Caring for my mom for past 20 years. She lives alone in her home. Her desire. I have taken care of everything from groceries to medical appointments to her bills… everything. Now that her health is being more challenging, I look to my siblings for help. But because Mom is not confident in anyone but me to help her, she prefers my siblings not to help. This is fine. My mom trusts me. I get it. But I am now resenting my brother and sister for not even trying to get involved for the past 20 years. They figured if I didn’t ask for help, then I must not have needed it.

I will continue to care for my mom with all my heart. But how do I cope with the pain and disappointment I have with my siblings? In my eyes, it is NOT ok to be so self absorbed and take it for granted that I will take care of our mom by myself. I hate to say it, but today I actually started wishing I were an only child. That way I would not be resenting anyone for not helping. I feel bad I am thinking this way. But I am being honest, any advise?

One more thing, I just noticed your bio says you are helping mom live independently in her own house. This is incorrect.

Your mother isn’t living independently in her own house. It’s clear she is entirely dependent on you to stay in her house.

She is living dependently in her own house. The word choice is important.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Southernwaver

I get why people have told you that you chose to be caregiver to your mom and resenting your siblings only hurts you. But, I do understand what you are feeling.
I did most of what my mom needed during her last years. What hurt me was I couldn't understand why my siblings didn't want to help more. My mom trusted me the most just like your mom and I understood that I was the logical choice. But she was a wonderful woman and mother. Why my siblings wouldn't want to help more.........well that irked me. Still does, 9 yrs. after her death.

I've forgiven my sibs cause, well, forgiveness is mostly for the person who is forgiving. Holding all that resentment inside was only hurting me. They didn't have a clue that I was mad and even if they did know it wouldn't have changed anything. I'll never see them in the same light again. Our relationships have changed since mom died. We rarely see each other or talk. But eventually ya gotta let bygones be bygones.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Gershun
BayPoodle Mar 31, 2024
Yes. It’s so baffling and there really is no way to understand it.
See 1 more reply

i’m a black belt in karate. i’ll kick your siblings’ butts one day. so will karma.

i have some terrible, terrible family members. you have no idea.

OP, i wish you (and all of us here), a great life. find a way.

step 1: if possible, stay away from terrible people. they don’t change, they get worse. don’t trust them! document everything, if necessary. you might need the proof later.

step 2: build yourself a WONDERFUL life. you can do it. easier said than done, but YOU CAN DO IT. YOU MUST DO IT.

your friend,
bundle of joy
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to bundleofjoy

Here's my current mantra "They don't have to change. I can."

You have a lot of skill sets in managing a sick person. Take a good inventory of what's happening now. You sound burned out. Which is a given at this point. No need to bother with the siblings. "They don't have to change. I can." They aren't going to do squat. Oh well. You'll see 'em at the funeral. That'll be about as much as they can manage. Otherwise, time to get your ducks in a row. All paperwork done-POA, DPOA, will, any estate stuff. Do you use an elder lawyer? If not, time to find one. Protect your assests. Understand the laws in your state. Don't think your siblings won't try some pretty rotten stuff.
Placement for you mother may be a harsh reality. Are you ready for another 20+ years of this? Folks are living longer. If that is your choice, then have at the very least a weekly caregiver come in to help you.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Ariadnee

You are very kind to care for your mom for 20 years, but you've trained your siblings and your mom to expect you to continue doing it. You've trained yourself also. It's a pattern of thinking that everyone's adopted, so now what?

Mom's health will continue to worsen. That's a given. By this time, if your siblings haven't caught on that you need more help, and if they aren't willing to provide it, it's not going to happen. The way to get over your disappointment in them is to stop expecting help from that quarter. Chop off the expectations and set your sights on another way of getting help. Move forward with that.

Then have a come-to-Jesus meeting with mom. (No point in including the sibs because they'll feel momentarily guilt under pressure, but after they've told you they'll help, they won't. They never do.) Tell mom that you're going to hire help and pay them with her money. Then she has a fit (manipulation, gotta pile on the guilt). Then you tell her that caregiving is exhausting and you wish to stay mentally healthy, so if she doesn't like it, that's too bad. Then hire people.

Better yet, find an assisted living facility for mom. She'll have activities and people to help her. You can be free and still care for your mom with all your heart, but you will no longer be her slave.

Elders who make no plans for their old age often feel overentitled. Your mom is one of those. It's wrong to expect an adult child to help them live "independently" when there is nothing independent about it. Twenty years. That's 7300 days and 7300 nights of responsibility for you. You didn't deserve that.

Whatever you do, don't take her into YOUR home "to make it easier." That's a sure disaster, and it's never easier. I hope your find help soon.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Fawnby

I think it is a great mistake to expect others to want to do something simply because we have made a choice to do it.

I personally was an RN for my career. While I loved it, it had 5 weeks vacation, worked three 12 hour shifts per week, had 12 ill days and 12 personal/holiday days. With that it was a piece of cake to maintain a great attitude and love what I did. But it did teach me that I would never want to do hands on care for anyone 24/7, nor to be responsible for the care in that manner. Not only does it take over your life, cause great anxiety, require endless patience, but it removes you from being a daughter to being a caregiver. There is a great difference in the roles and they don't meld well.

I would be in the same camp with your siblings. The difference is that I would try to help you in some ways, perhaps with shopping bags of groceries, with a few home cooked meals per month, with some respite for some weeks. But I would at the same time make it very clear to you that I feel an elder who cannot care for him/herself belongs in some kind of care, or needs to provide his/her own caregivers, that I would not be taking on caregiving. I would own up that these are MY OWN limitations, and have nothing to do with your choices.

I am sorry you don't have more help and support, but I would not waste time thinking about that. Others don't change because we wish them to.
I hope that your mother, if she has any means at all, any assets, will recognize the care that you have given her out of your good heart for all this time by making it clear in any will or trust that you are the beneficiary of a large portion of any estate to a much larger extent than your siblings because of the care you have provided her. I truly hope she is cognizant of this care and has made provisions, but I find that seldom happens.

I am sorry. I recognize your good heart. I would vote for you if you are running for Sainthood, but it is a bad job description and I advise against it. You are clearly a giving and good hearted person. We don't all fit those specifications; I surely don't. And it appears your siblings don't either.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to AlvaDeer
DaughterSD Mar 30, 2024
Thank you for your response. You have helped me put it in perspective that my siblings are not wired to be a caregiver. And I am now fine with that. Unfortunately my expectations of my siblings must be very different than mine. I would always be there for them if they needed help. Always! But when I asked for help (even to pick up her groceries) I am met with excuses.

I never thought by taking on this responsibility 20 years ago, that my siblings would then hold me 100% responsible and leave me with no support.

And I am assuming they are conveniently forgetting that this is their mother too. I am not just asking help for me, but for OUR mother.

Just very disappointed.
See 1 more reply
It is hard, my sister just disappeared a year ago. I was very angry at times, and sad for my mom, the hard part for me was always hoping, hoping this week she will call give me a little break. Once I got rid of the hope that she will just help even a little, and decided ok for now this is on me, then the anger subsided. A year later i have no anger, no resentments, and no feelings towards my sister. I'm just at peace. With the sister issues anyways. It's a start. 😂

I feel like alot families break apart after long term caregiving, it sucks weather it's from the stress, or honestly I think in my case the only thing we have had in common all these years is we have the same parents. So maybe family's go separate was because of the stress, or maybe there just isn't anything to hold them together anymore
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Anxietynacy
Anxietynacy Mar 31, 2024
Also instead of resenting those who do nothing, I'm being thankful and respectful of anyone in the family that does even a little thing. Any little thing helps, in that I am also expecting respect back. And those who don't give me respect, see ya later..... 😂
Has it occurred to you that instead of being resentful that your siblings aren't doing more, why are you not resentful that your mother expects everything to be done by you? You need to figure out how much you are willing and capable of doing but anything more your mother needs to figure out or pay for it to get done.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to lkdrymom
Beatty Mar 31, 2024
Illuminating. Like a ray of light shone under the table - the very useful & pretty pedestal table that wished it had more legs..
See 1 more reply
I’m actually in same type situation and interested in others comments. At this point , for me, I have completely given up on help with my mom from my sister. From the beginning she hasn’t contributed in her care. I do have resentment and can’t see any type of sisterly relationship ever.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Pahorner

I have taken care of my mother for the last 15 years. I have three siblings, two out of state and one three hours drive from me. So it’s always been just me and that’s always been how mom wanted it. At first it wasn’t all consuming but it became that way. She was living with me and the demands on my life were overwhelming. I had no life other than taking care of mom. She had three hospitalizations in a short period of time so I finally decided to move her to assisted living. She was furious but came to accept it. It’s no utopia but it’s better than what it was.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to RLWG54

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter