Living far away from Elderly Parents
I have my parents who are living in Puerto Rico. My dad is 92 and my mom is 87. I am one of 5 siblings. I have one older sister, older brother and 2 younger brothers. Three including myself are over 50. My youngest brother is 48 and happens to be the son that lives 3 minutes from my parents. My eldest brother who is 64 lives in another town in Puerto Rico which is 2 1/2 hours away from my parents.
I live in New Jersey, my sister who is 65 lives in New York and one of my younger brothers who is 55, lives in New York also but has detached from the family. My older brother is dealing with PTSD and is under medical attention and finds it difficult to deal with my parents. My sister and I both have full time jobs and responsibilities of our own. We go to help my parents at least 4 times a year. My sister is preparing to retire in August and says that when she retires she can spend much more time in Puerto Rico with my parents.
Recently we were in PR for 2 weeks. It was a very stressful time because my father is incapacitated and my mother was overwhelmed caring for him. My father was dealing with a serious infection during the time we were there and my sister (she is a surgical nurse) literally nursed my dad back to a stable condition. We took care of the house and all their needs.
I became very ill during the second week we were there and had to be rushed to ER in PR with chronic bronchitis. I was stabilized and able to fly back to the states only to be hospitalized on the day after arriving back home.
It was very sad and hard leaving my parents because we know that my brother who lives by them does not attend to them as he should. He has been given access to their bank account and I saw how much money he was using. I am very angry because my brother feels that since we are the daughters, we should give up our jobs and go take care of my parents. He is so angry at my sister and I that he is refusing to
assist my parents and help them because we are not there.
My mother recently had a heart attack and had to have two stents inserted. My mother is now recuperating from this procedure and caring for my father also because my brother will not stay with them. I have suggested that he get help for them and since there is money in the bank, there should be no problem with paying for the help.
My brother refuses because his mentality is so warped and he just says that we are the daughters and need to be there to care for our parents. I find myself extremely sad and even feeling guilty that I can't be there. Then I have to remind myself that I have been a good daughter and have always done as much as I could under the circumstances.
I am going through a time now that a lot of old feelings that were buried for years, are beginning to surface. I know that my mother is also feeling like we should be there because it looks like my brother has convinced her of that.
Since he is the youngest, my mother had always babied him and spoiled him which is why he is now this arrogant, selfish, ungrateful person. My parents pay for his mortgage and all his bills. He has a part time job, with a wife and 3 children.
I know my parents time is not going to be long term and I feel so helpless, angry, and so sad. I find myself crying and ultimately pulling myself out of the guilt feelings. I feel there is no gender preference when it comes to caring for a parent.
If my parents had chosen to stay living in NY, my sister and I would gladly be taking care of their needs right now. They made the choice to go and retire in their homeland, which I fully understand.
But should my sister and I make a life changing decision to go take care of them solely because that is what my brother says we should do??
I know that I have to "Let Go and Let God" and "Turn it Over" because if I don't, it will take its toll on me.
Being so far from elderly, sick parents is a horrible feeling of despair.