Lone Caregiver

I currently have my mother staying with my husband and I because she has Dementia. I have three sisters. None of them have even a fraction invested in caring for our mother. Granted my oldest sister is suffering from brain cancer and understandably unable to contribute physically to Mom's care.


The next oldest sister lives hundreds of miles away but calls periodically to see how Mom is doing.

She even has sent me money because she "appreciates" all that I'm doing for Mom. Recently this sister flew hundreds of miles with her husband over Labor Day weekend to spend visiting family.

Her and her husband were here 3 days and they visited Mom for a whole 45 minutes that entire stay!! My 3rd sister lives an hour away. She visits 3 to 4 times a month.

She has a part-time job blowing a whistle at children on a playground at a local school but won't quit this job to help more with Mom. I asked her the other day if she would sit with Mom while I went to a scheduled doctor's appointment and she said "You do realize it costs me $20 in gas to come out there, right?" So of course I feel resentment.

They all tell me they knew this was going to happen... that I would get burned out as a 24/7 caregiver and turn it around as they did something wrong.

I have yet to find a forum that does not give these "hands-off-caring" siblings an excuse. All I read is that "This is there way of coping with the situation" or "Perhaps you need to directly ask them how they can help". Why is this acceptable?

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sisters help if paid
by: Anonymous

I took mom in. Did not know how crazy she was. She was a good mom and there for all 4 of us. But none of my 3 sisters do anything for her unless she buys them expensive things.

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I understand your feelings 100%
by: Melanie

I understand exactly what you are feeling. My MIL is currently living with us and has been for more then a year. My husband has 6 brothers and sisters and not only do they not help, they don't come to visit.

She has an advanced liver disease which causes times of confusion due to the liver being unable to filter the toxins from her blood system. We just bought a new home while confused has mistaken ed our kitchen for a bathroom.

It's very hard on my young teenage daughters to see there Nana like this. Unfortunately, not only do my husbands siblings not help or visit but they also are constantly asking her for money, which she never refuses.

We are considering my husband becoming power of attorney over her finances just so she can have money to live on. We don't charge rent or ask for any financial assistance from her but it's become difficult to deal with everything.

I'm not sure if this will help you but what we have decided to do moving forward. Is to look into what options are available in assisting us from an outside source. Whether it be a medical advocate for her or a ride service to help bring her to appointments.

Sometimes AARP can help I have heard. We've come to the conclusion that there's nothing we can do to control how other people are going to behave in a situation like this. We were getting so angry and it was affecting us more than anything else.

I don't know when you posted this I don't know if you'll see it but maybe it'll help you a little.

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Lone Caregivers Response
by: Lone Caregiver

Then I guess my only option is to "suck it up" and ignore the "less-than-full" hearts of my siblings.

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Lone Caregivers Response
by: Anonymous

My comments about my sisters separating themselves from the situation (my mother with Dementia) was focusing on how they are able to do that and still sleep at night.

We were all raised by an angel from God (our mother). She filled our lives and home with love. She stayed home to raise us. She was always there to give a hug or lend an ear to all of us... even in adulthood. Nurses, Hospice, friends tell me "God will know who stepped up." My concern is "What happened to my sisters? How can they be this way after being raised by the same woman I was?" Family should be there for family... no matter what.

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It's not acceptable.
by: Anonymous

Sorry to disagree but I don't see where anyone on this site or any other site, and I've been on many because I've been a caregiver for my parents and non-family members for over 10 years - have said, as you put it, that "give(s) these "hands-off-caring" siblings an excuse."

What people on these sites are attempting to do is help the posters think through what's going on, commiserate with their situation(s), and make suggestions as to what to try.

Many times the custodial child(ren) haven't asked the non-custodial child(ren) to help; it hasn't occurred to them to do so or they haven't had the courage to do so. Getting encouragement from others helps them to do so. SO in my humble opinion to say "Why is this acceptable?"

I have to ask you: Why ISN'T this acceptable? The custodial child(ren) are doing a great service because they feel an obligation to their ageing parents. They aren't feeling appreciated. The non-custodial child(ren) don't seem to be showing appreciation. I get it.

My siblings left the picture with my parents over 25 years ago. I'm left to do everything, and my parents are NOT easy to deal with. It's hard. The bottom line here is you can't make your siblings help or care. If you don't at least ask you'll never know if they'll help or not.

If they won't respond to your requests then you'll know what help you won't get, and you have to go forward with what you feel is necessary; put your family member in an assisted living (I did), in a nursing home, bring in paid help, whatever.

Hugs for you for doing what you do, and my suggestion is stop asking for help and do what you know you need to do for not only your mom but for yourself.

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