I can't be anymore clear with my only sibling about how I need help. My mom lives with me, husband and step-son. I'm 34 and have been doing this since my mid-20's. I chose to be the sole care taker, I get that I chose that, and with that comes responsibility. But what I don't get is that I've cried to my older sister, have asked her in vulnerable times, have asked her in "normal" times, have emailed her, have talked to her, and I still can't get her to commit to 2 hours a week. This last run at it, she finally committed to Sundays, and only showed up 2 out of 4 before she said Sundays were no longer good. I'm now waiting patiently for her to possibly come up with a new date or time....She even cancelled on me so she could "go out for St Patrick's Day!" How hurtful is it for someone to tell a caregiver they can't help because they have decided to go out and do something fun !!! She has no money to financially contribute to the help I already pay for myself .... What else can I say to her that will kick her into gear? Is it too late? DO people change? Should I just save myself the upset and look to other sources at this point?

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
If the answer to Chicago1954's question is "not all that badly" and/or "better than she treats me" then print this off and mail it to her.

How does your mother treat your sister? Some people just refuse to be berated, even if it is only 2 hours a week.

My friend went to visit her Mother today and it was an hour of getting griped at. She left there sick to her stomach.

Hi 34michelle, wow- that is too bad about your sister!! I agree with the other posts- I doubt your sister will change and you probably need to look into other sources for help. It might be worth a shot to just ask your sister why she cannot help. Maybe tell her you are no longer going to even try and get her to help as it is obvious she won't but then ask her if she can at least tell you what it is that is holding her back from helping with Mom. Maybe she will surprise you and have a good reason- or at least a reason that can help you understand more. I would ask without anger to see what she says-( and if she does give you an answer please let us know!!! So many caregivers have siblings that don't help- it would be nice to to know why sometimes). Good luck! (((((hugs)))))

You vent away, dear 34michelle! It won't change your sister, but it will let off some stress to come here and see that your situation is not at all uncommon.

And try to accept that this is Not Your Fault. It isn't that you didn't ask in the right way or give your sister multiple opportunities or explain yourself well enough.

You decided to provide care to your mother. You sister decided not to.

It is really that simple.

I try not to be judgmental in these cases, because I don't know the background. For all I know your sister was abused as a child, or neglected, or she has a mental illness herself. But you know the situation, so go ahead and feel judgmental, if that helps.

As far as taking care of Mother goes, pretend that you are an only child. Like all caregivers you absolutely need respite. You need time to yourself to recharge your batteries. You need to get out and away once in a while, and to do something other than get groceries and go to the bank!

Here is what we did for our mother: Called Social Services in our county and asked for a needs assessment. The intake worker came out and interviewed Mother, with one daughter there to make sure she didn't weave a fantasy about not needing help. The county social worker knows of a lot of resources in addition to the official county programs. For example, she recommended a non-profit organization that provides respite care for a very low fee ($4 per time, I think). And she recommended applying for Medicaid, which has a lot of benefits for persons living in the community as well as for when a care center is necessary. Remember that it is your mother's income, not yours, that determines eligibility.

1) Vent all you want about your sister's total lack of help.
2) Don't count on her. Get the help you need elsewhere.

Good luck!

This is exactly why I now have nothing to do with my sister. I wouldn't choose someone like her for a friend, why should it matter if she's related to me? How a sister or brother can just walk away when asked for help, I'll never understand. Even more though is how a daughter or son can just walk away from their parent who HAS treated them well and would be ecstatic about even a 10 minute phone call once a week, I find unforgivable. Instead, I was left to handle it all myself and nearly killed myself in the process. So I have walked away from my siblings and don't waste energy on being angry with them anymore. Still, I don't regret taking care of my dad and now can realize that 1 1/2 years after his death. I'm so sorry 34 michelle. I wish there were an easy answer. Hugs ~ Kuli

Nothing will kick her into gear. Your sister will not change. The only thing you can change is the emotional energy you are putting into wanting her to help out.

Save yourself the upset and look to other sources (your own words)- I hope you find them.

Really it sounds like you have already figured all of this out already. No need to rehash the old "you chose this, your responsibility,etc"

I am sorry that your sibling won't help you and your mom.

I am sorry that I was hated and treated poorly by my MIL for 39 years and am now the one that tries to do the things for her severely demented self that I would want done for me -if it were me in her shoes.

I am sorry for all the children who are taking care of parents that never cared for them in the same manner.

I am sorry for all of the miserable adult children who leave their siblings to carry a load that should have been shared. They are awful people- it would be awful to be them.

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