Elder Care - Problem is not Parent but Sibiling

I previously posted on here about my care giving of an elderly parent and having no help from my sister. I did get a few responses, which I appreciate, and I'm sure these people meant to be kind and supportive.


Maybe I didn't state the issue clearly enough but the issue for me is not how to decrease or limit the various tasks that I have but how to handle the emotions and resentment that I have and that are a result of not having my sister's help and support.

It seems that whenever I reach out and try to describe my situation on these blogs, most people focus primarily on how I should diminish and limit some of the help to my mother, but this isn't my issue and not how I want to resolve my emotional issue. I don't have an issue with how much I do for my mother. In fact, I probably feel that I do not do enough in some ways. I surely do not want to resolve my resentment of my sister by "cutting back" on what I do for my mother. That doesn't make sense to me. It's like cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Limiting or diminishing help to my parent is like forcing my mother to "pay the price" for the lack of involvement of my sister. My mother is my only close relationship in my life right now. She is a confidante, friend, support, and counselor. So no, I would not resolve my issues by forcing her to get services from strangers. She is the only mother I have and I will help her as much as possible until she is gone. None of it is beyond my abilities; it is just that I would be a lot happier if my sister recognized the situation, and helped and supported me.

When I write on these posts, I am not looking for advice regarding how to juggle some tasks but am mostly trying to find some empathy and support regarding having a sibling that doesn't pull her weight. For that matter, I don't expect any advice regarding her either. There is no advice that can be provided, because I can't change my sister and I can't force her to help out when she doesn't want to or can't. I can't help the fact that she lives at a distance and that she has 2 kids and a husband and a business and doesn't want to cut back on any of her other commitments to help me. That is her issue, not mine. She will eventually pay the price for not helping out.

Just some support, please. No advice.

Comments for Elder Care - Problem is not Parent but Sibiling

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My sister is driving me crazy!
by: Anonymous

My father died and my mom has Alzheimer's. She is in stage 6. When my dad was alive, me, my sister-in-law, and my cousin was tend to my mom. My dad expressed that when he passed, he would like for the same people to continue caring for my mom. When dad passed, I hired my sister-in-law for mornings, my cousin for nights, and a church friend my father new for weekends.

I see my mother every day for 2-3 hours because I want to. My brother and sister-in-law take very good care of my mom. During the day, they take her to their home. She enjoys being there. They take her for walks, make her good meals, and bath her.

She has never complained about them. My cousin, who has the night shift, does a great job too. The weekend caregiver is very sweet and my mom loves her.

My sister, who goes to see my mom for an hour every 2 weeks, does nothing but criticize everyone. She wants to take my mom's dog. My mom loves her dog and would feel the void if I gave my sister the dog. She doesn't like my brother or sister-in-law.

I run all my moms errands, take her to the doctor, get her groceries, etc. and see her everyday. I also contribute $1500.00 a month to keep this all going. I don't expect to get the money back. I do it so my mom can get excellent care.

My sister is constantly sending me harassing emails. How can I stop her from driving me crazy? I thought caring for my mom would be difficult, but she is the biggest burden.

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Tried to Help
by: Anonymous

I am a daughter and trying to help take care of my elderly parents. I have a brother who quit his job to take care of my mother because I was not doing a good enough job.

Now, he removed my father from a nursing home after three years, stating they were not taking proper care of him. He complains I do not pull my weight, yet each time I have offered to take my dad, he refuses.

I have offered to help get home health care and that insults him. When I did do more in the past, he complained he didn't have any privacy. I cannot win. I do too much or too little. I know now he just is miserable and wants to see me miserable.

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Do What You Can-Don't Feel Gulity
by: Anonymous

I realize now, how many other people are like myself-the "designated" daughter (caretaker)-rare are the sons that do it, bless your heart if you are!

I have 6 siblings-2 help on occasion, 2 are useless, other 2 help if absolutely necessary and they don't have an excuse (not very often)-all are within 1 hour or so distance wise from my mom.

I realize I've brought this on myself, almost over caring to the point my mother depends on me the most and when siblings know how I'm the one to take her to Doctor appointments, shopping, medication issues, etc..

