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My 85 yo mother lives with my brother and his family in a separate apartment. My brother takes the lion's share of care of Mother. She is going downhill, steadily, can walk with a walker, does get out twice a week to the Sr. Center., but the rest of the time she's home, watching TV or doing puzzles. I live close to her and see her 2-3 times a week and help as much as she'll allow, but the truth is, she really wants to see the 3 siblings that never come to visit her. Every time I go, she'll ask politely how my family is and then ask me about ALL the other sibs and their kids and the grandkids. I am sick at heart that my sisters don't even pick up the phone once a month. My brother lives only 3 miles from her and he hasn't seen her since Christmas, nor called her. I did talk to each of these sibs last week and told them that she is really quite lonely and could they take time to just drop by? Brother did feel horribly guilty and stopped by for 15 last week, between a wedding and the reception. The other 2 sisters haven't seen her in months, probably, since Christmas also. When I go up, I always feel like Mother really wishes it was one of the other kids. I'm not the favorite, and that's OK...but how do I encourage my sibs to take some time for her? She's not going to be with us a lot longer--and while I am at peace with that, I think my sisters are going to be shocked to see how much she has deteriorated since Christmas. Distance is no excuse--the furthest one away from her is only 8 miles away! Mother always says "Oh they just are so busy!" (One sister just returned from a 10 day golf trip.....) I'm baffled here, don't want to guilt them, but would love to see them spend one day once a month with her. (Yes, she could call them , but she has never been that kind of mother, we have to initiate--so don't suggest she call them, she won't) Any ideas?

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You cannot force them to "care" - there is always one person who has to take the load while the others live their merry lives and do virtually nothing to help other than circle around like vultures when the old person is about to die waiting for a hand out. THEN they will show up and be all lovey-dovey and caring.
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I have this situation and I have just given up trying. My brother knows I am mad about it which has help to get him to at least call 1x per month but vistits are far between and he will never help with any of her care or appointments. Mom says the same thing that he is busy. Well, so am I, but I still own up to my duty because I care. It's hard as she acts like he is her favorite to. Always wanting him and so excited at anything he says. But I don't think it's favoritism as much as they miss the ones who aren't around so an extra fuss is made....as well as excuses. Kind of like little kids who always want the parent they can't have. Our parents want the children that don't come. It stinks and it's hard to not get hurt and angry but they will have the guilt when they mom dies. I won't.
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Has your mom always been the type to wait for them to make contact instead of picking up the phone herself? I ask because it is a dynamic I see playing out in my sister's in-laws family. Her MIL pines for contact with the others, but they all feel that the phone works both ways, and if she was really interested in their lives or their children she could make an effort to reach out, and she NEVER has. Sometimes you reap what you sew.
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I agree with others here that you can't make them care. Let that idea go since it's out of your control. Such siblings have to have a change in attitude and that can only come from within. It can happen. My brother who was always AWOL for months on end (for years) and lives just 5 miles away has started coming by once a week to spend time with mom so my husband and I can have an evening out. He came right out and told me that my husband and I had 'done enough' and that he wanted to do more. He is not waiting for a big inheritance because there isn't one and he knows it. So whatever change happened there, it came from within. As for my sister, who usually always came by a couple times a month anyway, I had to really spell things out for her last year (I think she lives life with blinders on much of the time) and got her to agree to spend every Sunday afternoon with mom. So, as Trevor said, you can tell your siblings they are needed and leave it at that. Cwillie mentions that mom could make contact rather than wait. I agree; in my case, I have to say to mom: "Hey, let's call xyz" and she says "ok," and I dial for her, hand her the phone, and she chats with them. You may want to try that. I think elderly people can lose their ability to be proactive. Their sense of time can also be warped. They increasingly isolate themselves socially for a variety of reasons and increasingly need help and direction. This is normal and younger people need to be educated about that. A friend of mine was complaining that her 90-yr-old aunt never calls or writes her. I had to laugh. These folks are just happy when they wake up in the morning. I told her not to take offense and to be the one who writes and calls. She'll never have any regrets once the aunt is gone. One last thought I have: Take a little video clip of mom on your cellphone and send it to the siblings. Let them see how mom has deteriorated. Sometimes they really need the visual to grasp what is happening.
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I took care of BOTH my parents by myself for five years. We moved them to be closer to me because I was the only one willing to take on the responsibility. Life changing event for me and I my own family for sure. Neither sibling did anything really. I asked for help, they both said no. One didn't have access to their money so that sibling thought they were justified not helping or visiting. The other was just lazy. So Dad passes away 6 months ago and now they care a little more about Mom. Whatever. Their conscience, not mine and I have no regrets. I was angry about it for a long time but now I am not. I let it go.

