Verlaine Asked July 2010

My siblings don't contribute in caring for my father, and it's causing me to be resentful. How can I deal?

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My 81 yo father spends a lot of time staying with my wife & I but my siblings contribute very little. It is causing tension in our house. My father spends 3-4 days a week with us, and we also provide meals for him when he is at home. When he is sick he moves in with us (3-6 weeks a time) unitl fit enough to go home. He makes no contribution at all, which is fine as money is not the issue for us. However, my two siblings live much closer to him and contribute very little financially go out of their way to spend time with him and it has evolved in the 3 years since my mother passed away that we'll do it all. Both siblings have 'borrowed' thousands of dollars from him over the years and never repaid him, whilst I have been financially independant of my parents (my choice). I feel growing resentment to my siblings that lately is manifesting as impatience towards Dad. I don't want to fall out with him but open communication on such topics I fear would not be well received to say the least. I would love some ideas to protect my relationship with Dad and ensure he is cared for.

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reginam194 Oct 2013
I am in a similar position. I am the eldest of four, and the only female. Two brothers live in the same town as my dad and I. My dad is in assisted living, but I handle everything else for him (finances, insurance, pick up supplies and medications, be with him for doctor visits, make doctors appointment, visit every other day, take care of any needs he has that the facility is unable to do). One of my brothers also visits, although not as often as I do. The other brother (an alcoholic) never visits him. He refuses to make any phone calls for or arrangements for my dad. I have 8 children (6 are adopted, special needs), the youngest is 5. Six still live at home. The alcoholic brother has one grown son, and a 10 year old. The other brother in town has four children still at home. All of my brothers, and I (with the exception of the alcoholic) have tried having my dad live in our homes, but for various reasons, he was unhappy (in my home, it was due to the noise level). He definitely needs to be in assisted living now, due to mobility issues, he falls frequently. My problem is that I feel that I am neglecting my children, in favor of my father. He is much more demanding than they are, and "the squeaky wheel is getting the grease." I have a lot of resentment towards him, but especially towards the alcoholic brother who refuses to do anything for my dad. A couple of years ago my dad approached the subject with me of changing his will to leave less to the alcoholic, as my dad feels very hurt by my brother's neglect and indifference. I told him I didn't think it was a good idea, it could create animosity for his children. Recently, he brought up the subject again with me, and this time, I said I could understand why he feels that way, and that if he feels that is the right thing to do, I would support it. I'm starting to think it would be more fair for my father to distribute his estate in proportion to the attention he gets from his children.
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hockeymom44 Jul 2010
agreed w/ the $$ for our parents. Since I am writing out all mom's bills and getting her groceries & meds for her, I keep ALL receipts-just in case one of them tries to accuse me of anything after the fact, I have all proof. I had one of my siblings ask me not too long ago if mom can afford to be seeing all the specialist now (prior to her moving w/ me, she never went to the doctors b/c she was afraid they would take all her $, but in fact, she needed to have $ to give to the siblings when they asked for it), and getting her hair done at the salon, my response was that this is exactly what her money is for, for HER!!!! I have also made sure that all funeral arrangements are made & paid for, something I did not like doing, but know I had to, AND, when the doctor took her driving priveleges away I had to make sure the family knew her car was being sold and the $ would be used towards her medical needs and care-they thought they could just have moms car instead. Unbelievable... These should be their Golden Years, and whatever $ they have left should be used strictly on their care & needs.
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deefer12 Jul 2010
1craftygirl, I agree with you completely. I will make sure all of Mom's $ goes to her care. There will be no inheritance for the siblings that never show up or even call to see how their mom is doing!
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1craftygirl Jul 2010
I can sooo relate. I always heard this happening with other families and honestly thought it would never happen with mine. It did. And I too have felt tremendous anamosity toward my siblings. Hurt that they actually have abandoned this tremendous responsibility and hurt that they abandoned me during all this too. I too started to take my frustration out on my mom. My mom is 80 yrs old, has A-typical Parkinsons, is wheel chair bound, has A-fibrilation, and some dementia. My husband and I have been taking care of her for 2 years in our home and it is endless and exausting. We have finally come to the conclusion that there is no changing people. The only thing we have and you have control over is how we will deal with taking care of our parent. If they are unwilling to help with the care or decision making then take them out of the equation completely. Since I have done that it has helped with my piece of mind and my relationship with my mom. I no longer cringe when my mom asks me to "Pick out a nice B-Day card for your sister/brother for me." Here's what we did, We signed my mom up for adult day care the 2 days I have off during the week so I can do what I want to do for 7 hours (community program w/transportation to and from). And we have an Aide come in to get her ready in the morning 5 days a week so I can get myself ready for the day (through elder services). Finally, we hired a Private CNA to watch my mom on Sunday mornings for 5 hours so we can go to church, out to breakfast, or whatever and we don't have to worry about someone cancelling on us last minute. Check with community programs, your local church,etc. you will be surprised how affordable and helpful they are to you. The $$ are coming out of my moms social security and savings. After all that's what it's there for. Eventually she will deplete funds and qualify for straight Medicare in the event we can no longer care for her at our home. If that day comes at least I know I did everything I could do to take care of her and I will sleep well. The rest of my siblings however will be looking for their hand out of $$ and find it actually went toward taking care of my mom NOT THEM.
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peacfrog27 Jul 2010
I can totally relate. My 2 siblings do nothing to help with mom. My one sister hasn't even come for Christmas for the last 10 years. I don't speak to her anymore and I really don't care. My brother is an alcoholic and lives with my mother for about 2 years and ran up an outrageous amount of money on my dead father's credit card because they have the same name. When I took over mom's finances as POA I had to pay these debts off. Never saw a penny from him back to mom. He also ran her car into the ground while driving on the revoked list. I hope he can live with himself. Can't trust him at all, so I would never leave mom with him. My one sister helps me thank God, but I am the primary, also the youngest girl. My sister that helps me can retire but won't, and I plan to retire in Nov which I was going to do anyway, but now I get to do it and put my retirement plans on hold until mom is no longer here. Get outside help. The invisible siblings will never step up to the plate.
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hockeymom44 Jul 2010
Ed, Your advice is wonderful, but if siblings aren't willing to help out, theres no making them do so. My siblings all run to my mother when they can't pay their bills & not once has any of them paid her back. Now that she is ill & needs us, they're not there for her. Not one of them helps out in any way shape or form. I now have POA over her & no one borrows money from her. I moved her to my state last year, but prior to that she lived within 5-30 minutes from all other family, children, siblings, grandchildren, etc...not one of them ever helped her out. But to talk to any of them today, they will give a song & dance about all the things they tried to do for her when in actuality, the only time they stopped by to see her was when they needed to borrow $$, or that once a year visit at Christmas time (which again, they never took any presents to her but expected to receive $ from her). At some point, there's just the plain fact that the one child is going to shoulder this & as hard as it may be, we have to do it. It is hard work, and the only glory is within your own heart, b/c no one else is going to give you glory for your actions-believe me! The best we can do is vent to other caregivers who know what we're going through and understand the feelings we feel and help us work through them. And pray to God that you have a supportive understanding spouse! Thankfully both my husband & I agree that this is the circle of life and we are now in the stage of our lives where it is time for us to help care for our parents. It all comes full circle.
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Eddie Jul 2010
VERLAINE:

