I have been living at my parents home now for 10 months caring for them, esp. my Mom who is in later stages of dementia and receives hospice care. I am a retired nurse who is widowed, I was 55 when I lost my husband, my children are grown so no reason to be by myself in the same small town.

When my Mother became ill my brother and sister in law wanted a family meeting. I had taken much care of both my parents going back and forth from my house to theirs for some time. I knew what this meant, they wanted Mom in a nursing home, my sister in laws mother was in a nursing home, but they were young at that time with small children and they like to travel, go to concerts, ballgames, etc. My brother is 3 years younger than me and also lives in our small town, they have 3 young grandchildren close to their home and have them a lot, I have 1 grandchild I seldom see.

This summer they have traveled on at least 4 different vacations to different states, concerts, weddings, ballgames. I wouldn't mind going some where sometime, but seems they also have tickets somewhere. Also always remodeling and updating their home, I am trying to keep repairs done to keep mine standing as very old Victorian, so something always to repair.

This upsets and hurts me, but I realize their decision was different than mine, my brother mows my parents yard and mine and my SIL cooks and brings us food.

I would have liked to go to the State Fair with my daughter, but they had tickets for a concert. My daughter is to have a hysterectomy and only 40 with no children soon, but oddly same day they are to entertain a cousin coming from New Jersey, there is no one else, I feel like I should be with her as she is by herself for at least the surgery and weekend, also emotional for her as she would have liked to have children, also she has no husband, so she is alone, but my daughter plays things down and says no big deal and does not want to make any waves and says this in front of them.

I don't believe my brother has ever been good to my Dad, no reason, just his attitude that he seems to know so much more, my Dad was the one to help him buy his farm. He is close to my children and was to my husband, but has never liked me and we seem to butt heads more as the older we get, although I have never said anything of his vacationing, but he seems to like to bring it up.

I realize this is his decision and mine was different, but I would have so much guilt if I had done this, I know it is usually the daughters not sons that do the caregiving, but I just wonder what others feel of this.

Am I wrong to feel so hurtful

Thanks so much,

Helping Mom1

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I feel for you. I have very similar circumstances, with the difference being that I have the husband and school age child. My sister 200 miles from mom, has been divorced for almost 20 years with 2 grown children, and has done and vacationed as she pleased. She hasn’t SEEN mom in 8 years. I was 70 miles away and moved mom 4 years ago to assisted living close to me. Now that things have ramped up with mom’s dementia, I had to move her to skilled care, we’ve had no vacations because there is no one else. I read on here that people will feel guilty and be remorseful when their parent is gone. I don’t think that’s always true. I’m reminded of something a friend once told me, “if nothing changes, nothing changes.” I can’t, with an honest heart, live my life avoiding mom, some can.
Helpful Answer (1)

To be fair, no one really knows
what they’re getting into unless they’ve been down this road before. So agreeing to handle things one way in the beginning should not mean that it has to be that way forever. It’s perfectly reasonable to call a family meeting for re-evaluation. Talk things over. Tell brother and SIL that you believe they are not up for any hands-on care but are OK with mowing and cooking. However, caregiving is 24/7/365 and respite is required not desired. Explain to them it’s Kin to putting oxygen on yourself first before putting it on a child ... because if you pass out, the child will never get help. And if you get sick from never getting a break, who will care for your parents or your daughter?

Since brother and SIL can’t help, your parents’ money will need to be spent on in-home or facility respite care periodically for you to take frequent breaks so come up with a schedule. Your state may or may not allow you to be a paid family caregiver and your parents may or may not be able to afford that and still have enough money to pay for their own care. All of these things needs to be discussed and sorted out in the family meeting so you need to research what is allowed in your state and by federal law.

i understand not wanting to fight about it. My family did and it’s horrible. My mom suffered terribly because of it. If I could change anything, it would be that. But it wasn’t my choice and I couldn’t prevent it. But I’m sure paying a large price for it ... no contact with my sister or her kids. Or most of the rest of my family for that matter. She’s put her spin on everything and frankly, after 7 years of caregiving and my own diseases, I’m too exhausted to care or fight for their love if they can’t give it freely. My friends are my family now ~ they were with me when I needed them.

