My father passed recently. For those who have read my past posts, you know that there was significant family drama over medical choices I had to make as POA. The silver lining in all of this (or so I thought) was when my mother (parents divorced) strongly disagreed with one of my decisions about Dad and “fired” me as her POA and appointed my sibling. After many years of caregiving, I was relieved! This past weekend my siblings and I made an unannounced visit to our mother and found her kitchen hadn’t been cleaned in at least a month (food peelings, gnats, etc.) My siblings cleaned up her kitchen and had a good visit. As we were leaving, one of my siblings jumped me saying I needed to visit more often and I needed to check to see that her house was clean. I didn’t respond. Obviously I want my mother to have the care she needs but I don’t think I need to be the one providing that care. One of the mistakes I feel we made with Dad was we cleaned and managed so much he couldn’t see he needed help because everything was getting done. I don’t want to repeat the pattern. Dad was stubborn, but Mom is impossible! Also, the sibling that was actually appointed as caregiver lives just as close to her as I do. On top of caregiving, I have spent the last year a pandemic. I’m physically and mentally exhausted. So right now I’m feeling , I need a well deserved break, it’s not my problem, but she is my mother. So it’s either neglect myself or feel the guilt. Thoughts?

I think, anytime a non-care-giving sibling criticizes, degrades or otherwise suggests changes in regards of the care being given to a parent by another child, the ONLY response the caregiving sibling should have is "I have an even better idea: let's take turns doing this. You can go first."

I have 2 sisters. One was supportive; one was absent. But I will say that, in all the time I took care of our mother, they never, ever in any way made critical remarks or "helpful" suggestions to how I should be doing the caregiving. They were both smart enough to know my reaction would have been "OK, great, I'll pack mom up and she can stay with you for a few months, if you think you can do a better job." I might struggle with boundaries, but that was one that I had NO struggle with, whatsoever.

I think you are doing what you need to do; and I think it's very wise that you learned from your previous caregiving stint (dad) and are taking those hard-earned lessons and using them to shape this new caregiving assignment.

What's the old saying: "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it"?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to notgoodenough

None of you have to be burdened with day to day care. I know that the word, ‘burden’ may sound ugly to some people but in all honesty, continual caregiving becomes a burden.

I never want to burden my children with the hands on work. It becomes too much for people to do. Allow a staff to help. Research and find the best help that you can find. There are many options. You can use private care, an agency or a facility. Best wishes to you and your family.

Please get rest. Don’t be pressured into caregiving from your siblings.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

"I'm physically and mentally exhausted" says it all. Yes, you need a well deserved break! Our siblings do not always bring out the best in us. Right now - take time to grieve and give yourself a break.

You can rest and take time for yourself and find ways to help your Mom through other avenues for a while. Thank you for teaching during this pandemic! Every one seems stressed out.

I fight to keep myself positive through difficult situations. My two siblings try to tell me how to care for my husband. At first they had helpful tips but that turned ugly when I had enough of bad advice.

Close your eyes, put your arms around yourself, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Repeat to yourself: I am loved and people care. All of us extend our sympathy for your loss.

May each day bring strength and peace - rest in His care.
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Reply to LNReason

I would have first said, I don't hold the POA thats sibling #2. That person makes the decisions regarding Mom. That person is responsible for overseeing her. I cared for Dad, which was a challenge, now someone else can care for Mom. I will help, but I will not be held responsible for her care.

Just a question, did any of them help with Dad? If not, you may also want to say, "I am not the designated caregiver in the family".

Actually, POA does not make you the Caregiver. Its a tool. You do not physically have to care for the person. You don't have to be at their beck and call. You just carry out their wishes when it comes to Medical or make the best informed decision. Financial, you make sure the bills are paid and their financials are handled correctly. I agree that Dad was probably enabled.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29

I am of the firm belief that we don't owe our parents our lives.

It is NOT your job to check up on mom; visit as a loving daughter and note the conditions. Tell mom and the "in charge" sibling that mom needs more help.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

My thought is that you are proceeding, with all you have learned, in EXACTLY the correct way. The only critique I would give you is that you didn't tell them all you learned, and of your intention to NOW act accordingly. Please do form a phone tree. Pick your favorite "mouthy" sibling and tell that person "This is what I have learned, this is what I believe, and this is my intention for the future; I don't require your agreement, but I do require that you understand where I am at with this issue, and what I intend to do going forward. I hope you will pass this on to others who wonder about this issue, as I honestly don't have the time; I will be now handling my OWN LIFE moving forward, and wish anyone wanting to do otherwise the very best of luck".
Once clear you will not have to wonder, to imagine in your head all the arguments. You are RIGHT for your OWN LIFE. As to guilt. That's nonsense. Guilt is for felons who do evil with cheerful intent to enjoy the pain of others. You are feeling grief. Grief at what comes to our elders in loss after loss, and to our own lives. Grief at your own limitations. Use of the important G word is crucial. Not everything can be fixed. Not everyone can be made happy.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to AlvaDeer

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