Reconciling With Siblings After a Fight Over Caregiving for a Parent


Last updated: June 11, 2009
Closing Arguments
Image by rmlowe used under the creative commons attribution license.

Some of the saddest caregiving stories concern brothers and sisters who come to loggerheads over some aspect of their parents' or another relative's care "“ and wind up saying ugly things, or not speaking, or worse. (By worse, I mean court feuds, permanent family exile, and even violence.)

Common reasons for family conflicts over caregiving include (in no particular order): Different standards for quality of care, how to proceed after a diagnosis, where the older person should live, who should have control of legal or financial affairs, who should pay for procedures or care, wills and other gnarly issues about how estates are or will be divided. Did I mention money?

"You never really know a family member until money is involved," a Caring.com member recently, and memorably, observed in a discussion about siblings.

If a family estrangement, large or small, is gnawing at you, what can you do? Some ideas that have worked for others:

  • Start by asking yourself if you're really ready to forgive and forget.

There's little point re-opening lines of communication if your real motive is just to have at it again. Usually the person who wants to reconcile is genuinely saddened by the discord (but this is an important point to feel sure about).

  • Can you agree to disagree?

This is the corollary to the point above. You don't have to capitulate to the other person's point of view. Especially if you're the primary caregiver doing the hands-on work, your view deserves extra weight. But for there to be reconciliation, both parties are going to have to agree that some difference of opinion is okay.

Find a way to compromise, or bring in a mediator to help you smooth over those differences in a way that leaves everybody "“ including the person being care for "“ satisfied.

  • Try to ferret out the whys behind what happened.

A lot of adult sibling discord has its roots in our childhood relationships. A youngest sib isn't seen as capable of making tough decisions, the black sheep is automatically blamed for problems, and so on. It can be useful to figure out if some of that is still poisoning the waters today.

Another common snag: Miscommunication, or assuming rather than talking. Or asserting one's beliefs without being open to other points of view. Often families confer by e-mail exclusively; there's nothing like actual human conversation to work through challenges. If the person you're caring for isn't demented, invite and respect his/her opinion.

  • Recognize that every sibling has a different relationship with a parent.

And yours may not be the same as your sibling's. A refusal to recognize this elemental fact can cause a lot of anguish. Common scenario: Parent alters will to leave more money to the sibling with whom he or she lives the last years; other sibs freak and cry foul. Most parents do love all their children equally (even the black sheep) but feel and express this in different ways. Kvetching "Mom always liked you best" is not only irrelevant but juvenile.

  • Break bread together to patch it up.

Try mending fences in a neutral place (not either of your houses or your parent's, and not over the phone, where you can't read expressions "“ or use your own expressions to underscore the sincerity of your message). Ask your sibling out to eat: "I'd really like to clear the air; let me treat you to lunch." Or, "I feel like we haven't been getting along "“ can I explain how I'm feeling over pizza?"

  • If talking's tough, write it out.

Breaching a stony silence is tough. People who have a hard time confronting others over tough topics sometimes find it easier to pour out their hearts on paper. It's worth a try. Include a request to get together in person.

  • Ask an intermediary to help.

A neutral third sibling, a beloved aunt or uncle, a family friend "“ is there someone who knows you both who can defuse some of the tension by sitting down with you both? This third party doesn't necessarily have to mediate (or referee); their simple presence can bring the temperature down a few notches--or get you in the same room together in the first place.

  • Appeal to your parent's or grandparent's wishes.

Posing the what-would-Mom-want question can get a disagreement back on a productive course. Mom would want us to be civil. Mom would want us to help her. Mom would want us to make her last years more pleasant by showing her a united front.

  • But don't make reconciliation your life's work.

Sometimes, sad to say, the breach can be too wide, the personalities involved too unwilling to make amends. Relationships do fall apart over caregiving conflicts. It's okay to grieve if this is the case for you. But you also deserve to move on, rather than dwelling. Your time and emotional energy are at a premium as a caregiver. Maybe you'll try again at Christmas, or next year, or after your life phase as a sandwich-generation parent passes.

Meanwhile, try to not take criticisms and attacks about your caregiving choices personally. We're back to agreeing to disagree (even if the other party can't), for your sanity's sake.

  • Finally, recognize that family takes many forms.

If you're at a persistent stalemate with a sib, consider "replacing" him or her (or them). Look to dear friends, cousins, [fellow caregivers] (https://www.caring.com/community) , and others to fill in as your "family." They may not share your historic bonds or your DNA, but they can provide the kind of emotional support you need right now, like siblings without the rivalry.

