Any suggestions on getting siblings to help with mom?

Follow
Share

Hello


My husband and I have been caring for my mother (she is living with us) for 2 years now.


I have 8 siblings. Some do help a little, but for the most part 95% is on us! Mom is needing more help physically and the resentment I have towards them and the freedom they have is eating me up! I want more help, or one of them can have mom move with them (never happen) last resort is to have the nine of us sit with Mom and talk about assisted living!

Find Care & Housing
9

Answers

Show:
Patchouli - I totally relate to your frustration and resentment, especially when your siblings start talking about their vacations and plans and how it's "our time" now. It often happens that the first sibling to step up is viewed by the others as having volunteered for the full load of caregiving, no matter how long it goes on or how much the parents' needs increase.

It seems that your siblings don't have any innate sense of fairness and equity that would motivate them to try to share the burden more equally. (Only one of my six siblings had any such sense). It seems like you and your husband have done everything you can do to try to enlist the siblings' cooperation (I'm quite impressed with that Google calendar idea!) Is it possible to enlist your mother to help in the effort? Could you say to her "Mom, it's really tough when you need to go to the doctor on days I have to watch the grandchildren. Could you call [sis][bro] to take you next Thursday instead?" Maybe that's putting a lot on her, but it's putting a lot on you every time you either have to find your own replacement or do it yourself.

I totally agree with the family meeting idea, if everyone lives close enough to come. The problem is that recalcitrant people may not cooperate with that either. The first time I tried to call a family meeting, one sister refused to even respond to my message, saying that she resented feeling like she was being summoned. Another time, everyone quickly agreed that Mom should be in assisted living, then promptly concluded the meeting and left, with no follow-through on how to select a facility and how to pay for it. Another time, my request was deflected by the assurance that "There are plenty of drivers here. There will always be someone who can take Mom." My experience was also that if I complained too much about the burden of Mom's needs, the siblings got angry and blamed me for creating conflict with them. So unfortunately, I can't be too encouraging. But I can certainly relate!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to CarlaCB
Report

The current arrangement suits 8 of the 9 siblings, so you have been overruled. It's all on you to take care of your mother.

So...are you willing to do what you must to change the situation?

Just curious...is your mother contributing anything for her room and board/care?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to CTTN55
Report

Thank you for suggestions
to answer some questions,
my mother is 83 dad passed 8 years ago. She remained in the house we grew up in for6 years. Slowly declining and falling a lot. We were spending more time at her house then our own! ( well 4 out of 9) I aske her if she would consider trying to stay with me for a weekend and to my surprise she want to come that day!!!! It was crazy my husband and I got crazy busy getting a spare bedroom with attached bathroom ready and so it went... over the first few months our son helped put ramps in and I had a chair lift put in ( mom has ver bad arthritis in hips and legs- balance is bad.) then it was a revolving door of visiting on Sunday s my husband and I ha 5 grown children and one of the things we loved was every Sunday was family dinner and they would all come over ... that has stopped but maybe once a month as it is exhausting with all the company ( which has slowed down) I did ask for help , suggesting dr appointments and taking mom out.... everyone seemed to back off... when my mom was at her house different ones would have her to dinner ( not any more) I watch my 2 granddaughters, 4&6 and have many times taken mom and 4 year old to dr appointments ( 4 year old eaiser) I have a sister dosn’t work and asked if she could look at the calendar ( my husband put a google calendar for all together to see mom’s needs) to schedule her visit so she could take mom( no way, she come 20 min every Wednesday and that’s it!) it is hard to let her in my house I have a sister 1 mile away and nothing !! I have people coming to my house sharing their plans of traveling saying “ it’s our time now” hard to listen to! Everyone lives close by and I do get a little help from 3 , but they have even gotten relaxed...
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Patchouli07
Report
Ahmijoy Aug 13, 2018
Ok, if you have tried and tried to get family to help and they are ignoring you, then you need to take it to the next step. If you want any sort of life, you need to find a place for Mom. Did you mention if you have POA? One can be gotten from Legal Zoom. I did it that way and it was inexpensive and easy. Your family has left it all up to you. They obviously think you’re kidding when you’ve talked about AL for Mom. Show them you’re not.
(2)
Report
Patchouli, you didn't mention the family dynamics and relationships you have with one another, as it does make a big difference! Do all siblings live nearby? Do you all get along for the most part? Are they all loving towards their Mom, and visit her regularly? Does your Mom have her own living space in your home, where they can visit with her privately, as sometimes it is nice where siblings can have alone time with their Mom, and not have you bandying about.
I come from a close knit family of 6 kids, I know, they rarely exist, but our parents in the end, were very ill, one with a Parkinson's like disease (PSP), and Our Mom with Uterine Cancer.

