While the care of my aging parent is consuming my entire life and taking away any amount of freedom, time or joy (I still work full time also)....there is nothing worse than siblings who refuse to help, and deny the real needs, and go on about their lives status quo. It's all giving me a huge wakeup call, in hindsight, about so many things. I'm not sure if the larger burden is actually my LO, or the painful realities about my family that are staring me in the face.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
I would never had cared for my parents without having the POA. If Dad has the money, then sis needs to hire someone to help in his care it should not all fall on you.

I am one of three, the oldest and the girl. I also chose to stay where I was raised so I had full care of Mom and POA. Brothers just gave me the reins. I made all the decisions. I was the one here and dealing with Mom.

Consider yourself then, an only child. You just cannot change others.
Have you directly asked for help. Have you asked for help with particular things. Like a specific appointment for your Mom? Like a week of respite? Like a few meals? Like shopping? Like outings for your parent?
If you and you have been told no, then understand they will not participate in the caregiving journey. You are free then to make your own decisions for your own future, and for the good and safety of your aging parent.
I am really sorry, but this is a fact of life you should discuss thoroughly with siblings. Know where they are and what you can expect, and then just drop it from your list of frustrations. There's enough on your plate.
I wish you the best.

I understand exactly how you feel. The odd thing about my situation is she adores the ones that don't help and treats me and my husband poorly. It's the weirdest thing. However, I'm pretty much done. Either they help or it won't get done. I am at the point, I can't keep caring. I'll call DSS if someone doesn't step up to the plate. Best of luck to you!

dear OP :),

hug!! :)

as far as i understand:
-your father has mild dementia (undiagnosed). lucid. appears normal to others.
-your sister has POA and refuses to hire caregivers/sitters to give you a break.

-you’ve probably already thought of this, so maybe there’s some other obstacle i don’t know about:
-your father (since he’s still lucid) can easily revoke your sister as POA. all he has to do, is email her (or send a normal signed letter), that he revokes her as POA. email is OK. he can also send an sms, to make sure she saw the email. he doesn’t need her approval to revoke her. he doesn’t need to give a reason for revocation.
-if there are institutions (banks, etc.) that have the POA, then inform them the POA has been revoked.
-he can then create a new POA with a lawyer, naming you as POA. then you have access to funds and can hire sitters if you like.
-it’s a good idea to state explicitly in the new POA: this new POA revokes all previous POAs.
-in order to give the new POA to the bank, your father will physically need to go to the bank with you. normally he must sign more papers at the bank, confirming you’re the new POA.
-incapacity (for example, when someone is no longer allowed to sign a POA because of dementia), is very low: i mean, the level of someone’s cognitive ability must be verrry low, to be considered incapacitated. if your father knows his name, speaks normal sentences, can hold a conversation, remembers his birthday, you’ll be able to make a new POA. the sooner, the better.
-in any case, incapacity can only be decided in court. this is to protect the person. as much as possible, someone is deemed able to make their own decisions, is allowed to sign a POA, etc.
-make the new POA durable (not springing). this way it’s effective the moment he signs it.

you said OP, your father refuses outside assistance. then you can say, you have a friend (instead of a stranger) who wants to help you out.

you can explain the situation’s killing you: you helping alone. and your friend wants to make sure you don’t die.

you said, your father refuses to shower. typical dementia.

the LO of a friend of mine was the same. but when they hired a caregiver, it stopped being a problem. the LO does what the caregiver asks. cooperative.

hopefully, maybe, your father would cooperate more, with non-family (not you, his daughter, asking him to do things).

you said you have unhelpful, toxic siblings. i understand. and it’s a very bad situation to be in.

less contact, the better.

as you said, you’d rather be an only child.

another technique a loving son used to finally get his mother to shower was:

tell his mother, there’s a new law (the son even prepared flyers of the new law, and posted it on walls around the house) (he also gave her copies of the flyers in her hand).

the new government law is that:
from now on if one doesn’t shower, one has to pay $250, or go to jail.

she thought the new law is really stupid, but she didn’t want to go to jail, so she started showering.


hugs OP.

i hope things improve, for you, for all of us, having a hard time.

bundle of joy :)


dear beatty,

hug :).

just commenting on what you said:

"Get that extra support set up to lighten your load."

like hiring sitters...
i agree.
the thing is, in the end, as for many things in life, it depends on how much money you have.

more money = more choices on how to solve the problems.

and then there are those problems that can't be solved by non-family members. some things are confidential/private/administrative/financial, etc...some problems can only really be solved by family members.


in any case, yes sure, i agree with delegating work if possible.
but many people are in situations where, for whatever reason (lack of money, lack of trustworthy/competent alternatives, etc.), it's not really possible.

courage, everyone!
and make sure you live your life too!! :)

have a nice saturday everyone!! :)

I get having your say. I also get being frustrated or down about the non-helpers.

I want to highlight this part of what Countrymouse wrote;

"What support would really help?
If you can't get it from them, where else might you find it?"

This. Get that extra support set up to lighten your load.

I've been on both sides of the me helper - not sibs & vice versa now. It's really quite interesting.

My take is that people get stuck in the 'family must help family' idea. Passed down through the generations right? Helped us all survive the flood, famines, wars. But there are also other options - *non-family helpers*. Let's face it, not all family members are cut out to be helpers! Just like we are not all cut out to be accountants, lawyers or podiatrists (no offence!)

Not enough aunties to babysit? You hire a babysitter. Same concept.

