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She works part time and I work full time. She is also younger than I am. In spite of my insistence to my parents that I am able and willing to contribute more and that the tasks should be more evenly divided between us, they continue to expect my sister to be there for nearly every appointment and errand. This has caused tension and resentment. I am hurt and angry and feel left out of family situations, no matter how mundane.

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You need to get into the mind set that it is not your parent's call as to who takes them where. You and your sister decide on that. If they need help it is whomever is available and willing to do it.
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Reply to lkdrymom
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jjmummert Feb 3, 2019
Amen. You gals take control of the schedule.
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Have you talked to your sister? How does she feel about it?

I was where your sister is and I was angry. The elders would say well they have jobs or they have family. Sometimes you need to cut out the middle man, ask your sister what she needs and I am sure she will delegate more to you. Just a heads up, dont make commitments you cant keep because it will make things 100 times worse.
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Reply to tacy022
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Don't be. Go talk to your sister she'll probably tell you if she needs help. Your parents may feel that bc you work full time you have less time to commit to helping them.... and they'd be right. Don't resent them over trying to be fair; you never know when a day may become their last day here with you.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000
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You and your sister should do what you need to do to manage your lives, as well as your parents. You’re adults now and your parents have no control unless you allow it. I’m sure you don’t want them to be disappointed, but they are being selfish. You and your sister should write up a schedule for each week and give them a copy as you walk out the door. Then, follow your schedule with a smile.
They will adapt. You girls have a life, too. I’m sure both of you can meet the needs of your parents. You are lucky to have a sister that cares as much as you do.
Best Wishes,

Gale
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Reply to gtn1952
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Hi Annie,

Talk to your sister. Make an agreement among you two...and then approach your parents and share how it's going to go and why.

Imho, transparency is really important at this stage of the game...

All the best!!
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Reply to Savitaa
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My brother an I fixed that problem a long time ago by dividing some of the work and making those appointments to our own schedules. So what if a 4 month doctor visit is scheduled at 5 months in the long term scheme of things. Each of us divided certain tasks such as church, financials, and shopping.
My husband's family did something different since there were 4 of them. Each sibling scheduled things for a week each month. Vacations just meant a change in the week. Once in a while there were gaps.
Things got easier when our parents progressively moved from going into independent living into memory care
Have a talk together to see what each of your strengths and weaknesses are and see if you can find a schedule.
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Reply to MACinCT
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Talk to your sister. Start by expressing your appreciation for what she is doing. Tell her that you would like to contribute more. Try to get a specific list of things you will do. Make sure you are prepared to actually do what you commit to do. Sometimes the person has a need to be in control and will not allow any help. You know your sister. If this is the case, you could contribute by visiting, taking the parent out to a movie or lunch etc.
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Reply to Toadhall
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Ideally, this sounds like the logical division of caregiving. However, one thing remains .... You are hurt. So you should express these feelings to your sibling. Perhaps you'll be able to help in other ways. Praying for you!
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Hmmm. I always somewhat default to asking: What are your feelings underneath the stated issues? It sounds to me like you have needs to feel more validated - and wanting to find ways to do that - or have your parents acknowledge you more? Are these feelings based on childhood rivalry or feeling left out? If you examine your own motivations for your desires/wishes now, you will respond/feel differently now. If you need validation or acknowledgement of 'being the good girl,' find other ways to get these needs met. Also, be careful what you ask for - taking on more than you can realistically do can backfire quickly with overwhelm, drop in energy, issues with boundary setting, losing your own life. I believe if you weren't feeling and thinking out of 'old' situations or feelings, that you would be grateful (esp since you are working full time and your sister isn't). I would imagine you feel left out and ignored by your parents and this is why you feel 'bad' - these are feelings you need to sort out in therapy or some other situation (vs involving your parents). As their cognitive needs and physical needs change, you will likely be required to take on more of this work. I know this isn't easy and I am not in your shoes. We all have our own TRIGGERS, I really encourage you to do some soul reaching and see where these feelings are coming from - and what your needs are - and find ways that you can fill them in healthy ways - for all concerned. Gena.
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Reply to TouchMatters
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DiDaDo123456 Feb 4, 2019
Given issues that caring for our parent has caused between myself and my sisters, I agree with TouchMatters about looking internally to see where your feelings are coming from before you address them with your sibling. Our situation has us at minimal contact two years later.

Do you ask her what things she has on her plate with your parents and if you can help her by removing any of them? What does she say?

The reason I ask is that my sibling situation was more accusatory, and to people under stress for their caregiving, frankly, having one more person that they have to "care" for in addition to the load is not helpful. Just ask HOW you can help, and listen, and be ready to pick up those tasks. You can't control your parents desire to have a particular person with them at some appointments, and I would recommend division of tasks where one person does do most/all medical appts, another finances, etc so there is consistancy. Handoffs require A TON of additional communication.

Take responsibility for calling your sibling and asking how the appointment went, you wouldn't believe how much even that is an additional task to have to relay info to others over and over. And ASK what you can do (note I say that several times). Accusing someone of "leaving you out" if you aren't truly engaging is just meaning you feel they should do even more work to make sure you are included. This was our experience, accusatory "you are controlling" "I don't get a say" but didn't want to meet once a month to discuss tasks needing to be done, only wanted to communicate via text, didn't call for updates after appointments but expected to be told what happened. After a slow withdrawal of communication (who wants to be accused of something else every time you interact?), we have next to zero communication now between 2 of us on one side and 2 on the other.

Tiptoe, and make sure what you say is coming from a positive place that will help everyone, not to just express some pent up feelings. And, watch your body language and word choice. Maybe even have this conversation in front of a counselor. If I could go back again, I would have a counselor involved. At one point, me saying "when you say 'this' (usually how she didn't agree with choice to move mom into AL), you need to realize you make 'Alice' feel guilty" was taken by a sister as me telling her she can't express her feelings.

Another sister would pull the "it's what Mom wants" but only on when it matched with her own opinion. Like, we didn't all want "what Mom wants", and frankly, sometimes your elderly parent(s) don't want what is factually best for them... they just want what they want. It can really get complicated.

A large percent of families have issues during this time, and the articles I've read say that it is partially from pent up feelings about our role in the family from childhood, so as much as you may not want to hear it, TouchMatters is truly giving you some good advice.

Do you want to help to fufill your needs? Or to help your sister and your parents? Helping is when we make someone ELSE's life better.
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H'm. How unusual. As others have pointed out, normally we hear from the overloaded sibling.

Tension, resentment, hurt, anger, exclusion: these are all very painful and difficult feelings and we want to get rid of them; but could you say a little more about who is feeling which, and where the conflict(s) are arising?

It is actually no bad thing with medical appointments, specifically, if the communication chain is as short as possible with one person attending appointments and controlling information. If your parents are happy for your sister to share this information with you, that is a bonus - you may have to step in and you do need to know - but I wouldn't divide that particular job if I were you.

For the rest of it: is your sister showing signs of burnout? Have you heard rumours that she is not happy with how much you're contributing? Do you feel, perhaps, that she is somehow "hogging" your parents' attention? Or are you indignant on her behalf?

Obviously the first step should be to talk to your sister, but then again that is so obvious I guess you must have reasons for not already having done so. Do you feel like going further into the details?
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