Caring for Elderly Relatives: How to Handle Family Conflicts

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Common Causes of Family Tensions and Disagreements

It shouldn't surprise anyone that sensitive family dynamics can be one of the most challenging aspects of caregiving for an elder, given the tremendous financial, physical, and emotional demands involved. This doesn't mean that family squabbles are inevitable. In fact, if managed well, the experience of caring for an older family member has the potential to bring relatives closer as you help this person through this final stage of life. Here's how to avoid conflicts with family members and work through them when they occur.

Typically, disagreements arise because of:

  • Roles and rivalries dating back to childhood. Mature adults often find that they're back in the sandbox when their family gets together. This tendency can grow even more pronounced under the strain of caregiving.

    If your sister was the favored child, for example, you may find that -- no matter how successful and capable you are now -- in your parents' or relatives' home you become a jealous, powerless little girl again.

    SEE ALSO: Find In-Home Care Help Near You

  • Disagreements over an elder's condition and capabilities. It's common for family members to have very different ideas about what's wrong with a loved one and what should be done about it. You may be convinced that your family member is no longer capable of driving, while your brothers argue that he needs to maintain his independence.
  • Disagreements over financial matters and other practical issues. How to pay for a family member's care is often a huge cause of tension. Financial concerns can influence decisions about where the person should live, whether or not a particular medical intervention is needed, and whether he can afford a housekeeper. These conflicts are often fueled by ongoing resentment over income disparities and perceived inequities in the distribution of the family estate.
  • Burden of care. Experts say the most common source of discord among family members occurs when the burden of caring for an elder isn't distributed equally. "Usually one of the adult children in the family takes on most of the care-giving tasks," says Donna Schempp, program director at the Family Caregivers Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that provides information and support to caregivers.

    The primary caregiver might assume this role because he lives near the family member, is perceived to have the fewest obligations, or has the closest relationship with the person. Whatever the reasons, the situation is likely to make him resentful.

How to Avoid Family Blowups

The following steps can help you recognize and avoid some of these common land mines, so you can keep the focus where it belongs -- on your family member's care.

Hold Regular Family Meetings

As soon as the person begins to have health problems, initiate regular family meetings with your siblings and other family members who will be involved in her care. The goal is to share information and make decisions as a group; the meetings can also be a source of support and provide a forum for resolving disagreements.

If all or some of you live in different parts of the country, the meetings can be held by conference call. There are now many free conference call services available (you can search online with the term free conference calls). Set a regular time for the family meetings that's convenient for everyone involved -- it could be once a month, or whatever suits your family -- and if you can, do so before a crisis occurs, so this tool will be in place when you really need it. If possible, reserve a little time at the end of the meeting or conference call to chat and catch up.

SEE ALSO: Find In-Home Care Help Near You

Divide the Labor

Rather than insist that all of the care-giving tasks be divided equally, consider a division of labor that takes into account each family member's interests and skills, as well as their availability. Your sister may find it difficult to get away during the day to take your family member to his doctor's appointments, but perhaps she can handle his finances or take the lead in finding an appropriate long-term care situation. A far-flung sibling won't be able to help with day-to-day care but may be able to come for a visit every few months to give you a break. A fair division of labor can mitigate resentment and make caregiving more efficient. The family meeting is an excellent venue for setting up a caregiving schedule and dividing up tasks.

Why Communication Is Important

Most families have taboo subjects that everyone avoids. Sometimes the topic is a sensitive one, like a drinking problem or a family tragedy, but often family members avoid speaking up because they are afraid of hurting feelings -- or simply because openness has never been part of the family culture.

Talk About It

If you feel you're carrying too much of the burden, consider discussing it with siblings and other family members. They may not realize that you're feeling overwhelmed -- or even know how much you're doing. In a calm, quiet moment -- perhaps at the next family meeting -- explain how you feel in a matter-of-fact, nonconfrontational way. Try to be concrete and specific when you ask for help. For example, ask your sister if she can take over the grocery shopping, or find out if your niece can regularly drive your family member to doctor's appointments.

It's also important to communicate with other family members if you're burned out and need a break. Likewise, if another sibling or family member is doing most of the caregiving, offer support and encourage her to express her frustrations and talk about what would make it easier for her.

