How do you handle taking care of your mom in your home and your sister doesn’t help?

Asked by

My dad wanted to move in a few years ago because my mom wouldn’t take care of him and yelled at him all the time. My sister told him to live with me. When he asked I couldn’t say no. I over saw his care with aids in and out and hospice. I did everything for him till he passed a few years ago. Now I have my mom. She is in her 80s independent. We used to be close and I helped her and my dad with money, insurance, legal etc. Since she moved in it’s been drama with her And my sister. Now with my dad gone my sister is trying to gain control of my mom. My dad said he would help pay with expenses but my mom and sister don’t think she should. I have been out of work with helping my dad and multiple surgeries I have had. So we have been struggling. I asked her for more money to help with mortgage and utilities food etc since I make dinner for her. She has her own in-law apt separate phone lines etc. my mom stopped talking to me ran to my sister mad that I needed more money. She gives me 600 a month and now says she is paying MY utilities and she barely eats much to chip in for food. I buy the laundry soap she uses and don’t get reimbursed for that either. She thinks 600 pays for all our stuff and she creates no bills etc. if I was working I wouldn’t ask for a dollar. My sister has since had my mom change passwords etc to her banking etc so I don’t see anything which I never went on unless mom needed help with something and yet she is now on moms acts. My sister lives close by and yet is never here helping me with my dad when he was alive nor my mom. She says she works and has her family etc and does what she can of taking her out for dinner once a weeks and maybe to her house for dinner on sundays 2x a month. That’s not helping me. I am married with my family too but have been so stressed out with so much responsibility while she works makes money goes on trips buys new furniture etc and here I am struggling taking care of mom and having my sister put knives in my back. She calls my mom all the time from work etc wanting to be first and more important but I’m doing all the work. I am at the end of my rope hearing my mom say she doesn’t think she should pay me 600 a month and how she could have stayed home with my dad like I pushed them here. My dad needed help she wasn’t giving him nor was my sister. I know all my sister cares about is moms money. She always hated my mother. But I am at the point where I want mom to live with my sister and move out. My health has suffered from the stress and so has my family and home. I took care of my dad and put my life on hold for about 6 years it’s about time my sister earned the money she’s looking for. I know it’s a matter of time when she has my mom take me off the will. It’s all she has ever wanted. Would have been nice working together as sisters for mom but her idea is calling from home or her job while me and my family do all the work. Then to top it off by knifing me in the back. We’ve never been close and I am tired of the fighting and manipulating games they play. I just don’t want to feel guilty for how I feel or wanting my home back and my sister to take some responsibility on. If they can’t appreciate all we do then let them see it on their own out of my house. Mom doesn’t want to be alone, yet doesn’t want to be at my sisters but can’t seem to help us with expenses here or appreciate all we do. What do I do?

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
Top Answer
Every adult has the responsibility of contributing to their own upkeep. I would never think of living with someone and not paying my fair share just like I would never think of having someone live with me and their not paying their fair share. If your mom lived on her own she'd have expenses. If she lived in an assisted living or nursing home she'd have expenses. Why does she balk at contributing to your household while she's living there? You know what they say: there's no such thing as a free ride.

You can't force your mom to be appreciative nor can you force your sister to take on your mom but have you actually asked your sister if your mom can live with her? Once you ask and receive an answer you can get a better feel for what you'll need to do as your options will be clearer.

It's more common than not that one sibling takes on the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent while the other sibling does nothing and remains the "good child". Don't expect your sister to offer to help but there's nothing stopping you from asking for her help just the same. Don't assume she knows she should be helping. If you need help you will have to ask for it.

There's very little appreciation to be had in caregiving. The main caregiver is rarely recognized for the sacrifices that are made and is usually the brunt of suspicion, accusations, and emotional turmoil. I would suggest that you reevaluate your expectations when it comes to being appreciated. If caregiving were fulfilling and we were appreciated by our loved ones websites like this wouldn't exist.

Schedule a meeting between the three of you. Say that you refuse to have mother in your house any longer. Don't be afraid to be frank and say the $600 per month isn't enough to make a dent in any bills. If they have a temper tantrum, that's on them. Say that mom has until a certain time to make other living arrangements and if she isn't out of your house by that time, you will evict her and sister will have to step up and start taking care of your mother. Cold hearted? Yep, but your sister has been cold hearted by not helping deciding that her trips to who knows where was more important than helping you out with your mom.
I agree. As a caregiver for multiple family members, you can't expect to get appreciated, thanked or any gratitude, though, I often do get that. (My mom will often tell others that she didn't know what in the world she and my dad would do without my help, but, that's not always the case. ) Remember the saying, No good deed goes unpunished. It's something that you just have to do the right thing and then have peace. Your generosity may never be acknowledged, HOWEVER, if you expect and need compensation from mom, I'd seek legal advice from an attorney on how to put it in writing. There are sound reasons for having these things in writing, should there ever be any question about the funds, why you got them, etc. AND, if you're considering having mom move out, the attorney can advise you legal way to do that too.  Notice is usually required.  
It sounds like you have two issues - mom not contributing her share and sister stirring the pot. First - take care of your finances - if mom does not contribute more (and get a contract for Medicaid later) go back to work and kick mom out. She can go live with your sister.
I do not understand why your mother is living with you at all? You say she is independent, why does she have to live with you?

What is the local rental rate for a 1 bedroom suite? That is the minimum your Mum should be paying for living there. On top of that she should be paying towards the food budget and utilities.

When my son moved back home my electric bill went up by $30.00 per month, this was due to more laundry, another person using hot water for bathing and his computer. My heating and internet costs have not changed. I do not have cable.

My food budget went up considerably too. How much has yours changed since Mum moved in?

How much have your utilities increased since she moved in?

Now, does your sister owe you anything? You chose to have Mum live with you. You cannot expect your sister to pay for your choice in life. It is unreasonable to expect that she will give up her holidays or purchases because of a decision you made.

You say your sister is taking your mum about 6 times a month for meals. Also that your sister works full time and has a family. What more do you expect her to do? Do you feel she should give up her job as you did? Do you feel she should take time off work to give you a break? Do you feel she should give up her holidays? What do you feel your sister has to do to "earn the money she's looking for.."?

Is there any reason why you cannot work? I know you said you left your job when your father moved in and have had a couple surgeries in the past, but what about now? What is stopping you from working now?

What other living arrangements can your mother make? Where was she living before?

There is more at play here than your mother paying her fair share of the household expenses.

I apologize, I replied to everyone's comments directly.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support