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24 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

Anonymous said 10 months ago

I am one of seven. My sister and brother have the power of attorney and executor of my mom who has dementia. They just sold her house and put her into a home, which she got kicked out with in five days. So does need more care as a lock down. She is in the hospital right now. They both don't give us all the information what is going on. The question I have is they are not tell us about her financials and won't give the rest of the sisters copies of bank statements. We fell something is going on because they are being very secret about it. So is there anyway we can get a hold of the statements to make sure they are not taking any money? I do live in Vancouver BC Canada.


about 3 years ago

My problem is that I am the youngest in a family of 4 siblings and I am the ONLY one who takes care of my mother. That included moving her to my home, nursing her back to health for 2 years when her brain tumor removal went poorly, forclosing on her house and moving her belongings into storage, finding an assisted living facility and dealing with her not wanting to do that, and a number of health issues after that. One of them calls once in a while, the other has visited once in the past 4 years and never calls to see how things are going and the other is completely off the radar. I am mad and I really don't care if I talk to any of them ever again. I call when mom has to go in the hospital or if her health changes in any way but other than that I have nothing to say to them. I forgive them, because that's the kind of person I am, but I don't have to talk to them. I don't know how on earth you can "reconcile" that.


Anonymous said about 3 years ago

My brother weasled his way into control of moms POA and proxy the last 5 years. He frightened her by threatening to put her into a nursing home,withdrWing his affection etc. My older sister had helped her for years .when she moved south for the winter ,he brought mom in and Had her change her will leaving all of her 5 children out- giving anything left from her assets -which he illegally moved to his Account-to her grandchildren.he then proceeded to use his power to restrict x Acess to our mother in the nursing home - limiting her to the building and the floor.my mothers care is now a reflection of my brothers distorted sence of right and wrong. I can't so much as help her brush her teeth which Re minimally cared for in the nursing home. He chose to sell her house last summer,demanded we clean it out and put it on the market by august or he would stop paying the taxes.(mom gave us the house years ago) .he stopped paying the taxes anyway ,derailed the sale 6 months later,then decided when I brought him to court for breach of contract, to let his daughter live there free of charge. In retaliation for my lawsuit The has mad it almost impossible for me to see my mom. The nursing home is old and dismal.all of the patients are kept huddled around the desk so that they need fewer staff members to watch them.the stronger residents are kept from moving around by a nightmare device known as a geri-pad.this pressure sensitive alarm goes off If a she so much as shifts her weight.she is not allowed to stand except to go to the bathroom.if she stands , a staff member calls to her and tells her to sit back down. She is kept in diapers so she won't have to go to the bathroom between I have found my mother filthy at times .once i brought her to the bathroom (she is afraid to ask the staff so she often asked me) I took her and then call a staff member to come and help they never came. in the meantime ,my mother went by herself.The smell of the room from her body odor was so bad I gagged three times before i could enter the bathroom again. When I called the director and the staff their response was to restrict my visits to the "prison zone " immediately in front of the nurses station .they say there must be four staff members present when I'm there in case I dare and try to help her stand and stretch her legs .they say the residents "like it there" but all the while I sit there they tell them numerous times to sit back down.the pressure sensitive alarms go off and the staff yells at time to sit down without checking to see what their needs are or allowing them to stand. My mother is a virtual prisoner in this place.my sisters and other brother are not allowed to take her home for a visit or to a restaurant or even for a walk around the grounds . I live only one block from the hospital . My mother wears a diaper even though she's not incontinent this is so the staff doesn't have to bother with her except for designated times. she has to go to the bathroom in her pants if they're busy I was trying to alleviate this and they told me I could not even though my mother is strong enough to stand and walk with a walker for nursing home has become a reflection of my brothers distorted sense of right and wrong. he pays the bill so they have listen to his every wish and allowed him to put these restrictions on us at the nursing home.the home has become a virtual prison to my mother.he is terrified something may happen to her and he will lose control of the house . We spoke to the hospital administrator and brought in an ombudsman.so far there's been no recourse or answer to my appeal.mom remains in this limbo,closer to hell than heaven. The hospital\nursing home has become a reflection of my brother's hate.


about 3 years ago

Hi ddd1968, Thank you very much for your comment. I am so sorry to hear about the situation you've been having with your brother. That sounds very difficult. Here is a blog post that you may find helpful for your situation: ( http://www.caring.com/blogs/dear-family-advisor/sibling-more-time-with-parent ). Additionally, if you can also post your question in our Ask & Answer section here: ( http://www.caring.com/ask ). I hope that helps. Good luck and take care -- Emily | Community Manager


about 3 years ago

I am having a problem with my brother. My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer 7 months ago. She is now in hospice and has two weeks to live. I have been communicating with my brother about her health for 7 months..she has been declining for a month and I have pleaded with him to get here. He lives 8 hours away but is very finacially stable to fly or drive. He still has not come. There are no favorites in my mind. I read on facebook that he is out sailing with his family. Can someone tell me how I could even want to be around someone like this. Or how would I ever forgive him? I have been taking care of her and I have to work to pay bills. My friend said she learned she could not control her brothers. I don't feel like I am trying to control him. She is the only family we have or known.


