Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways Hands-on Caregivers Are Driven Crazy by Their Siblings


Last updated: May 12, 2009
Where's Joey? Sadly Thrifted: Found Photo Portrait of 6 Siblings
Image by monkeysox used under the creative commons attribution no derivs license.

My mom was an only child, a fact of life she disliked and the reason she gave for having five kids of her own. She finally found a bright side to her solitude in her 70s while looking after her mother, who had Alzheimer's: "At least I don't have anybody to second guess me or argue with me over how I'm doing things."

Let's face it: Siblings have spent a lifetime perfecting the art of bickering and feeling resentful toward one another. So it's little surprise that in the emotionally fraught arena of caregiving for an aging parent or grandparent, "issues" between siblings run hotter than the lava under Kilauea.

Sibling anger and frustration has also been a theme among Caring.com users recently maybe Mother's Day brought it to the surface.

A lot of misunderstandings occur simply because the non-hands-on brothers and sisters have a hard time fully "getting" what life is like for the day-to-day caregiving sib. Maybe these insights from caregivers can help sibs to course-correct. (I know I'm typing some of these feeling guilty but aiming to do better by Father's Day!)

The 12 things caregiving siblings hate about their brothers and sisters are"¦ (Feel free to add your own"¦)

1. Calling to ask how the person being cared for is doing but not asking about the sibling caregiver.

This one's easy. Your sibling wants to know a) you care about him or her, b) you appreciate the responsibility she's taken on, and c) you're ready, willing, and able to listen if she needs to vent a bit.

2. Offering to help but always having other plans when the offer is called in.

We all have to make our own decisions about how we spend our time. But if your "I can'ts" outnumber your "sures" then your equation is off, and not helpful. Try making specific offers for things or dates you're sure you can follow through on

3. Canceling your help, especially at the last minute.

Even worse than not ever being available is to promise to do something and then skunk out. Conflicts happen, but for caregiving sibs, last-minute changes can be impossible to roll with costing money or a cancellation of their own plans.

4. Fashioning elaborate excuses why you can't help.

Boils down to: You can, or you can't. Justifying your busyness isn't necessary or helpful.

5. Wanting to be praised and thanked endlessly for the tiniest little thing.

Hands-on or live-in caregivers do unimaginable grunt work 24-7. So when you take the gang out to brunch or volunteer to run some errands, it's wonderful. It's just not kudos-worthy, at least not from your sibling.

6. Never asking how the money's holding out (the parent's or the caregiver's).

Understandably, it's awkward--and you don't want to appear to be prying into others' finances. But taking care of someone is costly. Checking in on cash flow periodically can influence what kinds of plans need to be collectively made about care locations, support caregivers, adult day care, and so on. And it's another way to communicate that you're thinking about your sib.

7. Sending postcards from glorious vacation spots (when the sib hasn't had a proper vacation in months or longer).

Better: Figure out how to whisk the caregiving sib away once in awhile. (Even an afternoon at a day spa can feel like a resort.)

8. Dropping in to visit and expecting to be entertained.

You've been siblings a long time. You probably know where the coffee pot is! Better yet, take your parent out for coffee or better still, a meal and a movie and give your sib a break.

9. Ignoring distress signals.

Surreptitiously keep an eye on your sib for things like depression or stress overload. And when he or she shouts out for help in a more obvious way, answer. In a [Caring Groups discussion on sibling support] (http://www.caring.com/community/groups/relationships/discussions/poll-do-your-siblings-family-help-enough#posts-3601) and lack thereof, one member wrote about shattering her elbow while caregiving, but none of her siblings realized she might need a little extra help herself!

10. Not offering to divide and conquer.

Lots of us are squeamish about changing adult diapers or have lifestyles that don't allow us to be a primary caregiver. But looking after aging loved ones has many components, so try not to let one sibling shoulder physical care as well as finances, insurance, medical research, and so on. Dividing the components of care makes for a good checks-and-balances system, too.