They don't think or worry about it-we all grew up in a dysfunctional family and would all have a reason NOT to care for mom. I feel we all have an obligation for her! She is our mother and care for her shared would be so less stressful for the one doing the majority of work.

Shame on you if you've left it for one sibling to do! Shame on you if you don't call your parent or ask if you can help in ANY way! The real shame is, the designated sibling doing all the work is probably reading this because we're the ones that research how to better care for our parent! How frigging sad is that?!

I'm not letting mom manipulate me into being at her beckon call and when she snaps her fingers I don't jump anymore. My marriage was suffering and I have to start living my life and let others help mom now.

My mother gets depressed and I'm not going to be cheer leading to get her in a better mood and tell her to think positive and thank God for every day he blesses her with. She never says thank you, asks how I'm doing, or says I'm a good daughter.

I've learned I was enabling her to be demanding, to let me revolve my life to catering to her- don't get me wrong. I make sure she is well taken care of, get her hair done, make sure she's comfortable and pretty spoiled in some people's eyes, but I'm taking time to enjoy my husband, children and grandchildren more and NOT feeling guilty about it!

Take care of your parent as best you can, but take time for yourself and your own life, and don't feel guilty! Good luck everyone, whatever you're situation is and remember, God is looking down on us and wants us to be happy too!!

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Elder Care
by: Anonymous

You're right: they don't get it because they don't have to do it, and as long as you do it all, they never will.

I'm amazed by how many people who've posted here say they love their parent(s)and want to care for them and are sure they're doing the right thing, but whose resentment of their non-involved siblings is little less than vitriolic. I cared for my Father In Law while he was dying, and it was a grace to be of service to such a brave man. What I gave up seemed to matter very little, and what other people were doing or not doing seemed irrelevant.

If you resent your siblings for not helping out, then whether you want to or not, you've begun to find caring for your parent too much for you: if you weren't, you wouldn't resent the lack of help. Better to just admit it and take it from there than to let yourself get so twisted up with resentment you come across like a self-made martyr who resents not being able to force others to join them in their martyrdom.

Caretaking is a choice: when I cared for my Father In Law, I acted according to my values and my relationship with him: I was entitled to do that. But people who weren't involved were equally entitled to act according to their values and their relationship with him, and the kind and quality of that relationship was between him and them.

All there is after recognizing that everyone's entitled to act according to their values is recognizing that sometimes what we want to do is beyond our ability to do and accommodating ourselves to that reality -- and that may mean having to decrease the amount of time and attention we pay an elderly parent. Honoring them doesn't require us to damage ourselves -- and if they're worth honoring, damaging ourselves and possibly our families on their account would be the last thing they'd want of us.


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Empathy for You All
by: Anonymous

Anyone with a brain knows that in order to keep a good relationship with your family that you must do your part in taking care of your elderly parents, the very ones who gave you life.

I've read so many of your posts on here who feel exactly like I do -- what makes them exempt, no matter WHAT the situation? I'll never understand where their thinking is that they think they are exempt of taking care of their loved ones.

I do almost all of the care for my mom, yet my sisters get irate when I confront them with it. They proclaim to be caring Christians, put on a good show for others who don't know the truth, and yet they don't show it in the way that matters the most. I can make no sense out of that.

I guess I'm just writing this to support those of you who are in my shoes to let you know that there are many of us who put up with this, you are not alone, even though none of it makes any sense. We are all tired of doing our very best for our parents who we love dearly, just to feel the resentment that constantly creeps up when we do the sacrificing without help.

May God bless you all for all you do and may we all get our answers someday. God will surely handle this His way.

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I Feel Your Pain
by: Gloria

I understand exactly where you are coming from. I look after my elderly parents (Father semi-paralyzed from a stroke, also suffering from heart disease and cancer).

I have 3 sisters and a brother. My brother lives very close and NEVER lifts a finger to help, 2 sisters live around 100 miles around, and the third sister decided to move 60 miles away just after my Dad had the stroke although she had always said she would never move far away and we would look after them together when they got old.

