, outside the body sort of, making the decision that my mother would want, not necessarily what I would choose for myself. Isn't that the way it should be. I am just feeling exhausted and almost think that without the stress of dealing with them I could manage better. So is it necessary to include them in everything, where should a line be drawn. The final decision is mine anyway, isn't it?
If your mom trusted you with it there was a reason, Take The High Road. Do not let them pull you back to snotty juvenile behavior! Do your best, keep track and see their grasping petty behavior for what it is....grasping... petty... behavior!
Yep! You are all right! OK! I'll keep my eye on the ball and not take their crap to heart or let it change my behavior. You are all a godsend! Thank you all for all the understanding and advice! You are all like a breath of fresh air!!
I call this,"The Little Red Hen",syndrome. You ask for help and no one has the time, [just advice]. then when your parent or whoever you have cared for passes. They all are there for the "harvest" the handout. I have just come to the understanding that I have put in a lot of work, that unless you have been a caregiver no-one understands and never will. But the rewards I have gotten from good stories and time with my parents one on one. They will never have, if money and things are that important to them, they will just have to wait, because I am not done with keeping my parents alive, healthy and as happy as possible. God Bless you and keep you close.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support