As our parents aged, we all helped them to downsized from our Big family home, to an apartment, then to my one sister's attached MIL, and when our Dad passed away during Mom's Cancer treatment, Mom them went to live with my eldest Sister and ultimately on Hospice care in her home, but all throughout we were all there for our parents and each other, and we could Always rely on each other, period!

We all played to our strengths as their needs changed, the bill payer, and everything banking, ppwk and legal stuff, my 2 brother's were ramp builders, cable runners, fix it, entertainment and comic relief, one sister cooked and cleaned, did shopping and overall organization. Another sister did medication management, and help with ADLS and food prep, and I was the medical go to, taking them to Dr Appointments and keeping track of their medical care, but we all cross covered, giving the ones they lived with, Respite and did caregiving, and frequent visits to give them time with their families. We were a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn't be more proud of how Everyone stepped up to help and supported them and each other, so I know it can be done, with the right intentions and positive attitudes.

Begin your meeting with a positive energy, showing appreciation for what they have done, and what the can do for THEIR MOM in the future. Explain how difficult things have become with Mom, how exhausting it has become for you that your family life is suffering, and how Your Family NEEDS support to keep Mom put in your home, otherwise you will have no option but to eventually place Mom into Senior Care, either Assisted Living, or Nursing home, depending on her abilities to function.

Tell them how Great it would be if they All stepped up even a little, and if they could Sign On and Commit to a certain amount of assistance to Mom And You, it would make your life a whole lot easier! Explain Caregiver Burnout, that it is Real, and that you and you r family are Suffering! If there I'd a financial burden, then explain that too!

Make up a list, and place copies of it for all to look over, then have a MASTER LIST that they can fill in. Tell them that this list is a trial, that can and will change as Mother's needs change, such as chores added, but once committed, that you will Expect them to fulfill their part in it. Ask for suggestions, on how You All can make Mom's life Happier and more enriched, after all she is Everyone's Mom, and she deserves Love and Attention in her waning years, that she Misses them, and how you would Really appreciate their help in this.

Well, that's my take, I know that there are fractured families out there, but if you cannot come together for the betterment of Mom's life, and help out her main Caregiver too (thatsYou!), then that would really Suck! You never know until you Ask, and who knows, it may just make you all closer in the end.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar! Good Luck!

P.s., we had my FIL living with us for 13 years, with NO help from my husband's 2 siblings, so I know it can go both ways, sometimes family just Sucks!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to staceyb
Report

A family meeting is pretty much required with all hands on deck and a printed agenda to boot. I asked for no spouses to be there, but one brother brought his wife---that was the sticky wicket right there.

If you all get along famously, then go forward with a list of concerns and questions. Get everyone to the table (literally) and explain what you're going through and how much more care Mom needs--they aren't going to be surprised.
If you have "rogue" family members--ones who are going to be hard to talk to--get a moderator to sit in and coordinate. I know my therapist would have been happy to do our herself or recommend someone. I was stupid enough to think our family could talk openly and honestly and come up a plan to help my YB, who is mother's primary CG. Well--EPIC fail.

Everyone gets 5 minutes to make their "opening statement" and then you roundtable with questions and possible solutions.

With a family of 9---I would HOPE that between the 9 of you and mom's SSI, you could afford to have her in an ALF. Or possibly hiring 2-3 day a week respite in home care. Then none of you is being overly used up. If you WANT to keep mom in your home, with help from sibs, I wish you all the luck in the world. This ONE fairly simple-to mend "problem" caused a huge fight in my family, and my MIA sibs went deeper undercover, I was summarily dismissed from helping AT ALL, as my YB felt I was making mother "worse". He's NOT her POA, she does not require one, but he is a bully, and that's far worse.

