Where are your siblings when you need them to help with caring for your elderly parents? - AgingCare.com

Where are your siblings when you need them to help with caring for your elderly parents?

Follow
Share

I'm just venting because I am getting physically and emotionally exhausted taking care of our 95 year old father. My husband, daughter, and myself moved in with him eight months ago when he was first hospitalized, (and we still have our house, with our memories, which has been vacant for 8 months). We have been taken care of him for five years since my mother passed away. My siblings have visited him probably 12 times since his fall in December for approximately less than 15 minutes each,
and they live within five miles of him. I have seen all of their true colors, and I am saddened by it, the abandonment. When does it become real for them?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
9

Answers

Show:
It seems to be pretty much the norm that, once one sibling steps up to help the parent, the others step back, perhaps breathing a sigh of relief that the problem is now being taken care of without involving them. Generally, uninvolved siblings are very loathe to give up their comfortable position. They're happy to leave it to someone else so that their vacations and leisure time can continue uninterrupted. They might tell themselves "Well, sister volunteered for this role, and I didn't. And wouldn't have." Not stopping to wonder what would have happened if sister had not stepped up.

It may be, as freqflyer suggested, that the others believe your parent should be in a care home and they really don't agree with your choice to care for him at home, so they won't support it. I'm sure you'd know if that was the case.

I think it's difficult for most people to deal with their parents' frailty and infirmity, and many people are too lazy and self-indulgent to look past their own discomfort and see the effect of their avoidance on others. My own mother refused to visit her best friend in her friend's final days, telling me "I'd rather remember her the way she was." Not even thinking that her friend might need her there for comfort and solace. Evan after I urged my mother, who was up north visiting me at the time, to go home and be with her friend. Years later, she admitted to me that she regretted that choice, probably when she began experiencing her own frailty and realized how lost she'd be if her loved ones started avoiding her.

So to answer the question of when it becomes real to them, you can never know. Maybe they are distancing themselves from your father to keep it from becoming real to them. Maybe it will become real when your father dies, or when they themselves become old and infirm. Maybe they will regret their choices then, or maybe they won't.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm glad I'm not the only one experiencing this with siblings. I didn't expect to have this role as a parent to my father at this stage of my life. Tackling work, husband, and a 16 year old daughter who wants to be a teenager has been rough. We try to experience normal. , but what is normal at this point. It's like having a toddler around again, except this toddler is heavier and more challenging. I try to point out all of this to my siblings, but they're too busy with their own lives posting it all over facebook. My husband stays angry at them, and I try to accept the way they are and be peaceful about it. I have dad in hospice care at home. Since dad served in world war 2 , we have been fortunate to use the VA respite care so we can get a break. We used it for the first time last month and it was a nice break for us. It would be nice if my sibblings would just visit with him. His face lights up when he does see them once in awhile, and it stimulates his memory. I know at some point he is going to be too much for us to handle, and I will have to make that decision to put him in a nursing home, but in the meantime we're going to help him out the best we can at his home. He didn't want to move into our house, so this is our temporary house. I will stay positive and move forward with my family and to continue to encourage my siblings to visit. They can decide what they should do, and live with their decision. Thanks for all the great advice :-)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

KatieKay, Now might be the time to seek guardianship over your parents. You can use their money, it is an acceptable reason. Hopefully you already have POA, medical and financial.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

In my case, my brother is waiting for me to crash ..but not because he wants them in a higher level of care...because he wants control of their care and money..He wants to provide the care..and get paid...big time like a nursing home.

One sister occasionally acts like she care..but then retreats into the abyss. The third sister just flat out doesnt care or pretend to care.

Now that i know my brothers plan..god help me and my parents if i do crash and he gets control.

My eyes have been opened to what our relationship has been reduced to...so sad and disappointing.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Maybe they are uncomfortable staying longer with you and your family there? Pre-arrange a time for them to come so that you and your family can be gone.

Years ago, when Mom could still talk on the phone, a sister sort of complained that every time she called here to talk to Mom, first she had to talk to me or whoever in my family answered the phone. So, using Caller ID, we began pushing the ON button and handing the phone to mom, directing her to say Hello to (sis). Problem so easily solved, I was glad that she said something to me.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I wonder if siblings fail to show or offer to help, are they thinking that the parent should be in a higher level of care because they know the sibling who is doing all the caregiving is going to eventually crash and burn. If the siblings help, then they are enabling. Are their suggestions about continuing care facility falling on deaf ears?

Just throwing that idea out as consideration.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My Mom has lived with my family for 14 yrs and no show siblings has been one of my biggest issues...

I have to tell myself daily that they have made their own choice to live life "out of sight out of mind"..

I know I am doing what makes me feel good about myself, they will have to live with their selfish choices after Mom's death...

As I said it is a daily struggle for me, especially on very trying days..

I have 6 siblings and only 1 of them visits Mom!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Lucille, they probably feel like you have everything covered. The lack of sibling involvement is sad. I imagine for many of us that the siblings have not really been involved with the family much for a long time, so it is the same thing, only that we've taken the responsibility. Sometimes if you ask for help it works... sometimes it doesn't. Try not to worry too much about the siblings. Their relationship with their father is personal between them and him when it comes to visiting. I just hope you can talk at least one of them into helping you take some respite time.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It can become more real for them if they spend time alone with him. My advice it to gather a meeting and tell them that you need a break, are considering moving back into your family home and that you need their help.

You need to create a schedule where each of them takes a day per week. Then when you are "off", you can spend some time at your "home"! Even if that is not realistic, one weekend per month IS realistic, especially if they live so close.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions