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She is 91, very healthy and independent and has agreed to fly down to stay with them. They are reluctant to have her down at this time because they claim they are too involved with their jobs. They're also upset that we didn't travel to their city for a recent family get together. We didnt go because my mom refused to go and my mother-in-law became quite ill and required hospitalization. My sister-in-law's husband is in the first stages of Alzheimers, so her mom's care fell on my wife's shoulders. My wife works for a school system, so our window of opportunity is extremely small. Since we married 27 years ago, we have been my parents primary caregivers. We've included them in our daily family lives including the raising of our two kids. My siblings have never had to care for any elderly in-laws and have pretty much came and went as they pleased. Am I wrong to expect some respite?

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RKO:

If your mom can care for herself, I'd hire someone trustworthy (preferably a long-time neighbor) to keep an eye on her just in case. Leave your cellphone # for emergencies ONLY, and explain to your mom that you must have some R&R. She'll understand.

Also, it sounds to me like your siblings don't want to be bothered with Mom, so they're making all kinds of excuses. Forget them. Don't stoop to their level, and be polite every time they call or come by. Your kindness will make them feel so guilty they just might be inclined to keep company with the woman who brought them to the world.

Enjoy your vacation my friend, and keep us posted.

-- ED
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Geeg - YOU are an absolute GEM. Good for you!!!

In so many ways, though I wished so long for help, in that their heart is not in it I just can't imagine either of my siblings providing 10% of what I do... and I simply 'do the right thing'. Nothing extra-ordinary - nothing making me 'worthy' - just the right thing by my Mom.

The two times in five plus years (until today I thought it was four - maybe I'm catching up to Mom) it was a nightmare getting things back to normal. And with respect to the very, very, very, very rare short, short, short, short visits - I too was happy when they finally left. Even after a few hours.

In any case - enough of that.

Your husband has a great catch, indeed!!! Good for him and good for you. With respect to him becoming more emotionally affectionate, you may wish to review a part of my Site that deals with the VITAL importance of our providing uplifting emotional content. I really think that's the principle key to our ability to provide better than average care. After all, they LIVE not by intellect or reason, but by their emotions. (Sorry, I've been forbidden to link the Site here, but as I understand it - suggesting it is OK - Look at my Profile)

God Bless you and yours...

V
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Dear V: what you say is so true and I am learning that. Family and friends alike have absolutely no idea what we are going through. No one can possibly know unless they are in this situation.

I'm not a very tactful person as well. My Mother always said that my other sister was the diplomatic one. Well, I'm happy with my personality and have found it to be crass at times but then again I don't care. If people (family in particular) don't know me by now, then they either don't want to or don't get it. Not my problem.

I take care of my Husband whom I love dearly. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Life wasn't supposed to turn out this way. He is the love of my life and each day I see him deteriorating more and more. The "stare" gets me. I wonder what he is thinking or if he is thinking at all. He has become more emotionally affectionate than he has ever been. I feel that in his own way he is saying things that need to be said before he passes away. I enjoy most of our time together because I do love him so much. But at certain times the frustration is difficult. I literally cannot imagine a family member trying to take my place even for a week. We have no children and he has one living sibling who is worthless if you ask me. Funny, their Mother and all of her sisters and her brother died of Alzheimers. I believe there were 6 of them total. I never knew his Mother, only his Father. But his Father took care of his Mother until the night she died in their home.

I seem to be rambling which is so easy to do when you don't have anyone to talk to. Most of our "so-called" friends have disappeared - fear of the unknown I suppose. My siblings are spread all over the states. They all adore my husband but don't quite know what to do. It is a tough situation but I am here for his every want and need. I wouldn't have it any other way.

After the visit from his sister a few months back (and her husband) I told myself that I have to stand my ground. Their visit was a nightmare. I was so glad when they left a day early and so was my husband.

So yes, we have to be tough for our afflicted loved ones. I don't give a good you-know-what if someone thinks they have a better way - it's my way or the highway in this case. I am not here to take suggestions.

So thanks V for your great posting. My sister-in-law took care of my brother who died of cancer a few years ago and she is in constant touch with me. Now I understand what she went through with "us" - the clueless family.

Regards, Geeg
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RKO, I'm glad it worked out for you. I haven't had a break in over 5 years and like Vernon, believe my siblings can do but won't. Here's to your next vacation!
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I've always been known as the type of guy who is less tactful than I probably should be. (Not the best way to, 'Win Friends and Influence People.) Still, I don't mind the identification because I've always believed that truth is paramount to everything. From my perspective, if truth is not held foremost, all paths to follow or conclusions arrived at are found to include a large amount of either outright fluff or at the very least holding very little honorable value.