Anonymous said over 3 years ago

Hello, I am new to the site and actually didn't think anyone would be listening. Special thanks to Kittymom and Emily. To follow-up, I tried "the talk" approach many years ago before mom's dementia set in. She is/ was fully aware of my brother's scamming. This was one reason why she made me joint on her bank accounts. Said she didn't trust him. All is fine, except he has badgered the banks, that now this one instituation has frozen her CD account. Until either conservatorship or death notice has been established. I have consulted lawyers, of course for a fee, they would handle the case, but no guarantees. My brother goes around and tells mom's doctors, tax preparers, caregivers, not to talk with me. I send them my DPOA papers and only then they acknowledge my concerns. Except the caregivers. Since he lives with mom free/clear, he benefits from housekeeping, laundry food and meals that they provide for mom, he says he "established residence". Now 62 years old, not employed. Blames mom for the job loss. This is mom's home, not his. May I add there is no contract with the caregivers. One is my brother's oldest daughter 42 years old, the other was found by answering an ad my brother placed in the classified. Both are paid under the table. I know my rights as DPOA and as daughter. My "head in the sand" sister says my brother and mom have always had an odd relationship, The golden boy who could do no wrong. to just accept it. Too late to change A family mediator says my brother is a "Parasitic child" Mom will be 90 this year. Along with her dementia, also has incontinence and circulation problems in her legs. She barely recovered from one broken hip when she fell and broke the other. My brother hides behind mom. Knowing lawyers and court cases, to start a law suit now seems pointless. My brother wants to have a PPO against me. However, he cannot pursue this to represent mom without guardianship. He cannot do 3rd party PPO. If he wants it against him, I have no problem with that. However, my last visit with mom resulted with him calling the police, said I didn't call first. Mom was so upset, agitated, and of course, it was my fault. Have tried to extend visting courtesy only for him to remove mom from the house. My lawyer and the Police both say I shouldn't not have to call first, and the Police informed my brother of that. Do you call a nursing/ assisted living facility before visiting? Being the daughter and DPOA, the Police where bewildered. We had a nice talk and I am fearful for mom, I asked for a police escort my next vist, which they will provide. Why should I have to do that? There are so many things wrong with this arrangement. Yes, this does leave a bitter taste. Thank you for letting me vent. I appreciate your comments.


over 3 years ago

Hi anonymous and kittymom, Thank you for sharing your comments with us. Unfortunately, elders being financially abused is an all too common occurrence and I'm very sorry to hear about your first hand experience with it. Our expert Carolyn L.­ Rosenblatt has answered a questions similar to your own: (http://www.caring.com/questions/brother-taking-advantage-of-mother). If you would like to post your own question in Ask & Answer, you can do so here: (http://www.caring.com/questions/new). I hope that helps! -- Emily


over 3 years ago

Wow, does the last message from "Anonymous" sound familiar. Sure we aren't related and that's my brother you are speaking of? It is so frustrating, isn't it? With my brother, nothing is ever good enough that you do - he always has either 'thought of it', 'done it already', 'is always right', you name it. If it isn't emotional enough to worry and want to care for a parent, why do some siblings make it so hard and forget who is really the focal point? It upsets my mom so much to think of what my brother has said/done to me --- for someone who 'cares so much for mom', it sure leaves a bitter taste in my mouth that she has one more thing to worry about.


Anonymous said over 3 years ago

What do you do when it is the caregiver, son, who continues to "sponge" off the parent and feels he is "entitled" to do whatever he wants. He lives in mom's home, free and clear. He may be Durable Power of Attorney, but along with another sibling who also is DPOA. When family members try to help, their help isn't good enough. He continues to badger and jerk family around. No one wants to help anymore, yet he still complains. He has even called the police when I tried to visit. The bank and mom's brokerage account froze mom's account due to his badgering, even thou, these accounts are joint with mom and myself. I have had legal consultations, with recommendations of conservator/ guardianship. However, due to the hostility of the family, my lawyer says the court will no doubt provide a 3rd party and remove mom from her home. She has dementia and this is not what she wanted. So what does family do with an arrogant, selfish, person such as this? He has made it all about him, not what is in mom's best interst


over 3 years ago

WOW, Paula's article spans the variables of dealing with siblings. I have crossed all of these milestones; although not as well as I could have (in hindsight). I am especially comforted by her last two tips-- But don't make reconciliation your life's work. Finally, recognize that family takes many forms. Today, I have a large adopted family of cousins and friends--my family of choice. Although, over 14 years I've tried to reconnect with my sister and brother, it is up to them. I have tried and tried and tried. A person can take only so much rejection and being ignored.