11. Playing the "Mom always liked you best" card.

The parent-caring relationship can intensify the closeness of the caregiver's bond with the parent(s). This is the silver lining of caregiving that many caregivers are blessed to know. For those sibs on the outside, there can be prickles of envy or jealousy. Know this, don't blame your sib for it, and get over it. Everybody has a unique relationship with a parent, and it ebbs and flows over time.

12. Criticizing, whether to the sib's face or behind her back (or especially to her spouse!).

If you see something you don't like in a caregiving situation, it's usually a good idea to speak up about it, so long as you can frame it in a constructive way. Don't think Mom is being kept busy enough? Offer to take her to a senior center or fund an elder companion. Don't like that Dad's still allowed to drive? Present a plan to take away the keys and find alternative transportation.

As my mom used to say, "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

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37 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

10 months ago

you have no idea what that article meant to me knowing that other people are feeling and going through the same situation with a parent like I am. I came from a family of six kids with the most loving parents in the world and never was treated bad but showered with love and respect for other people. I am so glad this web-site is here and I need to check on it more often but my life is based around my father so much that I don't even know myself anymore. I don't understand either how my siblings can do this to my father and me without feeling guilt and on top of it all just so happen to read the so-called power of attorney papers that my sister thinks I don't know that they are fake and made my dad sign and different even read to him what was in it until I read it to him and he doesn't want to believe or talk about it cause I know he is afraid to say anything to her but I am SO DONE with the way they are treating him and I am going to have the guts finally to mail each one of them the article that was in here about doing right in the eyes of God! I would love to be part of the book that is being written about people like us that give up our health and lives to make that one person who brought us into this world have the rest of their years left in this world the best they ever had! Thank you to all of you who have put articles on here that when I read them I feel like I am reading about myself!


almost 4 years ago

All twelve observations are exactly correct. The problem is that the non-helping siblings even if they read the above they will find one indefensible excuse after for ignoring their responsibility. To you non-helping siblings: The most important commandment of the Ten Commandments between human beings is to honor your mother and father. More important than thou should not kill. Although God forbids you from committing murder, he thinks it is even more important than you look after your parent, especially when they grow old and sick and cannot take care of themselves. After all the years they spent raising you God commands you to be there to help them in their time of need. To not visit your parent, to not participate in their care, to not relieve your brother or sister from their day to day sacrifice, is beyond indefensible, it is a crime in eyes of God. You can ensure your mother or father has a home attendant, or is in assisted living or a nursing home, but nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to the love bestowed on a parent by their child. God has made very clear what your responsibility is. You know what you have to do, so just do it. Wake up, stop making excuses, and do what God expects of you. Do it now!!!!!!!!!! To all you helping siblings. From the bottom of my heart I would like to give you a great big hug. First of all it is impossible to express how difficult it is for the caring sibling to take care of a demented aging parent, without any help from their siblings. I take care of my mother without any help from my sister and my wife takes care of her mother without any help from her sister. We are not martyrs, we are not saints, we do it because we know it is the right thing to do. It is by far the hardest thing either of us have ever done. Far harder than raising a child, or holding a full time job. My litmus case for deciding what kind of person you are, is what kind of child you are to your your sick and needy parents. At this point my mom can barely walk. If I take her to a museum, a garden, a restaurant, complete strangers, will go out of their way to ensure we get a nice table, or compliment me on how well I treat my mom. What do I get from my sister, what does my mom get from my sister, what does my wife get from her sister, what does her mom get from her sister. For the last 4 1/2 years, absolutely NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course I hear all you non-helping siblings saying to yourselves. He is so bitter it is no wonder they do not help. Guess what that is just one of your many indefensible excuses for not helping your mom or dad.


almost 5 years ago

That's a turnaround. Could she be living the life of a martyr and feel she has to do everything herself? Does she have control issues? (I know I've been accused of that, but that's not possible when I'm asking for help.) Does the caretaker have a friend/neighbor/clergy that could try to find out for you? Could the parents arrange something? POA can be over-ridden with a judgement of guardianship through the court if you feel you need to go that far. The problem is that when one person won't communicate, the door is closed. I don't know what else you could do. My prayers are with you & your family.


