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3 siblings live in immediate area, yet don't help with Mom's 24/7 care!

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The only thing you can do is send them an email or a letter telling them what mom's needs are and how they can help. Then if they fail to step up, you will have to put them out of your mind or it will drive you crazy thinking about it. If you send the later, they can never tell you later they did not know or you never asked for help. Another thing you can do is say: you never contact us, if something happens to (fill in family member's name) do you want to be notified, because I do not plan to notify you unless you show some interest.
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Please, tell the siblings what needs to be done. I am in the position of wanting to help MIL, but BIL wants to do it all himself. I know from talking to his wife that he is resentful that the rest of us don't do more, but at the same time, he won't allow us to! Call a family meeting and thrash it out!
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To help with daily family awareness we use a “status check” web site that my Father logs into each day between 6am and 9am. If he misses the log in window all siblings get an email alert. If he does log in, he then answers some general health information (check the box). Then he answers some memory and math questions. Then each sibling gets a daily email on Dad’s status. Some THEN call to check in with Dad or help in some way, others still MIA. But they will never be able to say I was not asked or informed.
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I suggest you read some of the threads regarding Family Relations and others regarding dysfunctional Families. Some are able to work out their problems and others just muddle through with one child doing all the caregiving.

There is a guideline here for the first family meeting, things to accomplish and keeping it focused on the loved one's care. Why siblings can't join together and take care of their parents is a universal question.

Best of luck! Remember it is about taking care of Mom not about hard feelings from 20 years ago.
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I am the one siblings doing all the work. I have asked for help many times. One is just closes his eyes to everything, (a case of Mom and Dad's failing health out of his sight and out of his mind), the other is bipolar and only wants their money, of which they have none. I've had to put them out of my mind so I can get on with my life. I have engaged local services to help with the driving and errands and doctor's visits. I have sought out the advice a geriatric manager and elder care attorney to help process Medicaid paperwork and work the system. I am doing all I can do. If one of them said, I'll help, I'd take it, but they do not. Every situation is different. You cannot "make" them help, that is what I found out. And it takes time to erase all the resentment from your thought process. Some days are better than others.

So Loveher, I would ask for help and be specific. If they do not help now, they will help later so look for support in other ways.

xo
-SS
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ThirdSon, can you tell us how to access this "status check" website? URL?
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I know exactly what you mean. I have a sister who does'nt help at all can't even pickup the phone to see how our mom is doing. My sister lives 20 minutes from me and will not help at all. I do it all myself. I asked how she sleeps at night!
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YES...ThirdSon, can you tell/show us how to access the "status check" website URL, that sounds REAL handy!!
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I have two siblings that live only 15 min from mom and they have never, ever helped. When we had to put her in the NH 6.5 years ago, it was like she "died" to them. It has always been only me to do everything for her and I mean everything. They've never visited, called or anything not even on her birthday, Christmas or Mother's Day. I tried and tried to get them involved in just the special occassions...but sister never would and brother only went if there was food involved and he never brought her a small gift or anything. Yet he has money to buy his girlfriend hundreds of dollars worth of gifts from the Mall..most expensive store there. I gave up calling them when mom would have to go into the hospital because they never visited her THERE either. It still makes me livid if I think about it, so I don't. I know that I sleep well at night and am doing all I can for her by myself...including moving her in with me several times over the last 6.5 years. This is the 5th NH I've tried in 6.5 years. None of them took care of her and neglected her. She is mean, combative and so hateful to me when she lives with me after just a month of "honeymoon". I can't do it anymore. My health has deteriorated so much that I can barely take care of myself. I do still go see her each week at the NH and take her to funerals, shopping, etc. You can't let the siblings not helping get to you or it will make you sick. Just accept the fact that they don't "care"..they are not "giving" people..they are "takers". Best of luck to you and we know you have a good heart. Keep up the good work!
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MOVE ON! If you have asked for help and siblings don't help.. assume they never will. My one sister has said she would come this summer and help for a few days.. never did. Went on vacation instead. The other sister only takes care of her grandson. Never helps. My husband and son help me, but otherwise I am on my own because my mother does not want "strangers" in her house. I just do the best I can. FORGET about your siblings. It only causes anger and stress when you think about them not helping. Rely on the Lord. He cares. He gives us strength. He upholds us.
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my health is also at risk, i have lost 20 pounds since feb. i really don't know how much longer i can do this either. i'm only 50 and basically my life has come to a halt. This should be the time that i am enjoying my life unlike my sister. my children are grown, I am now able to do whatever but unfortunately I can't. Yes I know I sleep well ! Good luck to you to
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You are correct onlyoneintown1---The Lord gives us strength. Without him..we are nothing and can do nothing. :)

