Elder Care Anger and Resentment - Deadbeat Siblings

by Martha Stewart
(Elizabeth City)

My father died of colon cancer in 1995 leaving behind my 73 year old mother who was totally dependent on him.


It is 2009 and my mother is still living.

She is in late stage heart disease and has dementia problems. She lives next door to my sister in a house provided for free by that same sister and husband.

This is really sad. My mother has nine children living within a forty minute drive from her. Out of the nine, only two help my sister care for her--my youngest sister and myself. Two sons visit about three times a month (visit only) for a few hours on Sunday but don't dare ask them to contribute to her care in any way. The remaining children show up a few times a year.

Here are some of the excuses they use:

"My health is too bad, I don't want Mom to see me like this." (never mind that she goes to church, birthday parties and out to eat when she wants and is not as ill as she would like for you to think).

When asked to come on Thursdays around four o'clock p.m. and stay until Fridays at one o'clock to help give number one caregiver a complete day off--"I can't come because it might rain and I don't drive in the rain. Also, it might thunder and my dog hides in the closet and wets the floor because she is afraid of thunder. And my husband is stressed out and that makes me stressed. And I might have some furniture delivered..." To give credit where credit is due, she came twice but then never showed up again.

When asked to bring a meal for Sunday lunch and stay to administer Mom's one o'clock meds so that the caregivers can go to out to lunch after church--"I can't stay and give her lunch and pills because it's almost two o'clock when I get home and I feel dizzy and my blood sugar drops because I'm hungry. I don't cook anyway so I shouldn't be getting her meals.

The rest don't come and just don't offer an excuse.

Here's the kicker--the three taking care of my mother are and always have been her least favorite children.

Forget about family conferences, we've pleaded and begged until we're blue in the face. The fact is that they just don't care.


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Perspective
by: PCloudy

It's interesting how these comments flow. I know exactly what these folks are talking about.

My siblings feel that going overboard at holidays or the occasional meal out takes care of their obligation.

They are right in the middle of everything trying to direct medical decisions that they are clueless about without regard to the natural process of life / death and the wishes of the elderly parent that were indicated prior to not being able to express themselves any longer.

Where are they in the middle of the night when there are unpleasant issues to deal with? Where are they when our parent has fallen in the bathroom floor and can't get up?

It's fine to be on the phone nonstop offering your opinion but I can tell you from personal experience that all those things DON'T MATTER!

What matters is inconveniencing yourself to help your parent. Being able to provide respite when respite is needed most. Putting yourself second once in a while for the needs of someone else. Doing some of the "dirty" jobs.

Actions speak louder than words. Where there is too much talk, there is generally very little doing. Satisfy yourself if you must but don't degrade others for trying to do what is right for those that raised us.

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Keep Her Posted
by: Anonymous

My mother was in the hospital for a month during which not once could my sister got off her butt and visit. The best she could do was tell me to "keep her posted".

I was and am still working full time. While mom was hospitalized, I was driving back and forth to the hospital every single day, taking care of her place and cats, my place and cats, her bills, my bills. I almost ended up in the hospital too.

My sister can never come and help because gas is too expensive. She hasn't worked in over 15 years and is always crying about living on a fixed income. Gosh, whose fault is that?

There was no reason she couldn't have gotten a job so many years ago other than it wasn't something she wanted to do. Boohoo, boohoo.

This will sound awful but I am praying that Karma gets her good at some point. I am just waiting for the day when she thinks I should help her.

I will tell her to keep me posted and that gas is just too expensive. I keep telling myself to just wait for it.

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Same Story
by: Susan

Interesting posts. I was never the favorite child. I was criticized until I left home as soon as I could at 18. My sister and I do everything for my Mom and have for years. Prior to that we helped out our Dad who had Alzheimer's.

We handle my Mom's finances, groceries, doctor appointments, etc...Although we have transitioned her to assisted living, Mom is never happy and her entire end of life is spent worrying about money (of which she has plenty) and worrying about my sister and my relationship with my dead beat brother.

He rarely calls, and when he does, he hurriedly puts his kids on the phone (god forbid he has to talk with Mom). Even though Mom has been hospitalized over 15 times in the last year and half, my brother hasn't bothered visiting for over a year.

I'm happy he doesn't visit. When my Dad passed, he told everyone in the hospital and who came by (including my Mom), that "it was for the best". Not sure why he even cared since he spent NO TIME with my dad through the ravages of the disease.

Just came to tell us it was for the best. I was horrified. Then he spent all of his time at the memorial service trying to sell property to the mourners who came to give their respects.

I think there is a special place in hell for my brother.

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Deadbeat Bro
by: Miss. J. Greer

My Father became seriously ill about two years ago. My deadbeat bro initially said he wanted to come back East to visit and such, then backed out. I am married and have severe debilitating chronic pain, and have been taking my Dad to doctors appointments and been there practically 24/7 when in the hospital.

This 'bro' (really half-sibling) we have same Dad, can't even be bothered to check on his Dad by phone. I mailed him a note that he's just going to have to go through our Aunt if he wants information. He must be stupid, because he knew Dad was in ICU and calls an old # of mine using someone else s phone because his phone number is blocked on all of my phones. I live 1.5 hrs from my Dad, I do all the care giving, he can't be bothered (He has 3 different gaming systems) to help me, well he can go pound sand.

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siblings
by: Anonymous

My mother has always drank vodka - she has been a very important part of society and always would hide the addiction. She is now 87 years old and I am the youngest of 4 - my father died 27 years ago.