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

What about the siblings who don't live near the parents or caretaker who have asked for family conferences to determine roles and responsibilities and get no answer from the caretaker? We are willing to take on what we can from a distance, but my sister refuses to acknowledge this or to discuss it -- she'd rather complain. And yet she tells my parents she's too busy to check on a financial account, for which she gets all the statements. I know it is not easy for the caretaker and I have made trips to relieve her -- but the caretaker, especially if she/he has POA, owes the other siblings updates, expecially when asked. If the caretaker refuses to respond to phone calls, emails and letters, what can be done?


almost 5 years ago

It's so unbelieveable, isn't it? I sent several "updates" over the course of 5 years with silence as the answer. When I asked, they'd say they didn't receive it (my sister's husband intercepts mail from me, which is a federal offense) or had gotten it but hadn't read it yet. The niece that asked for in scolded me with various emails about how all this tension isn't good for Grandma & how one person shouldn't have to be responsible for all care - that was then. Now she's blaming & accusing and STILL not helping. GOOD LUCK!


almost 5 years ago

I emailed this web page to my two siblings. The results are in. One emailed back and said thanks for the information. That was a month ago. Silence. The other sibling sent an email with cuss words and a list with about 8 demands with what they WANTED. I want I want I want. There was no "What I can do" list. Again, I am an awful person etc. There were 13 I's in there email. I did comply with some of the wants with an email in return. Finances, health, etc. and asked them to call at least once a week, and a visit every 2 months.(they do live in the same state). They managed to be in this part of the state to shop. Thank you for being here for me. Now I know why I had an imaginary friend when I was 4.


almost 5 years ago

WHAT DOES ANYONE THINK ABOUT THIS EMAIL EXCHANGE BETWEEN MY NIECE & MYSELF TODAY? FROM MY NIECE: first i would like to say hello and hope you faimly is well. i wanted to do a quick note to inform you that hunters bday is at the end of the month. tomorrow i am haveing a major operation and will be off my feet for a long time. howveru i have faimly coming in as well and we are haveing a small party for hunter on the 28th and a bigger party july 11th. she is invited to both and i spoke to dad about and him and kathy will pick her up and drop her off on both days.. i did want to say also that i take great offense for you writeing and assumeing that we do not take grandmas happiness into consderation. It is very sad that you feel that way. Because it isn't true. Don't forget that we do have little ones and as a mother you know your self how busy it can be. Esp when my son has been ill and is also haveing surgery. Brooke mom and I always take grandma out and bring our kids to see her. Just because we don't do it when you want doesn't mean we ingore her or her feelings. Even if it is a couple days after her bday or holiday we still go and see her. Brooke and I both agree that we want our kids to spend as much time with her as possible and Morgan and Hunter love grandma and love seeing her. I'm sorry that our timings don't meet up with yours and I don't ever what to see anything in emails nor in the web page that makes it sound that she never gets to see her great grand kids, or that we ingore her or her feelings again. I am sure you will want to answer this email and I am very sad i didn't get this one sooner but I will be at my sisters and will not have a computer. Feel free to send me a letter through the mail if you wish MY RESPONSE: Re: What would make your Grandmother happy Feeling a little guilty, are you? You cannot dispute these facts: 1) Your Grandmother's 80th birthday was 3 months ago. 2) Nobody in the family even bothered to try to bring us all together for HER day. 3) Seeing her ENTIRE family all together would make your Grandmother happy. 4) Your Grandmother greatly enjoys the babies and visiting whenever anyone can do so. 5) I have never questioned or ridiculed such visits - I have merely pointed out that her ENTIRE family is not together. 6) I am part of her family, as are my husband and our daughter, yet we are not invited to family events - like your son's birthday and baby/bridal showers and weddings. Your email makes it clear that no invitation to Hunter's party will be forthcoming to me or my family. I have absolutely no problem with that, especially considering I've never been allowed to meet him. That is YOUR choice for YOUR son. That is about YOU. CarePages is not about you - it's about what I am doing for my Mother (your Grandmother) and trying to let the family know what's happening with her. Here's another fact: I have asked, pleaded and begged my sister, brother and you to meet with me and a counselor (a person who has a neutral point of view) to resolve our differences so that we could work together as a team (team: two or more people who join together to achieve a common goal), the goal being to take care of my Mother (your Grandmother). My attempts have been ignored, questioned and ridiculed. Now, with so many years having passed and nobody else in the family making any move to reconcile, I have let go of that ideal. I have accepted this and have found a new serenity in my life because I am no longer vainly hoping the rest of you will put aside your issues with me for HER benefit (your Grandmother). My new goal is to balance caring for my Mother (your Grandmother) with the needs of my husband and daughter - and maybe taking care of myself a little bit. Oh, and please, don't pretend that I have any knowledge of the health or welfare of you, my sister, my brother or your families. I don't. I'm excluded by the rest of you, and you know it. Your excuses are not necessary and not good enough to validate your claim that you're considering what will make my Mother happy (your Grandmother). There's only one way you can prove me wrong: Stop making excuses and accusations and get the entire immediate family (you, Rose, Andy, & ME) together with a counselor (or an Arbitrator) to resolve our differences and work together at Grandma's house. . . . . . . . . . Don't worry: I'm not expecting you to take me up on it. You will no longer see any hopeful mention from me that we do something all together for my Mother (your Grandmother). That's up to the rest of you now. I'll be available. My prayers always include all of you and I hope you all continue to include my Mother (your Grandmother) in your events. It seems to me that with the way things have been, I guess the next time we'll all be together will be at your Grandmother's funeral. Is THAT what you think she wants? Love & prayers, Aunt Linda