Take care of yourself and for your own sake, try to let go. THEY are not going to change. All YOU can change is how YOU react to them. Been there. Sending hugs and prayers.
Helpful Answer (4)
Comere Aug 2018
Hugs and prayers to you as well. 🙏🏼
My brother and I were raised the same by caring parents.

Something must be wrong with me, but I would feel so much guilt flying on 4 different vacations in far away states having such a good time, going to concerts, ballgames, friends weddings, etc and bringing it up to me many times of all the places his wife has planned to go this summer while our mother is receiving Hospice Care. I could not even do 1, much less all this.

He is aware, yes, he mows my Dads yard and mine, but never any trimming, I couldn't get in my back door for all the weeds. He knows I am alone with no husband to help me or son close by. He wants us to hire this done, which I have tried to get someone, but unable to. He knows my husband would always have stepped up to the plate to help his wife.

I also help my elderly Dad who has many physical problems especially with medicare, insurance calling etc. yet he is POA of finances and I am of healthcare.

He knows my daughter to have major surgery and Mom has to go to Nursing Facility, I would always help someone out, it is just so hurtful not only to me, but also my Dad. I do not understand hurting someone esp. family, my Mom is used to one on one holding hands and being close to someone, I give her meds and go to bed with her till she is asleep and then my Dad is in bed with her. She is kind and not mean spirited, ambulatory, continent.

His wife tells me she knows she is letting us all down, but is not very confident, this is like caring for a child which they have and grandchildren. I just do not understand. Just 4 days as I care for my daughter.

This just hurts me deeply.

Thanks for listening
Helpful Answer (0)
BarbBrooklyn Aug 2018
Helpingmom, I have two brothers and we were all raised by the same loving parents.

Children have different relationships with their parents from their siblings.

I had a somewhat distant relationship from both of parents, almost from birth. I was "different" and not what either one of them seemed to think a daughter was going to be like. I was not easy to guide, and they gave up trying pretty early. When I asked for therapy as a 13 year old, I was handed a phone number.

My middle brother was very difficult behaviorally, late to read and had several chronic illnesses as a child. Mom spent a lot of time caring for him, taking him to doctors, visiting him in the hospital.

My youngest brother is nearly a decade younger than we are. He had a contentious relationship with my parents. Additionally, my elderly grandmother lived there for his entire childhood, raising the level of tension in the house considerably. That brother lives some distance away.

I could never, in a million years have lived with my parents, nor provided hands on care. Living with my parents would have sent me back into old, unhealthy patterns of behavior. Memories of my mother's lack of empathy with me as a child loomed large when I visited her in the NH often enough. Living with her might well have turned me into an abuser.

My brother who was ill as a child became mom's chief visitor and advocate, but he and his wife would not have been able to accommodate mom in their home. Dementia, for us, was a game changer. So was incontinence.

Youngest brother needed to be told when to visit.

Helping, what seems easy to you is not easy for all.

I'm not trying to give your brother a pass. I'm trying to explain his actions.

Do you live in a remote area where there are no contract lawn services?
See how the respite works. If it goes pretty well consider it again planning a vacation. Hire a caretaker for the day. Then go to lunch do some shopping. Don't see why brother or wife can't sit with Mom when you need time to yourself. Know when its time for a nursing home.
Helpful Answer (0)

I've never seen a family where the adult children really share equally in the caretaking of senior ailing parents, or at a minimum there is not a sense of some not being helpful. I think that some people are just not going to do it for whatever reason. Some are just not cut out for it, too busy, it's not their priority, too far away, too immature, etc. I don't think most give it a second thought and it doesn't bother them, the way we think it should. It is their right to not take it on. So, I'd just try to move past why you can't get the help and make your own arrangements for a regular respite. I discovered that the helpful, thoughtful people do a lot of thinking and feeling about things and then there are those who don't. I've tried to let them go.

