Teresa - Anger and Resentment about Siblings not Helping with Care of Mother

Someone tell me why the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent is always left to one or two of the siblings.


My Mother came to live with me upon her discharge from the hospital. She was told at that time that she no longer could live alone, drive or be left alone. She was very upset because all of a sudden she had no home of her own, could not drive. Her life was just taken away in one moment of conversation. She lost her independence at that moment. I cannot really understand how she felt, but I try.

I know on a daily basis she wonders why my brothers do not call or come to help for days at a time. They come by and visit like we should be thankful for their presence. We don't need just a visit. My Mother could use a foot rub or bring us a meal so I don't have to cook once in a while. One brother picks up meds. on his way home from work about once a week. Not out of his way. The other brother has brought food a couple of times and he did take her to his home for 3 days. I had other obligations and did not get any rest. But I do thank him for that. I am not saying they don't help at all, but that I need more help than they are giving. I could not have done that without him.

I can see it in her eyes and by the depression she expresses when she talks about them. She is one of the most loving Mothers anyone could ever have. She never let us go hungry even when we didn't have much food. She somehow found a way to make it work so we would not be hungry. She never left or let us leave or go to bed without saying I love you. She always comforted us when we needed it. So where is her comfort? She had a heart attack at 38. After that her health declined as each year passed. She is now 67.


Three heart attacks, lupus, copd, peripheral artery disease and Alzheimer's. She is a hospice patient. The nurse and the aide come out 3 days a week and bathe and check on her. I am thankful for them. I feel it is all of the siblings responsibility no matter what. Its heartbreaking to me. Its her I feel the sadness in my heart for.

She sits on her hospital bed every day waiting, depending on someone else to bathe her, cook for her, put her clothes on and sometimes hold the spoon to feed her because she shakes so bad she cannot hold the spoon. I often say Mother, lets eat with our hands, just so she can have a little independence. She feels ashamed because she drops the food from the spoon or fork. I put my arms around her and tell her it's just us. Nobody cares if we eat with our hands. Then she is okay with it. No, I do not feel sorry for myself and I would do it all over again. But I do get extremely tired.

She has been home for 3 months and my sister came 400 miles to help. Left her family and home without hesitation for two months. She had to go home to take care of some things. Thank God for my sister. One brother lives 8 houses from me. The other about 8 miles from me. Had it not been for her I would have had 4 nights sleep in my own bed with my husband who has become the most patient person I have ever known. He is very respectful and loving and caring to her. May God bless him. He grocery shops for me when I can't go. He runs errands for me when I cannot leave her. And anything she asks or needs he does without hesitation. He sees the restless nights she has. When she can't get up or she falls, he and my children help me to lift her. When she doesn't sleep, neither do I. When she has a bad dream, which is often , when she is afraid of dying, or sick to her stomach, or crying because she feels like life has cheated her, I am here for her.

They do not realize how time consuming it is for my whole family. My children help me also. They help feed her and watch over her too. Each day I have household chores to do. My Mother soils her clothes and bed sometimes and I have more laundry to do. If I do have to leave for anything she and my son watch over her. If I am gone. which is to run and get back as soon as possible, and she gets sick, they are frightened and call me to come home. They will be starting back to school soon and they both work, so I guess I will have to deal with it.

I feel like one weekend a month my brothers should come and stay all day Saturday and Saturday night, so that I can get up in the morning and go shopping and maybe out to eat with my family just for a nice break. They sometimes come by and I say what have you been doing? They say oh, we have been to the movies or the mall or fishing or a get together with friends and other family. Never once do they call on a weekend and offer for me and my family any free time. I have to call and they have other plans. Have not been able to do anything with my family this summer. I don't think that is too much to ask.


I know they love my mother, but at the same time they don't realize how selfish they are being. My husband has taken the financial and emotional responsibility of my brothers and I am ashamed that it is is this way. I pray for God to give me strength to take care of her and to not lose my temper. But some days are harder than others and I feel my heart get tight and my self disgusted at the situation.

By the way, the sister in laws and their children can also help. They have already been through her house and gotten the things they wanted when my Mother left her home. My Daddy left all of us money when he passed. I would be ashamed to take anything from my elderly parents and not help out. Shame on them. I love them all and I am sure they won't like what I have written. But it's the way I see it.

Comments for Teresa - Anger and Resentment about Siblings not Helping with Care of Mother

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Wish Sister Would Offer More Help
by: Rosey

I live with my 94 year old mother who has slight dementia. I have a twin sister who hardly ever helps me with mum.

She has retired now like me, so I thought she would be able to do her share. However, she has just told me her and her husband are off to Cyprus for 2 weeks.

I have not had a holiday for a few years. I do not begrudge her a holiday but I just wish she would offer to help me so that I could have one.

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A Calling
by: Anonymous

I am going through this right now.
For months, it has been me and my mom...
It is an experience.
Sad, difficult, joyous, life changing.
As for help from siblings? None.
I no longer expect it.

I am coming to the conclusion that, much like faith, belief, and determination...The kind that drives and guides you...
We are meant to do it, and it is like a calling.
Some people are just not cut-out for it.
And are not called.

Bless you...keep giving your heart.
you can do it without them.

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Misery Loves Company
by: Anonymous

Dear Teresa,
I feel your pain. My husband and I take care of my mother who has dementia. As both of my brothers live far I don't ask them to participate in her care. I have however asked them to take her for several days or a week so my husband and I can take a desperately needed break.

I have asked one of them at least 4 times and I get the same answer - he will see what he can do. I have even offered to pay his airfare because I know he is in a financial bind and he has refused.