I have total empathy with you. At times I have felt really upset, resentful and even overwhelmed, not so much with the daily caring grind, but but because I have been let down and taken for granted. I know you don't want advice, but my way of dealing with it is to make sure I get some time away with my own family, just a week maybe in the Summer.

My parents get real snooty, as do the rest of my useless so called family, but I stand firm, and get some satisfaction and a well earned rest, although I do spend a lot of the time worrying they're okay, but I DON'T feel guilty. If you could manage to do something similar, neither should you.

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I Totally Understand
by: Melissa

I so understand where you're coming from, and no, I don't have any advice.

My two older brothers are absentee family members, meaning that they call my mom and check on her (she lives alone and is dealing with a broken arm), but rarely see how I'm doing, and I'm the one caring for our mother.

It's maddening, and all too common. And dealing with the frustration is driving me nuts as well. My own health suffers when I get angry with them. That's the hard part....not wanting to feel guilty when I get so furious.

My sympathies. Least lots of others are in the same boat. Take care.

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I've had it!
by: Jann

I have 2 sisters who live right here in the same town as I do. One of them hasn't even worked a day in her life, yet I do 95% of the care for our mom. I most certainly do resent it, and have let them know it many, many times, with no good results. This has gone on for over 25 years now, since my dad was killed in an auto accident in 1985, and I'm now at my wits end. And yes, I do feel the hate.

I'm a obviously a very caring daughter and I'm able to put myself in my mom's place, so I take good care of her, yet I bite my tongue every time my sister's name are mentioned. I'm tired of being dumped on and I'm tired of being the "good daughter", yet I have a lot of hate in my heart for being that "good daughter" alone. It's just not right when we all 3 came from the same womb, and none of the 3 of us would be here if it weren't for mom. It's really started to make me look ugly because I just can't take it anymore!

What is wrong with these people who don't follow the golden rule and all the other rules God gave us and ignore their own mother? I just truly, truly don't understand how some people can sleep nights when they are neglecting their own mothers!

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I Understand
by: Kellia

I am in a similar situation and have been dealing with my siblings who I feel have abandoned me and my mother, and who do not make my mother a priority, or appreciate the care I do give. Two of them also have suggested downsizing mom's care because they don't want to pay for help, or tell me I have babied my 94 year old mother.

I am fortunate though to have 2 caregivers that do help my mom during the day when I am at work.

I have been struggling for over a year with my resentment and anger towards my sisters. A family therapist told me it is difference in values. I love my mother, she is special, she is my best friend. I have gotten to know myself more from being with her more and it is an honor to take care of her. I know in the end I will know that I did everything I could to make her life the best that it can be in her senior years. She cared for me, she saved me. I almost died when I was born and I wouldn't be here if she didn't nurture me.

I am trying to rise above the pettiness and undermining of my sisters although I haven't found the magic way yet.
Here's a quote I have on my desk written to caregivers"
"You all are truly amazing for the sacrifices that you make for elderly parents and loved ones. May God Bless each of you for all that you do to help make others last years on his earth as comfortable as possible. Do something nice for yourselves. You deserve it!

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Elder Care - Special people
by: Anonymous

I really feel for you and I think you are privileged to be looking after a mum who you obviously love dearly and feel so close to. I'm sorry that you feel unsupported by your sister, sadly, this isn't unusual, but I would rather be you than her!

Whatever is stopping her from helping you out, or being more involved in your mum's care is her issue and something that you may never understand but something she may have a hard time dealing with in times to come.

On the other hand, you are doing what you feel is right for both you and your mum, take great pride in that and acknowledge that not everyone, even a sister whom you love, can cope with such a situation. It takes special people with patience, love and massive commitment, not everyone is blessed with those qualities, maybe you should just sit back and acknowledge that you are doing a great job in a difficult situation?? Good luck!

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Elder Care
by: Anonymous

I know exactly what you mean when you say you would like some empathy. I also have the full burden of my mothers care. I just get so upset that I have two sisters, whom I am so close to, that seem to think that since my mother is living with me they don't need to do anything. I just don't get it.

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