My father never saved money. When he died, he left very little for my mother other than a modest pension. She should be in a retirement home. She is forgetful, and she is almost blind. But she doesn’t have the money to go into a retirement home. And she wants to live independently.

She was living in a place owned by my sister until 5 months after my father died. It made sense. My sister is an empty nester who doesn’t work. She has time and money. Despite this my sister pushed my mom to move into the same building as me. She said that she could not be my mothers only “regular” companion anymore. (My mother has very few friends).

I work full time at a very stressful job. I have nothing to give at the end of the workday and suffer from depression and work related burnout. My sister feels that because I am single, I “only have myself to take care of” and should be able to care for my mother. She hasn’t worked for many years, and just doesn’t get the fact that I have a very small window of time in the mornings and evenings. The weekend is spent running around doing errands.

My relationship with my mother has always been difficult. She is a very critical person. Since she has moved in, I feel like I’m living at home again. She is very critical and it’s getting me down. I resent my sister because she has so much more time to care for our mother. Her and her husband have money. I don’t. And I HAVE to work.

My sister does come over twice a week to take my mother out but then she gets to swan off back to her home 20 minutes away. She is refusing to let my fathers death and mothers needs impact her life.

She is going away for three months on vacation, leaving me to deal with my mother and my job. I am so angry and resentful. I don’t understand why she gets to have her life and I don’t. I’m also very angry that my father was so bad with his money and left things in such a mess. My parents emigrated and never had to care for aging parents. I don’t have kids and will have nobody to care for me. Why should I have to give up my 50’s into my 60’s to take care of my mother?

I’m not even sure if I have a question. But I feel alone. And I am hoping to find other people on this forum who have faced the same issues.


Selfish siblings are a common theme on this forum.

Welcome to the club!

You are not alone. I know caregiving is truly a lonely feeling place to be, especially when dealing with a parent that has personality disorders, entitlement issues and is just plain rude and critical. I bet some days you want to tell her to stuff it, who is she, in her position to be critical of anyone, she also did not plan for her future. I know that a lot of women in our parents generation did not work out of the home, but sheesh, couldn't they put some money aside. Nope, not my mom either, she acts like money needs to be spent faster than it comes in.

Marina, your sister is not your master, you do not have to do what she tells you too. She has placed you in a terrible position but keep your chin up, you have options. This is for a short while until everything is in place and we can all hang on for a short while longer.

Contact social services, probably APS and tell them that your mom is a vulnerable adult with no care. (Do not let them guilt you into being that care, heads up they will stoop very low to make family take the senior in, I told one that if she thought it was such a good idea she could take him home because I wasn't, PERIOD END OF THAT DISCUSSION, you will have to be more hard headed then them. Remember, this is your very survival you are fighting for, your life depends on not caving to a government employee that could care less about you, your mom or your sister. They are paid to do a job and you will need to make sure they do it.)

You can tell your sister or not that is up to you, she made a decision that completely effected you with out consulting with you, so in my opinion she set the ground rules.

Be sure and tell APS that your mom will say she has you as a caregiver and that is not the case, you are not her caregiver.

Set boundaries, only provide help on certain days and stick to it. The more she can make your boundaries flex the more she will push. If she starts in on you, tell her you will be back when she can treat you with respect and kindness, then leave. Do not take her calls or let her push in on you, then see her on the next scheduled help day. If she gets ugly, repeat the above, everytime. She will get that you are done being her doormat and you do what you do out of obligation and you are not obligated to be treated ugly. Tell your sister the same when she tries to bully you into doing her bidding. You are a grown woman and you are entitled to be treated with respect if the expect you to help. If they can't manage to show you respect then you can't manage to help.

I hope that you can protect yourself during all of the process to get your mom the help she needs. It will most likely get very heated and ugly, you are upsetting their apple cart, so be prepared for the crashing, banging and booming. It is their control of you exploding, that is very noisy.

Stand your ground, find things that help you find joy and decompression from your stressful job and learn to turn their ugliness towards you off. We all have our own stuff, including them, but we don't beat one another in the head with it. We play nice until the bully corners us then we stand and defend our own survival, you can do this.

Hugs 2 u!
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Quint41 Aug 5, 2018
“Isthisreallyreal” is 100% on the money! Take her advice! My mother is 97 and was still living alone. Dad had played the stock market with their money and lost a ton. Mom isn’t destitute, but does not have enough to afford assisted living, so she lived in a small senior housing apartment with no services. My sister, who is married with no children, is fairly well off, does not have to work, had a big house on 5 acres on the water, rental properties, and plenty of money for multiple big vacations. Neither of us had a good, loving relationship with Mom growing up. Five years ago, sister and Mom had an argument and sister left. They sold their house, moved 17 hours away and have not been back. They left me here to shoulder this entirely alone. We have no other family around here.

