When my mom's dementia got to the point that she couldn’t live alone anymore, my sister and her husband took my mom in. I helped her by taking my mom for 3 day weekends 2x a month. After 3 months my sister called and asked me to move my mom to my home because it was causing problems in her marriage. We moved her to my home (husband and 6yo and 11yo kids). She can’t be left alone so I had to cut my hours at work and now spend most of my time with her. When we moved her in, my sister promised to reciprocate the every other weekend visits so my family can have a break and some privacy. 2 months ago sister sent me an email saying she can’t help with the visits anymore and I haven’t heard from her since. I have emailed and texted her with no response. I’m left to assume that she no longer cares to have a relationship with my mother or my family and I can understand the desire not to help as I wish I didn’t have to either. BUT I am struggling with acceptance and forgiveness in this situation, my husband and best friend are both angry with my sister for her behavior, I am too mostly because she has stopped communicating with me. I can’t do anything about the situation with her and am in need of advice on letting it go. She has made her choice and I could always make the choice to put mom in a home. Why is it so hard to let go?

This is just a guess, but perhaps it might help. Your sister did her best, until she told you that “it was causing problems in her marriage”. After mother moved to your home, sister took her for alternate weekends for a while (how long?), and then said she couldn’t do it any more.

The guess is that your sister’s marriage was deteriorating, and the weekends made it worse. When sister finished them, your response (understandably) was along the lines of ‘no, no, we have to be in this together’. Sister couldn’t handle this (also understandably) and was not willing to share her own personal marriage problems. She went ‘no contact’ because she can’t cope with both issues at once. She is looking at it from just her own point of view, and so are you.

At this point, perhaps forget that you have a sister who once helped. Many people don’t have a sibling at all. Work out how to cope with mother in your own life. Wait a while, and then hope to have a sister again, not a co-carer. You may also need to find a way to have a mother again, not a live-in dependent to care for.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
anytown Sep 6, 2022
'At this point, perhaps forget that you have a sister who once helped. Many people don’t have a sibling at all.'

....or have siblings who have never helped at all.
It's hard to let go b/c you feel betrayed by your sister who's now ignoring you completely and not acknowledging the fact that you are struggling. When you yourself took mom in when SHE was struggling. So you bent over backwards for her, and now she's ignoring you. Of course you feel angry, why wouldn't you?

The fact is, neither one of you are capable of caring for mom alone at home. It's time to place her in Memory Care Assisted Living now and take your life back, both of you. Maybe then you can sit down with your sister and hash out your feelings. I'm sure your sister feels embarrassed and/or guilty that she was unable to deal with mom, as you may be feeling yourself, which is unjustified, but REAL nonetheless. Like Alva said, this can be the common ground you can both come together on now: that feeling of helplessness and guilt that you're unable to care for mom anymore, that it's just beyond your scope of ability. You can reach out to HER to let her know it's time to have the talk about placement for mom, and then both of you can hash it out together. There is NO shame in such an admittance. I had my own mother in Memory Care for nearly 3 years b/c I could not deal with her level of needs in my home, no way. She was cared for beautifully in MC and I got to be the daughter and go visit her there quite often

As far as giving you 'advice' on letting go of your resentment towards your sister goes, I don't know. Maybe once you BOTH admit you can't do this with mom anymore, then you can feel better about everything AND about one another. Admitting defeat brings people closer together sometimes.

Best of luck to you.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1

Your sister learned what an impossibly hard job it was, can’t you imagine how sad and defeated she must feel? And she likely thinks all she will get is harsh judgment for backing out of the arrangement. She’s practicing self preservation and self care. If your mother were healthy and whole she wouldn’t want this life for either of you. I hope you’ll look at this differently, reach out to your sister, and find a new plan that doesn’t involve sacrificing either of your well being
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Daughterof1930
anytown Sep 6, 2022
'And she likely thinks all she will get is harsh judgment for backing out of the arrangement.'

comes with the territory. people who don't back out on agreements don't have that problem

