Stressed Out And Siblings Don't Care

by Dawn
(Bel Air, MD)

I'm 44 years old and moved back into my parents home 12 years ago after a failed relationship and unable to afford my own apartment. The plan was that I would live in a downstairs apartment and save money which never seemed to happen after I lost my job a few years back and the business I started took a loss due to the economy.


Even when I did find an apartment I could afford in recent years I chose to stay at my parents home because they both continually had medical problems which required some degree of caregiving. My Mother eventually passed away 2 years ago after getting Lewy Body Dementia. Her wish was to die at home so my Dad and I cared for her on our own only receiving hospice care the last month she was alive.

Since my Mom has died my Father expects to be with me all the time. When I've tried to suggest he find other people to spend time with or try other activities he does that for awhile and then starts to want to spend every waking second with me. He's 82 and has low vision so he doesn't drive. Because I have my own business he goes to work with me everyday, eats meals with me, shops, runs errands. There seems to be no time for me! Occasionally I go out with friends but the times are few and far between.

I have 2 sisters that are both older than me. My oldest sister calls him on the phone but never gets together with him. My other sister lives nearby and spends time with him when she "isn't busy" which is every few months if that. When I try to vent to her she says "at least you have a roof over your head"
She doesn't get that my Dad could not live here by himself and that I do contribute financially to the household.

I feel stressed out all the time now. I am a person that always enjoyed my alone time to read or sketch or take a long walk or ride my horses. I never get to do any of these things anymore. I'm getting ready to snap!

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Hopeless
by: Anonymous

I'm kinda in the same situation. After my mom died in 2011 my sister and her teenage kids moved in with my father to help keep an eye on him.

Flash forward to 2016 my sister tells me dad is requiring more time and energy that she can give so I move in to "share the work load". I've had all the cooking, clean, laundry, driving dad to appointments 2-3 times a week.

Not only for my dad but for my sister and her 2 lazy 20 something kids. Not to mention the feeding and caring for her her 9 animals 2 that requires medication 2 times a day. I have talked to her begging for more help.

My sleeping arrangements are my dad in the master bedroom and me on an air mattress in the walk in closet. My father never sleeps more than 2 hours and he is constantly rearranging his room. He's 90 years old and 90% hearing loss.

So I spend my day screaming at the top of my lungs! She spends her days off with her grand kids house. As I write this she is on vacation leaving me to care for dad, her kids, and animals. By blood just boils at times.

I feel like walking away and never returning. 1000 characters is not enough to explain my hopeless situation! Thanks for letting me vent!

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I feel your pain
by: AnonymousTammy

I have been there and done it all. I feel your pain. I learned after caring for 3 family members until they died..that you do the best that you can..out of love.

And not everyone is like that.

Live with the good that you did or do. Let them live with selfishness. Best wishes to you. Your a great person!

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In the Same Boat....
by: Anonymous

Now that your mom is gone, your dad is at a complete loss and if his vision is going, he's extremely dependent. You are now a full time caregiver as well as a full time worker.

Don't expect your sisters to help you because they have grown accustomed to you doing everything for them. With each passing year, it has gotten easier and easier for them to presume that you are the family slave (let me guess, are you the one who is not married..in archaic terms, the SPINSTER sister whose duty it traditionally is to take care of your aged parents, while they are the proper married ladies with grown-up responsibilities, and HUSBANDS and real lives of their own to pursue?).

It always strikes me as ironic that the women who have chosen lives of freedom and autonomy are the ones whose siblings presume should be tied down with all the responsibility they refuse to accept, even their own fair share!"

I had to quote this because it almost word for word describes the situation I'm in and how I feel.

I'm the youngest, single and childless so being the caregiver of both my parents, and now only my my mom, seemed to fall neatly on my shoulders over the past several years. It wasn't until last year when my mom ended up in the hospital that my two sisters and brother actually started helping with mom's care.