The best you can hope for is all 9 of you making and keeping CH schedules. You will still find yourself with the lion's share as mother LIVES with YOU....but hopefully you can get the others to see the need for care and step up. It won't hurt to ask.

But do be prepared for some of your sibs to "disappear" as they have been to date.

Ask them. straight out--what can and WILL they do to help? I have one sister who will write you a check for any amount as long as she doesn't have to actually DO anything. And that works. I didn't mind the PT caregiving and cleaning, errands, etc., but I DID hate the intrusive and accusatory tone my brother would take with me if I ever questioned a single thing he did/said. My mother wants to move out of his home now and into one of the other sibs' homes and that just is not going to happen.

By being a real jerk and not playing "nicely" YB shot his own foot off. Nobody will go up and help mother. He won't allow it. So now he has 100% of her care, he will not allow us to hire outsiders to do ANYTHING. Mom can, but won't override his decisions.

I wish you all the best in this decision. Really. It's going to be an eye opener.
(Sorry I sound so negative---just been down this road s few too many times and it always ends up the same---our family is totally fractured.)
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

they may offer to help if you make that push. but then they slooowly get lazy and go back to their old ways. then back to square one. do the research for the assisted living facilities so that you are prepared to make your case. figure out costs and finances.
Make sure you mention how much 'help' you have received in TWO years. if what you are doing is SO EASY then why cant they do their part??

even if she goes to assisted living there are still things that someone will need to do.

if they put up a big fight about AL then pull out a typed up agreement with your demands for help and make them sign up agreeing to come over such and such time for X amount of hours. or get designated person to do dr, dentist, eye, ect appts. and grocery shopping. clothes and personal needs shopping. PLUS they don't help, then they don't get an opinion about AL

if they still put it on you, you should have a caregiver agreement and get paid for what you are doing. I hope you are not doing everything for free.

does your mom have any dementia? how old is your mom?

make your demands heard and do not back down....

edit. if you need to write them all emails. make your case. if no response - or negative reaction. then do as you see fit.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wally003
Report

I think getting that many adult family members together at one specific time is going to be difficult. Especially if they get wind of WHY you’re calling a family meeting. Everyone will suddenly have something to do for any dates you pick. These people are content to let you carry the load called Mom. But I agree. Ranting to a website isn’t going to help much. You need put on your big girl panties and speak frankly with these people and tell them it’s time for them to pitch in more than 5%.

Sit it down and write a letter. A copy to each sib. Hopefully sent certified mail so you know they got it. You know none of them is going to step up and enthusiastically say Mom can come live with them. If that were true they already would have. But they know how much work it is. So, devise a schedule. If you don’t want to bop Mom around from one house to the other, have them come to your home for respite care. Mom may enjoy getting out, however all her supplies are probably at your home. If any of your sibs or their spouses do not work, then schedule them for the whole day. A sib who works can come by after work so you and hubby can go out for dinner and a movie. Weekends are fair game but not-negotiable. One day a weekend is your’s. They can fight amongst themselves to schedule those.Tell them if no one steps up, you will pick a day and Mom will magically appear in their doorstep. Hubby can go to a ballgame and you can go to the Mall. Whatever.

The other alternative is to research AL’s and get enough brochures to send each sib a copy. Enthusiastically tell them “This is where we’ve chosen for Mom to go!” Of course they are welcome and invited to go on these tours with you and Mom. If you find they begin to “beg-off” on their scheduled daycare days tell them the move to AL is a given. Do you have POA? If not, someone needs to step up for that.

Stand up for yourself and tell mostly MIA sibs the story of how the future is going to be and they are going to join the cast of Main Characters.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

I agree, family meeting is needed. At that time you explain how Mom is declining. That because of this she needs care that you will not be able to give. So, its time they all pitch in, or Mom will need to go to an assisted living.

Don't whine that they get to do what they want and you can't. Wait for the right time and then mention that you have had her for two years and it would be nice to have a break. If a sibling says they r willing to have her, let them. But, remember what you have been thru and be willing to help. Don't lower yourself to their level.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

I don't blame you. How did you end up being the one to end up with all of the caregiving responsibilities?

I think having the nine of you getting together is a fine idea. And what's wrong with moving your mother into assisted living?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to CTTN55
Report

Related
Questions