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My sister and I are caregivers for our mom and step dad. The other sister lives an hour away from mom and has made it very clear she is not into caregiving but will come down every month or two to "clean" mom's house. Her cleaning leaves a lot to be desired because the floors and counters should be cleaned a lot more often, so caregiver sister and I end up doing all the cleaning once a week and don't mention it to Distant sister because she'll cop an attitude how we are not letting her help. Distant sister rarely visits and when she does, she makes promises to our parents that she either cannot or will not do. She's always in a hurry to visit and leave because she has so much to do in her yard. (my sister and I also have our homes and yards to keep up and I'm a widow) She has no children and hires the neighbor boy to help her. Her husband isn't into working in the yard like she is. She has 1 year before retirement and promises to drive to mom's 1x week to help out. I highly doubt she will. She reminds us to please keep her informed as to what is happening with mom's decline.


I'm at mom's 3-4 days a week and caregiver sister the same but on different days. I make notes on an email to distant sister then send it once a week.
Her response is always the email I sent her with highlighted bits and pieces pointing out this is a way she would not want to be treated. Example.....when going shopping (before virus) I was helping mom make up grocery list. I asked dad 4x if he has his wallet and checkbook (mom has Alzheimer's and dad has dementia) he would say yes he does, pat his pocket and say no I don't then go to bedroom for it and get distracted and come back out without it. Mom was being very difficult that morning but we were working through the list. Finally, dad said he did have it so we got on the road because we had a foot Dr appt. My fault ...I did not follow through to see if he had his wallet. When we got to our destination, he then realized he didn't have it and wanted me to take them home so he could get it and I refused to drive 1/2 hr back home and another1/2hr back into town for shopping. He was mad at me but I just paid for the groceries myself and he paid me back.
I mentioned this to my distant sister and there seemed to be no understanding of what my caregiver sister and I go through daily...just complaining about how I should have taken them back home to get his wallet because it was my fault it was forgotten I the first place because I didn't follow through to make sure he had his wallet. Also to make sure I knew that I should have taken them back home because that's the way she would treat them because that's the way she wants to be treated. She does this everytime I send her an email. She doesn't seem to get the point of the email about how much they are both declining. It's gotten to the point where I don't keep her updated because I know what her response would be. I don't have time for her nit picking. I'm tired. Now she tells my caregiver sister that I don't keep her updated. Caregiver sister doesn't respond and doesn't want to get into the middle of it because she totally understand where I'm coming from.
So...my question is: do I continue to keep distant sister informed or just save myself the hassle of emailing her with an attitude pointing out to me how I've failed in my caregiving duties. I'm trying as hard as I can but I'm human...I make mistakes... My feelings are to keep her updated and ignore her response but I'm starting to resent her attitude because my sister and I are doing the best we can and we are both pretty disgusted with distant sister. Thank you all for listening to me ramble on.

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I vote for saving yourself the hassle of emailing her. When she complains, say something like "Dearest distant, I've decided to take a break from the computer. My doctor says I need a break." You do not owe your sister any explanations.

If you don't want to stop emailing altogether, certainly stop with all the detail you provide her because you are giving her the ammunition to nit pick at you. Ask yourself: "Is this something distant sis needs to know?" What's the point of telling distant sis that dad forgot his wallet again? Do you really care what she would have done?

If you're going to continue with weekly updates, go broad strokes e.g. "Dad's foot doctor says everything looks good. Mom's appetite has been good this week. Sis and I cleaned the kitchen and bath yesterday. Take care of yourself." And ignore her when she nit picks. Just go grey rock: "The grey rock method is a practice where an individual becomes emotionally non-responsive, boring, and virtually acts like a rock. Emotional detachment serves to undermine a narcissist's attempts to lure and manipulate, causing them to grow uninterested and bored."

Your distant sister does not have the right to do nothing and complain about how you and your other sister are doing things. That's some sense of entitlement distant sis has!
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DILKimba Apr 2020
Excellent advice. Exactly what I was going to say. Broad brush updates, no specifics.
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I see it this way, you tell her too much. You don't have to tell her every little thing.

Once a month just say "things are pretty much the same, appts and shopping. Took Dad to Dr on the 25th and Dr sees no change (or he does) Mom seems to be holding her own"

Be honest with sister, she is nit picky and you have no time for it. Let her cop an attitude. Your on the front line. You are the ones doing the work. Tell her to visit more often while parents know who she is.
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Loen210 Apr 2020
JoAnn,
Perfect reply (in my eyes). Thank you.
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Thank you all who responded. Your suggestions relieve my mind that I'm doing the right thing. I'll cut out the small stuff and if things change with mom and dad then I'll let her know. Thank you again all for your wonderful support! (((HUGS)))
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I wouldn’t bother emailing your sister if you don’t want to. Is your mom asking you to contact her? If she is, tell her that you are no longer going to be her messenger.

As far as her ‘helping out.’ Talk is cheap! Actions speak louder than words and she has proven that she will not be doing an equal amount. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

You are not going to convince her of anything that she doesn’t want to do. Maybe speak to your mom about hiring outside help or possibly entering a facility after this heath crisis is under control.

I will echo that rarely is caregiving split equally. That would be fair and perhaps a miracle. Most do not have that set up.

One idea is to send one last email to notify her that you will not be updating her any longer. Let her take responsibility for gathering news.

If you are upset, that’s okay. Even therapists will point out that it is normal to get angry when it is justified. In fact, it is more healthy than to excuse her cruel behavior towards you.

Honor your feelings, then move on. Don’t get stuck in that place. Don’t hold a grudge. Just go on with your life.

Do not allow her to steal your joy. That is what a person that ‘picks’ wants to do. They want to push your buttons. Don’t let her do that. Don’t feed her any ammunition to attack you with. If she chooses to attack anyway, you do not owe her a response.