almost 5 years ago

Here's a riddle What does an Alzheimer parent and an uncaring sibling have in common? They both act childish and have lost their memory.


almost 5 years ago

I realized that communication with my sisters is best through email, this was only after many phone conversation resulting in arguments just from the tone of their voices, never mind their ridiculous remarks. My mom currently is living close to my home, in a senior residency and has a full time caretaker. I still have plenty of responsibility but this has made it easier. I know she is in good hands. I get to see her several times a week & she comes to my house, too. I no longer need to ask them for anything!! When I did ask, you got it, I had some of the very same excuse you mentioned below. Do you know them? :)


almost 5 years ago

Noreen....What I do is ask them to do things to help my Mother by email. I have documentation that way, plus excuses are different in writing. They can be very creative, make you laugh or shiver in your boots. It does'nt matter what the reason is why you or your Mother may need support or help. They will be busier, in worse health, (even more than your Mom) broke, afraid to drive, the stress of seeing her (because Mom pushes their triggers)oh yes, they don't want to run into you because you are controlling, were mean to them in 1st grade, took a vacation, etc. I'm sure you know how they stack up. These are my Mother's children, not mine. My children call and visit her.


almost 5 years ago

No need to clarify, I totally understood exactly what you meant. It is clear you want to protect your mom from any emotional hurt. I get it! I know that my sisters would never be there for me. Before this all happened I would have done anything for them. I realize that my relationship with my sisters will never be. It took a few years to get to this point. Wishing, praying and hoping they would have an epiphany, but finally, I'm clear they won't ever get it. Yes, there were many signs of selfishness through the years, but when my mom got sick it was clear there were no limits to their selfish ways. I had never really needed them and my mom never asked for help so when she got sick everything changed.


almost 5 years ago

I need to claify the statement I look forward to when she will forget them. A case manager once said "If you have a deceased relative , and the alzheimer parent asks about them, don't put them through the pain of hearing about the loss, as if it were the first time." I will be looking forward to when she no longer asks, because the realization is painful for her.