I have been divorced since my children were 2 and 3 years old, working as a secretary trying to make ends meet often without two dimes to rub together. Mom lives an hour away from me. I have been left to drive an hour each way to care for Mom, to get the calls when Mom falls and is taken to the hospital, to leave my job and race to the ER, to take days off work to sit by her bedside, etc. I’ve taken ALL of her anger and resentment. Mom also refused to allow anyone to come in to help, even my daughters. Travel became one of the most stressful things in my life. Why bother trying to take a vacation when I had to call her twice a day and hear her ask, “When will you be home?!” About 1.5 years ago I started to think that Mom might have a little dementia. I retired so that I could spend more time helping her, and my visits quickly escalated from twice a week to every other day. It was exhausting and mentally draining. When she went into the hospital this July, it became wildly apparent that the dementia is worse than I thought. When she was in her home surroundings, she was able to hide a lot, or I was able to ignore a lot. She was diagnosed with Major Neurocognitive Disorder. Now she is in a wonderful nursing home and, after 5 years of stress and tears, I can finally breathe.

I wrote to my sister just to take the high road and tell her briefly what’s going on with Mom (I stupidly thought that maybe she’d want to make amends, since Mom can not remember why sister left, and cries all the time that she’ll die without ever seeing her first born again). Sister wrote back saying that she still wants to have a relationship with me, but MOM ruined this, and MOM did that, and MOM turned you against me, blah blah blah. Mom didn’t do a damn thing in that regard, sister is the one who suddenly moved and left me here!!

Anyway, getting back to the point ... “Isthisreallyreal” is right on. You do have to enact the strategies she outlines. I had to, and it was the hardest thing I ever did. I had to set boundaries. I had to say, “I am not 12 years old, Mom, I am 61 years old! I raised a family, I held a good job at a big company for many years. I pulled myself out of poverty to a point where I am finally comfortable. AND YOU CANNOT TALK TO ME THAT WAY ANYMORE. If you calm down, I will stay. If you continue to yell at me and verbally abuse me, I will go. I will not come back until X date.” I had to do that a few times. Her episodes didn’t disappear, but they became less frequent.

Also, she is totally correct about how everyone involved in your mother’s care will ask, “Why don’t you bring her to live with you?” It really caught me off guard when people started asking me that! I would stammer, “I live in a tiny 800 sf house. One bathroom with a tub that she won’t be able to step into. One bedroom is only 9’ x 9.5’. There are stairs up to both doors into the house. I just got married last year after being divorced for 22 years!!” And they would just stare at me, like none of those are valid reasons. Even my 27-year-old daughter would say, “It’s none of their f***ing business why she can’t live with you!”
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I get the impression Mom has her own place. And, we are looking at a woman from a different culture I bet. One that feels children take care of parents.

So sorry about your job. I have a feeling a NH is not going to work with Mom. Does someone have her POAs for medical and financial? If not and she is in her right mind, try to get them. It makes it so much easier in the future.

I have a feeling you aren't going to change sister. So, you have to change you. You probably need to make sister aware you only have so many hours a day. You may work 8 but there's the getting up and ready, travel time back and forth. You get home between 5 and 6 (lets say) eat, relax a little and then off to bed 9 or 10 so you can get up and do it all again. Weekends, doing what you can't during the week. You don't have the time she does. Tell her you need to work together. Otherwise, she ( since she is home during the day when agencies are open) needs to find Mom help. You can't do it from work or it will jeopardize your job.

Boundries with Mom. I know it will be hard but she also needs to realize there r only so many hours in the day, and you work most of them. She needs to rely on both her daughters. When u can't do, tell her you r sorry call sister and see what she can do. When Mom gets nasty, tell her you do not have to put up with it. If she doesn't listen to you, leave telling her you will be back when she shows some respect.

My Mom was easy but I just couldn't handle 24/7 care. My husband and I were retired and I wanted to do things together before the time came we couldn't because of age or health. I placed her in a Daycare. First day she came home she told me she didn't like the bus I needed to drive her. I told her No. The facility offered transportation and she was using it. Mom had to be ready by 8am. Getting her up and going was hard enough but me too! I am not a morning person. They bathed her for me too. She refused a couple of times. I told her she couldn't refuse because I can't bathe her and she needed to let them. After that if she refused the aides told her I said she had to. It worked. Being assertive was new to me especially with a parent.