The reason your Dad spends more time with you is because he knows your love for him is unconditional and won't cost him anything. It seems your siblings go out of their way to see him when they're strapped for cash that they have no intention of paying back, and your father knows it. If I were him, I'd run for cover too if my own children saw a big ATM sign on my forehead.

Please don't take it out on him. It's not his fault your home is apparently his only refuge. I suggest you visit your siblings so you can all arrange spending time with your Dad without the old man being used, abused, or taken advantage of in any way. He really doesn't deserve it.

By the way, before you visit your siblings ask your Dad how much money they have borrowed from him and work out a realistic payment plan. Either you'll meet static or have to listen to boo-hoo-hoo stories, but the fact remains those were loans, not gifts. Push comes to shove, take them to Judge Judy.

-- ED
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susanT8403 Jul 2010
I responded to this before but forgot to ad, please dont take it out on dad! He cant help it, it took so many years to figure the same thing out with my mom, and I had to chalk it up to, she is just a very sick woman..........and take things from there.............hope all works out for u, and dad
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tweetie1016 Jul 2010
Oh God can I relate to you. My mom passed away 6 years ago and I have been taking care of my dad until recently. My dad has always depended on me while my sister gets everything from him and more. This does bother me but I try not to dwell on it. She does absolutely nothing for him and tells me that she will do it when she wants to do it, not when she is told. I have recently had to place my dad in a nursing facility because he keeps falling in his apartment and has dementia. I feel so guilty because I cannot take care of him in my home because I do not have the space and my husband is very ill. I too have started to resent my dad but then I look at his pathetic face and I know that he depends on only me because she does not know how to care for him at all. It kills me because she has a life and I don't but I look at it this way - he took care of me when I was young and now it is my turn to take care of him. Even though he is he a facility I still don't feel like I have a life because I am always thinking about how he is even though I visit every day. My advice to you is to LET GO of your resentment towards your siblings because no matter how much I have complained about her, she is not going to change and because of my anger, I have ended up in the hospital twice in the last year. I had to make the decision of never to speak to her again because she only brings me pain when I ask her for her help with dad. I know it is hard but I put my head down on my pillow every night and feel good about what I do for my dad; your siblings cannot be feeling the same way. One day they will have to pay for what they have done and I don't know what faith you believe in but God is very good to me and he will be to you. One day they are going to be in the same position and no one will be there for them. Good luck and I will pray for the good Lord to continue to give you strength.
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hockeymom44 Jul 2010
dstevenson, I am so sorry to hear you're going through so much right now. The dementia in itself is so difficult to deal w/. My mom has it as well and there are days she says the meanest things and it is all I have to remain calm and rational myself. She doesn't remember saying or doing those things and will apologize profusely if told what she said. It has to be very frustrating for them as well, imagine not knowing things from day to day, moment to moment. It sounds as though your mother's doctor should be able to manage her a little better (at least one would hope), Is she on any meds for depression or anxiety? I am always telling my husband that I do not want to live the way my mother is living, it has to be horrible. You are going through your own personal things and that makes it hard for you to take care of her, which I would think causes more stress than any of us can imagine. I still think your mother's doctor should be able to step in somehow and help out. My mom's doc has ordered in nurses and aids to come 2 times a week (after hospital stays) and medicare covers that until the nurses deem her well enough to be on her own (last time they came in for nearly 3 months). If a social worker was to see how she is acting she can help you/her w/ a decision to get her into a facility. Now, this has been my experience and would hope that you will get help from outsiders as well. My family does not help at all w/ my mom, and believe me, I know where you're coming from with that. But as far as your other personal and health issues I pray that will improve for you.
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