almost 5 years ago

Watching my Mom decline without their support and love is not easy. That is what this really is all about. I noticed you did not mention yourself not getting any love and support. If this was not your Mother and you were in her place, would they be there for you? Probably NOT. Scary huh? Rage, hurt,and anger do not feel good when you are trying to get through this part of your Mothers life and your own. I'm just glad I have the people at the ass't living taking the part as a family member. They know, they see it all the time. It would be crazy making to have my Mother in my home. She asks me the whole visit why my siblings don't come to see her or call. I'm looking forward to when she will forget them. She no longer knows their childrens names, so I'm sure they will be next. I try to talk about the family members , who are involved with her, and make it a positive conversation. You do know, I hope, that your relationship with your siblings will never be the same. The family dysfuntion pops out during times like these. I have one sibling that plays office politics with the family and the other thinks they are still the baby of the family and why am I not taking care of her perceived phobias. If you really look back and even now, how do your siblings handle life situations? Do they get along with fellow employees, are they reliable in their job, or do you see a common theme? So, don't take it personal, anybody would get this treatment, even during a time like this with a parent. Have they left you stranded before? Did you think this was a one time event? Have you been left holding reservations or tickets, only to get a last minute cancellation from them? They like to keep their options open at all times. Sprinkle a little white lie, bring in some drama, and poof "Got out of that one." There is always the possibility that it can be about laziness. The reason you thought you needed a sanity check is because, you got a taste of their code of conduct.


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

IF I wasn't living it, it would be so difficult for me to believe that you were doing everything and then told you were the terrible person by your sibling. I actually thought I was losing my mind when I was being treated like I was the terrible one by my two siblings. I know that they will never ever get it. The way they deal with the guilt, & shame is by denial and blame. I will never hear "I'm sorry" they could never look at themselves. I went to see a therapist for a sanity check. I asked "how do you know it isn't me?" The therapist said "your mother made the decision to be with you, and you are the one that is doing it all." Clearly, I still struggle with this disappointment from them. Watching my mom decline without their support and love is not easy.


almost 5 years ago

How did I let go of my spoiled siblings? I listened to the silence. I could have asked,begged,pleaded for help because I broke my foot or the stress, even my health, but they would have bigger issues why they could not pick up any slack. She was in independent living the first year. I took care of her every day. Changed her poopy sheets, cleaned her and her room. At the end of the first year, I decided I need to think of me and my family. I moved her to ass't living. I started talking to other women who's parent lived in the same home and were the only caretaker in their family too. I call them my Angels. They guided me in how to get through this. They had the same experience as me with their siblings. I also read a book that was a great help "Will I Ever be Good Enough." When I called my sibling to let her know I had moved Mom, she assumed I called to tell her she was in the hospital or dead. When she found out Mom had only moved, she did not ask about her health or how I was. She told me what a terrible person I was. I told her I would contact her when Mom was dead. To answer your question, how long before I faced reality? 1 year. Another good book "Why is it Always about You? I also have an Aunt, who this happened to and she is a shining example. She is supportive and has no regrets. She says it is better to give help and be able to live with yourself. As far as hurt, yes it hurt and I cried, because I felt so alone. But as you go through this life, people dissapoint you, even your own siblings. That's why You have to take care of yourself. Don't make them the center of attention with their bad behaviour. good luck


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

When my mom got sick, I would have expected that my family would rally together. Instead my siblings heads went into the sand, (denial at it best) so I stepped up to the plate to take care of her-- and their rally was against me. Accusations of being controlling. Sorry, I'm not going to sit back when mom's life is on the line. This is the time to act. CANCER! The job of caretaker got harder (DEMENTIA) .... I was told this is that I wanted. Are they narccisist? Do they lack the empathy gene? Are their memories so short that they don't remember all that mom did for them? How can they live with themselves?It is absolutely baffling to me. Anonymously posted ---Would you want these people in your life? Best to let them go!! I totally get it, but doesn't it hurt? How long did it take you to get to this point?


almost 5 years ago

I truely understand my mother & I was taking care of my great grand mother w/alzheimer's........mind now she hand 19 grands & 32 greatgrands kids everyone had something to do.. So my mother took her to her house she would have her at night then my turned in the mornings for about 4 months it were very hard because at the time my three kids were very young and she were fighting trying to get out tha house..but the scary thing were that she were forgetting us and I didn't understand what alzheimer's were.. But at the end the Dr. and attorney adviced my mother to put her in a long care facility..that made me get in tha medical feild cause I wer very angry at my family members when she have took care of our mothers & fathers and help took care of my cousin & myself..I didn't understand how could they jus forget and turn their back on her when she needed them the most..she died in my mother arms 10/30/02 she were 92 years old...The nursing homes is full of residents jus like my grandmother sum family members forget about them...


