Rant about siblings!!!!!


I have three siblings but you wouldn’t know it by their level of participation in the care of our father. One sibling is a raging alcoholic and hates me. Having him involved with anything is more trouble than it’s worth and I avoid it at all costs especially since he told my father he suspects I killed our mother when she was dying from brain cancer! I have this brother blocked on my phone because he’s so venomous and toxic. I have another brother who lived in the home with my dad until recently but didn’t take part in any of his medical care, appointments, Errands etc. He cooked meals and that’s it. He refuses to help financially in equitable manner. He moved out to his girlfriends local rental about 6 months ago and today told me he is moving to live with her 10 hours away. My sister has always lived 10 hours away and hasn’t been much help with hands on stuff. She’s very supportive though. We get along great though I have been feeling more resentment toward her recently. I sent a text today informing my sister and the one sober brother that my brother is moving, Informed them that we need a plan on who is coming and when because I refuse to do this completely alone. My sister immediately responds that she will speak to her boss/HR and take FMLA leave to come here and stay one week at a time every month. My brother responds with “I’ll help however I am able”. I want to crawl through the phone and choke him!! Since his girlfriend entered the picture he has been looking for a way to run and used a fight today as his chance. He feels having lived with my parents and then my dad alone after mom died that he has had the brunt of the pressure. He lived there but I did all the care. He could be sitting right next to a parent with a need and they would call me “because you know he won’t do it”. He allowed this to happen. I told him to tell them he could help and he would simply say “I tried” and then let me do whatever was needed. I am seen as controlling by both of my brothers because I get in and do what is needed to ensure proper care. Clearly I am burning out!! Hopefully something positive happens. Thanks for listening/reading!

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BillsDaughter -

I'm sorry that you find the comments here unsupportive, but to be honest, you are in the same situation many of us have been in, and the advice offered is sound and valid.

Ever hear the old adage: 99% of the work is done by 1% of the people? It holds true in caregiving. Very, very rarely do we ever see a situation on this site where siblings all pitched in equally to help care for aging parents financially, emotionally and physically - it's usually only one that does 99% of the work, with other siblings pitching in here or there, but not enough. It's *never* enough - especially in the eyes of the one doing the 99%.

You have some decisions to make, I'd say.

Your alcoholic brother is of no use anyway. And if his ‘girlfriend’ will put up with him, she’s an alcoholic or drug addict too. A mentally healthy woman wouldn’t put up with him. Does he work? Or is that a funny joke?

Sister is at least actually stated her plan to get the ball rolling. Good for her!

Brother number three would let your dad choke to death and turn the TV up so he wouldn’t hear the gasping.

You tentatively have 1 sibling and it’s your sister. Actually be thankful for her. You two are friendly and sound close. Give her time and she’ll help in some way.

My daughter and I joke about our relationship. I say she’s ‘my sister, my daughter’ and I thank god that I was fertile for about 6 months in my youth. Her dad’s gone (yay) but my current husband #2 is a saint.

I feel fortunate.

You’re right. I do find your comments offensive and lack any support at all.

It sounds to me as though you have thrown on your superwoman cape and are p'd that your sibs want to be mere mortals. Bro will do what he can - sorry if that's not good enough but not everyone wants to shoulder the same level of care that you are committed to and you need to accept that fact. When I jumped into caregiving for my mother I knew that it was a decision I was making for ME, I had absolutely no expectation that anyone else in the family was going to help. If your situation involves an unrealistic expectation about the ability of willingness of the rest of your family to help then you are doomed to unmet needs and resentment. How long can your sister realistically sustain using up her FMLA benefits and time? Your brother has a girlfriend - although you disparage his previous contribution even his physical presence in the house was a benefit because it freed you to attend to other things, did you expect him to put his life on hold indefinitely?
I apologize because I'm certain my comments are offensive to you, but you mention that you are seen as controlling because you get the job done, perhaps they feel there are different options that you won't even consider.