over 3 years ago

Communication & talking about tough subjects. I kept quiet for years when taking care of my parents & suffered a great deal of stress. When my oldest sister decided to leave her job & get paid to take care of my parents I was overwhelmed with anger. The stress has done a toll on my mind & body but we have two parents to take care of & it really is a 2person job or more. I still feel very angry over the money issue because my Dad said to me what did you do??(he has vascular dementia) For 3 years I did all the medical for 2 parents & raise two young beautiful children!! It was havoc on my marriage because I was not making any money. I did become a martyr with my parents & I am the youngest of 4 girls so they do treat me differently then the oldest. My background is medical so I just took this on. I did not realize the impact of being an advocate for them has on you mentally. Most people cannot even comprehend what the job en-tales until you do it!!Now my sister who has retired is really feeling the stress that I endured. I still do all the medical. I did talk to them on how I felt but I am not sure they felt my parents needed all the help I did 3yrs ago. I saw things happening medically that needed to be addressed. The struggles with the doctor was a even greater stress. Through all this it has made me a stronger person. My resentment is still there but I had to let go & let god so to speak. I read alot of amazing books to help me through the anger. These sites have helped tremendously to know you are not alone!!Thanks for the tips. I wish I had read this 3yrs ago!!


over 3 years ago

I noticed it has been over a year since I posted before - and nothing has changed - except for my trying to accept the position my brother has put me in and move forward with just going ahead and doing what is the right thing with my mom. Last June, when I called my brother from my mom's apartment and asked when we can get together to discuss her health issues and financial matters, he informed me 'never'. Caught off guard, I repeated, "Never?" He kept saying that and I asked 'Why - what did he mean", he comes up with this, "You've made my life miserable for years". What? The only thing I can take from this is that after 3 1/2 years, he has finally cemented it to where he doesn't feel he needs to share anything with me - he has all her mail sent to his house, goes to the bank with her and never asks me if I'd like to join them - he's two miles from her house. I continue to drive 100 miles roundtrip every week. I go to doctor appts., but he feels that none of my input is valuable and cuts me right off. My mom's dementia is getting very bad. She is Type II Diabetic and he didn't know WHAT that meant - I did manage to set up her diet with her assisted living home to where she is eating properly. Within the past 6 months, my mom has lost 12 lbs. that she didn't have to spare. 1 1/2 years ago, my brother decided that she was going to have 2 hard boiled eggs and a piece of toast every morning for breakfast. He will not let her pay the $4 to have them bring up breakfast - even though she can afford it. She does not eat breakfast, sometimes she thinks she does, I truly believe between the dementia and her telling me that she is sick of eating eggs every single morning, she has decided not to eat! I pick up other items, like breakfast bars, wheat toaster waffles, to give her a variety so she will eat ------ my brother gets mad and says that I am going to make her blood sugar go sky high. Gee, I look at it as if she doesn't eat, her blood sugar goes low and she can go into a diabetic coma, if she does eat something different, a breakfast bar is not going to take her over the edge. To eat or not to eat? Any suggestions I have a nixed and we talk over email - he will not talk to me. If he has anything to tell me, he tapes a note to my mom's microwave. It's just so sad. I took care of my mom before she even moved and now he acts like I'm only good enough to be her visitor - without being privy to anything else that goes on in her life. His behavior has brought on many sad events. We did always get along before this happened with my mom and I was very close to my 3 nieces. We could not have kids. He acts like the world is against him. Every holiday, my mom, brother, sister in law, nieces, their husbands and babies get together and we are not invited or welcome. My mom would like us to all be together and always tells me how it bothers her. She will not talk to my brother because of "how he is, he'll just not talk or get mad". I feel like when we do have my mom over for holidays, it's like a divorce situation that's like, "Who gets mom?" - and I appreciate the fact that she probably wants to see my nieces and their families. I never thought our family would turn out like this. My dad died 34 years ago when he was 50 and he would have just hated to have known this was going on. My brother would always say that he told my dad before he died that he'd always take care of my mom --- but he is so nasty to his sister! I told him one time that our dad would have never have wanted the situation to be like this. I think he is so into his own agenda and such a control freak that he really doesn't care about anything but tooting his own horn and waiting for the day when he can clean up every else of my mom's.


Anonymous said over 3 years ago

So many families have conflict that continues or begins in their adult lives, and children sometimes choose to not notice how much pain this causes the parents. Some times the best solution for the care giver is to allow the other siblings to walk away and have no communication with them. It's a sad time for the family, but peace and loving care is the most important gift one can give to a parent. I know, because I am in that situation with my children. I don't understand why it has happened, but I have come to accept it. I also have much more respect for the daughter who cares for me, and I try to be loving and cooperative with her and her family. She is such a sweet blessing to me, and I am truly very thankful to have her in my life.


Anonymous said almost 5 years ago

There are seven of us --- our Mom has dementia and is getting really bad. Our Dad died almost two years ago. Things have gotten really ugly and we're all trying to stay away from each other. I have Power of Attorney as far as Mom is concerned. We sent it up years ago ---- when she couldn't remember the woman our Dad left her for! Never thought I'd see that day! I've had siblings tell me that Power Of Attorney Sucks! They don't think its right or fair. Having that responsiblity isn't all that fun --- but I can see the need for it. There is rarely one of us that agree on anything pertaining to our Mom's care. I try to be fair --- discussing most everything with all of them. There has never been a time that all seven of us have agreed on one thing! There have been times I think Mom should be on some kind of anti-depressant or anti-psychotic meds --- half go along with that and the other half just have a fit! I've always tried to include them in deciding where our Mom should live. Two -- who work full time, wanted to take her home with them. I'd had her home with me several times, and I felt she wasn't safe with any of us after a while. So we had to put her in a rest home (Medicaid Rules) for 3 months to begin with. She was able to go to a Level One Assisted Living but not for long. She's been in a Level Two now for a good 10 months -- but things are not looking all that great there. She may have to move to a lock-down Alzheimer's Unit here soon. She's fallen several times in just the last month and something has changed in her brain. She's lucky she has never broken any bones when she's fallen. But --- I guess what I really need to get out is that no matter what I do or what I decide, I'm the bad person. My Mom gave me the Power and I feel she expects me to do the best I can with it ---which would include her saftey and care. At some point, no matter what any of the others think --- I have to make what I think is the best decision for our Mom. It makes some furious --- and I've been called alot of things because of it. But --- in the end --- after what happened with our Dad --- and now all this thats going on with our Mom --- I doubt there will be many who will ever speak to the others again. I'm not so sure thats a bad thing.


almost 5 years ago

My husband has no contact with any of his 3 brothers, and has not for almost 3 years now. It stems from disagreements regarding the care of their mother who was diagnosed with dementia about 5 years ago. The brother that has the durable power of atty for everything thinks she is "just fine", so she has been left to her own devices all these years. She is 83, has fallen, which required a surgery to repair injuries, had a quad by pass 3 yrs ago, 2 knee replacements, and is a diabetic. She also is "scammed" frequently by "doctors" in magazines that sell her cancer cures, and every herb possible, which is not supposed to be mixed with high blood pressure meds. She has gotten so far into debt from home shopping and credit cards that her paid off house has been refinanced about 3 times. The last I knew her debt was up to $20,000. She is on fixed income of course, lives alone. She has hit a parked car in a lot, ripped off part of it, dragged it behind her...but was not even aware until police were waiting outside the store for her! She also has forgotten to pay bills, and now does not have the ability to write check numbers in her bank book, let alone balance it. She calls the police, or writes them letter because she has delusions about homeless people sleeping in her car. She is still driving even though my husband thinks she should be made to go take a test at the DMV for safety reasons...the dpoa refuses to address it. Guess he will wait until she hurts or kills herself or someone else before he takes the keys away. She has no caregiver at all, and this sibling is well over an hour away. The others live over 400 miles away, and one clear on the West coast (we are midwest). We feel there should be a discussion and steps should be taken to get her help to come in the home part time, her finances need to be taken over by the dpoa, and definitely the car keys taken is my guess. So, the siblings are mad because they just want her left alone, and we do not agree. They think we just want her tossed right into a nursing home, and that is not true. Eventually that may be the step, but not yet. It is a real shame that the family is split because a few want to stick their head in the sand and ignore the problems she is having. It is really not in her best interest, which is the most important issue isn't it? It is about HER.


about 5 years ago

I found it interesting to read the other comments. I have been extremely down lately and sometimes you wonder if anyone understands. My mom has dementia and two years ago is when it just seems like everything 'hit the fan'. My mom lived alone and fell, had to there started to be other signs that 'things were just not right'. Along with the fall that got the ball rolling, she was not taking her medication as prescribed, not eating meals like she should. I live 20 miles away, organized "Meals on Wheels" to come by so she would get a good dinner and went over about every day - or every other is my sibling could stop by in between. My sibling and I always got along, although we are very different from each other. The day my mom fell was like the bottom fell out of my world. My brother is very nice when he wants something, the minute he gets what he wants - he's back to non-contact. We moved my mom two miles from him and his family and she is now 40 from my husband and I. I didn't feel it accomplished anything to have my mom in middle - what if she needed us right away? She is in assisted living. My sibling does see her every day after work for an hour or two, my adult nieces that live near her NEVER stop by to see her or both to call. Everything she had that couldn't go to her new place, my sibling decided it was to become property of my nieces. All her bills, mail go to her house - even though he's two miles away. He has Power of Attorney that was set up a long time ago. I see my mom once or twice a week and drive the 80 miles round trip, not to mention when I take her out while I'm there. And he STILL has the nerve to not keep me posted as to what is going on with my mom. I call her every single day. She mom's dementia is not so bad that she doesn't know me - she always says how she loves when I visit - she, unfortunately, can't remember any event after it happens. She could never remember if they went to the bank, what they did while there, anything. Then if you try to talk to him reasonably, he gets mad - in hopes, I'm sure, that you won't want to approach him. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am hurt to think after all these years that our relationship would come to this. He is always so quick to 'get even' with someone. I have a feeling that he has been mad ever since my mom went into assisted living because he's always so concerned that her money 'take care of her the rest of her life' - yet, she has a LOT! Why would she not use it to go into assisted living? I think he feels that since I don't work and my husband and I don't have kids, we should have taken my mom in - yet, he would never let me handle anything - it would strictly be to keep his inheritance going. I am just perplexed most of the time to think that I have no other family and they really don't even care. Not to mention how hard it is to see your own mother go through this disease and have to be so dependent on others - that would not have been her choice. I love her dearly.


about 5 years ago

The hard part about caregiving is that the system I turned to (The Legal system) to get some relief is as much of a problem as my siblings. My Sisters who live out of stste came home took my Mother from our home in my absents and had her to put their name on her bank account as joint owners and to sigh the family property to them. dropped her of and went back to their homes. There are seven of us and I found out about the transastion when check started to bounce and the taxes appeared in the paper as past due So I turned to the legal system to get guardianship my mistake was in my choice of Attorneys. Not filing documents in a timely manner not serving all parties missing deadlines. In the mean time my sibling are not speakin to me and I am alone in my caring for my mother. Because of the recent transfer of property, the services that is available is not and the money that was in the bank, was transffered to my sisters accounts. One sister used the money to pay for Lapband surgery and to take a cruise. The other sibling are not available one brother passes by almost daily but do not stop. The other brother calls my phone and ask how is your mother doing. When I informed him that It is also his mother he made the comment you are the one who went to court so you got it all under control. It is my extended family who I can call on and depend on to support me and to help out.


Anonymous said about 5 years ago

When more than one adult sibling is involved in overseeing the care and finances of an elderly parent, all rarely agree on everything. In our society, we are so stressed and busy - everyone seems to feel others have more time or money to help, than they do. In some cases, elder siblings may be facing their own changes or financial reverses - so suddenly, the living parents assets start looking like readily available "funds." Due to the complicated dynamics of siblings, families, and past memories/perceptions - it seems best to pay for expert guidance and mediation from sources that are not "family." If you "move on" - but leave the parent's care in uncapable hands - the eventual outcome may be far worse than a few hours of family "mediation" or "therapy."


Anonymous said about 5 years ago

Thanks for this posting Paula. It helps to know we are not a lone and it is actually common. I'm also glad you brought up the point of no reconciliation. Sometimes it just is not possible. We've learned that DNA doesn't mean a whole lot if you do not have honesty, respect, trust and love. You are right, it is important to move on.