Oh...I'm wondering..would it be terrible of me NOT to tell siblings when mom passes? I'm thinking they wouldn't even show up to her funeral anyway (I made all arrangements for it 6.5 years ago). I'm thinking about not even contacting them. They'd NEVER know because they've never asked or called or visited. What do you think? Maybe, the devil is telling me to do this.
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Be very specific and set up plan. For example..on Thurs @ 1p someone has to take Mom to Doctor. Don't feel guilty, if YOU need the time for yourself. Call family meeting, including those living far away (email) and say "just because I live close to Mom, there are 5 others of you. Thursday, I need the day away. Make a calendar and see that everyone does their part.
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I asked my sister and brother to get more involved with mom. My sister has kindly come to stay with my mom one weekend a month and my brother has increased his visits to a few more times a year.

The trouble is when they get involved in making decisions about her medications (without doctors approval) or her home. So, now I need to encourage them to be companions ONLY! Otherwise they end up making more work for me. Both my brother and sister responded positively when I told them she needs them to make more of an effort. I think some people, who don't live nearby, just don't know what to do and my brother and sister appreciate that I asked them and told them what she needs.

Mom's health is up and down, so her needs change. When she is really down, I reach out to my siblings and let them know she really needs them NOW. When they visit, I take a huge break and go home and sleep. They seem to understand that I will not be social with them at those times and there are no hard feelings. It is not the same as when everyone was healthy. These are not "fun" family visits anymore.

I appreciate good suggestions from others when someone is in need. If I can help, then I do. Sometimes I can't help. I am assuming my siblings appreciate my suggestions. Some things they do and some they don't and others they mess up. So, then I just have to re-adjust my requests...

So, far I just have to ask (and then clarify, and ask again, and again...) and it works... partially. I am very thankful for any good help I get, but it usually doesn't come unless I ask. Does Joel Olsteen say to set your expectations HIGH? Set them high and ask. Then see what happens. Don't give up... ask again, maybe in a different way.
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When my mom was in the hospital once, my brother was skiing in France. For a moment I thought... what have I done with my life that he is skiing !!! and I'm sitting at mom's bedside while she is suffering in the hospital. In a flash, I knew I was right where I want to be! I would be miserable skiing in France if my mom was suffering.

Everyone is different. I also struggled with realizing that I had no life and my health was deteriorating. I have made some adjustments to take better care of my health, because it would make no sense if I got sicker than mom, but I still have no other life than caring for her... and you know what? That is my choice! Now that I've thought about it, I'm OK with my decision and I'm happy about it.