When I first found this site, my dad had a stroke and became bedridden. Now, I had 2 bedridden parents and none of my 7 siblings stepped up. I guess they expected me to quit my full time job and take care of the parents for free. Well, we're not independently wealthy, and my dad's monthly income was under $26,000 year. There was no way to live on his income, pay the bills, pay for mom's monthly medical supplies, and dad's supplies.

Dad's income was low enough to qualify for the government weekly caregiver's visit in which he chose for them to come 4 times a week to sponge bath him. He also got the meals-on-wheels lunch Monday-Fridays. Even though I was a full time worker and dealing with 2 bedridden parents, a private caregiver company offered me a free voucher for shopping, movies or whatever I chose, plus 1 hour respite a week.

Yes, my dad didn't care for strangers to come in. For the respite caregiver, he just wanted them to converse with him. He didn't want them to sponge bathe him, change his Depends, etc.. He just wanted to talk. These caregivers - both the private and gov't - were very friendly. I learned a lot from them. They would enter and dad would be grouchy. It's fascinating to see they were able to get him to laugh and talk. I watched and learn.

As for siblings, it was this site that helped me to accept that I cannot force them, beg them to help. However, I learned that my nieces/nephews/oldest sis were willing to help out if I offered to pay them. All they did was literally elder sit - no other caregiving duties. Fine. You need to come to terms in your mind and heart (very very hard!!!) to let go about expecting your siblings to help. If they help, yay! Don't forget to 'reward' them if they do.

P.S... one time my baby brother visited us. My dad actually told my brother to give me his dirty laundry and I will wash it (because I'm a female - and that's what women do.) I gave my brother a mean look and told him that he can d*rn well wash his own laundry. That was the last time my dad told any of my siblings that I would be doing their laundry.

I'm a former caregiver. I have about 25 years experience - most of it was on learning curves. First times.. first time mom was violent. First time she attack while bedridden. First time to change an adult bedridden pamper (not like a baby!!! learned that first hand...) First time to deal with flesh-eating to the bone bedsore (yuck!!!). Sooo many first times in those decades. And I'm still learning when I pop in to read here once in a while.

"He could be sitting right next to a parent with a need and they would call me “because you know he won’t do it”. He allowed this to happen. "

Yes, he did allow it to happen. So did you.

But it was your *parents* who considered him the man of the house and you their gopher, bottle washer and general factotum. I wonder why..?! 🤔

Doesn't matter any more: the three of you who are steady on your feet are all getting together to make a plan. Way to go! Stop being angry with your (sober) brother, who is not doing anything unreasonable, and link arms with both siblings to make sure your parents are well supported without anybody ending up under a bus.

And to get back to the original poster, I echo jeannegibbs' questions.

Can your father afford to hire caregiving help? Also, is it time to consider out of home placement for him?

I find the former caregivers to be very helpful on this site. They don't take a defensive stance, and readily admit things they wish they had done (or, more commonly, NOT done) in their roles as caregivers. 

However, there are unfortunately former caregivers who appear to post on this site only to defend their caregiving activities, and to attempt to shame others for their feelings and caregiving activities. (One example is to call SNFs "government death camps.") Just because someone may have suffered an alcoholic abusive upbringing (and perhaps hasn't resolved those resulting issues very well), doesn't mean that person can come on to this site and bully people.

Shaking, I'm with Jeanne! This is supposed to be a support group, not a character assassination site.

Those of us who have taken the entire journey with our loved ones, from first noticing the changes that come with getting older and needing more help,  to watching them take their last breathes, have the perspective of "What I wish I'd known then" to " this is what worked for us". I'm not sure why you'd like to see us "old hands" go away?

I'm not leaving. Some people find my advice useful and as long as that's the case, I'll stick around.

Oh, and please stop being such a bully, will ya?  It's very unpleasant.

Shakingoffdust, your pet peeve is people who come here many years after they have any involvement in care giving. Could you name 4? Or even 1? I can name several who came here as active caregivers and then stayed on, to "pay back" the useful advice they received. I'm in that category. Also frequent flyer, and several other "old timers." We are people who have been through the entire journey. Yes, we have more answers at this point than we have questions. Do you really want us to go away?