Still No Help from Siblings for my Mom!

by Crazy Caregiver
(California)

My Mom was placed in a very pricey Alzheimer's care facility last fall. She had acquired several skin infections, several falls, one so serious she was hospitalized for some time.


While I understand the disease is taking it's natural course, I can't help but wonder if my other siblings visited more often and just spent a few hours with her on a given weekend how much her quality of life and outlook might improve.

My sister continues to be the only one who is there for my Mom and visits her frequently sometimes almost every day to make certain she eats, has a shower and feels safe and loved. I travel down every other weekend and spend most of the day with her doing the same things my sister does for her.

The folks at the care facility are surprised to see this level of concern I guess for a loved one since they said most folks just dump off their loved one and only visit at Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving.

My Mom was the best Mom and a very loving Gramma when she was well. I can't imagine not seeing her but the visits are getting harder and harder for both my sister and me. She doesn't really know who we are by name anymore but when she sees our face something sparks and she's so happy to see us.

What I'm upset about still is the lack of involvement and concern from my three older siblings. My sister and me are the youngest and seem to be the only ones there for my Mom. We also cared for her while she lived in her home coping with the earlier and middle stages of this dreadful disease. I do not understand how someone can sit idly by and not lift a finger to help out there poor Mom!

My oldest sibling said his "crew" at home needed him more and he was not going to waste his weekends caring for my Mom when she was still living in her own home. My other sibling can't help they so far away and does attempt to spend some time when visiting us.

The other sibling never had a close bond with Mom and frankly I think wishes she would just go already. It breaks my heart to see the lack of concern and love and respect towards my Mom who was the most loving and giving and gentle soul you could ever hope to meet.

How do I get past these feelings of anger and resentment towards the "Non-Participant Siblings" and just let it go? My Mom deserves an easier exit from this world and she deserves better treatment from her grown and very capable children. Your thoughts?

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No Surprise
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately this happens all the time, I am in the Nursing field and specialize in Alzheimer and Dementia patients. I understand the way you feel about the lack of concern your siblings have for your Mother.

I have seen this over and over again where loved ones have been totally left and forgotten about, sometimes left alone at home. There are all types of excuses people use to justify why they aren't concerned, too busy, family needs them more, they wouldn't recognize me anyway, etc.

I still get angry but it really doesn't do a bit of good it only upsets me. You cant change your siblings minds and it isn't healthy for you to be angry with them. You should feel wonderful knowing that you are the better person and I want to commend you for caring so much for your Mother.

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Your Absent Siblings
by: Anonymous

I have a friend who recently lost her mother. My friend was her mother's sole advocate and caregiver. My friend has three sisters who chose not to help or visit their mother when she was ill. I will tell you what I told her: Your siblings' choices are theirs and theirs alone. None of us can make anyone do anything.

I believe your siblings will be tormented one day by their choices, but for you to waste energy on something you have no control over means you will have less energy and time to give your beloved mother.

Focus on her, not them, so that she does have the exit she deserves. Your anger and resentment are understandable, but don't let those feeling interfere with your abiding love for your mom.

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Forgiveness Easier said Than Done.
by: Anonymous

I feel for you and your sister. The only kind thing about dementia is the fact that after a while, the patient does not realize they are sick and often are happy just to wander around. I used to work in a nursing home and trust me, in their own minds the patient is often happy. Often they will ask if their mom knows where they are and we used to say yes she did and then they were happy.

As for the uncaring siblings, honestly, I know many people will tell you to forget and make excuses, but how do you let go? I don't know. They are not just turning their backs on Mom, they are turning their backs on your own childhood and everything your family meant. For me, honesty is the best way to go.

Without yelling, without anger tell them how this makes you feel. I used to put it all in a letter when my emotions were too much and give it to them. Still do. Tell them how this hurts your heart and why. If your mom was a great mom, she deserves so much more. Perhaps you can remind them of things she used to do for them and how she would lay awake at night and worry about them...even when they were teens and didn't know better.

One good thing...when your mom goes, you and the sister that does care can sleep well at night and the grieving will be much easier. For the ones who have turned their back, some day this will eat away at them when they realize they are out of time to make amends.

Good luck going forward.

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