'She’s practicing self preservation and self care'

by throwing someone else under the bus
See 5 more replies
Your Sister couldn't care for your Mom in her home. That is her choice and she has a right to make it.
The problem I see is that now Mom is in YOUR home.
It is time for Mom to have placement now. You will visit her when you are able and be supportive in other ways than sacrificing your home life and your family to Mom's needs.
You and your Sister have a ground upon which to meet. Neither of you feels up to caring for Mom in home. I am not judging you as I have fully known from day one that I could NEVER care for a loved one in home. And I was a nurse. I loved my job, but doing it without pay, 24/7? That would break ANYONE.
You and your Sister need to sit with Mom now, discuss her assets and her needs, and plan the way forward for the three of you. There is no one to blame here.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to AlvaDeer

You said "I’m left to assume that she no longer cares to have a relationship with my mother or my family" and that's a really big assumption. You may currently be feeling trapped and therefor you really think your choices are do the caregiving or give up your family, but that's simply not the case. You've said yourself that you can put your mom in a home, would you consider that the same as ending your relationship with your mom?

If you truly want to reconnect with your sister you will have to give her the benefit of the doubt. Assume she's not in contact because she feels like crap rather than assuming she doesn't want anything to do with you or your mom. Maybe a call or email where you acknowledge, without judgement, that she gave as much as she felt she could. She did! Three months is a long time sometimes. Tell her you're not calling to ask her to do anything but simply because you want to thank her for those three months and you miss her. See what happens.
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Reply to Slartibartfast
iameli Sep 7, 2022
Love your answer! We cared for my MIL for only three WEEKS (hospice) and it was awful. My husband did an equal share of the care and I still felt like a prisoner in my own home. Some empathy is in order here.
I am now a solo caregiver having lost my husband last year. My sibling doesn't help in any way - not even to make calls to our mom on holidays. It is all on me, and I am tired.

But, I also know I have to meet my brother where he is. I would rather have him out of the picture entirely than to have him criticizing, meddling, and honestly, making things worse.

I am lucky that my mom has financial security and I can make decisions to hire help as I need it - and I know I will need it. This is a job that doesn't get easier. Expending your emotional energy focused on a sibling just isn't serving you.

Focus on your mom, your husband, and your children. There are plenty of resources and plans you need now - or will need soon - which may help you take your mind off of your sister.

I suspect that as you create the proper plan of care to meet everyone's needs, you will focus less on what your sister is NOT doing and focus more on what all YOU ARE doing. I suspect that balance isn't aligned, yet. Work to get things working for you. There just isn't the extra time or energy to let someone suck it from you in what they haven't done.

I wish you the best.
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Reply to MAP2013

Your sister may or may not have been honest with you about moving mom to your home. She may feel embarrassed and stressed about the situation she has created. Since it appears you don't want mom living with you either, start researching other living situations for your mom. Ask sister to help you with evaluating different places. It might bring you together having a common shared goal.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Taarna

It’s disappointing to see this behavior in our sibling. We thought we’d be there for each other when our mom needed help in this final stage of her life. But life changes; life throws us an unexpected loop. What can you do? I just pray that someday, my sibling will have a change of heart. But this isn’t a perfect world. She may change or she may remain distant. I keep pushing ahead, doing my best for my mom, regardless. In due time, my sister will have to live with her decision.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to LoveLea
bundleofjoy Sep 7, 2022
you wrote:
“In due time, my sister will have to live with her decision.”