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

There must be something psychological that happens to the siblings that won't help with the care of an elderly alzheimer parent. Both of my siblings decided they were mad at me and no longer talked to me. I guess that means my demented Mother gets the same treatment. Either they bury their head in the sand or they are true narcissists (lack of empathy). I guess the shocking part is the realization that they don't care for me or their Mother. I grieved. But now, I feel liberated. They are NO LONGER in my life and NEVER will be again. I pretend I am an only child. I do what I can do for my Mother and have replaced my siblings with people who are supportive and mentally healthy. I became friends with two of my Mothers nieces who adore her. They email and ask about her and even visit her. We have picnics and family gatherings and copy old family photos. My siblings snub has been a blessing in disquise. I made the best of a situation they were hoping would crush me. Shame and guilt. I choose not to be in its web. These were the siblings my Mother took care of when they divorced etc. and had no where to go. She gave them cars looked after their child, paid for this and that. Would you want these people in your life? It's best to let go of them.


almost 5 years ago

This should be the care givers bill of rights!


almost 5 years ago

I will send this to my 5 brothers and sisters. I am power of attorney and nothing I do or say is right. They will not help me,I am stressed,tired and mad. And they never like anybody I get to help out with keeping mom.Nit pick everything that goes on or is done to the house. But I have and will not give up on my mom.She took care of me for 18 years,now I must take care of her for a few years,and no one knows how long they have.As I have always said,and believe, You are dieing from the day you are born, no one knows how long they have,so do the best you can, be cause it could be sooner than you think! I pray that I can keep on doing for mom as long as she needs me to.But a break would be nice. And as it seems I am not alone in this world,it seems a lot of us have the same problem!


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

OMG...this is so helpful. My younger brother just took my mom for a few days because my MOM needed a break from the older sister the caretaker. It is great but he did not take care of all the little important things and does not communicate at all with his other siblings nor does my mother. Do we let go and hope for the best or get verbally abused with his disrepectful attitude. There is no normal caring conversations discussed regarding the shared care of my mother and this is only hurting her. What to do if do not have any family support system?


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

PS: This article should be published to a broader audience. Perhaps a large newspaper, or Oprah Winfrey's magazine etc? Or better yet ask to be on her show? YEA!!


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

That was awesome! That article should be available to every single caregiver. I am not a caregiver now, but if I were I would sent this anonymously to my family, friends and relatives. As a matter of fact, I think I shall do that anyway. Hats off the the author!


almost 5 years ago

The dirty duz are right on. Additionally, I think a letter to ALL friends and relatives (special version to siblings, children, etc.)TELLING THEM what's going on with Mom or Dad, telling them what you need and how they can help, when to visit and how to conduct themselves on a visit. This is where you find out who really cares. But make it a NICE letter!


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

Sad but true, this society still expects the daughter to shoulder most of the responsibility of taking care of the elderly parent, AND the husband, AND the kids, AND a job, AND manage the finances AND the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. It's TOO MUCH.


almost 5 years ago

vjimw - I spent 7 years agonizing over how to MAKE them help. Needless to say, that didn't work. The depression and emotional drain over the pain they caused our Mom was affecting my health & my personality. Now I'm enjoying everyday life & focusing on positive things I can do to balance my time & energy on HEALTHY thoughts.