Personally, I would totally ignore her if you know that speaking to her would fall on deaf ears. Why waste your breath? It’s great when healing occurs but it isn’t possible in every situation. You’re the only one that can assess this.

If you feel a need to speak and don’t want to hear her foolishness then write her a letter. If she writes back, you can choose to read it or throw it away.

Isn’t it usually the one who does the least that complains the most and they also take credit for doing more than they actually did. You know the truth and that is all that matters.

Remind yourself that she insults you and doesn’t care much about your feelings. That may give you a push to limit your contact with her or detach from her.

Best wishes to you.
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It's easy to be a backseat driver, isn't it??! Does she have a valid license for that?? This kind of reminds me of how my Dad behaved towards me after my mother died. They had been divorced for 45 years. He was no comfort to me at all when she was diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer's, and when she died about 18 months ago, he didn't even send me a card. Afterwards, he kept pecking away at me about how I handled her obituary and her grave marker (which he had not helped me with at all at the time).

I finally put my foot down about six months ago when I went on my yearly pilgrimage to visit him. I said HEY! Stop backseat driving my decisions about my Mom's death. You didn't offer to help me at all for the four years I did everything for her. You don't get to say anything right now; so stop it! And he did. I think he couldn't believe that I had it in me to say that to my own father, but I had HAD it!

She will keep being the backseat driver for as long as you let her, and it might even last until after your Mom's death, as it did for me. Or, she will swoop in at the last minute to "save the day" and try to take over everything at the last minute. As an ICU RN, I have seen siblings using the parent as a pawn for control in tragic situations. One time the POA from out of state flew in and took Mom off life support, only to change her mind 45 minutes later and have Mom transferred back to our facility and back on the tubes. It was insane! Siblings crying and screaming at each other and at us.
To sum things up, at least tap the breaks a bit as others have suggested; hopefully, your sister will get a little figurative bump on the head. Either pick up a pan and start cooking, or get out of the kitchen, Sis!!
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Beatty Apr 2020
*Either pick up a pan and start cooking, or get out of the kitchen, Sis!!*

YES - I Love that 😆
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Good morning,

I have a “Dis Sis too. She was constantly micromanaging me while she lives a plane ride away and currently hadn’t visited in two years. She tells people I don’t do enough! When I pushed back four years, she stopped speaking to me, doesn’t returns text messages and recently wouldn’t come to the phone. I was told she didn’t want to talk to me. My mother plays the devils advocate. I decided not to be her puppet and do everything myself. As I was anyway. God bless these people. They should be grateful for those doing what they won’t/can’t or whatever do! Good luck! It’s a hurtful no win situation.
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Thank you
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It may be a way for your sister to feel she is in control. She clearly is not. She should say to you. Thank you for everything, your doing a great job.
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Wonderful response! When I was the full time primary caregiver it would have meant the world to me just to hear a simple ‘ thank you.’

Thank you for pointing this out to others 💗.
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Do your own thing and keep a journal. Other than that, tell her you don't need unsolicited advice. Trust me, it only gets worse with siblings. Even the ones you think you can trust, will turn. Have fun with your parents. Take lots of pics. Laugh a lot.
Do what you're doing from your heart and for your parents. Not for your siblings. I feel bad for you because of this...I know that feeling all to well. When you're a caregiver, you want to please everyone. That can't be the case anymore. When everything was said and done, everyone was scrambling for pictures, etc..for the service. Even tho I had a billion pics, that kind of stuff didn't matter to me at that point. I was 'ok' because everything I had or needed was literally in my heart. All the memories were right where they needed to be. Strange, never had b4 feeling to have. Good luck. Keep your head up. Always.
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Davenport Apr 2020
Because I saw a therapist weekly, her detailed notes about what was going on are the equivalent of a full record, if/when they go full-on ugly after mom is gone. Sad, but I've grown up and have accepted that humans can be just plain mean, and go on to live my best and highest self.
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Hugs to you for all you do❤️

let me share my mantra with you:

”Show up or Shut up!”

You have been such a gem in taking care of your parents with your other caregiving sister. Politely tell your absent/occasional sister to visit if she would like to see how your parents are doing.

We all have ideas of how we would handle certain situations until ,that is, we become involved intimately with those situations.

Just as in learning, book knowledge is one thing and the practical application of that knowledge is another.

You do enough as it is in taking care of your parents. Please don’t worry about emailing your other sister it’s just one more thing to drain your energy especially dealing with her commentary.

Bless you for doing what you do and let the nit picker “Show up or Shut up”❤️
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Beatty Apr 2020
Yes! You can place my order for that t-shirt now 😁
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I am very sorry, agree with PP, that burden is rarely shared equally, but I can understand that LD Sister (Long Distance) is very unappreciative of you.  Any time she tells you what you should be doing, or implies you are failing, just tell her you need more time/help from her, and she needs to spend time with your parents.  Don't let her criticize you without telling her SHE needs to do more and what she says she will do or would have done is irrelevant because she does next to nothing.
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Davenport Apr 2020
Y'know, it never occurred to me to reply to distant sis' 'reply' e-mails, which consisted solely of simply highlighting items in my update e-mails with her criticisms (the more details included in my update, the equal # of highlights with criticisms). I just ignored, nursed and nurtured hurt and anger that never left, but grew. I wish I'd read your suggestion to write back and say "how about you come here and do it your way for one week a month? I can really use the help and would really appreciate it."

P.s., I did respond once (early on) about the gall of criticizing while otherwise being completely unwilling to provide any emotional or tangible support whatsoever. It was like spitting in the wind, the ol' tree falling in the forest but no living being is there to hear it.
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