So I guess my answer is you cannot make them care. It is not your problem. Focus on your own relationship with your mother. And it's not your responsibility to "report" to them how your mother is doing either. If they cared even a little, they would get off their @ss and go see her. That's the reality of it. It's just not your problem. I know it is hard. Be strong and just love your Mom!

xo
-SS
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You cannot make someone care. Either they care or they don't. When parents get old or when other crises arise, people can either rise to the occasion or show their selfishness. I know someone who is an activist in the pro-life / family values movement but gives her mother minimal attention and refuses to talk to her siblings. When put to the test, some people fail miserably. Tell your siblings that they are needed then leave it at that.
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Midkid.....your moniker leads me to believe that you are the "middle one", God bless them all. I am the "Zip line" riding old lady and caring for a bedridden husband 24/7. If it were not for the "Middle one", I would be doing this alone. What are my choices....worry over those that care not whether I am dead or alive....or what I have chosen....go when the "Middle One" and her family take me to places I want to go, bless them for babysitting with Grampa and just "being there" when things are overwhelming. That trip to take me "Zip Lining" was GREAT and they didn't have to make time for my "dumb things" I want to do, but they do. Guess who is going skiing for the first time on a "bunny hill" this winter that those that care found for me. They know I want to do this, so this 80 year old is going skiing and there will be a babysitter provided...that's the way they do things. God bless them. So as I said before....thank and love those who help and forget those who do not. All of you who are being the caregivers...I pray those you are caring for appreciate it. I know some don't...there are days when my husband doesn't appreciate what I do, but I try to remember that there WERE good times. Dear MidKid...this old lady loves you and appreciates what you are doing and yes there are a lot of ungrateful parents and siblings out there. Hold your head up HIGH. God's blessings upon you. Lots of hugs.
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I also think some people just can't handle the thought of seeing their parents in such a bad way. But the time will come when they wish they had taken the little bit of time each month to call or visit. No one likes to see older people suffering, leaning over to the side, blank stares in their eyes, etc. but some of us can handle that and others can't. Just like some people can be nurses and deal with all kind of tragic/disgusting encounters, others might just pass out (so good thing they aren't nurses)........do the best you can and when you mom asks you about the siblings, just say I guess they are okay. there is not much you can do to make others care. its their loss.......not yours.
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I am the parent that three others do not care a bit about. Now hear my side. I don't care either. I have ONE child and appreciate that she and her family are more than willing to be with me, give me help, if needed and love me for who I am. The rest do not care and their day is coming. We are NOT young and beautiful forever and shopping at Nordstrum's. I think they will find this out all by themselves and also that there are some bargains at Target and Walmart. Treasure your time with your parents and if you don't, move on and get out of their way. This old lady just did the Zip line and am planning some other crazy bucket list things before I die. I believe in Auntie Mame's philosophy...."Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Bless those that help you and get over the others.
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true. you can't force someone to care or help. so focus on all the blessings you have in your special situation. myself I have written my family off. they are not my family anymore. my father is 89 with advance dementia and even tho he's in a n. home, he needs lots of extra care that the facility does not provide. when I ask for help as I struggle to keep a pt job, not one of my two siblings is available. and when they do visit, the spotlight is always on the things I have done wrong and how inept I am--instead of showing love for the man that raised them. but my dad is a sweetheart and that's where I find my source of happiness to have all this extra time with him, knowing we have a special bond my siblings will never know. hope this helps. it's not easy.
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