almost 5 years ago

Noreen - you're NOT alone. The more I talk with people, the more I learn that far too many familes don't pull together. You will be the one with the clear conscience. The suggestions in this article may work for some people. If they do - great! If they don't, you'll know you tried. The 2 most important things I've learned that have kept me sane: 1) forgiveness & reconciliation are not the same thing and 2) they don't have to answer to me - but they will have to answer to God. The most helpful thing I've done was change my goal, which had been for us to work together as a team to help Mom. That's a faulty goal because its success depends on the actions of other people. My "breakthrough" came when I finally set my sights on another idea: to manage my mother's care and strive to balance her needs with taking care of my husband and daughter . . . and maybe even taking care of myself a little bit. Taking care of yourself is a NECESSITY - not a luxury.


almost 5 years ago

sttng - That sounds like an amazing book. I wish I had not spent so long agonizing about my siblings' lack or help (and awareness of the problem) and just concentrated my energy on taking care of my parents, myself and my relationship with my partner.


almost 5 years ago

Great article with good suggestions. My mother in law is in failing health and of her 3 children only my spouse is caretaking for her. One sibling is 3,000 miles away and offers help but never follows through. The other sibling is 30 minutes away but works 50 hours a week and only helps sporadically. Thank you for the ideas.


almost 5 years ago

I would like to help with the book!! I too feel like am an only child with two sisters significantly older than me, who I spent years loving and respecting. They do so little to help my mom they are so busy with their own lives. They turned it all around made me the bad one. Not only did they get mad at me they destroyed my relationship with their kids.--- I've lost both my two sisters( and their families) at a time when I needed them the most. IT is so difficult watching my mom decline ALONE IT has been awful -so tremendously painful, like a bad dream! I am so angry, which I know isn't good for me. The anger is not because they did this to me but because they did this to mymom --her whole life has been about family she doesn't deserve this.


almost 5 years ago

I know what you mean. My sister & brother are 8 & 7 years older than me, so much of my childhood was like I was an only child. Now I'm taking care of Mom as if I were - my siblings don't bother to talk to me or ask about her, so I just do what I think is best for Mom. My siblings (and their children) have caused so much pain. They exclude me from ALL family functions - weddings, baby showers, birthdays and holidays. Mom was so upset when I wasn't invited to that first baby & bridal shower (two different nieces - one from each sibling), she said she wasn't going to go. I talked with her for about an hour to calm her down & finally convinced her to go. I even took Mom shopping for a gift to give the bride (it wasn't from me) and the gift was REFUSED. It's so hard to believe, and impossible to understand, how they can ignore my requests to help Mom and not care how much she is hurt. I know there will come a time when Mom won't remember these things or know who any of us are. At least then they won't be able to hurt her any more.


almost 5 years ago

Wow! I grew up like an only child. Now I wish I was one. I knew I would have the responsibility of caring for my parents. And I knew that my family would offer limited or no help. But still I was not prepared for the emotional hurt not only to me but to my parents.


almost 5 years ago

As I take care of my elderly parents I have been telling my friends that I am glad I am an only child because I don't have those exact 12 issues stated above to deal with.


almost 5 years ago

This sounds like I could of written it. I commend you that you are finding time to write about the issues of family/siblings. One I wish to add is.. We told you what to do with Mother, and you choose to ignore it. Deal with it!


almost 5 years ago

If anyone is interested, I'm writing a book about the stress & heartbreak when siblings/family won't help. I was having medical problems because of how stressed I was from trying to MAKE them understand and help. This article gives suggestions for siblings about HOW to help. My book will be about learning how to accept the fact that they won't. It begins with the diagnosis, denial, excuses, broken promises, family meetings, ignored proposals, counseling, begging for help, more broken promises, anger, prayer, pain - heartbreaking pain, more counseling (for myself this time), prayer, forgiveness and acceptance. It's been a long journey for me, and our mother's only in the early stages of Alzheimer's. If anyone's interested, let me know.


almost 5 years ago

Amen, amen, amen! These are 12 seemingly small things that have HUGE impact to those of us who are caregivers. It's great that you put this together to validate the feelings we often have. Thanks!


almost 5 years ago

Amen, amen, amen! These are 12 seemingly small things that have HUGE impact to those of us who are caregivers. It's great that you put this together to validate the feelings we often have. Thanks!


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