That said, some people are surely made up of less 'grit' than others. And they must be given their due when/if they are trying to be supportive, but due to their make-up and try as they might... just can't.

All that to say that in my limited experience, when my siblings attempt (five years worth of constantly attempting) to escape their responsibility... it is not a matter of ignorance and has little to do with their make-up. They simply don't want to be bothered. They are people whom I've identified on my WebSite (not by name) as people who, while speaking all the right flowery words... simply 'love-less'. And are happy to reside in that state of being. More bluntly, they could care less about their Mom's current state of being and will not help to support it's positive progression. After all, big brother is taking care of it.

Though it likely appears as though I'm ragging on them, these words are more to help those in this same predicament to strive to not only toughen up to the degree possible and diligently search to find a degree of respite not found within their own families, but moreso, to try to focus on that which we sometimes lose sight of because of the enhanced stress as time goes along and the disease worsens. That thing we have a tendency to lose sight of is the internal wonderful rewards one can only find through caring for a loved one who is solely dependent upon your love to enhance their existence.

When we remember to focus on that and bring it more to fruition, we tend to ever more unfold what is in a very deep sense, our reason for being.

My best...

V
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geeg54, Thanks for your comments. We who share ideas on this subject know the truth. It's not easy, many times frustrating and sometimes cannot imagine resolve. I really appreciate your support and the the support I've found from many of the folks that have responded to my query. I've concluded that some siblings are sooooooo far removed from the reality of dealing with elderly parents, that it's almost impossible for them to honestly appreciate what's going on. I guess I can understand their ignorance on the situation, but I will not let them escape their responsibility. Thanks again.
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Dear rko: Good for you. We caregivers must take a stand in our situations. We make the rules not our relatives. I found that out recently. Whomever stays with my husband from now on will abide by my rules and stick to the schedule that we follow. Otherwise, it throws the entire household out of whack. It's exactly like letting Grandma or Auntie take your young child for the day and spoiling them, then dropping them back off to you when it's not fun anymore and it takes several days to get that child back on schedule. It is not fair to you nor is it fair to your Mother. So good for you. Keep up the good work!!!
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I really appreciate all the response I got for my post. It's comforting to know that this unfortunate situation can happen to anyone. None the less, my mom went to stay with my sister and we were able to take a short trip. Since then, I've decided to retire from my job. Due to my new freedom, I have no qualms about looking out for my mom on a regular basis. However, I've made it clear that I am not giving my siblings Carte Blanc and still expect them to step up to the plate when my wife, who's still working, has free time from her school system job.
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I have had such a time with my siblings that I finally gave up. It was/is more emotionally draining for me to try to get them to 'think right' about the care of their own Mother than it was/is to simply... to a point... forget they exist for anything in life except for themselves.

You may wish to review my site dealing with that question in particular. I'm certain that in one way or other you'll find it quite helpful.

I know it's really tough... my heart goes out to you.
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I do not feel that you are wrong at all to require some respite. I am pretty much in the same situation as you are. My husband has Dementia and we live in a small town away from all family. His only sibling has been here once to "help out" as you say but that didn't work out at all for me. In fact, they ended up leaving early. I was still working full time at the time she and her husband were here. They were more of a pain in the you know what than any help to me.

If you family is "too busy" (which is really sad to me) are you able to get signed up with a facility for respite? I am not real familiar with it but do have a friend who is caregiver to her husband and the state she lives in sends her a check once a year for a substantial amount of money for her to pay someone to come in for a week so she can get away. I would start looking on-line for help rather than asking your uncooperative family. It is just a darned shame in my opinion that they are not willing to help you out. I have found that people are afraid of the unknown. We have lost a lot of friends since my husband became ill due to just that.

You and your wife certainly need to get away. I would start looking for some help on-line rather than trying to get your family involved. If they don't want to do it or keep making silly excuses, you're better off without them. Get some relief from someone you can count on and depend on.

What goes around comes around. Someday they will see error of their ways. They should be ashamed of themselves!!! Forgive me for my bluntness but I am handling this situation all on my own and have seen and learned a lot in the past four years. Nobody can be that busy at their job not to be able to get away. Family should ALWAYS come first in my eyes but then my eyes see things differently than most others.