Of course when mom gets snappy and critical, I do not want to be there and neither do my siblings. If the elder person is ugly and mean spirited then I can understand why people stay away. We have said to my mom, if she wants people to be around her, she needs to be considerate of them and respectful. She is working on that, although she is not perfect and can get pretty insulting and nasty if she doesn't watch herself. Then, she finds that people stay away....
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Loveher, Welcome n A lot of people on here have offered some good suggestions. I would suggest too that to try n see if you all can set up a time n day for a family meeting and discuss what exactly you want them to help you with for a lot have no clue. Be Specific as someone else mention. IF u r planning on being the sole caregiver then u will also need some respite break for yourself so that u don't get burned out. That would be another point to put out that u need a certain day n hrs so that u can get out of the house to breath. I don't know how to insist how important that, "You are going to need those break!" I hope you are able to get some of the sibs to help out. Good luck n let us know how things r going.
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My Mil,s son is the one who does it all, his sister always has had some excuse or other not to help! I try to help with my MIL but my husband won't let me unless HE asks me too? My SIL has "BETTER THINGS" to do than help with HER mother?! She would rather go on vacation too....and DOES!!!! I have tried to be of help in doing, paperwork, bills, washing clothes.....etc. ! Now,... I am only allowed to do these things, when I am ask?? I keep hearing from my husband how much stress he has, but at the same time so do we (me and our son)! I have tried to talk with him about mail that needs to be addressed, I also mention to him about what he has to get, "mailed in"..(as far as the important paperwork goes), too?! I finally just stopped saying anything to him because he got so nasty with me. I put the mail where he CAN see it and let it go from there! You can help someone when they DON'T want you to??. Plus, I ask God to help me cope. I guess we all have our challenges, it's how we meet that challenge that's important!!! THX for listening it helps my spirit emmencly knowing there is a place for "My thoughts" here on this site!! Godbless
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I agree with onlyoneintown1 It's very difficult to believe that the siblings truly don't care, but that is the truth. They cared as long as mom and dad had something to give them, financially or as a compliment in front of other siblings, as if there were a score card among the families. Now that the score card is not being kept, and mom and dad need help financially, comments such as "I just can't go there", " I have to work 7 days!!", or better yet, no phone calls at all to even see if they are alive. They all used that family cabin, but didn't mow this past summer,( or pick up their own trash!) they could "go there" though. By me interjecting and asking for help, and telling them if they use that cabin why not mow it? I have become an enemy. I chose to sarcastically let my sister know that since I am doing the work I will easily convince my mother to hand everything over to me. Of course, I have no intention on using my parents assets for anything but their care, but you should have seen the demon eyes come out. I was a fool I didn't believe it would happen to my family, but my dad isn't dead yet, and my mom isn't close, and it already has !
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I just need to remind myself that (unfortunately) this is a temporary situation. One day I'll yearn for the time that I could hold mom's hand or feel dad's scruffy face. I will have the memories. They will not.
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You will find this is a frequent topic of discussion in this forum. How to get the sibs to help. What I do with my brother and sister is try and give them notice of when they will need to see Mom. I ask for a visit from one of them 2 times a month. It is not much since I am here 24/7. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it does not. I had to really lower my expectations with my siblings. I just love Sooozi comment about being at the bedside of her Mother while her brother was skiing. If I look in my heart I am right where I want to be or I would not be here. I could never go on vacation while my Mother or any close family member was hospitalized. I just would not enjoy myself - and for that quality I am grateful.
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I have the same thing - a brother that has been waiting for my parents to die so he can have the money - Dad passed 4 years ago - and I just put my mother in assisted living - live 3 hours away - took almost a month off work - and my brother called twice - the day I went down - and the day I came back - and said (at least) thanks for doing that - and he would not be going down to see her. I am so thankful to my husband and kids for helping and supporting me - I have just written my brother off. Karma!
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I don't know how people survive without Jesus. I just really don't. If it wasn't for my deep personal relationship with Him I would be eaten up with resentment at my siblings. Instead He helps me to forgive them and to continue trying to be an example of Christ's love, which in case you didn't notice is a harder and harder thing to do these days. I get angry and bitter, but one Sunday at church....like today....and I'm back on track. Jesus has supreme authority over ALL things. If He brought you to it....He will bring you through it! Hang in there kiddo. If they won't help forget about what they won't do and do what you do so well! And probably better!!
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I have a related challenge ... my Dad, recently diagnosed with FTD, lives in Oregon. I live in California, and my sister lives in New Mexico. Since my mother's death 4 years ago, I have been the primary (and sole family) caregiver for my Dad, arranging for in-home visits from home help; taking over all bill-paying, taxes, etc.; visiting at least once a month to help clean; arranging for medical appointments and getting him to them; and navigating the whole Medicare mess. My sister would LOVE to help more. Because I am mindful of her much more challenging financial circumstances and even farther distance from where Dad lives, I have asked her to call him regularly (especially now that he can't drive anymore), just to contribute to the "social contact" he gets during the day ... which she has done, gladly, but my Dad does not seem to be receptive. My sister calls frequently and leaves messages for him to call her back, but he very rarely does ... they only seem to chat when he picks up the phone instead of letting it roll to voicemail (he doesn't have caller ID). This is making my sister feel depressed and rejected, and I am having to try to manage her hurt feelings now (and talk to her regularly about his condition, and remind her that my Dad's behavior is no longer completely under his control) as well as taking care of my Dad. I love them both, and I think we're all doing the best we can.

I guess I'm telling this story because while I know there are siblings who can't be bothered (my brother had a falling-out with my parents 25 years ago over and couldn't bring himself to reconcile or even answer letters when my mother was dying of cancer 4 years ago; nothing has changed with my Dad even now that the dementia diagnosis has been made) ... there are some who genuinely don't know what to do, or who even feel "shut out" because of underlying currents in their relationship with the primary caregiver or the person being taken care of. There are some who simply don't seem able to face the tangible, daily evidence of decline, whether because they so fear this eventuality for themselves or because they can't stand to see it in a loved one ... and there are still others who simply don't have a clue how overwhelming and completely life-swallowing caregiving for a failing parent can be for the person who is actually doing it (I think some have an idea that caregiving amounts to basically poking your head in a door from time to time and asking your parent, happily ensconced in front of a favorite tv show with a cat on his or her lap, if he or she would like a nice cup of tea!!!).

I'm not saying this is an excuse, or that adult siblings shouldn't "man up" and help with the tough stuff, however much it inconveniences or uncomfortable it makes them -- just reminding us all that we can't always know the whole story of what's going on in other people's heads and hearts ... to cut people slack wherever you can ... and to rant loudly when you're driving by yourself in the car, just because it helps to get some of the frustration off your chest! :-)

This all being said, I think it IS fair and important to think about what your siblings could do that would actually be helpful to you, and to ask them, straight out, to do it. I know the following won't work in every case, but for some of you with siblings living close by, you may find that they are more comfortable helping you with chores/tasks in your own life while you continue to handle the direct caregiving ... for example, if they live close enough, helping you run errands, babysitting kids, providing pet care, and so on ... thereby helping to free you for the important work you're doing.