Offer Help Even If You Live far Away

If you live far from your family member and other relatives are responsible for most of the care, be sure to offer support. Check in often to see how things are going and to offer whatever assistance you can. Ask about how the caregiver is doing and be a sounding board for frustrations and concerns. Be patient if the caregiver needs to vent.

The National Caregivers Alliance advises relatives who live far away to let the caregivers know how much you appreciate what they do and to make sure that primary caregivers get regular respite. Visit regularly and take over your family member's care if you can, and if you can't, find other ways to make sure primary caregivers get regular breaks. Perhaps you can pay for some additional care or offer to hire a housecleaner for the caregivers.

How to Resolve Family Conflicts

Seek Mediation -- Especially if You Hit Trouble Spots

A counselor or mediator can help you and your family resolve disagreements or manage particularly difficult care-giving dilemmas. Schempp, who regularly counsels siblings and other caregivers, says, "It helps families to have an outside facilitator who can offer advice and support."

Even if your family doesn't have specific disagreements, you may want to see a counselor on an occasional basis, because experts like Schempp can help you tap into options and resources that you may not be aware of. Many problems facing caregivers have no easy answers. Take, for example, your argument with your brothers about whether your dad can still drive. In a sense you're both right: He might well be too infirm to drive, but he needs his independence. An experienced counselor can help you work through dilemmas like this one and determine what's best for your family member -- and for you. To find a counselor, contact your local senior center or area agency on aging.

Be Part of the Solution

If you find yourself in conflict with another family member when caring for an elderly relative, take a step back and get some perspective. Consider your own role in the conflict, and ask yourself if you're acting out an old family role or resentment. It might help you to see a therapist for support and insight.

Make sure that you're taking care of yourself by getting regular sleep, nutritious meals, and exercise. If you're the primary caregiver, you also need to have regular breaks to avoid burnout. These steps won't make the conflict disappear, but chances are they will help you manage and resolve it in a more honest and clear-headed way.

Connie Matthiessen

Constance (Connie) Matthiessen, senior editor, has worked as a healthcare and environmental journalist at the Center for Investigative Reporting and has written for WebMD, Consumer Health Interactive, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, BabyCenter. See full bio

4 months, said...

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8 months, said...

My father died on July 14, 2017 and my sister is taking control of all of my mother's assets and using them for herself. My father left a 32" airstream trailer to my brother yet she is trying to take it from him. It is all he has...and my sister is making my mother pay her mortgage while she is unemployed. I am a Christian and I swear she is the devil's spawn.

8 months, said...

Family tensions and squabbles like the excellent writer Connie Matthiessen talks about here – taken a step further, into estate activities and throughout probate, are often terribly severe disagreements that will never let up no matter how much of an effort there is between siblings and family members to negotiate emotional and financial issues and terms, are surely, usually, caused by age old rivalries dating back to childhood and adolescence… And if we examine these conflicts from many heirs’ perspective in terms of inheritance safety in the face of these intra-family conflicts, I can see why so many heirs and beneficiaries decide to get some of their inheritance assets in advance of probate closing… To put it bluntly, this puts inheritance money, probate cash, into the pockets of middle class heirs who otherwise couldn’t afford to hire their own personal estate or probate attorney, and perhaps CPA as well, and lastly even a tax attorney in some cases, during probate – basically to just protect their inheritance money and or property. They simply just don’t trust their siblings in many cases, and they frequently mistrust the probate lawyer of record as well as the executor who is tied to the hip of said probate or estate attorney, to put it plainly. Those impatient heirs are not just impatient as many articles indicate, they are clearly scared of losing inheritance money to other heirs they don’t like or trust… and I see many heirs following through on getting advance inheritance money, to get a loan on inheritance – and borrow against their inheritance to get a large probate advance, inheritance advance, inheritance loan, or inheritance cash advance – as fast as they can. So these folks do what they’ve never done before… they research inheritance loans, inheritance advance assignments… large estate loans, or even modest probate loans or probate advances… or even super fast 72 hour probate loans or trust fund cash advances or trust fund loans; Or 48 hour inheritance loans, inheritance cash advance or simple inheritance advance assignments from one of the better known online inheritance cash advance companies that put fast probate real estate loans and regular liquid asset based inheritance loans, or inheritance advance assignments — into the hands of scared or nervous heirs who first learn how to get inheritance loan rates, inheritance advance fees, and then quickly submit inheritance cash advance, probate advance, or probate loan applications to various online probate loan, trust fund advance companies that provide a myriad of inheritance loans and probate loans services. We’re talking about cash windfalls that are simply fast loans on inheritance, inheritance loans in advance, or loans against inheritance from inheritance advance companies like,, or perhaps, companies that basically provide the same sort of services. This sort of windfall frequently seems to serve as real life-saving funds for many scared heirs, allows them to hire their own personal attorney, or protect themselves from getting upside down from taxes or personal loans with high monthly payments, or whatever. So they aren’t facing as high a mountain of debt as they might be otherwise.

