I would like to hear stories about how your health has been affected by sibling(s) that refuse to help you with parents' caregiving. Speaking for myself, I've had high blood pressure and am fatigued most days. I basically consider myself a calm person, but having to deal with impossible to get along with sibling(s), it is really an emotional and physical strain. In addition, do you plan to end the relationship with your sibling(s) at some point that do not help you with caregiving?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
My younger sister has been caring for my mom for 8 years. Mom has dementia. I am so glad I stepped up to the plate and moved in with them a year ago when it was clear to me mom could not be alone and her dementia was advancing at an alarming rate. It has been hard to say the least but I have never really known how strong my younger sister was or how hard it's been for her until I actually was in the middle of it. Our relationship is stronger than ever and I know we will be closer than ever for the experience. However, we have two other siblings in thie same small town we live in who have completely turned their backs on us and do nothing but an occasional short visit which seem to get less and less frequent all the time. I feel so abandoned by them and really don't even want them in my life anymore. My older sister has even criticized us and belittled us when talking about our caregiving abilities. No one knows how hard this is until they are in it, living it. If you have siblings taking care of a parent or relative with this desease and if you have a heart at all get in there and help. Otherwise the family will shatter and there will be more loss than just what the desease takes from you. If you don't the sibling or siblings doing all the work will feel abandoned by you, and believe me that opens your eyes to who they really are very quickly. I feel like I've lost a whole portion of my family because in my eyes they are selfish and not worthy of my love. I don't think this will ever change. The loss has been extremely difficult for me. If you can help your siblings, please do. Don't take the easy way out. That is neither fair or right.
Helpful Answer (14)

I saw this and thought it is really good advise:
"You don't ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn't matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance. --You don't have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It's one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and "continues" to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go. ~Danielle Koepke~

I have tried to have a relationship with my brother for many years, but the relationship is just toxic for my mental health, so I have chosen to cut him out of my life. I wish him only the best. It is just not in my best interest to have a relationship with him. I know it hurts Mom that we don't get along, but I have decided that I need to worry about me for a change!
Helpful Answer (13)

I think the overall stress of an elderly or ill loved one being dependent on you is the main cause of the stress, lack of additional support and financial challenges are add ons. And yes, stress will make you ill, as will aging and none of us is getting younger. No doubt, this is not stress you should have to deal with.

I was very upset at one point with my sibling, I gave it time, I was mad, but I never shut her out completely, I remained civil, largely for my father's sake. I also remained focused on wanting a relationship with my nephew and niece. Out of the blue one day, she took the first step to reconcile, thankfully before father passed. Today she is taking the lead in caring for mom and our relationship is strong. I lost my father, I will lose my mother. I really did not want to lose my sister. I share this to say that families can have rifts and rifts can heal.
I hope you will be well and that your family will heal.
Helpful Answer (12)

Whitney, this is a tricky (and, sadly from other commenters on this site) and all too common situation. Like you, I am the sibling who has "stepped up to the plate" and both my (older) brother and (younger) sister are largely spared the caregiving responsibilities for our mother. To be fair, mom does live only 10 - 15 minutes from my home but that was also decided for reasons that we all knew would be the case.....I (& my saintly husband) are the most able and willing to deal with our 91 year old mother's needs at this point. Whether you end the relationship(s) or not probably has more to do with what the quality of those relationship(s) was/were before you were put into this position, but I also acknowledge that I largely willingly put myself here. Sometimes I just pull back and choose not to communicate with them for periods of time but that's about as far as I've gone thus far. Know that there are many on this site who can both empathize, and sympathize, with your predicament. Hugs for strength and perseverance.....
Helpful Answer (7)

You definitely need to take care of YOU to keep your health in order so you can care for your parent(s).

It's something I kind of struggle with myself - I tend to be a workaholic because I own my own business and work from home - so if I don't make the money come in, it's not going to happen. That drive tends to spill over into other areas of my life, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Please try to find a way to decompress and get some time to yourself, even if it's having a respite caregiver come in and take care of your parent(s) when you can, so you can just go out for a walk, take yourself shopping or just get away for a while. Go someplace quiet and just relax and reflect for a while.
Helpful Answer (7)

If your siblings will not help, you are probably not going to change them. Expecting them to change will only provide you with continuing heartache. It is hard work on your own, no need to keep being disappointed by their lack of support. For what ever reason, they feel unable to assist in direct care. True or not, in your estimation, it would not do your parent any good to have someone there who does not want to be there.