I know, its not going to be easy but for your sanity and health you got to do for you.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to JoAnn29
Marina615 Aug 3, 2018
very good advice. Thanks!
Call Social Services and tell them that your mother is a vulnerable adult and you can't and won't take care of her. It's not your responsibility to take care of her and it's not your fault or problem about her money. Tell your bratty sister that Social Services is now involved and you don't have the time nor money to take care of her unless she decides to cough up $700 every two weeks for you to do 25 hours a week. See what happens with those things.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Evermore99

You should contact elder law attorney apply for Medicaid for your mother

Find a care facility if your mom won’t go then refuse to take care of her

Can you move

Let the state step in contact adult family sevices
You can only be a doormat if you lie down
Tell your sister in writing what you are doing
You are risking your health
Stand up for your self
Find services for your mom refuse to take her calls
Stop being a doormat
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Baileyparker
Jakjak Aug 5, 2018
Baileyparker’s advice is a bit to the point and maybe difficult to follow.
You may wind up there anyway regardless your effort.
I know it’s hard, but do it sooner rather than later.
Its really the best for your mom and you.
Like you said, you have to work to provide for yourself. Your sister is not going to do it.
Call an attorney tomorrow.
I know that you feel hurt, put upon, and resentful. Why shouldn't you? In fact, many of us can and DO relate! Personally, my husband and I have always taken care of both of my parents. They lived with us until my father's death (he had Alzheimer's) and now we are caring for my mother who has Alzheimer's. All the while, my brother and his wife never did a thing. They used the excuse that they lived out of town, but they never visited, never helped financially, never offered any moral support...nothing. They took vacations, lived a great carefree life and called Mom twice a year to wish her happy birthday and happy Mother's Day. Meanwhile, as their conditions grew worse, my husband and I handled everything for them: doctor's appointments, groceries, bills, etc. Was I resentful of my brother? Sometimes! But I thought about it and decided that it wasn't worth my time or energy. I thought, 'What if I were an only child? I would have to do this regardless.' It helped me realize that it wasn't about my brother. It was only about me and my relationship with my mother. When I gave up and let go of the moments when I became bitter about my brother and how selfish he was, I felt so much better. (By the way, my brother now has Alzheimer's as well so I have not only had to come to grips with his never being present physically, he is no longer present mentally either.) Anyway, that was my epiphany--letting go of the negative feelings and just being and doing what is right for me and for my mother. When we feel like we are being taken advantage of, downtrodden, used and abused, we wallow in that negativity and it becomes even worse and heavier to handle. Free yourself of that and look at the real situation. The only thing that is real and presents itself is that you have a mother to look after and that is enough of an energy-sapping experience without dealing with your feelings about a selfish sibling. Maybe you can send your sister a note explaining that you have felt resentlful and give your reasons. Then tell her that from this point on you will release those resentments and move on. You will handle things on your own since you no longer have any expectations of assistance from her but will also ask for her to respect that fact and not butt in. If she wants to share the burdon of responsibility then that is different but once you release her I doubt that she will interfere at all. Now you are free to make decisions like whether to put her in a nursing home or get social services involved. Your choice and only your choice. I am sorry that you have so much stress over this. However, there are some excellent ways to come to terms with it all. I might suggest that you find my books online starting with I Am Not a Village, then Fine Tuning My Life, There's a Stranger in My Room and finally, my recently released, The Memory Keeper. (look up on They are like a therapy session for the reader as they follow my journey in caregiving my now 99 year old mother who has Alzheimer's. I am very honest about my feelings and how I deal with them to bring a positive outcome. No one who is caring for a parent has it easy. However, we can turn it around and make it better. Find yourself a good support group to attend. Contact social services, senior centers, etc. They will help you with this. For now, good luck, best wishes, and may you find a good solution. Sending you big supportive hugs.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to JessicaB
susiemen Aug 5, 2018
I had a similar experience, first with mother, then with husband. I have two daughters who have been absolutely fantastic in helping me deal with the needs, the care, and the support of both loved ones as well as of me during several years of dealing with old age (mother dying at 104+) and Alzheimer's taking their dad at age 81. However, my brother and sister-in-law didn't want any involvement with our mother, and felt totally overwhelmed by even a two week stay of her in their home while we went on vacation every few years. However, instead of allowing myself to be resentful, I decided that I wanted to be there for them both, even though my mother had always been somewhat narcissistic and difficult and critically demanding perfection from us. I'm glad she lived as long as she did, because we actually solved many of those resentments when she admitted to me that she had never had a "best friend" and that she finally had realized that she felt that I was her best friend. How much joy, as well as pain for her feelings, that brought me, and I realized that she "had arrived" at age 103!! I told her that I had waited 70 years to hear those words, and that I loved her more than she could ever know. When she died, her request to give each of her 5 grandchildren $10,000 from her remaining money could have possibly caused there to be nothing left for me or my brother. However I had also managed her money for several years, and after paying off the kids, still had substantial amount left which I divided between my brother and me. My mother had said the year before she died that she wanted me to keep all the money that might be left, since I'd been the one who had done everything for her through the years (she lived with us for 23 years before going into assisted living wheelchair bound for the last 6 years). I told her, "No" that I wouldn't do that as I didn't want any bad feelings from my brother and sister-in-law. However, when I called him to say that I had one-half of her inheritance for him, he was totally surprised and said that he had assumed that he would get nothing since they had never really helped with anything! His wife had died four years before our mother did, but he still hadn't done much except visit a bit more frequently. I could have said that in that case, I'd keep his half (!), but didn't feel it worth the possible hard feelings. My husband was another matter--such a decent, kind and tolerant person he was, so it was an honor to be there for him. We each have to decide how we deal with stress, deprivation, and I am in no way trying say that I don't understand the sheer wearing down and out of those who have to do it ALL! I did have support from my own family, however, and that made all the difference and is probably the reason that I was able to hang in there to the end without major emotional or physical stress. I can only say that I agree with others on this site that sometimes one just has to get "tough"--my mother always said, "The wheel that squeaks gets the grease!"
Marina, the problem here is not your sister. It's your mom.