I am the only one in town and spend almost every day with her...taking her to the grocery store etc. I only see her in the morning because of the drinking issues that will never go away. They have been addressed and at this point...I have given up.

My problem is - I am very close to my sister and she used to come and visit - she no longer comes on a regular basis - once a month for a weekend - always an excuse - dogs etc. Now she doesn't come for months.

I had a long talk with her this past year regarding my feelings of being left with doctor appointments - taking care of situations with her condo, etc....and need to have a break. My mother will not go and stay with her - she will only go to my sister's if I am going...I feel trapped - I love her but it is overwhelming.

My brother's - well, one never comes and talks to her on the phone here and there....the other one has been very good for a few years and comes for 2 days every 6 weeks or so...but of course they want to hang out with me! So, it is not really a break....thanks for listening.

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What to do When Elderly Parent Refuses Help
by: Anonymous

My elderly father (84) insists he is fine even though he has become obese, has a dead cat somewhere in his house and has a sibling of mine living with him who has mental health issues.

When I've offered help he either says he is fine and doesn't need it or gets angry. So, what can one do in this situation? It is hard to tell if he is mentally okay himself - sometimes he seems perfectly lucid, and sometimes he can't remember things. Several years ago I did have a social worker visit to make an assessment but all the advice she provided was dismissed.

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Elderly Mother
by: Anonymous

I feel bad for my elderly mother, she's not in the best of health, the way my sibling treats her is terrible, she still has resentments from growing up and will not let go of. My poor mother is always upset after having a conversation with my sibling (don't want to name names or if he/she is younger or older) my mother will go to her grave having hear about how my sibling was treated as a young child, which I think is half imagined.

My parents did the best that they could coming from the harsh backgrounds that they were brought up in. They didn't drink, they worked, and provided what they could, we traveled because of my fathers work. My sibling is stuck in the past, and will not let go! I have promised myself that after my mom passes, I REFUSE to talk to this sibling of mine about mom, I've listened to it for too many years!

I just finished talking to mom on the phone again she's crying, 'what did I ever do to deserve this' and again consoling her.

This is horrible!

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knows the feeling
by: Anonymous

WOW, finally someone that has a story that I can relate to. I also take care of my elderly mother. I also work for a railroad so I am gone a lot, however my wife and her mother takes care of my mom when I'm not around. Taking her to doctor's appointments, shopping and to the hospital.

I also have 2 worthless brothers that are always full of excuses as to why they can't come visit or help.

Up until recently, my mother was living alone and had became a huge hoarder, my brothers insisted there was nothing wrong with her and refused to visit or check in on her. Despite the fact that she was living in filth, her house was infested with fleas, cat crap, cat hair, and had so much junk lying around that it was impossible to get through the house except for a path. I had tried many times to help her clean, but as a hoarder she refused anything to be touched as she always had some need for a useless item.

My brothers could have cared less about helping her do anything and only called her when they needed something. To make a long story short, I finally moved her in with me and my wife, we make sure she gets to her appointments and make sure shes bathing and is eating.

She has numerous medical issues and has been in the hospital many times. and of course, we are the only ones to take her and stay with her.

I have deep resentment towards my brothers for they way they have treated my mother. Some of my brothers lists of excuses for not helping my mom is, too busy, "got to put up hay," even though she was needing to go to the emergency room. The kids have a ballgame, etc... he sometimes brings pictures of the kids to mom. he don't come when I am around.. then I ask mom why don't he bring the kids down to see you. This story goes back 15 years so I would have to write a book on these bozos. I decided last year that I was done with these so called family members and I no longer associate with them in anyway possible and when I am given the chance, I make sure if when they are in need of help, I'll let them know quickly that I wont be there for them. Because they sure haven't been there for my mother.

I take grudges personally. The worst part is my older brother who was raised by my grandmother and grandfather, yet another story, when my grandmother was dying, my older brother refused to take of her and not once did he ever feed her when she couldn't feed herself. he couldn't even watch her for an hour before he would call asking how much longer we were going to be, while we shopped for her. my brother also got left nearly everything in my grandparents will and the one who didn't get left anything, ends up providing the care their supposed golden boy wouldn't do.

My mother recently made a will, leaving me my grandparents house, as it was willed to her. mom left him out of the will because of his ways. I was thankful she had this made before the day came that she couldn't think for herself anymore.

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Deadbeats
by: Anonymous

This is a familiar story. My sisters and brother think that they are above helping with my Mother's care. The excuses are extraordinary; one sisters uses her house plants for an excuse. The other sister constantly has issues with her dog. They don't help with Mom's home care or financially. I have lost all respect for them.

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Least favorite child does the most for elderly parent
by: Anonymous

How interesting that the writer mentioned that the least favorite children were the attentive ones for an elderly parent.

I actually learned at an early age that I could thrive inspite of the craziness of favoritism that was shown to the most uncaring, insincere child in the family of four children. My theory was that the squeaky wheel got oiled in our family and I learned to adapt regardless. Now, that same sibling will not even bother to spend more than an hour within about every 60-90 days,to spend time with that parent who favored her the most. It is ironic. Distance is not a tremendous factor in this. Living an hour away, she comes to visit and shop 2 or three times a month with others, but does not stop in to see her mother.

Although I have forgiven and tried to forget, it seems that the abuse and uncaring attitudes have been reaped. I am sorry for my mother, at this age, to be so neglected. I do what I can to make it up to her and spend time with her. It has taught me a lesson to avoid rewarding bad behaviors in my own children.

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