He calls her on the phone once every 1-2 months and the other brother hasn't called her in 3 months and hasn't been here to visit her in over 1 year. I never thought I would have such negative feelings about my brothers. It is a struggle not to call or text to tell them what *#!!% they have turned out to be.

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Consider Myself an Only Child Now
by: Anonymous

Dear Teresa,

I understand your frustration, hurt and resentment. God Bless You!

After my mom had a massive stroke and became severely disabled, my husband, 3 children and I cared for her in our home for a year. Feeding tube, wheelchair bound, swallowing disorder, unable to speak. She developed a seizure disorder and became too ill for me to continue caring for her. She is now is a wonderful nursing home only 1 mile from me and I visit her daily.

My 2 older brothers live out of state, one a 5 hour drive away and the other multiple states away.

They NEVER call me to ask how mom is doing. One brother visits every 4 months or so only if I call and ask him to come. He stays 1 full day and leaves. Of course he lets me know how busy and stressed he is. The oldest brother has not been to visit in 1.5 years.

My mom cries hysterically for my brothers. She points at their photos over and over and gets so upset her blood pressure sky rockets and she has to be medicated. She cries so hard it makes me cry. Nothing I say can comfort her from the pain she feels missing her sons.

I have called by oldest brother multiple times and told him mom is desperate to see him. I have called him while she is crying so he could hear her sobs...nothing.

I have made the decision to consider myself an only child. I want nothing to do with them. The only time they will hear from me is the day she dies.

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I can Relate
by: Anonymous

I know what you mean. My in laws live with us and we do everything for them. My husband has two brothers living within 3 hours of driving distance however they come to meet once in 6 months and hardly ever call them.

I have so much resentment in me that it is affecting my health and my relationship with my husband and kids. At some level I know I am doing the right thing but see no fairness in the deal that I have got.


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Sad But True
by: Tired

Believe it or not, your situation is not unique or even uncommon. Most people are fairly greedy in some way, be it with one sort of resource or another. Wishing that others would change is a waste of time, both yours and theirs. Recognize and simply accept that they are what they are and take care of what needs to be done.

My 4 brothers and sister, along with their respective spouses and children, always treated my parents shabbily. They've now completely stopped visiting our remaining parent, our 87 year old Mom, despite the fact that they all are monetarily quite well off, have plenty of free time and live nearby. Why? Don't know, don't care. Ma both wants and needs help and I have to make sure that she gets it. Period.

I decided a long time back to simply try to do what is right and forget about what others are doing. I sleep well and enjoy what I have. It works, try it.

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TERESA
by: CAROLINE

Teresa,
You said it all sweetie, "SHAME ON THEM". This may be difficult to explain but I am in a similar but quite different situation. I have 3 brothers who have done NOTHING willingly to help or provide relief for my husband and 3 children under the age of 13.

My Mom, recently passed and Dad has lived with me in a small house for that last 5.5 years. After 5 months of living with me, my oldest brother invited my parents for Sunday dinner and then called me 4 days later wondering why I had not called to thank him?.. Thank him for what?

Isn't it normal to break bread with your parents, had anyone thanked me for giving up my privacy, freedom, career as a science teacher? The answer is no.

Although it may hurt to see you Mom's disappointment that her other children do not attend to her as they SHOULD. I can imagine your sadness as well as hers. But my Mom lived in denial. A weekly phone call from a son who lived only one half hour away meant more to her than the meals I cooked the showers that I took with her because she could not bath herself, the trips to the hospital to see her doctors pushing her in a wheelchair and pulling my 1 year old in a stroller. My sons, My sons, My sons. She died thinking all of this was the reality. As much as it may hurt, your Mom will pass in truth and truly appreciate you for the wonderful person that you must be. Sometimes hardship and bad times reveals who it is our lives that truly care about us. My Mom never got it, but I did and do. I know that I have no brothers that care about me. Family is Family-but not all family is good family.
Good luck and God bless.

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Reply to Teresa
by: Anonymous

Teresa, God Bless You.

Your reward is in heaven for the care you are providing. HANG In There. I also have two brothers that provide no help at all for parents. They only visit a couple of times a year.

Mom and Dad are in a trailer in my yard and the care is huge. My brothers say they don't know how to help, or seem to think I am better at it than them (being a girl). It must be similar to men not knowing how to hold a baby or change a diaper- (unless they just get in there and do it they never learn).

They especially would feel uncomfortable assisting mom in case they had to ever help her dress. Sons will just not get over that feeling of awkwardness that their Mother is now the one needing THEIR CARE. They have no problem leading their life as if no change is needed. I also think as time goes by they don't deal with the emotional pain of seeing the deteriorating elderly parent. So....Out of sight, out of mind.

These are not real solutions but please know that this is very typical for sons. You are not alone and your work is so very needed. Try to never speak badly of brothers as it can still break your Moms' heart..hold your tongue. HANG ON and don't expect much (anything) from them.

Just do the best you can-you are only ONE PERSON. Seek help from other friends or church or some other support groups if possible. You are raising your children to show compassion and care and that is a real life lesson.

BEST TO YOU

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Teresa
by: Anonymous

My heart aches reading your story. Siblings should help. Finally after 5 years my sister is going to come once a day when I go to Myrtle Beach tomorrow for 6 days. I feel overly responsible as Mom & I live together. She can get around pretty good but uses a Jazzy during the day. Teresa, you will be in my prayers! What state to do live in? I'm in Delaware. You should make a daily/weekly list of all you do, copy it and mail to your siblings and ask which weekend they would like and you take one weekend off a month - go to a hotel!
Sandra

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