9 months, said...

My brother and I are way past ANY of these lovely recommendations. I have cared for my mom at home for 8.5 yrs and he never offered to change a light bulb pay for any break for me- nothing- i didnt resent that, however i did resent how he treated our mother like she was already dead and that he was clearly waiting for her to die so he could get his hands on her money and house which was at one time spit between us. She recently decides to give the house and her estate which is a 220K house + 50K mind you, So we arent the Rockafellars here, becuase she appreciated that i had made it possible for her to live at home and have a full life, which even at 98 yrs she still goes to church, lunches out w/ friends and reads2-3 books a week and is not sick at all!! I have enjoyed every minute of it, but am deeply relieved to feel if I'm VERY careful i might be able to live out my years hear on my social security. My very well off finacially brothers' had a FIT when i told him mom gave me the house and he assets. I didnt want to tell him after she died. I thought that would he cruel. He flew into a RAGE, coming to the house with wife in tow, both screaming @ me in front of mom even pushing me/ so much drama i called the police who actually treated my brother like the victim!!? Which i later found out was partially due to him telling the police mom had 1-2 months to live! Completley UNTRUE. Still, however, the WHITE. Male Privelge attitude of the local police just cannot wrap the head arround a MOTHER NOT WANTING 2 See her SON!?! They accuse ME of swaying her!?! My brother lives in FL. and BY Phone has these local police HARASSING My 98 yr old mother and me regularly on so called Wellness checks. Also , my brother has reported me to the Deptment of Elderly Affairs for ABUSE for Not caring for her well AND Misspending her MONEY. Not charges have been brought against me and i dont expect them to be becuase I'm NOT doing either of these things! My brother has a 600k house and lots of money.. so this is just mean spirited spite. I have used ALL my savings in the first 5 years of caring 4 my mom+ I worked pt time as well. We go on NO TRIPS- I have gone to see my grand daughter 1x a yr for 6 of the 8 yrs i paid 4 myself. My mother compensated me w/ some CD's that worked out to 50cents an hour for the work I've done so far and i will inheret this house and 50K God willing. Mom has made a will with all of this in it with an excellent elderlcare attourney- so hopefully he has no way of suing. She wrote a letter to him saying she would call him if she wanted to talk to him and to stop harrassing us. That is all she can do. I cant really protect her!! It is shocking there is NO protection from a family member harassing their parent and / caregiver sibling becuase they are MAD?! It is ABUSE but the athorities dont deal in that just the abuse where someone isnt being cared for or hurt phyically. or emotionally by a caregiver?? I couldnt FIND a lawyer to help us?!! If ANYONE has anyexperience with this i wd appreciate feedback. The police suggested mom write a letter telling brother to stop calling ( he would cal landline phone he knew we didnt answer was shut off due to telemarketers but i kept for emergencies and we USE my cell phone! Brother knows this! He wd tell the police he was calling mom and no answer so wd they go check on mom- when i said why doesnt he call my cell # he said " he doesnt want to talk to me( sister) " !!?? And thats OK?? Well I'm her legal power of attorney for Health and Finance and LIVE IN CareGIVER so he'a gonna have to talk to me? He just want to grill her about why she changes her will the CREEP! So she wrote a letter which i had to type due to her arthritis but Ida Leone laid it on the LINE. She is still in her right mind at 98.. unbeleivable... he has NEVER been attentive to our parents and they ADOPTED US In 1952 and 1954 we arent blood related to each other ( brother and I) - WHO adopted kids back then??! NO ONE- thats who. They were in the military when they met, two adorable midwestern people who saved our lives! I am so grateful to my parents who gave me a good life and my " brother" should be ashamed of himself. I needed to write this. It has been TERRIBLY Upsetting to my mother and myself. I am so glad to find this group. This has been tramatic for me as well. o

11 months, said...