Dawn, I really appreciate all that you do and what you are going through. It's a very difficult, sometimes lonely and often thankless job. I wish you and all of our fellow caregivers here all the best.

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You Need a Life too
by: Anonymous

Hi

I used to be resentful towards my non-caring siblings too, but after a lot of reflection I came to realize that the dynamics are complicated and the blame for the current situation cannot just be placed on the siblings.

I apologize if my situation is totally different to yours but I found a change of my own mindset has helped a little.

Over my life of 47 years I have always been the favourite with my parents. My siblings all "escaped" from our dysfunctional family in their late teens. I stayed around, left home when I was 21 straight into marriage. I have always been the high achiever, the "good girl", "perfect" in the eyes of my siblings and parents. My reward was heaps of approval from my parents for doing exactly what they wanted. I have never lived far from them. They have lived next door (in a property my husband and I own) for nearly 10 years.

So,naturally my siblings were probably resentful, and now think I deserve everything that I am now having to put up with as my parents are aging. Yes, it is the pits and like you I am totally stressed out by the emotional burden and the affect my husband's and my own quality of life. They are financially dependent on us and not willing to consider moving.

However, getting back to my siblings, of which there are three, my parents did little over the years to foster their relationships with their other children or grandchildren. Why would they when they had my husband and I right next door to answer their every whim?

So, the pattern of what happens with the care arrangement gets set in place often decades before the aging parent becomes needy.

You mention your siblings make little contact. Perhaps your parents either did not initiate or make much contact with them over the years?

I now realize I feel how my siblings have felt towards my parents for most of their life. Did your parents treat all siblings fairly?

What I find helps is if I ask my older siblings directly to do specific things. The other thing I find helpful is to arrange for everyone to get together at my place with my parents for a simple evening meal every now and then.

I also recognized that for years I did not foster my relationships with my siblings - whenever I saw my siblings it involved my parents. I now realize the need to have separate relationships between myself and my siblings and their spouses, doing things we enjoy and not involving my parents.

At first, I felt guilty not including my parents. However it was the best thing I could have done. Going out for a meal or a walk and just focusing on enjoying each others company provided a platform for understanding each other.

You need to have a life. Not knowing when the dependency will end and having no control over this, knowing it will probably get worse before it gets better means that you need to look after yourself even more to get through it.

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Good Luck
by: Anonymous

Good luck Honey, I have been looking after my mother in law for 2 years with my hubby as his other 2 brothers took off when she got unwell....she is 92 years old.

I have good days and bad days but praying for strength every day has kept me strong, the other family members visit once in a while all the talk about is what they will do with the house when she's gone....so disgusting!! Money hungry people, God bless you and your blessing for what you doing will be more then money can buy good luck!!

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You are Screwed!
by: Anonymous

Here's the deal. Your sisters see you as a free loader because you moved in with your parents at some point. And even though the amount of care that you have given to both of your parents is probably worth in the $100s of thousands, they still say things like, "at least you have a roof over your head." That's their way of excusing their complete and total lack of responsibility and caring for their own parents.

Now that your mom is gone, your dad is at a complete loss and if his vision is going, he's extremely dependent. You are now a full time caregiver as well as a full time worker. Don't expect your sisters to help you because they have grown accustomed to you doing everything for them. With each passing year, it has gotten easier and easier for them to presume that you are the family slave (let me guess, are you the one who is not married..in archaic terms, the SPINSTER sister whose duty it traditionally is to take care of your aged parents, while they are the proper married ladies with grown-up responsibilities, and HUSBANDS and real lives of their own to pursue?).

It always strikes me as ironic that the women who have chosen lives of freedom and autonomy are the ones whose siblings presume should be tied down with all the responsibility they refuse to accept, even their own fair share!

Your sisters are completely useless, and I only hope that your father is not so blind as to leave them a penny in his will. Good luck. You are the only good daughter he has and, when he joins your mother, you will once again have your life back.

You are still quite young, even if you feel downtrodden at the moment. You are resilient and you will get beyond these years.

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