One final thought ... I have found in my own life is that while I am the one who has primarily carried the caregiving burden where my own parents are concerned, my brother (the one who hasn't helped with our parents at all) and his wife are caring for her mother (who lives with them now, though she doesn't have dementia or major physical issues, so there's a limit so far to how much of an impact on their lives this is having) ... similarly, my brother-in-law has been helping for many years to take care of his wife's failing parents (not an easy task, as they have dementia and hoarding issues) ... and my sister, in a much earlier time, tried valiantly to help care for my aging grandmother. For what it's worth, on my bad days, it helps me to believe that everyone gets multiple chances over their lives to "step up" and help someone else who needs them ...
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Listen to Only! I left my job 5 years ago to care for mom. I have 6 sibs and rarely see any of them now, even though Mom is still at home. I have to wash, dress, and feed Mom. She can no longer do anything for herself due to Parkinsons and severe dementia. I gave up on most of my sibs a few years ago when I could no longer take the stress of wondering if they would help. It took a huge weight off my shoulders to let go. I have enough on my plate here and don't need the extra stress. When Mom broke her wrist in January, I did not call my sibs. One of my brothers who only visits 2 to 3 times a year, (lives 15 minutes away) showed up unannounced a few weeks later and couldn't believe no one called to tell him. I said I hadn't heard from him in months and figured he didn't care. I had to take her to the ER on Memorial Day for a UTI and sat there for 4 hours. Didn't tell anyone that either.
I used to e-mail and call and give updates, but have not for quite some time now. They know where we are and if they really want to know, they can stop by any time. So don't expect things to change and if you can't do it by yourself, make arrangements to place her. If your sister doesn't like that, she can take over!
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My sister lives next door to mom and only calls her to cause problems for sister and I that do all the care. She also calls DHS and makes false reports on me because she is jealous that i am mom's guardian. Another sister has not called or visited her once during the last six months - she lives about ten miles from mom and passes her house each Wed. for her church group meeting. She is sauce a hypocrite!
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PaulaK, does your dad have difficulty answering the phones or hearing it ring or hearing the voice on the machine? My mother does. When my brother calls her she usually won't pick up the phone either but if I am there and hand her the phone, she will talk for an hour with him. I realize you are not there either but if this is a problem, maybe a phone that is louder? she could also send a letter if he reads. or she should leave a long message on the phone. Will he talk to you? Can you arrange a conference call with all of you on the line? can a prearranged time for the call be made so he knows it is her? Maybe he gets so many solicitation calls (like we get here) he just doesn't want to pick up the phone.
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I SO agree with deefer12. I stopped calling my siblings long ago when mom would have to go to the hospital. They never visited her while she was there, never visited while she's in NH...never anything. Sometimes I feel like sending them a letter telling them that they will not know when mom passes unless they start acknowledging that she is still ALIVE. They probably wouldn't even show up to the funeral anyway. GOD does help and I'm SO glad to have a personal relationship with him. That is what gets me through..that and my animals.
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Unfortunately you are never going to change them so try and be happy that you are doing the right thing or it will "eat you up" " If you can't change the situation change your attitude" is a great saying that I call on a lot in my life. I also believe that the person with the dementia does not want a lot of family doing the caring as they need quiet routine and can't adapt to changing from one home to another. By all means let them know what's involved, what you are doing on a daily basis and ask for some practical or financial help but if it's not forthcoming then you may just have to accept it - then you will be a lot happier I feel. I look after my dad full time and I have one sibling only who is very caring but her partner has Motor Nuerone Disease, so we pull together and help each other.I am lucky to have her!
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Teachergear1, you are being a loving, wonderful person to keep hanging in there, trying to help someone who frankly sounds abusive. And, I don't really know about your sibs, your past family life, etc. But could I throw out an idea or two from my own experience? When there is abuse, stemming from childhood (not dementia or other current health issues) a child may have to "divorce" a parent in order to survive. After that detachment is made, the relationship may be over, just as if the parent is actually dead. You certainly should be able to expect financial help from sibs, assuming they are able, but not necessarily that they would resume any contact with their 'dead" mother. After my Dad's death, I may have spoken briefly to my mother on the phone over the years, mainly because I happened to answer the phone, but to me she was not a "mother" and I had no emotional ties left, of any kind. Completely uninterested in her life, death and funeral. Please try to consider that when an abusive parent is involved, they reap what they sowed and you and your siblings each have to decide how much contact you wish to have. The obligation to financially help a destitute parent remains, but that is the extent of moral obligation - I checked this out with a couple of moral theologians before I walked away. God bless you for trying.
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I feel as though I am experiencing something similar…my siblings have no real understanding/appreciation for what all I do since I am the only one 'in town'. I have spoken to counselors I work w/and one woman offered that they feel guilty and/or are paralyzed…w/fear, dread, nasty childhood dynamics, mental health issues or simply their own overwhelming lives. Denial is also a tremendous force in this scenario—simply put, this is an extremely complicated part of life. Each individual case shares similar dynamics while simultaneously hosting unique characteristics! My thoughts are w/you!
Question: Do you have power of attorney/executorship of your mother's estate/holdings? If not, now would be a good time to move in that direction, especially w/the dynamics @ hand. If YOU are spending an immense amount of 'billable' hours assisting your mom, you should be compensated—NOT THAT THIS IS THE GOAL, but, if the lifeguard doesn't float NOBODY SWIMS! You MUST take care of yourself!
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