about 5 years ago

The relationship between my sibling and I is so broken, due to lack of support all around, and distancing away from my concerned calls very early during moms changes. I have been A caregiver for my mom now going on 6 years now. So happens I am the youngest,so have lived with mom longer, infact never left her side, She an aging widow me commited to make it as the first college grad in the family. My mother became very supportive of my wishes to further my education. So we settled in a small nice community senior friendly and single professional types; I convinced mom it was ideal for both, while I now worked on a solid 10 year career path, she can relax and socialize in the community. Alot seem to happen before mother demntia surfaced; Her oldes son passes away suddenly in 2001 from cardiac arrest, she had no greiving support from anyone, calls just stopped. Delusional dreams, awoke her in sweat, claiming to have overheard my brother say, "mom I bleed", then another of an Angel saying do not go back to sleep, they will be comming for you soon, Then it worsend to a point, where her fear was for me. After several incidences of her walking out to find me at a hospital; We finally got my mother then 66 of age into an evaluation center for two weeks. It was found to be Dementia of the Alzheimers type with early delusion. My college minor in Psychology awakened my concerns early; so I had always engaged her in long talks about movies we'd watch; and so now that I look back I had always been trying to keep her relaxed and calm. According to the Doctors We caught the illness early. mom's treatment began with Namenda,Zoloft and Lipitor I still do not understand how I could not have seen how radically she loss weight, She had began entering my room in sweat over hearing my brother speak to her over her bed, then i assumed because of the War in Iraq; she ran out saying she heard voices of things happening to other relative aswell. The economy then forced me to work double cause the Economy was realy bad then. Homecare was obtained and a side from her grumpy demenor with the aides and her resistance to her privacy being invaded and others doing hercooking, Her condition improved voices were gone due to louder tv watching.and talkative homeaides. Gradually over the years I took over things she could no longer do for herself billing,banking, food shopping,medication management, and many others. My hope was to keep who she was intact; contagiouse laugher and loving person., We never mentioned the A word in her precence. Doctor's said it was Dementia of the AD type with early hallucinations and Depression features. Unfotunaly three years after a home attendant accompaning my mom to a med appointment loss mom on a bus, mom got off and was loss 20 hours. found exhausted the following morning at a local hospital 100 block away from where they boarded the bus. My (now feuding sibling) other sibling became erradic and decided to practically take her from me; an absentee, uninvolved, arguementative so long away from her care. Became a very ugly situation,. When the smoke cleared and mom back home with me; I changes that were not there before, I noticed mom conversing with stuffed animals as if they were children, and unable to go the the bath room so near her bedroom; and would go anywhere. I could not understand if the 20 hours with out her medication caused her to further lose her mental stability? or if others may have given her unprescribed meds since "jane doe" had no ID.? I still have no clue; but the recentment fell at that point, I followed her closley and recognized cognitive decline, but not these symptoms they seemed different somehow? In 2007 moms 10 year old application for rental susidy asst came through and was able to relocated to a neighboring state borderline but close to transportation. The move was needed due to her changes and so we moved from a studio 1br to a two bedroom railroad apt; She is visible to me from all rooms which is perfect now that I can care for her fulltime. Very unusual to me now, is the sudden changes that happened to mom almost the next day. Mom could not stay still..... literally,....., Its so not like her......... to not watch her favorite channels peacfully. when I tell you Severe restlessness "I mean" all day pacingup and down; no medications were missed or changed. So I don't understand why this is possible, Symptoms as they progress are common but so are medication withrawl symptoms. Is it that mom is so overwhelmingly happy? I do not know., But very concern Now I find my self running after her all the time? Can anyone share if this is in fact Akathisia is normal or if it is typical to begin overnight? or if someone may have used something not consulted with doctors, while I worked? Neighbors here feel it is wonderfull excercise; But she also started whimpering expressions or cry urge around the same time. If any of you ever knew my mother she has been known for her (Loretta Switt m.a.s.h) strength to my family,.. a true srgnt. I am very restless, over her restlessness any infomation or advise for mom and moms last son and moms only daughter? Advice welcomed********************** right away; from "Whatagoodson" ********************** Thankyou. roberto


over 5 years ago

My heart goes out to anyone who is not appreciated for the efforts that they extend to an aging parent. My father has dementia. My sister lives in Oregon. She and I have always been polar opposites since birth. Our mother became ill with ovarian cancer 8 years ago and during the last phase of her illness my sister visited her and convinced her to make a change to my parents Living Trust documents and give her the right of first refusal to purchase all of the family land ahead of me. Our parents attorney, my father, mother, sister and brother in law all knew that this document had been created. I found out, six months after my mother died. My father told me about the document, said he did not agree with it and he had never signed it. Eventually he told my sister and her husband that he was not going to sign it. Now our father has dementia. I live in the same town and see him daily. He also has two wonderful care givers that are with him for 2 hours a day 7 days a week. He does not cook, clean, do his laundry and needs help with his medication each day. He lives alone. My greatest concern is his safety, both physically and financially. He became adicted to sending money to fraudlent companies and was placed on the Super Sucker List!. This has been going on since our mother died. One summer he deposited 4 counterfiet checks into his Trust checking account. The bank VP had me bring my Dad to her office to discuss these checks and asked him to stop writing them to the fraudlent organizations. He did not. I was then asked to have his primary care physician write a letter to his bank addressing his medical condition and whether he should be writing any checks. His physician informed the bank officials that Dad had dementia for several years and that he should not be writing checks without a second signature power of attorney from one of his daughters, namely me. I received a call from his Trust attorney, who by the way owns the bank where he has banked for 80 years, is the President of the bank and the attorney for the bank. He wanted me to bring Dad to his office for a talk. I did and for one hour his attorney asked Dad 7 different times to step down as Trustee of his Trust and let my sister and I do our jobs as co-trustee's. Dad refused each time. His attorney brought up the letter that they had requested from his physician and his memory loss and confusion. Dad continued to refuse. There was no provision made to stop him from continuing to write checks. I received a letter from his attorney memoralizing our meeting and the fact that Dad did not want to step down as trustee of his Trust. I was told to hire my own attorney to make that happen. This was July of 2007. In May of 2008 the same Trust attorney began to change Dad's Trust documents and notorize his signature. My sister started making trips to visit our father when she knew that I would be out of town. She took him to a new attorney, had me removed as Power of Attorney on his bank account, so I could no longer pay his bills for him. The new attorney created a document that removed both my sister and me as co-trustee's of our father's Trust and named himself as successor Trustee and then personally notorized our father's signature. This new attorney is the law partner of his Trust attorney. He had all the medical documentation that Dad had dementia and did not have the capacity to understand and should not be changing any legal documents that were created prior to his diagnosis of dementia. My sister thinks that Dad is "fine" he has no memory problems. When Dad was visiting her in Oregon she took him off of his Aracept that his Neurologist in San Francisco had put him on months before and was doing great on. She said, "It is safer for Dad to have a worse memory than to be on medication for it." She also believes that, "The body will heal itself." She will not volintarily have a family meeting with a mediator. We can not come to an agreement on anything related to keeping our father safe. I finally had a consultation with an attorney about Conserving our father. I found out that my sister, brother-in-law and father all went to Dad's Trust attorney and they were making yet another Amendment to the Family Trust and this would give my brother-in-law Durable Power of Attorney over all our father's wealth. That was the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak. I hired the attorney to Conserve my father. He was offically served the documents for a hearing in July and he promptly had someone drive him to those special attorney's affiliated with his bank and Trust and told them he did not understand what the papers ment and needed their help. The very same attorney's that are part of the reason necessary to Conserve him are now involved tryng to keep me from doing that. When family members and attorney apply undue influence on my Dad, the only thing left to do is try to stop them. It is a very emotional process. My father thought that I was suing him and that I didn't like him any more. It broke my heart to hear him say that. I told him I was not suing him and that this was being done to protect him and reduce some of the stress that he was being subjected to. He still does not understand. My adult children are very upset with their Aunt. They see their grandfather often and see his dementia in action. It is very sad for all concerned. Again, my heart goes out to all of you who are having difficulties with sibblings that believe something other than reality, and live far away from the parent with special needs that you are caring for. Do what you have to do and know that there are those of us who support you all the way. JLN


over 5 years ago

I am the primary caregiver for a brother. Fortunately, I have the support of my husband, other brother and mother. However, my sister - who happens to live in Denmark and had had power of attorney for our disabled brother - threw a major hissy fit over me having power of attorney and then needing to persue legal guardianship. She has it in her head that she could manage his care from overseas through e-mail and phone calls. She has said many hurtful things to me about the situation and is of no help whatsoever. She believes she is in the right and knows what is best for him although she cannot be her to attend to his needs. It has hurt me deeply but also given me a chance to think back over the years about her behavior on other things and realize that she's always been this way. In spite of her actions, I have tried to take the high road and keep the lines of communication open. She has a laundry list of reasons why I shouldn't be the caregiver/guardian including "I promised Dad when he was so sick that I would care for Tim and now I have to break my word and that pains me more than you'll ever know." She manages to always make it about her. Each time I extend the olive branch it's slapped away. While my mother is alive, I will continue to try to patch things up and keep her up to date on family happenings. I look at it this way, she has to live with her choices and face up to what she's done at some point. She isn't her to help with her mother, who is also in need of care and attention, and makes few attempts to contact her either. Have come to realize that I have to do what's right for me, having the support of the rest of the family helps termendously. Learning to accept that (her words, not mine) she hates me and know that I'm doing the right thing regardless of what she thinks. But this has put a large strain on our family's relationship with her and it's very sad. Trying to move on but it's easier said than done.


Anonymous said over 5 years ago

noexcuses has hit the nail on the head. Being the only caregiver with three siblings who are 'negative caregivers' nearly put me over the edge. How great that you mentioned the isolation of the caregiver. No matter how hard I try, there is nothing in my power to be done to make up for just ONE visit from either of the other three. What few phone calls she receives revolve around their 'crisis'. I never dreamed I could feel this way and you have made this day a good one for me. You have put into words that which I could not. Thank you!


over 5 years ago

You might add to your list of common reasons for sibling dispute over caregiving. The reason I think there is such bad feelings is the isolation the caregiver experiences because the other siblings don't participate in visiting the elder parent or calling. The caregiving sibling becomes the enemy. Excuses excuses excuses. Wayne Dyer just came out with a new book about that subject. Excuses become a bad habit and create havoc to all those that surround you. I no longer waste my time with people who can't, over and over again. Wayne Dyer says in his book that people that live making excuses for why they can't, don't have a healthy mind. The purpose is to figure out how you can. For example. Look at the calendar and mark times that as a sibling, a visit to the parent could be planned. Call every Sunday evening on a regular basis. My daughter emails a letter to her Grandma to me and I print it out and deliver it to my Mom. Photos are a very good way to keep in contact. But silence, Very Cruel to my thinking. In my family it is too late for any reconciliation and I have come to terms with that. I have new siblings (cousins) and they deserve respect and appreciation for their family support and I celebrate that. I've tried to find the good in this situation of being the only caregiver for my Mom. I don't think I would want to have my siblings lives. I don't think I could do that to anybody, especially my Mother, as crazy as she is with alzheimers. I want to have some dignity and I want that for my Mom too.


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