Good luck to you both and I hope soon you will get the much deserved rest that you both need.
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I have discovered that when one sibling steps up to care for a parent(s) the other siblings think that they are given a "free pass" card. They think that since you volunteered, you must want the full responsibility.
If you really want your sibs involved on a regular basis, I would recommend calling a family meeting so everyone is in the same room and cannot squirm away. You need to speak in clear language about your needs. Remind them that they are equally responsible for your Mom's care and, conversely, be ready to accept their assistance.
Sounds like your Mom is capable of speaking up...she's still the MOM...and they should respect her wishes.
If this fails, you are left with respite care. Mom was in a rehab facility recently and responded really well to the social environment. So do not feel guilty...she will be in good hands....just do your homework and get good recommendations.
good luck
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RKO, I have 6 siblings, 5 who are close by. I've taken care of Mom 24/7 for 2+ years now. In that time, my husband and I have been away for only 3 nights! You need to find a service, or a nursing home that does respite, to care for your mom so you can get away. Do not count on your siblings. It is a waste of time. Find another way, then go and enjoy your vacation time!
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No, you're certainly not wrong to expect some reciprocal respite from them ... but don't be surprised if they refuse to do it for you! What we usually do for my elderly dad (who's 83,and who lives with us and our two teenage sons) when we have to be away without him is put together a grid of local friends and neighbors to look in on him, and we ask my only brother to help out as well. As is par for the course, my 45-year-old brother usually cooks up excuses as to why it's an inopportune time to ask, why he and his wife are just too busy, or stressed, or he crys about why he needs money, help etc ... and then I know I can rely on the others, with or without Greg helping. Recently my brother did agree to look in on our dad while we were away, and then he asked dad for money when he arrived (crying the blues about his finances, lack of job, economy, etc.). So ... if it looks like a snake and acts like one .... it is one.
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if you dont want to watch my mom -= i dont want you to watch her either- its the same as if i needed to someone to watch my child - if you hesitate... beat around the bush- then dont worry - i dont want you to watch my child or my mom if u cant even pretend to give a #@^&*! if shes so independent - take her with you - my mom has dementia/alzhemiers- we went camping in an rv for memorial wkend -4days -took her with us. it was nice- everyone was talking about their parents - it was a real meaningful trip - some said they would bring their parents next time(guilt)
but we went on a cruise and my daughter came over for a week and watched my mom- all siblings out of state- cept brother whom she used to live with -but he lives in her house- never moved out - she begged me to take her out of there- so i did. anyway i would have her stay in assisted living since shes so independent instead of haveing a stranger in your house- good luck
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RKO,
I'm with LynnPO, as long as the neice is mature enough to handle her grandma, let her come. They could have a nice family visit and enjoy the baby. It'd save your mom from flying. Make sure the neice knows where to turn in case of an emergency. Have faith. Then you and your wife go enjoy a much deserved vacation.
Not to take your relatives' side, but I work and it's next to impossible to take time off without planning months in advance and I have the nicest boss in town. I don't know the particulars of their situation. It's just my input.
Are you reluctant for the neice to come because you think it's your sibling's responsibility instead? You are not out of line to expect your sibling to step up to the plate but good luck with that. Many of us on this site have at least one to many siblings who don't participate in the care of the parents.
Get mom situated and go have fun!
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It is not being unreasonable but it may not work and you may have to work it out some other way by hiring aides or high school students or if available college students most of them are not in class all day and would be eger to earn some money -you do need to get away and it sounds like she can be alone for a few hours it will be a challange but you will be glad you did this for yourselves-let us know how it works out and you might just encourage others to find a way to do the impossible.
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RKO - It's not wrong to expect that your siblings would come and stay with you mother. I'd say it's the least they could do. For me, I'd welcome the neice even with the baby - if something happened to your mother, taking the baby to the hospital to sit in a waiting room is not so bad. If you want help sometimes you have to be willing to compromise and let go of some of the worry. Some thing will happen to your Mom at some point; it's hard be we can't plan for absolutely every possibility. No one will take as good care of your parent as you will but you deserve a break and must realize that people will do their best. it's all we can expect.

As for getting that vacation - look for other alternatives: Can your mom stay at an assisted living facility for a week? Can you hire a couple of aides to rotate day/night for a week so you can get away? This might be costly but they'll be licensed and know what to do in an emergency.

Best of luck to you and your mom.
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Fixer, Thanks for your response. It was suggested that my niece come up with her infant daughter to stay with Grandma. I objected to this due to my mom's age and, well, let's face it, humans live from 0 to over 100. 91 and the fact that she occasionally ends up in the hospital because she dehydrates cause she won't drink water, what would my niece do with the baby if something did happen?
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No you're not being unreasonable you're just inconveniencing them (never mind that it's been convenient for them to have you caring for their parents all these years). Have Mom call and ask if she can come for a visit. Otherwise look for local solutions, meals on wheels, a niece or friend who can come evenings, most assisted living communities have respite care.

I took a week vacation last fall and it took three of my siblings splitting up the week and staying at my home to care for Mom.

Good luck!
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