i agree. but unfortunately people who have destroyed their conscience have no trouble living like that. they might even be super happy, jolly people. care-free. peace of mind while the stress is dumped on someone else (you).
I have the exact same thing 2 sisters, one 20 min away, the other in AZ.
Neither helps at all for years now.
My closest sister ALWAYS has an excuse, she's sick, she had to work, she doesn't want to get Dad sick, she doesn't want to get sick herself, the dog ate her name it I've heard them ALL.
My other sister in AZ criticizes me any chance she gets but when she does visit she does an obligatory 1 hr visit, then spends ALL the other time at her in-laws.
To be honest, I don't want either one around my Dad now.
I stay quiet if they are here.
My Mom always taught us to get along so I've tried very hard to hold the family together but now I'm done & I'm very much ok with that, they have hurt me too many times to be repaired & the fact that they don't call except maybe once every 3 months to speak to my Dad & visit him once maybe up to 3 times a year if that.
Neither would know my Dad's issues he needs help with, his medication nothing
I love my Dad too much to leave him alone eith either of them!!
They have pushed me into hating them, which sounds harsh but it's the truth
I host Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving etc & act cordial, but after my Dad passes away, I am walking away from them.
I don't need or want them in my life.
My Dad & I don't deserve to be treated the way we have been with them.
My closest sister has taken two 10 day cruises, my other took her entire family to Mexico for 2 weeks plus several weekend trips
Me, I am married, have not lived with my husband for almost 4 yrs now, we 3, have dinner together most nights then he goes to our house.
I am a 24-7-365 days a year care giver, also work a 40hr job, there are no words "day off" "break" "vacation" or "sick" in my vocabulary.
I have actually had to grab the closest trash can to get sick in, then get my Dad out of his chair to get him sitting on toilet then drag my butt back to clean up my issue then go back to him.
No one cares I don't feel good, have had to deal with kidney stones & fractured foot & still be the soul care taker for my Dad.
THAT kind of family I do not need or want!!!!
Walk away, it's easier than you think!!
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to schnipley
BurntCaregiver Sep 7, 2022

You are absolutely right that neither you nor your father deserve to be treated so poorly by your siblings, but sadly this sort of thing happens ass the time when an elderly parent gets needy.
With all respect indended, you choose to be your father's sole caregiver. His care needs are put before your marriage, and before your own needs.
You are saying that no one cares that you don't feel well and that you have kidney stones and a fractured foot.
Why should they? You don't care that you have these conditions because if you did you would be getting care for them and taking care of yourself. Your siblings are not the cause of your health problems.
Your siblings are not going to become caregivers to your father. That is their choice. You also get that choice. Get your father a live-in caregiver (that he pays for) or put him into managed care and become his advocate.
Then move back to your house and go back to your life.
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My brother (million dollar house) refused to help me (renting an apartment) with our brother who had brain cancer. I lived 1500 miles away so there were a lot of travel expenses—six trips in all, not to mention other expenses for him. I was in a rage. It scared my friends. Finding emotional support made a difference. I had several friends I could vent to—not excessively so I didn’t wear out my welcome—who understood me. I also had a therapist. There was no point in contacting him. It took time of not contacting him with any information about our brother who I placed in a skilled nursing facility and hospice. He has since become rather solicitous towards me.

Your sister has left you in charge of your mom’s care and you are experiencing what she did. She chose not to sacrifice her home life or sanity but in essence you are doing just that now. She may have evaporated because she feels guilty dumping it on on you and the farther away from you the more relieved she feels. It’s hard (impossible?) to forgive some when you’re really hurt and angry, and don’t feel bad because you are not forgiving right now. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, so don’t worry about forgiveness right now. It’s always easier for others to talk about forgiveness when they’re not in your shoes. Work towards acceptance for now and know it most likely won’t be instantaneous. Over time I came to accept my brother’s actions. I didn’t want to waste my energy on my anger or him, but rather I chose to focus on our brother’s well being. After our brother passed I went to stay with him during a visit for my nephew’s graduation. I decided I wanted a new chapter in our relationship. We are the remaining two in our family. That’s when I realized I had forgiven him. I didn’t force it. I still feel like his behavior was terrible but the sting is gone and I didn’t want to rehash my anger with him. It took about a year for me to reach that point after the original offense. Believe me, I had plenty of rage for two months so it’s been nice to experience healing.

Focus your attention on the big picture for you, your family and your mom’s care. I found an awesome nursing facility by looking at the ratings of nursing homes on the Medicare website. Doing your research and finding the best place for her is an act of love. Don’t let others guilt trip you about placing your mom in a facility. The staff at my brother’s facility loved him and it showed. They had a five star rating for the care of residents and four for overall. If needed consult an elder law attorney to see how her finances square up with her care. Caregiving is extremely difficult and hard on you and your family.
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Reply to katepaints

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