Just taking off to help your adult child for her surgery is admirable, but, you need much more time just for yourself to recharge your batteries. I'd work on being proactive and making the arrangements for an outside caregiver, if the siblings are not available. I'd just write it off as how they are, not expect more and try to take care of yourself as well as you do your parents.
Helpful Answer (1)

Your post jangled a lot of bells with me, so first of all I offer my sympathy and my view that you simply cannot be wrong to feel as you feel. You are hurt, is the fact of it; and you resent the imbalance between your input into your parents' care and your brother's input, or rather complete absence of same.

It's not wrong, but it is futile and it makes you feel bad, is the point. You do need respite. Your brother, for all sorts of reasons some of which are perfectly fair, is as a matter of fact not going to provide it - and he certainly isn't if you don't ask him to! - though that's about communication, which is a different issue.

But, so, look elsewhere. Contact agencies. Go and visit a few nearby facilities and see what they have to offer. Your entitlement to time off is not dependent on your brother. There are other resources and you must go out and find them.

The difference between your respective attitudes is also clearly something that bewilders and saddens you; not to mention his apparent disregard for your feelings and your wellbeing. Well, now. That is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Is your relationship with your brother important enough to you to be worth working on?
Helpful Answer (4)
helpingmom1 Aug 2018
Thank you, you seem to understand.

My respite is going to go to St Louis to care for my daughter who is going to have major surgery, so my Mom goes to a nursing home for respite for 5 days while i care for my daughter.

My SIL could very well stay here and she realizes that and says she feels bad as letting me down and should step right in, but is not very confident, as she says and could not give the care I do.

I do not expect my brother to take my Mom to the bathroom, I don't understand it, she is a very intelligent woman, also close to my Mom, but my brother has always been this way, I don't want a fight.

My Mom is not mean or agitated and is child like, there are no tubes, no major nursing procedures, this is like caring for a child, she is ambulatory.

I am not going on any vacation, I am going to go care for my daughter who is having major surgery and does not have a husband, she is alone. I can not choose my mother over my daughter.
HELPING, your brother asked for a meeting and you assumed that you knew what he wanted?

Not a lot of genuine communication going on here, is there?

Have you told your brother that you need regularly scheduled respite?
Helpful Answer (6)

To let you all know there never was a family meeting and my brother never said they would not do hands on care, I was never told that from them, but I understand this is my life and his is very different and this was my choice.

Thank you all for your responses
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BarbBrooklyn Aug 2018
Hhelping, I'm glad that you are going to be able to travel to be with your daughter for her surgery.

But that's hardly respite, is it?

Respite is going out with your girlfriends for tea, spending some time at the library, going to a concert or the fair. After you come back from St. Louis, make a schedule. REGULAR respite. Like once a week. You need it for your health and well-being.
I agree with the others, your brother made his preferences clear from the start, the choice to be a caregiver was yours. I'll admit to feeling some resentment toward my sister because everything always falls to me even now that my mother is in a nursing home, but I know that is really just sour grapes.
Helpful Answer (3)

Your brother and his wife aren't totally absent from the scene, as he mows the yard and she cooks food. But they said they wouldn't do hands-on care, so I really don't see a problem with their lifestyle. It seems that you expect them to provide some hands-on care.

YES, you need respite. Please don't choose your parents over your daughter, as she goes through and recovers from her surgery!

What is your parents' financial situation? Can they pay for respite care for you?

Also, do they have a large estate? Do they own the house? What does their will say? Regardless, consider getting paid for the caregiving now while you are doing it. You will get paid from their funds.
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So, your brother wanted to move your parents to a facility because he knew that he and his wife wouldnt be able to care for them. You volunteered to do so. And now you are stressed and hurt because you have no respite.

You need respite. If you are determined to keep your parents at home, you need to use their resources to buy in home care or send them to a facility when you need to get out of town, do errands, whatever.

Your brother is under no obligation to provide hands on care. He told you long ago that he couldn't do that.

There should have been respite built into the original plan.
Helpful Answer (7)

You're right, you chose to do this. Let it go. Resentments are like mixing up a poison for someone, then drinking it yourself.

Look into respice care, hospice can help with this.

I sorry you're in this situation. Best of luck to your daughter.
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