These boards have many comments on family dysfunction and struggles among siblings. So I guess here goes one more and appreciate your feedback on how you would handle things.
My parents are in their 80's and dad is caring for my mom with AD at home. The last year has been increasingly difficult as mom's illness progresses. Dad is 83 and burned out. He is proud and refuses assistance, so I just show up with food or start cleaning the house or doing yard work and he never stops me. I do what I can to ease his burden and help mom know she is loved.
My older sister makes everything worse. She escalates issues, gossips, and complains about even spending a few hours with mom and dad. She says their house is depressing. Dad developed a nervous habit of grinding his teeth (well, he's stressed out) and all she does is make fun of him. Instead of bringing a solution - such as researching rehab facilities after mom's surgery - she just adds it as a task to my dad's list. I've asked her not to bother our dad with one more thing to do, but she gets defensive and tells me she doesn't have time (she doesn't work, but does find time to volunteer).
A couple months ago she told me she thought a new PCP would be better for mom & dad. Two days later I saw she sent a demanding email to our dad telling him that she and I decided he needed to find a new doctor and gave him a numbered list of tasks to do in big bold letters. I was disgusted at the tone and lack of regard she showed and that she dragged me into it.
Just last week she said she thinks dad is having a vodka on the rocks each night before going to bed. She said it was too much and was going to talk to him. She asked me to talk to him too, but I refused because I know her approach would be abrasive and dad would feel hurt and bullied. She got mad at me for not agreeing, said she didn't know why she ever bothers to call me, and hung up. I've noticed dad has not called me since and I believe she lied to him and told our dad that I too was concerned about his nightly drink. I am sure dad is hurt. This is the last thing he needs from his daughters.
I feel like my sister is underhanded and only out for herself with no regard to how her actions impact anyone. I disengage with her, I never call her unless she has called me, I never see her outside of family functions and I do not plan to see her until father's day in six months. I guess this isn't unusual, but I wish it was better. Thanks.

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I think that email would have tipped me over the edge. I'd have sent her one back imitating the tone of voice and list of demands, just to see how she liked it.

Don't do that! It wouldn't help.

Couldn't agree more with MidKid about setting down in stone that your sister does not speak for you. You might want to give the PCP a heads-up on that score, too, just as a thought.

But I have to warn you that this is not a one-off task. You will need to reinforce the message at regular intervals. I can still visualise myself tearing my hair out and screeching "for f***'s sake! Why does anyone ask M anything? And why do you BELIEVE it?" This was after my sister had blurted out "M says that - " some piece of utter rubbish about something mother was supposed to have said that had upset everyone, when she'd said no such thing and had then been misinterpreted in yet another masterpiece of mangled communication from M. But what made me incandescent is that for YEARS beforehand it had been widely acknowledged that M was by no means a reliable narrator. So why swallow her version?

I.e., it can become very frustrating. Watch out for that one.

Also. Your sister thinks she is right. She is not behaving like this with the aim of making herself unpopular and making your father feel browbeaten and miserable.

Her approach sucks. It is not only horrible, it is likely to be counterproductive.

But her *concerns* are not all baseless. I don't mean your father shouldn't have a vodka and tonic if he wants one. I mean, how long can your parents continue as is; and what can be done to encourage a shift in their living arrangements?

Your approach is lovely. You're there, you make yourself useful in practical ways, you are sympathetic and respectful. I hope this will encourage your father to turn to you when he recognises that he does need more support. But... what other resources can you call on if you get seriously worried and he's not budging?
Helpful Answer (1)

You'll never "win" fighting with a sib over parent's care. I've been on this train for 20+ years and I just recently got booted off--and it's fine.

Mother knows I'm here, if/when she gets unhappy about the care brother provides her, she can contact me.

BTW, it's VERY common for one sib to "bash" the other sibs. I don't know if it's a control thing, anger, depression, whatever--it happens all the time.

Just be loving and as supportive as you can be and try to ignore sis. I would, however, make POSITIVE that dad and mom know that sis DOES NOT speak for you.
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Support your dad unconditionally and keep doing what you're doing. Always let your dad know that he can count on you. Don't put him in the position of feeling like he has to choose one daughter over the other so support him without bad mouthing your sister. One isn't contingent upon the other. And if he wants a vodka tonic at night before bed put out the bottles for him before you leave with a frosty glass. After a long and difficult day of caring for your mom that one drink is his reward and he should have it regardless.

Disengaging with your sister is the best way to deal with her. Don't argue with her, don't contradict her, don't bait her. She'd love that. You're doing the right thing by just ignoring her antics and taking care of yourself and your folks.
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You should be proactive with your dear dad. It sounds like both your parents could benefit from some in home help, housekeeper, meals on wheels, respite for dad or maybe it is time for Assisted Living. Either way you should have a heart to heart with your dad about your sister saying things on your behalf, let him know that you will never use her to tell him anything, then don't, tell him that anything you have to say will be said directly to him and him alone. If a vodka at night helps him rest and get through his difficult days, whos business is that anyways. Tell him it is good he found a way to get some rest and let him know that if he gets to the point of needing one at 6am to get through the day, let you know. All with love and compassion he is doing a very hard job as well as having to watch his dear wife fade away, the last thing he needs is some harpy b***h daughter trying to run his life via e-mail.
Stand up for yourself and your parents, you'll be glad you did, since you are the one with boots on the ground, you have a better idea of how things are progressing and know when it is time to intervene or just observe. Good luck with sister, sounds like a bully to me.
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