Your mother refuses to accept outside help. You and your sister live in a culture in which women work and are not available for caregiving. Mom needs to accept that.

It may be time to step back and evaluate what you are willing to do for your mom. Tell her what you can do, say once a week trip for groceries. Say " no, sorry, can't do that" to other requests.

If you are firm, mom will understand that you aren't a doormat.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
suiee7005 Aug 5, 2018
Good luck with that depends on mom's mental conditions
Just because your sister has "time and money" doesn't mean she is obligated to give up her retirement to care for your mother - it sounds as though once you father wasn't there to be the buffer any more your sister became the go to person and had enough. Proximity doesn't mean you need to jump every time your mother has a whim, why does she need constant attendance from either of her children? Set limits to what you CAN to and arrange outside services to take care of the rest. So maybe mom makes a list and you deal with it on Saturday and you delegate where possible: look into things like a cleaning service, grocery delivery, meals on wheels, personal care form an agency, transit services to the senior's centre....
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to cwillie
Marina615 Aug 4, 2018
I have much less time and much less money. So I should be much less obligated. My mother won’t accept outside services.
My sister thinks I am more obligated because I am single. I have responsibility for myself only, whereas she is a “wife, mother and grandmother.” I never met the right man....and now I’m being punished for it.
I may have responsibility for my self only...however I have no support system so I have to do everything for myself. I had cancer in 2016 and had to go through that without the help of my family.
Thats fine...I will take care of myself. But if my family isn’t willing to be there for me, why should I be expected to care for my mother.
I should not be expected to have a full time job AND care for my mother. If I had the time and money that my sister does I wouldn’t MIND caring for her. If I had the money I would pay for outside care...despite the fact that my parents should have prepared themselves financially for old age.

But it I don’t have the time or the money.
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I have to admit that my first thought was "move".
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to SafetySarah
Marina615 Aug 4, 2018
Lol! Thing is, I have lived in this building for 20 years. For the first time in 20 years it doesn’t feel like my haven. I love my mother, but I need my own space. The one good thing is that my mother is afraid of cats. I have she doesn’t come up to visit.
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You have a right to feel resentful. That is not uncommon of a feeling when siblings take no responsibility or go on having their lives as normal while you don’t. But here is the need to take your power back and pull up your big girl panties. You have a right to set what are called boundaries. Meaning..what you will and will not allow. Your life as a single person is every bit as important as your sister's. And just because she doesn’t honor that doesn’t mean she can decide what you can or can’t do. It will help if you get this off your chest with her. In the meantime....follow the advice of others for calling APS. You also can and should decide just what if anything you are willing to do for mom and don’t let her bully you. Do not answer your phone at night if it’s her and you are too tired to talk. I’m sorry you are living through this but you can exert control.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Harpcat

If your sister won't make the time, then ask her to cough up some money to help pay for care for your mother. I live across the country from my ailing father. My sisters put in the time needed to help my step-mother and I send a check each month to help out.
Helpful Answer (10)
suiee7005 Aug 5, 2018
THERE ya go! !!!!
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