That was told to me by a wonderful Irish nurse. She said something like "Family is grand. But you also need the village".

dear countrymouse :),

hug! :)

"there are the siblings who sabotage and undermine and snipe"


siblings who harm through inaction...
and action (sabotage, snipe, etc.)...

as i mentioned, i think - some - bad siblings actually want to speed up the dying process! :( :( :( :(
if you look at their behavior (sabotage, verbal attacks, totally stressing out the helping-sibling...), it does seem like it, for - some - siblings.

also, i want to point out:
even their inaction can be very damaging (not just to the LOs), but to yourself, in the sense that being ignored by your siblings (let's say you give updates during emergencies, and they can't be bothered to care, respond)...IS damaging.

being ignored causes stress, depression, etc.

an evil/simple way of trying to destroy/torture someone, is to ignore them.

be careful.
and if possible, cut bad people out of your life.

Ooh, there is, you know. Something worse, that is, than siblings who don't help and don't see the needs (because they haven't looked properly) - there are the siblings who sabotage and undermine and snipe. If yours do nothing worse than go into hiding whenever you could do with support then believe me you have blessings to count.

What does your parent feel about her/his children's absence? - is that an issue?
What support would really help?
If you can't get it from them, where else might you find it?
Are you actually disappointed in any of these individuals? - sometimes it's the dislocation between expectations and reality that hurts.

Sandy, many women posters have found that one child in the family (usually a son) was always the golden one, did less of the chores, and got more of the opportunities. And to make it worse, parents still treat THEM as the golden ones, not the daughter who is doing all or most of the work. It’s part of hundreds of years of sexism, and unfortunately it can’t be wiped out when we want.

Like all of sexism, we want it to change, but we know that it’s a fight that’s hard to win, and easy to lose. Finding a balance and some peace of mind is really hard. Pity our ‘sisters’ in the past, who got it even harder.

Perhaps the best option is to have a meeting, or write a letter, setting out what you can and can’t do, and the results of your decision. ‘Mother will be going into a NH when her name comes up on the waiting list if I can't ....’ is hard to ignore, and there is at least a chance that it will lead to a better discussion.

We are all different. It is not in me/never WAS in me to do hands on, 24/7 caregiving. But if I had chosen that for myself, I wouldn't expect my sibling to, and in fact would think that the sibling made the wiser choice. I was a nurse and I loved it, but I could work 12 hours maximum 3 days a week and was paid a bundle of money to do it; I could never have done it 24/7.
I am so sorry. It is a rude wakeup call. Perhaps get together with the siblings and ask if there is any help they can/are willing to consider, that you need. Otherwise, tell them, you are becoming smack up upon your human limitations, and may need to put Mom into care so as to reclaim your life.
I wish you the very very best.

I *am* an only child. It is stressful to be THE ONE to make every decision and to be "on call" 24/7 without a break. However, I completely agree with you that there are also serious benefits to being an only child. I know people whose siblings are at odds all the time about care for their elderly parents. As an only child, you don't have to wait for siblings to agree or discuss every little thing that happens to make sure you are on the same page. I certainly seek and receive input from my husband, friends, etc. but ultimately, all decisions are my own. I have financial and healthcare DPOA. There is some liberty that comes with being an only child for real.

oh, and

7. some non-helping siblings contact the parents a little bit, hoping this way they don't get cut from the will...and or/ so they don't look totally horrible.

hugs!! :)
i think mannny of us can empathize, and are in the same situation.

some points here...
1. i prefer to know the truth (for example, the truth about my 3 brothers' real character, true nature). my parents' emergencies/etc. have shown me who my brothers really are. they're awful people. ok. that's terrible. but i prefer to go through life, knowing that, than living with the false belief that they're ok people.
all sorts of scenarios popped up (medical and other) that showed me who they are.

2. don't worry. i'm sure karma (or whatever you want to call it) exists.

3. if necessary, cut them out of your life.

4. non-helping siblings are not only neglecting their parents --- they're neglecting YOU. these non-helping siblings normally never/hardly say, "thank you!"... "how are you, helping-sibling?"..."i'm sorry. i don't want to help our parents, but as a result, every problem lands on you. i don't even want to help look for a facility, i don't want to do ANYTHING. that means, EVERYTHING lands on you. i'm sorry, helping-sibling."

5. some non-helping siblings (i'm not saying all) are waiting for the parents to die.

some people are truly awful.
while helping-sibling is busy saving their parents' lives...the non-helping siblings never express thanks, or "thank God you saved them! I'm soooo happy they're alive!!"...
sometimes, the reason is that THEY'RE WAITING for the parents to die.


6. again, don't worry. karma exists. even though it looks like people get away with things...

The definition of anger is "an unmet expectation". Many, many of us expect family and siblings to rally around to contribute an equal amount to the care of our elders, only to be shocked and gravely disappointed and then angry. That being said, no one can be assumed into a caregiving role and your siblings are under no moral or ethical obligation to care for their parents (and morality means their own, not yours).

So, you need to decide if you can come to having peace in your heart to being the only caregiver.

Next, are you able to be the only caregiver? Do you have PoA for one or both of them? If so, then you also have the ability to be the only one to make decisions in their (and your) best interests. You do not need to have any input or consensus about their care with your siblings. The caregiving arrangement only works if it works for both the care receiver and giver. If it is onerous to you, you must find other solutions before you burnout.

You can choose to keep going along the same path down a road of bitterness, or to make changes. If you are not the PoA, then this is an issue. If no one is their PoA you must work to convince them to assign this responsibility to someone, and the logical person right now is you (if you want to keep managing and providing their care). Please do this before they enter cognitive decline, or they may not be legally able to assign a PoA at that point. I wish you much clarity about boundaries with your siblings, wisdom to decide how you wish to move forward and peace in your heart no matter how it all resolves.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Start a Discussion
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter