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My mother moved in with me since my father passed 3 years ago because she emotionally and financially could not live on her own. Since then, there is a slow physical decline with a couple of hospitalizations, etc. Closest sibling lives 45 mins away but she feels she contributes by calling her everyday. Brother in NJ comes once in awhile is great to her but the visits are rare and less than 24 hours. Other brother is just basically nonexistent.... I have my daughters home from college and while they do help with her, I don't think it is fair to unduly burden them at their age. I have a wedding out of state this month and I want to plan a summer vacation with old college friends but when I asked my siblings to consider taking her -- no response.... one says he DOES help!

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Naturally, you can't force a sibling to care for their parent - but you can request their help. I took off for three weeks and I simply told my sibs that I would be on holiday for said dates and I listed options. They chose to pay for a caretaker. My holiday was not contingent upon their willingness to take Mom in. But they knew that Mom could not be by herself. Fortunately, Mom had $$ to pay for such care (but was I ever paid for caring for mom? nope).
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If she has funds then the money should be used to pay for respite care. ASKING the siblings for help (either time or funds) is great but they may not do it for various good and poor reasons.
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I was horrified to discover that you can't force anyone to do anything! Life would be so much easier if they just put me in charge of making everyone do the right thing. So far I haven't heard back from God's HR department.

Deciding what other people should do and then trying to force them to do it hardly ever works, except at the point of a gun, and it almost always causes hard feelings. Sharonmit had a great post about this. You made a choice to care for your mother. Your siblings have made a different choice. This is America. People get to make choices, even selfish or harmful choices.

Try explaining your dilemma to them, including how long you have gone without a day off, and asking them what they think you should do. Wimpy me would even apologize for troubling them about it! If you can get them to pity you, they might feel more like helping.

See, I don't believe force is effective, but manipulating their emotions--- I'm all over that! You are in a tough situation, and I'm angry at your siblings, too, for being so selfish. I don't think getting them angry at you will make you or your mother happier in the long run, or even get them to step up and do more.
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I understand that with some sibs you just can't negotiate with them. I really have to side on not dropping a needy elderly on a sibs doorstep. I would rather try a more friendly approach by asking them if they can help during these days that I have stated because I need some time away to relax and rest. If they can't physically help, then ask if they can financially contribute to securing care for mom while you are gone...check to see what the cost is to board your mother at an assisted living community for a week or check out what respite is available to you through the Area Agency on Aging. If they still refuse to help, then you will have to accept you are on your own and check out respite care through different organizations. Getting angry with sibs and holding grudges is only going to hold you back from getting help through other sources for the necessary respite that you need
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Put her temporarily in the NH or AL while you are gone. Forget the sibs. Telling them they must, is not the answer. I was told I had to do such and such and I just didn't. I didn't not b/c I didn't want to, but b/c of my disability and my dh dementia.
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I let my sibling know three months ahead of time when I will be going on vacation....and since he has three months notice...I tell my sibling I would appreciate a few days before vacation and a few days after....why should I have to jump back in as caretaker the day after I get home.......my sibling doesn't have to do that! Not much to ask when I have mom 24/7........
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If I had put mom on a plane and sent her 3000 miles to my sister without warning,
Sis would've refused to take mom and would've taken her only if the police got involved. What a mess. I would not have used mom as a pawn. My sister refused to help me take care of our mom and meant it. Right or wrong, I couldn't make sis help and when I tried, she just got more adamant.
teehee, if you can't convince your sibs to help, which I hope you can, then go to Plan B and consider yourself an only child. You must get respite, you deserve to go away on vacation. Find someone to come in and give mom the bill if possible. Don't let your siblings' lack of participation deter you. You can and will find a way with or without their help.
The question of the century is why don't all the kids pull together to care for parents or relatives. There are all kinds of reasons and excuses, none of which I buy. All I know is you can't make them and sometimes, to save your sanity, you need to just move on.
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Have you ever done that, Perseverance? Sent a needy elder to a destination where she is not likely to be welcome? Regardless of whether it is a "moral" thing to do (and I don't think it is) it is very likely to backfire and result in complete estrangement and a disastrous vacation.

Its not fair that one child has all or most of the responsibility. It is not fair that Dad outlives his money. It is not fair that Mom developed dementia. Life is not fair. In dealing with the inequities we need at the very least to strive not to make things worse.

The fundamental issue here is that teebee needs some respite. Forcing her mom on a sister or brother might be one way to get it, but in my opinion it is not the best way, and it might not even be possible. My advice is to try to work with the siblings on a solution, but also look into other ways to have Mom cared for during respite periods.

As always I'm more focused on what could work than what is theoretically right. That is just how I approach problem-solving. I'm not too keen on revealing selfishness and narcissism unless I think that might lead to a solution.

How did it work for you?
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@Jeanne, having cared for my Mom before she finally entered into assisted living, I was shocked with my siblings apathy, excuses, and gall that they assumed I should be the one to only care for her. It is not fair, nor right, nor moral to expect only one child to be the primary caretaker when there are other children.

That said, a strong message MUST be sent to the other siblings in order to reveal the selfishness and narcissism that is rampant.

I still find it unbelievable that many don't think they should contribute to the caretaking of their parent. Being a primary caretaker is one of the most selfless acts of service ever - and can be VERY, very isolating and discouraging at times for numerous reasons.

Yes, I do think taking a stand of your needs as caretaker is ESSENTIAL but we all know that many times these needs may be ignored, rejected, or worse, responded with great attack because of guilt and selfishness.

I don't think it is immoral to send a parent via plane or directly to another sibling's home is wrong. I really don't. It takes EXCEPTIONAL guts.
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You absolutely must have some respite. MUST. This is necessary for your mental health, which you deserve because you are unique and valuable person. Your mental health is also necessary to continue caregiving without burnout. So don't give up on going to the wedding and planning a summer vacation.

What would you do if you were an only child? In some ways that may be the situation you are in as caregiver. It would be very nice if your siblings could care for your mom in your absence. That would be least expensive (probably -- but I don't know travel costs), it would be least anxiety-producing for Mother, it would be a nice bonding opportunity. So do work on that option.

But I disagree with trying to force your siblings. They have a right to make their own decisions. My sister is Mom's primary caregiver. I have Mom one long weekend a month, to provide some respite. (I volunteered that.) If my sister were to call and say "we are going on vacation such-and-such dates and I will bring Mom to your house the day before we leave" I would be outraged. Oh no you will not! I'd refuse on principle. My sister would never do that. She'd explain her needs and ask if I could help in any way. I would. But to have it thrust upon me as though my sister were in charge of my life? No way would that be acceptable! So do try to encourage your sibs' participation, but avoid backing them into a corner. That could backfire.

If you were an only child or your siblings had severe disabilities of their own, you would still need respite. Call your Department of Aging and Disabilities (or whatever it is called in your state) and ask for help locating respite care options and figuring out how Mom can pay for this service.

You MUST arrange for time away now and then. I hope one or more of your siblings will be willing to help. But even if they aren't willing, you still must take care of your own mental health.
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Yes, if the parent can pay for the care, then it should be taken care of that way. I forget that some people still have money...my mom never had any money all her life and after nursing two ill husbands to their death, when I moved in, she was almost destitute. 10 years later, with the prices of food and gas they way they have risen, we are both destitute. I'm not complaining, however, just saying OH YEAH I forget that is an option for some people!!

And when I think of it that way, if my mom had money to pay for private care now and then, I would have gone to Mardi Gras every year and would be going again!

In other words, I wouldn't waste time asking for help if it had not been offered already, if there was another way.

Stress is my main enemy these days, if you dig.
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You don't ask your siblings to have time off from the care of your Mom. You simply give them the dates that you will be gone and unable to care for her. Another idea, if they don't respond, is to simply drive your Mom to your sister's house, or buy a ticket and place your Mom on a plane to one of your brothers. You need a break anyway from caretaking. We all know how utterly exhausting it can be.

How is it that YOU fell into this position of caring for your Mom and not one of your other siblings?

Setting boundaries is essential when it comes to caretaking of a loved one, especially when other children are in the loop.
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I would also say that the parent should pay for the care, not necessarily the kids...if a private caregiver is needed.
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Don't ask them to consider taking her. Just tell them that you need some time off in order to maintain your own mental and physical health so that you can take care of her like you should. And then tell them the dates you are planning to be gone, and let them know you'll write out instructions and label her meds (stuff like that, whatever is appropriate to her care).

Don't give them a choice. I would even say, and I may be wrong, but sometimes you have to just DO something rather than wait on another person to DO it...so as not to run the risk of you failing your itinerary due to waiting for someone to come get her...who never shows up or calls...make plans to take her to her temporary caregiver's home. Maybe ask who is going to take her in first (if they take turns...wouldn't that be a shocker!?) and what time is convenient for them...make sure it is well ahead of when your own trip starts, a day or two...and just show up with her.

The problem is that you can't make anyone do anything. But perhaps if that isn't going to work, give them a choice of either providing care or paying for care...telling them that if they don't want to help you just a little bit taking care of mom, then they can just take it over because you can't do it properly if you never get a break.

I've never asked for a break and I don't know how I would handle it, myself. I did go to Mardi Gras last year but had the lady who used to clean our house, who we knew as a former neighbor, and trusted, and who loved my mom and enjoyed her, stay there for a couple of days. I just lucked out, though, I know.

I do know, from experience, if you ask for something not volunteered, it will not likely be given just by asking. But outside of dirty tricks, I know of no way to force the issue with unwilling siblings.

If you had to suddenly go away for an emergency or even, GOD forbid, got ill or something, what would they do? What would you do? Would they step up if they HAD to?
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