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My sister and I have always been very close and do lots of things together and talk everyday. Since we have become full time caregivers of our parents along with our full time jobs and families our relationship seems to be changing. We are both tired and stretched thin taking care of dad who is mostly blind, cannot hear, and has mobile difficulties at 91. Mom is much younger at 78 but her issues are cognitive and she recently broke her hip. The doctor appointments seem endless and trying to schedule around work is hard. Seems we disagree much more often and are only doing something together if we happen to both be at our parents cleaning or caring for them. How have others salvaged their sibling relationships?

The best relationships, whether sibling, spouse, friendship, or any other type, will thrive under adversity. Others will weaken.

I have learned that my best friends are not the siblings that I once adored. Now that I examine my past, I realize that the feelings weren’t mutual.

i hope you and your sister do better than the people in my family, but if you drift apart, take comfort in knowing that many of us have shared this pain.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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My sister and i are in the same situation. We have found that one of us deals with medical and the other finance. We are in a constant text thread and often use humor. Doctors appt are scheduled together with our calendar. We moved our parents into and assisted living and that has been the best decision. Its an added level of protection and watch. So now there is a team of us caring for them and not just my sister and i. Hope that helps some.
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Reply to Nandring
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Imho, what are you experiencing is caregiver burnout. It is IMPERATIVE that you seek respite from a church group, Visiting Angels, et al, else you fall faint and ill and are good to no one. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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"Since we have become full time caregivers of our parents along with our full time jobs and families our relationship seems to be changing."

This is what is often referred to as care-giver burn out.

"We are both tired and stretched thin taking care of dad who is mostly blind, cannot hear, and has mobile difficulties at 91. Mom is much younger at 78 but her issues are cognitive and she recently broke her hip. The doctor appointments seem endless and trying to schedule around work is hard."

These statements back that assessment up. No one person or even 2 can cover the kind of care your parents need even if you could rule out care for your own family and/or work. The care and tasks needed are only going to increase, so you need to have a plan or plans in place.

It isn't clear if there are funds that can be used, but if there are, bringing in help to offset the time you both have to contribute will help. We are not super human - sure, initially it seems to work, but over time, day after day, week after week, you're both being drained. Eventually things may snap and one or both of you may throw up your hands and quit! Respite care, which gives you time off as well, for a needed break, can help, but would require relocating them - may be difficult with mom's broken hip at this time, so bringing in help might be the better solution for now. But, you both need to consider at some point that your parents will need to move to a facility - given their conditions are different, it may require different placements.

If there aren't funds, hopefully you have POAs, and other legal documents done already (if not, sooner rather than later!) You should explore Medicaid if they are low income. EC atty could advise. Some states allow Medicaid funding for in-home care. Anything to give you both some time off - you NEED time for yourselves too!

"Seems we disagree much more often and are only doing something together if we happen to both be at our parents cleaning or caring for them."

So, are you disagreeing about care, appts, how to provide care, or just disagreeing in general? If it's the latter, it's yet another sign that you are headed for burnout! See the above regarding respite care, bringing in help, placements. If you are disagreeing about what care each is providing, take some time AWAY from your parents to work on a schedule. Don't be critical if you don't agree with how one of you does this and the other does that. We all have our own habits and ways of doing things. So long as your goals are to help your parents and each other, let those things go. If you disagree about appts, try to prioritize them and see if any can be delayed/eliminated. At some point, dr visits become less than useful, at least for your parents and you (useful to them to keep $ coming in.) When the virus came, mom's dr office cancelled her reg checkup appt and wanted to do TeleHealth. I said 1) she isn't living with me so I can't help you there, 2) even if they set this up in facility, I'm not allowed to be there and 3) if you can't do BP, ht, wt, listen to heart and lungs, just exactly WHAT are you going to accomplish with this appt? Mom was 96 at the time, on BP meds, has no real hearing left, has eye issues, wheelchair bound and dementia. Yeah, TeleHealth, that'll work!

There also comes a time when the interventions become worse than whatever they have going on. Last week, mom, now 97, had a stroke. They brought in EMS and wanted to take her to hospital for testing. I told them if YOU can convince her to go and then can get this testing done (I expected not), then as POA sure, go ahead, take her, but don't hospitalize her. She refused to go. I really don't see the point now and she'd be difficult, at best, to work with to get testing done.

Anyway, if I'm reading your post wrong, I apologize. It does seem that you two are just becoming worn out and stressed in trying to do too much. It would be a shame to ruin such a good relationship. Get some help!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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It’s simple mathematics.

Each of us receives 24 hours per earth cycle.
Eight of those 24 hours are devoted to sleeping, give a little – take a little.  Each of us decides how to allocate the remaining 16 wake hours per earth cycle.

Allocate some time for full time caregiver of parents, some time with full time jobs, some time with families and some time for self. 

The lord will not give any of us more hours no matter how much more we want to do. The lord may take away hours but does not give us more hours. Treats all of us equal.

Unless we find a balance, the lord may take away the hours we have.
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disgustedtoo Sep 17, 2020
This is one of the most useless comments. Obviously OP (and the rest of us) knows there are only a given number of hours in a day, that had NOTHING to do with her question.

Point out the obvious, but offer no advice, suggestions, nothing. Thanks.
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I am sorry you are dealing with this. I live 50 minutes away from my Mom. My sister and her husband who live 1.5 miles from my Mom (who is 97.5 and living alone) will not go see her or help her. I am 70 and still working part time. I cannot count on any help from my sister or her family and most of what I get from them is hateful emails. My sister's kids (both drug addicts) went to my parents and took over 20K. No repayment or intentions. I have had to totally write off my sister and will never have a relationship again with her or her husband. I do all the decisions and care for my Mom. We are looking at home care and assisted living now. It is very hard to be "an only child" but I am one despite one living sibling. When my Dad died, my Mom was hospitalized. My sister and her family never came to visit my Mom during this hospitalization. I took Mom home and stayed with her for a week. This was 5 years ago. I had awesome parents. I don't understand what is wrong with my sister and her family. They seem to live in a cesspool of hatefulness. I am thankful for my friends who call me, help me through this trying time. I am a physician and this has been one of the most difficult times of my life. My parents were awesome to all three of us paying for college, etc. My sister at age 68 is still bringing up ways her growing up period wasn't perfect. My parents were very good, not perfect but they always loved us very much. My sister hasn't grown up at age 68. I went through the grief of losing what I thought was a relationship with my sister when I lost my Dad. Now I just don't give a d*** about my sister or her family other than her oldest son who is trying to turn his life around. If anyone has any thoughts about this please let me know. Thanks for listening.
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disgustedtoo Sep 17, 2020
I am one bro away from being the only child, so I hear you.

When OB was last here for a short while to help a bit with getting mom's condo cleaned out (took almost TWO years of my life to get it all done and sold - the two bros didn't do a whole lot), his only visit with mom was very short and he REFUSED to go back again because he "didn't know what to do with her." I can understand that, since he took no interest in the information I would pass on to enlighten him, and was clueless, BUT, both bros, when we were checking out a couple of MC places got sticker shock and their first thoughts, verbalized, were "Gee, for that kind of money, I'll take her in!" Sure they will...

I've written off OB and have had no contact in over 2.5 years. Mom just recently had a stroke, so I felt it was only right to inform him. 15 hours later, reply was simple "Thanks for update." That was it.

The other is virtually on the cusp of becoming non-bro. Different reasons, but I kept him in the loop because I couldn't support her weight when she refused to stand/walk, so he had to take her to Mac Deg appts. Four times/year and it was like torture to him (never mind that I had been doing it for YEARS prior to that!) Now, he won't have even this to do. I canceled the next one (10/8) and don't consider future treatments for that now. I gave up asking if he was going to join us for holiday and special meals. I really didn't care if he went, but tried to keep him included. All I needed was a yes or no, as the facility wanted head count. I have enough to do to manage her care, provide her necessities and medications and visit her (before lock downs), so I just stopped asking. HE is a grown man. HE knows when there are holidays and special days. HE can ask if he's interested, but he hasn't, so that's that. Edit: forgot to add that in trying to explain how this appt was necessary, but becoming too much with all else I have to do, his response was that the facility "takes care of everything." No, it doesn't, but you can't tell him that!

Once she passes, I will consider myself an only child.

(hope you can have a positive influence in your oldest nephew's life and his attempts to forge a better future!)
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I think, sadly, for our family and for many others, the disagreement over the EOL care for our aging parents is going to cause an irreparable fracture that will never be mended.

My 5 sibs, well, 4 now that OB has died, do not agree on how to care for mother. She lives with one brother, who treats her like a prisoner. She goes almost nowhere. To the store, one day a week. Stays in the car, with a mask on and that's it. No Sr Center (he has stated she will never go back b/c he doesn't think COVID will ever be 'managed' to the point that she is safe.) She isn't allowed to go out for a drive with any of us, due to YB taking the reins and being so forceful, she is afraid to cross him.

The other 4 of us totally disagree with this--but mother us afraid of YB and simply does what he says. We're all sick of fighting with him. He is keeping her 'hostage' partly out of his own problems of her being a nice-so-great mother--and now he's 'paying her back'.

I have tried a couple of times to meet as a family and discuss this--how to give her a better QOL--with 5 of us, it's very doable. But YB gets so angry, takes it out on mother and she gets so sad.

Basically, we've given up trying to help. I haven't even spoken to her in 4 months and don't see it happening in the near future. Anything I say gets duly reported to YB and I am hot water. Not worth it.
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Reply to Midkid58
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My MIL has dementia that came on and worsened after a mild stroke. Now has a full time care companion in the home until AL opens back up and she can move there.
My husband has 2 very busy businesses. We stay w/ MIL for 24 hours 1 weekend a month, so Outside care giver can have a day off. We rotate these weekends with the 2 SIL’s. Occasionally I’m able to stay w/ her and relieve the sister in laws & full time care giver for a few hours if there are errands to run or doctors visits.
My husband runs over on occasion from his office to help out with “mediating” MIL’s dementia- paranoia with the caregiver.
My point is: we ARE helping, but our efforts are never enough for these 2 surely SIL’s. It’s exhausting to be seen as the enemy and to be the brunt of unkind comparisons as to who is the “better” adult child. Who needs this kind of drama?
I’m in agreement that situations like this can bring out the best or the worst in siblings. The key is setting up healthy boundaries. Happy that my husband put them in place.
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disgustedtoo Sep 17, 2020
They sound like somewhat spoiled jerks. The one-upmanship was probably learned when they were kids and they haven't outgrown it. For a sensible person, it isn't about how much we do or give, it's whether we CARE. This isn't even your own mother, yet you give up your time to help her and the others - ungrateful ....fill in the blank....

Sounds like you and hubby are in this together, so good, stand your ground!
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There are 5 siblings in my family, because I quit work before my 3rd child was born, all my siblings decided I would be the care giver because they all worked! First, it was my Grandfather who had Alzheimer's for 6 years. After my Grandfather died I moved my Grandmother closer and then she had Alzheimer's for 6 years! My father was an only child and died before his parents health crisis and deaths. Then my step-father had cancer and I cared for him for 6 months. After that my Mom became my responsibility, it's been 25 years since he died. She was mostly self sufficient except for finances until she had a stroke and what we thought was dementia the last 5 years. I have always been the one to take her to ALL doctor appointments, pay all her bills, set up any accounts, etc. I have the POA and her medical POA so at least when it comes down to it, I have the last say. All 3 of my brothers live within 5 minutes of my Mom, I live 25 minutes away and thankfully my youngest brother is always helping with maintenance and things around her house - a God send! My sister lives about an hour away due to traffic, but she is emotionally a burden to me and my mother, instead of a help. She has physical problems, she has money problems, she just doesn't get it. Unfortunately, we had to ban her from seeing my Mom in the hospital or staying with her for over 2 years until my Mom recovered from the stroke. This was very hard. We sat down as a family and had to explain everything and there was crying, hurt feelings, etc. However, she did what was asked of her for the most part. My Mom's blood pressure and emotions would go crazy, every time my sister would come stay because she has a lot of needs. Same with my Aunt, she wants to come stay with my Mom for weeks at a time, but she has just as many health issues and I have to take care of her too. It's exhausting. I finally told my Aunt that even though we love when she visits, it is too hard for us to do it. I had to take my Aunt to the ER twice, get medications, pay for her cell phone bill until she got her SS, find special items she needed. My sister manages to order my Mom stuff on line without asking my permission first, since I take care of all bills. She cooks or orders stuff that my Mom is not suppose to eat and then her BP goes up and she gets sick. It is exhausting. At one point, I had to send a family letter out to all siblings and nieces and nephews because my Mom would decide she wanted something and a grandkid would be talking to her and all of a sudden, I'm getting a call that the granddaughter in law helped her buy a $5,000 bed! Her excuse, well she asked for my help. This was all the time, my sister or one of the grandkids also borrowing money. The letter said it doesn't matter if she asked for your help or you need to borrow money, you DO NOT ASK her or help her without contacting me first. PERIOD. They got the message for the most part. All of this is to say - COMMUNICATION IS KEY. Every week I try to group text the other 4 siblings, tell them all her appointments, needs, etc. I ask if anyone can do some of them if I have a conflict. Usually someone volunteers. If I know my sister shouldn't do some of the tasks, I text my brothers separately to ask for help, but they all get updates about everything that is going on. We've had 4 major sibling meetings over the years that has helped. Also, getting outside help sometimes becomes a must. My brothers split the cost of yard work and usually they can fix things around the house. Decide who can do what and see who can do things. Sometimes even grown grandkids can help, don't be afraid to ask.
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Reply to lindberg62
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I have two siblings; one who lived a 15 hour drive away and the other a 1.5 hour drive away from mom and dad. The reality was all responsibility rested on me to assist our parents through their decline and last days. Helping parents through this only underscores whatever strengths and weaknesses exist in sibling relationships. In my case, it also became my responsibility to communicate and give updates to my siblings. Long story short, my sister who lives closer did NOTHING. When I say nothing, I mean nothing. Not even a get-well card or phone call. My brother who lives far away did more coming to stay and help two times over four years, each time for two to three weeks. Luckily, he was supportive, but deferred ultimately to my decisions (we mostly agreed) since I saw them daily and had a good assessment. Helping your parents is very stressful and when both live to older ages (mine did!), their needs increase and are often vary from each others. There comes a point that you have to consider that one's condition is negatively affecting the others. Very difficult. If your disagreements are about decisions for mom and dad, a social worker or even therapist might be helpful. But sometimes, the disagreements are just due to the real and ever-present stress associated with assisting one's parents in their decline. Removing some of that stress is key. I would get some outside help in to supplement your efforts. I would recommend you try to attend doctor's appointments, but leave more of the cleaning etc for people you hire. At first, it will feel like more work, but once you find one or two caregivers, it will be a god send. Sometimes this help can be provided through senior programs, if money is an issue. The nice thing about hiring in-home help is that there is opportunity for friendships to form outside of family which is a good thing. Mom had two caregivers who were very and sweet and good to her, and I could clearly see the value in those relationships. I am getting choked up just thinking about the kindness they exhibited. As for the sibling question. In my case, my sister, who showed no compassion or care, is no longer in contact with me, nor I with her. I kept her in the loop while our parents were living, but now we are done. On the other hand, my brother and I have kept up the regular phone visits that we initiated during mom and dad's crises, and despite the distance and Covid, have continued to enjoy our sibling comradarie. When Covid abates, we will have a real visit. You value your relationship with your sister, so I would sit down with her and work out a plan to reduce the stress on the both of you. Recognize the efforts that you are both giving and the negative effects on yourselves and your family. Then, brainstorm ways to alleviate that stress and choose one or two possibilities to explore. This is a stressful time even without the factor of caring for elderly parents, so communication is key. Hope this helps.
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"Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future."
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disgustedtoo Sep 17, 2020
If this is your response to OP, WTH??? There isn't anything to forgive, yet.

If this is response to someone else, IDENTIFY them!
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My mother has dementia as sibling in the beginning of her diagnose we argued a lot as sibling our views are different not every siblings views are alike.  My stepfather does most of the care for my mother but at 78 his tired as well, the best advice I can give you is to get a nurse to come in a couple of days during the week.  We went through the City of Baltimore Health Department for Aging to start the process of getting a nurses assistant.  There is a waiting list through this process and a lot of paperwork, following up often to make sure that the Department stay on top of the paperwork.  It took us two years to get my Mom assistant from the City. So the best route is to connected with a Nurse agency to have some one come in to help while the paperwork is being process in your state or city.
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Reply to GloriaBess
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Abell - - members are giving very considered and elaborate answers even though you truly haven't stated the real problem. Sorry to use such a well-worn expression, but the elephant is in the room.

You're going to need to be able to communicate with your sister regarding such disagreements, and there is undoubtedly a world of wisdom here about how to resolve those disagreements, if only they were actually revealed.

Please specify what your disagreements are about so that you will be able to receive answers that apply to your situation.
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Reply to CarolLynn
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Not much you can do about it as neither one of you have the extra time ya'll once had.

You might hire someone to sit with your parents for a couple hrs once a week while you and sis go to lunch together.
If a'll or your parents can't afford to do that, you might ask other family and friends if once a week they could donate a few hrs or even Church Members.

As long as you and sus both share in the Care, ya'll will be able to work things out.

It's a big load when you work and have a family of your own.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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I think it might be good to have a meeting with your sibling and break the tasks into lists. You chose the tasks you will be in charge of, if it is cleaning, perhaps which days is specified on the list. If you are taking care of appointments on certain days, write that down. I think a calendar would help. You are blessed to have one another, just organize now. Try to understand you both have a common goal. Try praying together. Organize your tasks, write them down, plan who will do which on which days, give one another loving help. Listen to each other, give grace. Seek outside help when you both can. Do not take on tasks you can not do. Communication is always the key to working in an successful team.
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Reply to lauramay
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It only gets worse--the older they get, the worse they become to the point they will require diapering and feeding. You need to do estate planning: See an eldercare attorney, decide on DPOA, Wills, property. Either that start Medicaid planning. Unless you two have night and day shift to the point the parents are never left alone, neither one of you will be able to keep your jobs.
I had to care for my mom by myself. It made me an emotional cripple. I'm still recovering from this.

You have no idea what "caregiving" means until you have to clean up your own parent diapers, and keeping them clean. I also had to get my bathtub removed replaced with a standing shower. When mom was alive I made sure she would have a bowel movement because on the 3rd day without it she would get impacted...the stool gets so large and hard she cannot pass it. So I marked her bowel movements on the calendar, and if it is on the 3rd day I would have to give her a glycerine suppository. If wearing a diaper, their private parts must also be kept clean to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI). Stool causing UTI can kill them. Elderly women are very prone to UTIs. Since she could not clean herself I had to do it and believe me it was extremely difficult for me to get used to this. But you do what you must, and I do not trust nursing homes.

You also must pay special attention to the SKIN. Paper thin skin means easy skin breakdown which means they MUST be kept clean and not sit on their urine or feces...a tiny abrasion can become a skin ulcer and must be aggressively treated because left alone it can kill the skin and tunnel down to the bone.

I took care of mum to the end and mom's skin was in perfect condition but it was very hard and stressful to keep mom going. When mum died I had to recreate my life from scratch due to decades of caring for her, and it nearly destroyed me. However, I'm working now and working on my Master's degree and managing well. But still missing mom. Not a day goes by I don't cry and cry for her. But I also came to terms with mum's death. At least mum died in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by love, and she never did suffer at all. The hospice nurse came daily near the end of her life to ensure she was comfortable and we never did have to open up that "emergency package" not once. When mum died she opened her eyes, took two deep breaths and died the most peaceful death you can imagine.

Her ordeal of life is over. Mine started..but after a year I'm managing.
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jimlindac Sep 17, 2020
I am so sorry for you loss. You honored your mother and cared for her when she needed you and you should be proud of how strong you are. It is NOT an easy job. Blessings.
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Most couples won’t accept placement until one of them has no other option than placement or dies. It hasn’t reached that point yet but it won’t be long before it will. Wait for the right time. Unless your mother has really serious dementia and is also close to being non-ambulatory, I doubt that she will want placement for herself or your father. Most of what you describe is simply tension. I agree that finding time to go out for a meal and discuss what’s on each of your minds is the right course of action. If there are other siblings, asking them to stay with your parents while you get a much needed rest is a good idea if one of the other siblings is willing to do it. Just don’t be surprised if they “take ownership” as a result and begin to criticize, however subtly, the care that you and your sister are giving. This happened in my family each time my sister came to stay with our mom while our caregiver brother took a vacation. Sometimes it just isn’t worth getting other family members involved unless you clearly define the role you expect them to play.

Once one and then both of your parents die, the tension with your sister will clear up unless you let unspoken resentments fester, one stops pulling her weight and/or withdraws, or you don’t make a practice of processing what you are going through on a regular basis. You are indeed fortunate to have more than one sibling that is sharing the responsibility equally. It also sounds like you had strong parents with good child rearing skills who inculcated the advantages of strong sibling bonds. All to often on this site, the exhaustion of caregiving a child’s parents is complicated by long standing resentment and hostility that begins to openly manifest when the parent becomes infirm, helpless, or dependent upon a child the parent has physically or emotionally abused, neglected or psychologically wounded. Your journey can and will be tense but peaceful if you bring your concerns regarding your relationship with your sister out in the open now.
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Reply to Chellyfla
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My brother and I just did what had to be done without arguing or fighting. For one thing, we knew Mom would not want us to fight. And we didn't want to upset her. One time, we were arguing and she started crying, she was very upset telling us to stop. Never happened again.
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Chellyfla Sep 17, 2020
I really agree with you about this! After I had a very small stroke, I was “captured” by the medical establishment for all sorts of unnecessary appointments and tests that wouldn’t prevent another stroke one iota. I just stopped going and they never even followed up about why I didn’t come back, strong evidence that the appointments were more about obtaining insurance payments more than anything else. This doesn’t happen in countries with socialized medicine programs and various studies have shown that almost all citizens of countries with socialized medicine are happier with their care than the US is. I think it’s wise to ask the question,”What good is this care going to do me?” If you don’t know, it’s probably not necessary.
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Most doctors appointments are not essential. Medicare keeps most doctors in business, and so it's a volume game. Just because a doctor says "I want to see you back in 3 weeks" doesn't mean it's actually necessary.

I would invite your sister out for breakfast or lunch away from it all, and discuss the never ending medical appointments and which appointments can be cut back. It sounds to me like both you and your sister are on the caregiving hamster wheel and need to get off of it. If you can't have a conversation - and come to agreement - about medical appointments, then you know that you both need help with figuring out the future caregiving needs of your parents. Maybe bring up hiring a geriatric care manager because both of your parents need very different things.

I hope your parents important paperwork - durable power of attorney both medical and financial, living wills, etc. - is already in place. If not, you must get this done quickly while your mother is still considered competent to sign such documents.

Be aware that caregiver burnout is insidious. By the time one of you cracks, it's too late. Be proactive and tell your sister that you miss the relationship you once had with her, and that you want to start discussing plans for your parents' futures. This takes time but it may be the kind of project that rekindles the sisterly bond. No one wants to feel like they have no choice but to continue doing the things that are stressing them out.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Your question hits home big time.

It's great that you and your sister are close, and that you have allies in each other. The kind of work you are doing is taxing, emotionally and physically. It seems that maybe you can rest in knowing that you are close, and will be close in the future. Maybe you can find peace in that right now each of you have to take care of your needs first, and fully focus on taking the space for your well being and trust that you will find time for each other again. I wish you and your sister well!

I have been taking care of my 90 year old dad for a few years now. As time has passed he is progressing in dementia and it's been difficult for one of my brothers. He has pulled away quite a bit from helping with dad's care and at first it made me quite angry and resentful. After a while I realized that I need to focus my energy on keeping me well and allow him to deal with his emotions as he needs to. One thing I have learned is that what is happening to my father is not happening to me and my brother, and while I was keeping score with him in the beginning it isn't necessary and shouldn't impinge on our relationship as siblings. We are feeling all the emotions and we need to put them somewhere, usually at the one who is in front of us. I learned it doesn't have to be that way.
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Reply to tempestdelfueg5
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That's good that both of you share the burden of your parents' care. Most of the time it's usually one sibling who gets stuck with all of it and the endless doctors appointments. I'm living that dream. Maybe you and your sister can get some week-end help to come in. That way you'd both gets week-ends off and could spend some time together not in the care situation.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Both of you are getting worn out with caring for your parents. It is time to expand your caregiving to include other family members, friends, community of faith and paid help. The types of care your describe is 24/7/365 and neither of you are capable of providing round the clock care - you have to sleep sometime and need more hours/days off from caring. Please get help so you can care for yourselves and put your relationship on a better footing.
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Reply to Taarna
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At some point you may need to opt for placement; the disagreement may become insurmountable. I think it is rare to agree on just what must be done whether speaking of siblings or of husband and wife attempting elder care. You may need mediation of a Social Worker. At some point the difficulties will be so hard that there is really no answer but placement and the care of others. This is very hard to do. I still remember when my brother and I faced our own problems after a virtual lifetime of getting along like Hansel and Gretel in the woods of life, hand and hand and inseparable. At one point I looked at him and said "It would all have continued to be just fine if only there wasn't any "mess", but now we are dealing with a "mess" and we are going to have to get through. Forgive one another any disagreements as quickly as you can would be my advice for now.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Wow, what an uncomfortable position to be in.

I have a sister that I have a great relationship with, one that I cherish very much. I feel so terribly for people who only have strained sibling relationships; when it comes right down to it, there is really no one else on the face of the Earth that you share so much background with.

Since I haven't split caregiving with my siblings, I can't give you a "oh, we did this and it worked for us..." but rather I will give you some thoughts as to what I might try were I in your position.

First and foremost: being exhausted is not good on any relationship, be you parents of a newborn or caregiving an elderly LO. BOTH of you need to get some decent rest - I know that's hard, what with working all day and caregiving all night. Maybe set up a schedule that one or the other of you is "off" every 4th night (ie: Monday night, both on; Tuesday night, you're off: Wednesday night, both on; Thursday night, she's off) - keep your phone handy for an emergency, but make sure you only use it for a true emergency.

Try to carve out a night every few weeks or once a month for both of you to be off to do stuff together - much like you would do with a spouse. The relationship between you and your sister is precious as well, and since it is so important to you it's ok to give it some dedicated time.

Understand that everything will not always be equal and equitable. This is the hardest part of any relationship. It's why I cringe when I hear people talk about marriage being "equal". Not that I think that one person's worth is less than the other; but in every relationship there are going to be things I do better, or enjoy doing more than my spouse and vice versa. Or things that I have more time for than he does. But once you start "keeping score" so to speak - this week, I made 5 meals and you only made 2, you mowed 3/4 of the lawn and I did 1/4 - it starts to feel more like a competition, and in a competition there are winners and losers. That mindset doesn't help foster happy relationships.

If you find yourself disagreeing about minor issues, I expect that's more exhaustion and frustration talking. However, if your disagreements are on major issues, then you need to really have a heart to heart about what your long term plans are going to be. If, for instance, your sister's mindset is "once mom/dad reaches this stage, we need to place them in a facility" and yours is "I want to keep them at home longer than that", you need to be brutally honest with each other without recriminations or trying to force your mindset on the other.

At the end of the day, once your parents are gone, I imagine you still want to have a close relationship with her. You are both incredibly lucky that you have each other to rely on - so many of us here don't have that added support of a hands-on sibling - but if it's getting to be too much for one of you, it's time to begin exploring other options. But you can only get there is you are both honest with each other without getting mad at each other.

Good luck!
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