Caring for mom; any feedback would be most appreciated.

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My mom had knee replacement surgery in December against my better judgment, which I plainly stated to my sister several times over the past year. Mom was in rehab for a few weeks but she has never been the same since she came out of the anesthesia. She warped speed into Alzheimer’s and dementia which I knew would happen @81 years old. One day, I find out my sister is closing down her apartment and moving my mother in with her and her husband. There was no discussion with me, no “hey this is what I’m doing I don’t care if you don’t like it“ just a sudden rushed moving and now is trying to manipulate and guilt me into rolling up my sleeves and helping on the weekends. She hired a day caregiver five days a week. My sister and her husband work a 9 to 5 Monday to Friday job. I am a flight attendant and I am never home... she is getting more frustrated with me because I don’t have a lot of time to help and when she wants me to jump in, I keep telling her I need more advanced notice than a few days to get out of a trip. If I don’t fly? I don’t get paid. I have no pension as it was tossed during BK after 9/11; I'm single, no kids and am putting max amt into my 401K, I have to work as much as possible to be able to retire at 69! I don’t want to be flying in my 70’s & 80’s as many do now! I love my mom but I wasn’t asked nor did I sign up for 24/7 care of my mom every weekend until? My sister needs to hire a weekend caregiver if her weekends are so dang important! A few friends of mine that fly have told me I need to sit down with my family and explain to them how I get paid, how important my job is, what 1001 responsibilities I have as I fly the head attendant position which has literally 1000 more responsibilities...and that I’m not getting on an airplane and flying overseas and then having days off to sightsee and then fly home. I have a 2-3 hour drive 1 way to work, I have to pull up necessary paperwork for all my flights; brief my flight attendants, my pilots, the agents, make sure all safety equipment is available & working, that my plane is equipped with lav supplies, the galleys are stocked correctly, the plane is clean, we board on time, leave on time, deal with seat dupes, sick people, lost items, answering questions, stowing everyone’s carry one; dealing with inflight emergency’s; write reports; liaison with the pilots the entire flight; land, get off, find our next gate, do it all over again and I am flying domestic flights two sometimes three segments per day loading, offloading, 300 people per flight. Plus the different times zones, getting up on the East Coast at 4 AM which is 1 AM Pacific time, working a 12 hour duty day, then getting to another hotel with just enough time to shower maybe work out and sleep. If I don’t fly, I don’t get paid. I have to bring my own food as airport food is too expensive & too unhealthy...There’s just so much that my job entails I’m hoping that my sit down with my sister and her husband in the next few days can bring some relief off my shoulders because I feel Guilty however my flying is my job and my career. People that do not fly or are not in the aviation industry or the military, do not understand what my job entails. The girl I worked with today, I talked her ear off but she understands because she is also being a caregiver to her mom but she’s married and has her husband's support Any feedback would be most appreciated. Thank you

14 Comments

Don't make excuses to sis. Just tell her you will not be able to help. Offer when you can.
Flygirl, thanks for all you do for your customers! I don't fly often but when I do I really admire and appreciate the flight attendants. I think most people feel the same way, despite other complaints you hear about air travel. Your description of your particular set of duties made me feel tired just reading about it!

I totally agree with Glad no need to explain all this to your sister. You're right, she should not have assumed you would become her regular weekend caregiver without asking you, and it is not doable with your type of work. Sister should set up weekend care (using mom's money, of course). It may be that your sister needs to rethink this situation that she rushed into without input from you.
Dear Flygirl,

I am sorry to hear about your conflict with your sister regarding your mom's care. I know we call come at these things differently. I would try and acknowledge to your sister that she is doing the best she can for your mom. But also tell her that although you love mom and her for trying to care for mom, based on your workload you are not prepared to take on the weekends. I don't know if would help to have a mediator or another friend or family member also in on this conversation.

I too decided to care for dad at home. But my siblings decided they could not and would not do as much. I did have a lot of anger and resentment with my siblings. In hindsight, I really needed to alter my expectations.

It might be that your mom will need be placed into a good nursing home if this becomes too much for your sister and her husband. Be open to discussing this with your sister as openly and honestly as possible.
You have no need to explain your job to sis. She doesn't care. She has bitten off more than she can handle.

Feel no guilt in saying " no, I can't do that".
It seems as if you feel guilty for not agreeing to weekend care - even though your job does not accommodate that. Your sister went and made plans for mom's care without consulting you and is now feeling overwhelmed - that is on sister. If your sister is finding mom's care too much on weekends - she needs to either hire help with mom's money or have her care needs met in a nursing home. You should not feel guilty at all.
Wow thank you everyone for your uplifting comments...I’m going up to my sisters house tomorrow night so we can have “a meeting”...I’m writing bullet points to describe my job and why I cannot commit to helping care for my mom..I just got back from a flight (DC) yesterday ...pick up was at 0615 so I was up at 0200 CA time. By the time I landed, got to my car, drove home, unpacked, washed my uniform, repacked, went for my 1:6 mike power walk, checked mail, it was approximately 7pm before I sat down (10pm Eastern time) I had been up over 20 hours...a typical 3+ Work day for me; normally I’d be flying out again tonight but I have “today” off. I need a lot of sleep because people fly sick and I used to always catch it, but have learned a lot of tricks over the years...rest being high on my list...p,ease keep your feedback coming....

Should I show/share all this with my sister? My initial post and all your posts?
Given that you and your sister are still working, this is all on her. She’s the one who acted unilaterally taking mom in, being the martyr.

Mom would probably be better off in assisted living. You should not be in a defensive position here. Your sis needs to defend and justify her actions.

Don’t get hung up on explaining to her the demands of your job. She pulled this stunt. She owns it.
I would try to maintain confidence in your decision. This is a very serious commitment. AND EVEN if you didn't have a demanding job, I wouldn't commit to hands on care every weekend either. It's much more involved and demanding than most people envision. Your sister may be understanding this now.

Have either of you researched to see how the progression is going to go? Considering how physically demanding and stressful it is......I'd read a lot about the progression, incontinence, lack of mobility, confusion, agitation, etc. and explore all options. If funds are available, why not get professional care in the home. Then, when you can visit, you can be there with mom as her son, to love and comfort her. You don't have to be a hands on caregiver to contribute and show your love.

I would encourage you to read a lot of experiences around here. You'll see what I'm talking about. I tried hands on caregiving for a short time, while working full time and OMG.....I lost a ton of weight, suffered multiple health crisis, and went into anxiety overload. Think hard before you commit.
I wouldn't show our comments to your sister. That will only make her defensive. We're just outsiders looking in, so I doubt that will help you to convince her. She would only feel ganged-up on. I also wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to explain your schedule. If she didn't consult with you at all before she moved your mom, she doesn't really care about your schedule or how this fits with your life.

I'd just be very firm in saying you HAVE to work and with your schedule, you CANNOT do weekends. That's all to say about that unless SHE presses you for details. After you say you can't help, then immediately transition into, "So what do we do now?" Talk about mom's finances and getting in outside help for the weekend. Or considering placement if there's no money for outside help.

Realize that sis is going to be defensive. So try to keep it as low-key as possible so that you don't immediately get into an arguing mode, where neither side listens to the other. I'd also start with you realize that sister did what she thought was best for mom (even though she SHOULD have consulted you for sure). Let her save face in that way. But let her know that you love mom too. She made a big mistake and now you need to work together to solve it - just don't tell her that, LOL. Good luck and please let us know how it goes.
Going with a bulleted list about your job is only trying to justify yourself. You do not need to do that, nor should you. She would only find a way to defend her position of needing your help, try to make you feel guilty. Just telling her with your work schedule you just cannot assist with weekends but will offer when you are able.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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