How to handle a sibling who thinks you don't do enough to help your Mom?


My sister and brother lives with my mom. My brother takes care of my mother during the day. My sister watches her at night. My mom goes to bed at 7:30 at night and my sister gets home about 5:30 each evening. On the weekend my sister wants me to come over to watch my mother so she can do her errands. I am fine with that. But if I come over on Saturday I need Sunday to do my errands. My sister will leave the house about 12:00 and won't returned to about 5:30 or 6:00. Then I go home have my dinner because I am diabetic. My husband has lost the sight in one of his eyes so he doesn't drive. So he waits all week till I the weekend for me to drive him around. So I need to to see if I am being selfish as my sister says. I should give her more time on the weekend to do what she wants by spending more time with my mother. I told her I can't give her all weekend because I have husband I have to attend too. also. She tells me she needs to get out of the house. She is out of the house everyday and I give her one day a week. If I spend all weekend with my mother then when do I do things for my husband. My mother can do most things herself. The only things she can't do right now is probably cook because her legs are not strong enough. She gets in and out her bed by herself, dress herself and go to the bathroom by herself. So I don't know why I need to be with her all weekend. Please help me

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Just because the Mom goes to bed at an early hour, doesn't mean there is not work done after that hour and throughout the night as needed. Since you are there all afternoon once a week, you don't know the norm of the rest of the 24 hour routine.
Helpful Answer (3)

Surely there is something you can do to help your sister over the weekend? Four hours a of the days all day...

I so disagree that it's not much of a burden on your sister as one poster suggests. I sure hope you don't think along those lines. I think you do, though, since you went out of your way to say mom goes to bed a few hours after your sister gets home from work.

Still, you can only do what you can do. Make your offer of a set time on the weekend when you can relieve your sis and BIL and stick to it like it's a part-time job. See how it works out.
Helpful Answer (1)

Call your local Council of Elders! They will set her up with a case manager. They will do an initial assessment in her home which will determine what help she needs.. They work on the weekends... Mom may have to pay for some of this care but it's worth it so everyone can have the peace of mind that Mom is being cared for properly...
Helpful Answer (0)

I think the current schedule is fair. Your brother is actually doing the main hands-on caregiving. Your sister comes home at 5:30-6:00pm, mom sleeps at 7pm. Uhm.. Not much of a hardship for your sister. You come one day a weekend seems great to me.

My oldest sister watches dad Monday-Fridays from 8pm to 6-7pm, when I come home. She's off on weekends - because that's my shift. I work every other Saturday mornings. But I also need some me-time for shopping, visiting fave sister, etc... So, fave sis knows that I need my Saturdays off from caregiving. She pays her daughters (take turns) $50 to watch from 8:30am-3pm on Saturdays.

Now, sis who is watching dad from Monday-Fridays, thinks she's doing more of the caregiving than me. But, I'm the one who changes his pampers (when bedridden mom was still alive, I did both bedridden parents' pampers without sis offering to help me.) Just yesterday, I came home close to 7pm. Dad had touched his poop and it was on his pants, shirt, bedding, pillow. Sis did Not change his pamper/bedding. A few nights ago, dad was soaking wet from his spilled water. Sis just covered the wetness with liners but didn't change his soaking wet shirt/pants....I take the kitchen trash, the pamper trash out daily. I drag the bins out to the curbside, weekly. I drag the bins back in when trash is picked up. I clean the kitchen sink drain every night when I come home because Somebody doesn't do it - even though I don't eat breakfast or lunch at home. It's not my mess.

You see - the comparison between your sister and I? I think you're covering on Saturdays is very fair. Your sister can get more things done if she leaves earlier, in the morning. Then she won't be so frustrated about not having enough time to do things on Saturdays.

I have phone numbers of several private caregivers - in case I need them. They just want $10/hour. Your sister can also try this. If your mom has money, use her money to pay for these caregivers.
Helpful Answer (1)

Countymouse has, as she often does, gotten to the heart of the matter. Everybody wants to be sure that Mom's needs are met. Great family goal. If achieving that exceeds the time you collectively have available, you will as a family have to call in outside resources.

Of course you cannot give her the two days a week you have for your errands. What is your sister thinking? I'm amazed and impressed you can give her one of your weekend days every week!

But your sister is also right that she needs time for herself. Working all day may be better than being cooped up in the house, but it is not exactly "getting out" every day. And there certainly is the stress of 24-hour responsibility even if she is not doing the hands-on caregiving most of that time.

As CM says, you are on the same side. Stop your bickering over who does what how many hours, and start figuring out how to make sure Mom has the care she needs without any of you losing your sanity.
Helpful Answer (4)

try to spend with her at least every weekend or just Sunday or better to have a schedule that will be fine for everyone.
Helpful Answer (1)

Can we backtrack a bit, please?

When your mother began to need help, what did you, your sister and your brother discuss amongst yourselves? Were they already living with her or did they move back specifically to help her? What was the set up supposed to be, in other words, and who agreed to what?

Because unless you undertook to provide your sister with the help and cover that, yes, I am sure, she does need, you are NOT being selfish and you are NOT letting anybody down if you do not spend more time caring for your mother than you can spare. If your sister needs more time off, or your mother needs more support, or a bit of both, then they should get it. But it is not you who is obliged to provide it. I hope you'll be able to sit everybody down around a table and figure out what further plans need to be made for the workload to be shared fairly. But your personal workload includes your responsibility to your husband; and besides - since you are clearly working during the week, too - you must have some time to yourself or you will go nuts.

So if the work required exceeds the time available, you will as a family have to call in outside resources. Your sister is entitled to time off, but so are you. Don't let her make it into some kind of zero sum game - remind her kindly that you're on the same side.
Helpful Answer (5)

I think probably you should help out on Sundays also, or at least perhaps help out every other Sunday, or work out a schedule that would be OK with everyone.
Helpful Answer (1)

Yes, your sister needs help.
No, it does not have to be you and only you.
Your life obligations are no lesser than hers are.

This is a no-win setup you are in with your sister & brother.

I don't care who puts how many hours in each week. When one caregiver is live-in and the other is not, it is NEVER going to feel equal, even if the numbers come out even. Somebody is going to feel put upon and like they do more harder tasks in their hours than the other one is doing. Just like how my teenagers complain how unfair it is that I have given "the other one" all the easiest chores and it's so unfair. (Nevermind they swap chore lists weekly. Nobody gets off easy.) The perception is reality.

Outside help must be brought in or mom needs to live in an appropriate care facility. There are many lovely places out there and there is nothing to feel guilty about for using them so she is looked after and you guys get to live like sane adults.

They might want to keep mom at home so they can continue to live there rent free. Once mom goes into care, there will be a spend down and use up period, where all her assets will be put to her care. This can mean selling the house to convert it into cash to fund her care. This may be a factor in the background and I strongly encourage the 3 of you to use an attorney to navigate this and avoid accusations.
Helpful Answer (2)

If you just look at the hours "on duty", your sister is on duty about 12 hours per night, seven nights a week, right? If I'm seeing this correctly, that's 84 hours a week, just in nighttime hours. Deduct the hours she is completely 100% "off duty" because both she and Mom are sleeping soundly and peacefully. Compare that to the six hours per week you are giving. If it still seems unfair or unreasonable, you all need more people involved. (Forgive me if I've misunderstood the hours!)
Helpful Answer (1)

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