Make sure you get some time for yourself. Right now I have about an hour first thing in the am where I can have my morning cup of coffee in my front yard before Dad wakes up. I simply sit and look at clouds, trees, birds, my cat and not think about anything. Something that simple can help.
Helpful Answer (7)

I agree with pipruby - if siblings don't help, you can't change them and you can make yourself miserable trying. I used to be SO angry with my brother, but in the past few years, I've come to accept our differences and I'm much happier. I'm also doing a better job of taking care of myself through exercise.

My brother is self-centered and clueless but not mean. He thinks he's doing a great job by calling mom once a week (at my insistence) for five minutes and sending her something a few times a year. He hasn't been to visit it about four years and my is 94. We have a pretty good relationship but it may dwindle after mom passes. I think he secretly thinks I'll take care of him when the time comes. Hahahahaha. No way Jose!
Helpful Answer (7)

Great question... I have two brothers (no sisters)... both of which live 1000 miles away (a convenience for them to keep their distance even more). The oldest brother and his wife (who wears the 'pants'... very controlling) have alienated me and my only two nieces... one of which is my Godchild. The youngest brother and his wife remain illusive and, if this says anything, they/she didn't go to her own father's funeral recently, because of their dog.... (I'm still in shock over this one)... So... with this said, it put my mother in the middle which only added much undo stress to my mom and, to say the least... me. After much one-sided 'trying' and 'talking', I finally came to the conclusion that this was only hurting me and that I had to cut off all the 'trying'... and 'crying'... I feel much happier now, knowing that I've tried and don't 'need' to try any longer... I only now concern myself with my mother's need and my own needs... As far as the sibling 'relationship' goes, I figure if they want to come to me if they so desire... If not... it's their lost... God Bless you and your family...
Helpful Answer (6)

1DivineDiva ask your brother to come over night with his Mom again and DON'T come back... Go to your own home and stay put! Let your brother with POA take care of Mom....
Helpful Answer (5)

Oh, where do I begin......I try to post here as much as I can. But, it seems that every time I do, it is about how my siblings never want to help me with our mom. That may be because that is how it is. My brother is 55, my sister 54 and I am 50. They of course have always been closer because of age and I guess because of their misguided priorities. My mother is 77 and has always been chronically ill. Although I am the youngest, from a very young age I also was the one who always had the most empathy and compassion. Even when I and my immediate family lived 3 hours away from my mother (dad had passed) we still would go care for her when she would have acute episodes of (fill in the blank) and be in the hospital. Like I said she has many health issues.
At the time she literally lived about 100 feet from my brother and yet she would not see him for weeks. Not to mention, never having the medicines that she needed in order to not land in the hospital. Or even groceries. That's why my mom was literally moved to my town, without my input, so that I could care for her. Because as they see it I don't do anything.

My sister, true story, one time that mom was in the hospital ER, went to see her for 5 minutes and said that she had to leave because she was going with her fiancé to his parents wedding anniversary party. Never in my adult life have they ever called me to see how I or my family are doing. So of course, the longer and more intensive that my caregiving has become, the more angry and resentful that I have become with my siblings. I have tried so many times to communicate with them by phone, email and regular mail to no avail. Family meetings? Well, I speak all I want and nothing ever happens.

They have always seen me the "sister of convenience", because as long as I don't complain about how tired I am or that I and my family want to go somewhere, then all is right. Any communication we have had has always been initiated by me. Any responses have been grudgingly given but to say that they don't have time. Yet, they call and email each other all of the time and they coordinate time off to go on family trips with each other!

I have had to have many a serious talk with my mom because in her own way she too has made things even more difficult for never really giving me my place in front of them. I think she is afraid of them, so no telling what has taken place between them privately. I do know the few times they come to visit her BP goes sky high. Yet, she acts as if everything is perfect. Very strange!!!!! She won't ever tell the truth because she is the type of person that can lie very convincingly.

Like others here, I feel happier when I do not have any (what little there is) interaction with them. Of course, this means that I no longer will try and do things just for mom's sake. 18 years have taken a toll on me mentally and physically. My siblings truly do not care for me and that is so obvious in their actions. For myself, I may be a little sad for losing what little and very stretched sibling relationship I may have had. But then again, how can I truly be sad for something that never existed. I am so happy with my little immediate family whom I know and feel how much they love me. Yes, sometimes we do have to break away from things or people who cause us more pain than happiness. Whether family or not....

Every day I pray for us caregivers who are in this daily war. God bless and strength to you all!
Helpful Answer (4)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter