My sisters provide very little to no help in the care of my Mother but are quick to judge me and readily discuss how "I am not handling the task well from an emotional perspective". My mom lost vision in one eye and has seriously compromised vision in the other eye. She was a staunchly independent woman but now lives in her own apartment in my home, and my sisters justify their lack of help because they do not live near us. However when they do visit, it is just that a visit- like they are company. If I want them to dust or mop or vacuum, I must ask them to do something, basically a favor to help me out. They will say things like " if you need me to do something, then just ask". Well I don't want to ask because then it is a favor they are doing for me. My point of view is no one needs to ask me - if the house needs to be cleaned - I can see it with my own eyes - and simply do what needs to be done to keep Mom and her apartment clean. I have given up asking them to do anything, they are just so clueless with respect to her needs. Our relationship has deteriorated to the point that I believe when my Mom passes, my relationship with them will be nothing more than just being courteous to each other on the rare occasions I will happen to see them. So sad, we used to all be very close.

I have made many mental notes to myself regarding my own impending old age that I would like to share. I have a ton of resentment and constantly hear their feable excuses about why they cannot help. By the by, both sisters are retired and receiving their SS. As for me, mid 50s, walked away from my career and draining my 401k (with penalties), severely compromised my future security, an no kids to potentially take care of me in old age. How will I get passed this resentment?

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nohelphere, I have simply thrown in the towel for my SIL. I thought she was a dingbat. She won't care for her mother, she won't clip nails, she won't check her legs, she can't take vitals, she won't help mom bathe or shave her face.
So I dug deeper. I found out that she was only ten when her father died of cancer. Her mother insisted she go see him lying dead in bed.
She did not cry, she just went blank and never spoke about it. Ever.
To this day she is no good in any crisis. She is 60.
So I guess for every one of us who jumps in to be the caregiver, there are at least two sibling that just go blank. You can't repair the blank ones. You just let it go, give it to God, and move on.
Helpful Answer (15)

I have been reading this post off and on for a long time. I am the caregiver for my 87 year old Mother. I live close and everyone assumes I will do it all because I am a registered nurse. I have been very direct in asking for help, but have learned that people do what they want to do.
I directly ask my retired sister to please visit mom once a month to take her out to lunch and shopping, so I can have a break and Mom can have a change of scenery. Mom lives in a retirement center. My sister agreed to this, but doesn't follow through. She didn't bother to visit for several months over the last year, but is happy to show up for parties hosted at my home. In the past I have offered for my sister to stay in my home while visiting with Mom, since my sister lives 2 hours away. Last time my sister's visit went on for 5 days and she only saw Mom at my house for a few hours on Thanksgiving. No visit at Christmas. No visit in January.
She called yesterday to inquire about Mom's Birthday Party in February and said I am always mad. The same issue has been addressed several times, so I will no longer ask for help or keep her updated on Mom's status. It's beating a dead horse!
I have become angry and resentful, but yesterday decided to let it all go and do the right thing for Mom. I will have no regrets and my happiness returned when I decided you can't control what other family members do. If you have asked for help and have been refuse, move on. Who cares about building a relationship when Mom passes...the only time we have is now.
Helpful Answer (10)

Hello Nohelphere,

I totally get what you're going through. My story is much the same as yours and others here.. I have several siblings that feel totally excused from any involvement by virtue of distance. (Same state, different city.) Like some other here too, I've been through this with both parents. And yes, my siblings and I always had a good relationship, but after all these years of being the only one stuck with doing everything, the feelings aren't what they were. And that saddens me a lot.

Ignore the people who try to imply that your situation is your own fault for not asking for help. This entire situation is not your fault. You didn't one day just decide to give up your life to be a slave to your parent. That happened very slowly.

It started with the first time you had to sort the mail for a confused parent, who can't tell the difference between junk and bills. Or the time you climbed the ladder to reach something for them, carried up the laundry, the times you picked up some items at the grocery, the first time you had to help them figure out why a check bounced, did a small household repair. Maybe it started with the time you drove them to a doctor that was just a little farther away. Eventually you had to go into the office with them, every time, because they didn't understand the doctor. So you eventually drove to all appointments, and bought all medications, filled pill boxes. And over time, years, and maybe more years, it slowly, so slowly you hardly noticed, turns into doing all the finances, doing all grocery shopping, doing all the laundry, doing all the cleaning, all the everything.

And it wasn't easy. Even as your parent required, and demanded more and more of your time and attention, likely they made doing it all as difficult as possible, since they wanted to believe they were still self sufficient. Which they weren't. But the transition (from competent to incompetence) was probably seamless for them.

Likely you didn't see the enormity of what was happening either. At first. But little by little your life was being obliterated by their needs. At first you cut back on the "extra" things like classes and volunteering. And you didn't linger at the mall shopping for yourself anymore. You found yourself having to say no to "the girls day out" because you had to take mom to the doctor that day. You canceled or cut short other social visits because of all you had to do. After you found yourself turning down invites so often, eventually the gang didn't ask you anymore. Work suffered because you were getting attention-demanding calls at work, or were worried about what problem was being created by your parent while they were on their own, and stressed about what you would find when you got there. Or maybe you were exhausted because those calls came in the middle of the night. You worried mom wasn't safe alone, till eventually that wasn't safe enough. You quit your job.

And while more and more of your attention was on your parent, he/she only wanted more. As that old person's life was disappearing, they just expected to have yours.

Now some seem to be saying, you should have asked for help, but exactly at what point in that slow progression were you suppose to start shouting for help. More likely, (and I'd bet my bottom dollar) that you actually told your siblings all about this stuff. All of it. The request for help was clearly, even if only implied.

You mentioned the unbalanced check book, the doctors visits, the episodes of confusion. The times Dad got lost, the dents in the car. You surely told them of the hours sitting in the emergency room with Mom. The cost of Depends, reason you left your job. One at a time, little by little, they WERE told, and they knew you were doing all this work.....

Funny how they would suddenly remember something they really must do right now, when any phone conversation turned to the topic of how difficult things were getting. Yes this is their parent too. You were not born an only child, and they knew that!

Except they just didn't want to know. So they turned a blind eye to it all, shut their brains to the knowledge that they were in fact, dumping their own responsibility on you. Facing the truth would have been very emotionally uncomfortable. So they would not face it.

And you can almost understand how the more misery you were in, the less they wanted to shoulder their share of it. (Who would?) You were lucky to get any acknowledgement of it. But that would most likely have gone something like this: "Gee I wish I could help, but we're just so far away." "We're just so busy". Essentially salving their own conscience with useless sympathy and absolving themselves of any need to help. You wouldn't be human if the close and loving feelings you had for your siblings were unaffected.

In the worst moments for me, it has felt like I was hanging off the side of a cliff by my fingernails, and seeing them walk away. The worst part was, in those moments I WAS asking, begging for help; saying in precisely these words: "I can't do this all alone." " I don't want to make these decisions all alone." And no one helped.

So don't let anyone here fool you into thinking that all you had to do was ask. Sure you could have asked. But the answer to the all the implied requests for help, was "no". Asking in precise words doesn't necessarily yield any better answer.

As for repairing the relationship once your parent is gone..., like others have said above, I'm not sure it can be done, but it will really depend on your own capacity for forgiveness. There really is nothing they can do to make it up to you. You can't ever get back what your life would have been.. And certainly, don't ever expect anything resembling an apology. After the death, an apology would only serve to make them feel better, so you wouldn't want one anyway.

You will have to just act like the good relationship you used to have, still exists. You will have to forget all the work and misery of all those years, and above all, never mention how they let you and their parent down.

Why? Because people do not want to be around others who make them feel bad. Just seeing you (the person they failed, and dumped all that work and misery onto) may be guilt inducing enough to make them feel uncomfortable. Enough so that they may not want to be around you. Just feeling that guilty can make them behave as if they are angry with you. Certainly being reminded of it in words will not produce the family closeness that I think you'd like to have back. It sure as heck is not fair, but that's the way it is. That is how people protect their own psyche.

So you can anticipate that they will try to rearrange reality in their own minds, in order to live with themselves. There's a lot of negative feelings to be found there. They will either continue to hide behind cercumstance ("we lived so far away") or either be blaming you (ie: you chose to do what you did, so it's not my fault.) or turn it into anger at you (questioning what happened to all Dad's money) or try rewrite history and believe that they really did "visit all the time" and "helped all the time." (FWIW, remember you don't have to do anything to make them feel less guilty, as deserve to own that. Unless you are a saint, any reference to things like "how hard we had it" when mom was so ill," can be met with a skeptically questioning "We?" )

But in general, if you want those siblings in your life, you will have to act like you were not hurt, or angry. You won't ever forget, but if you want the relationship with them enough, you will have to try to forgive. Is it worth it? I really don't know. Only you can answer that.
Helpful Answer (10)

I think many family members " choose" to be ignorant and thus non involved in the care of family members. From what I've read on this site it seems to me that caregiving is predominately a "learned" task. We can't change those family members that won't help and all the resentment and tears won't change a thing. We just have to keep doing the best we can.
I am so thankful for this site and for the folks who contribute to it. I get more support from strangers on a computer web site than I do from family. Thanks
Helpful Answer (8)

Eileen, it seems as though you made a choice to care for mom yourself, quit your job and are endangering your future financial security. Did you discuss this with your sisters before you did it? Did they agree to help out financially, or doing other tasks and have reneged on that? Or are you assuming that they should make these same choices because you have?

How much care does mom need? What are her resources? Is the cost of care less where your sisters live?

Care in NYC is very high. When mom declined to the point that she could no longer stay in Independent Living near her old home, we sat down and researched the options for cost of care and quality of care near each of us. One of my brothers is much less involved, but also still has kids in school. My other brother and I came to an agreement about where mom would live and who would be responsible for what. When one goes on vacation, we tell the other, who increases visits/vigilance. We make sure that we're not all away at the same time.

An yes, you have to ask them to dust or mop. I would never assume that that's expected on a visit unless someone asked me.
Helpful Answer (7)

My sisters and brothers don't help. They dump it all on me. When Dad dies, I will attend the funeral mass, then take off. I never want to see or hear from them again. I gave up resentment and hate I simply don't want or need them. They aren't anybody I want to know. Pay some to clean and find some support outside your family. They aren't clueless, they simple won't help. Let all anger go. Good luck
Helpful Answer (6)

Well very few posts on here answered the OP's question. Which was how do you repair your relationship with a non-involved sibling after the parent passes?

The answer is in many cases, you don't. Once the parent/parents are gone there is no reason for contact. Of course every situation is different.

My brother was AWFUL, it's not just that he didn't help, I didn't really expect him to as he lived over 1,000 miles away. But when he did visit, he used the house like a hotel. Spent little to no time with our parents. Even after I said something to him, he said "well this is my vacation".

The last time he saw our father alive was when he said he came down to see dad as he wasn't doing good, and it was to HELP(his words). He saw me doing laundry and sat on his a**, I had to ask him "could you please get the mail","could you please bring in the garbage can".....a decent person asks "how can I help or what can I do", if they're really that clueless.

Dad had two Dr. appts in the same medical complex back to back, he says "have fun", I said "you're not going".. "I didn't come down here to go to Dr. appts" much for your help. Well my father overheard that and told him he was going, even if it was just to hold a door open. At this point my father was on oxygen and a WC to get around.

He didn't come to see our father as he lay dying in the ICU for 4 days, but was down the day after he died for his cut. He also stole valuables and went over to the local bank and caused a scene demanding to know what accounts my father had. Any idiot should know you can't do that.

I have nothing to do with him. I don't think about him too much(other than on here)but he isn't a nice person. He is a best very self absorbed, at worst he may be a sociopath.

I have two cousins who have been more like brothers, and I consider them that.

But you certainly don't keep people in your life who have treated you horribly, just because you share DNA.
Helpful Answer (6)

These stories are exactly why each and every one of us, need to decide where we are moving when we can no longer take care of the house. Don't leave it up to someone else, to figure out.

I heard my SIL say "I told my kids that they better not ever put me in a NH in Illinois." I said "They can't put you anywhere. You need to make that decision, soon." She is 70 and she looked at me like I was out of my mind.
Helpful Answer (5)

Correct you can't change people, but you do have control over whether you want contact or not. I don't want contact with someone I have no respect for and don't find to be a decent human being.

And not everybody "loves" you the best way they can, some people just don't give a d*mn about anyone besides themselves.

In the words of Maya Angelou "when someone shows themselves to you, BELIEVE THEM".
Helpful Answer (5)

I don't think it is possible to repair your relationship with your non-involved siblings, as it sounds as if they were consistently "unavailable" to help you with caregiving. Speaking for myself, I could repair a relationship with a sibling who helped me some or most of the time, and/or who was willing to do something helpful on a fairly regular or regular basis, but not with a sibling that had a rigid, selfish, inflexible attitude. Beware though, the only thing that we know for sure, is that the non-involved siblings, do indeed become VERY involved when it is time to collect the inheritance.
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