In many families it is not uncommon for a parent to serve as a point-of-contact between siblings who may live in different cities or have drifted apart over the years. When an elderly parent begins to experience cognitive decline, it can manifest as a misrepresentation of events or the motives behind what others are saying or doing. As an example, “Mom” might tell a sibling that "Jane" is behaving in such-and-such way because Jane is too controlling. The adult siblings who live the furthest or speak the least to Jane commonly assume that Mom is relaying information correctly if only because Mom has been in the role of family news manager for a long, long while. It cannot be stressed enough that hearsay is one's enemy in this situation. No matter how far apart you live or how far apart you are from your siblings, understand that one-on-one contact is the only way to get to the truth of anything, especially when dealing with a parent that may be in the early stages of cognitive decline or memory loss. Resentment can seem to arise from nowhere as a parent enters their elder years because whatever family is most involved with the parent on a day-to-day basis failed to “respect” Mom's wishes. Because Mom has been in the role of family news gatherer ("gatekeeper") nobody suspects that Mom, not Jane, has begun to experience cognitive changes that make it hard for her to appreciate that Jane is doing her best to look out for Mom. When Jane and Mom disagree, Jane becomes the family fall guy because she is taking a more direct role in Mom’s life (and therefore incurs the resistance of the elderly parent to any talk of change).. Oftentimes the family dynamic is more prone to going downhill (due to miscommunication) long before the family has come to any conclusion that an aging parent requires a “caregiver”. Siblings that reside out of the area find themselves at these early stages in a confusing he-said, she-said situation. In the early stages, those who become most trusted to an aging parent may very well be those who have the least influence and therefore represent less of a threat. In contrast, the first family member to flag age-related memory loss or to suggest lifestyle changes for the safety of the parent is “overstepping the bounds”. Denial and/or distance can make it difficult for other family members to consider the possibility that memory loss or cognitive decline, be it by age or certain medications (such as Statin drugs), may trigger personality changes that entail perceiving a threat where none exists. In the early stages before there is any official diagnosis of senility or dementia, family members may find themselves pointing fingers at each other. And because the parent in question is the family “news keeper”, it may be hard to appreciate that what an aging parent relates about a given situation or person may be inaccurate. It's difficult for a parent to go from leader in the family to having their decisions influenced by their adult kids. For many parents at this stage of life, at heart their child is still a child (even if that child is 50 years old!). When this dynamic exists, it is not uncommon for the parent to convey to other family members that such-and-such is the cause of the problem — that is to deflect concern away from themselves and onto the behavior/actions of another family member. What any person facing the elder years of a parent must appreciate is that memory loss and cognitive decline also influence perception of how others around the parent behave. Mom may be wholly unaware that she has significantly misrepresented events, motives, actions, reasons or causes for other family members' words or actions. In other words, Mom shouldn’t be the family news gatekeeper anymore. As the article above suggests, more direct (firsthand) communication with your siblings and the family members involved with your parent’s day-to-day life is essential. Even if you’ve drifted apart over the years you must have the presence of mind to come back together as a family unit and communicate one-on-one for the sake of not perpetuating misinformation, drama and ultimately the unraveling of relationships between family members. Too often, cognitive decline becomes an unappreciated, insidious phenomena until outright evidence of paranoia begins to show up (e.g. Mom reports that a long-time neighbor is now spying through the window). When, on the other hand, a parent fingers their own adult child for the “drama”, it is often difficult for other family members who do not interact as closely with that sibling or family member to give that individual the benefit of the doubt. The thinking may go as follows: Mom has never "lied" before, so why would she start now? It must be my brother or my sister or my cousin who is trying to hide their attempts to manipulate or control Mom.” The thing to remember in these cases is that Mom isn't "lying" and neither is your brother/sister/cousin. They simply recall and relate events differently because their perspectives differ. In events where adult siblings feel they are forced to choose between a version of events related by an elderly parent vs. an adult sibling, one must have the presence of mind to go back over an entire lifespan and ask if that sibling or family member has ever been known to create drama in the family before (or to otherwise known to lie/manipulate). If the answer is "That doesn't sound like my brother (sister, cousin)," understand at this point that the perception of the elderly parent has taken an age (or drug-related) decline. Rather than dissolve into what may become years' worth of infighting between adult siblings BEFORE a doctor diagnoses senility or dementia, understand that these "differing stories" and "Who do I believe?" situations may be EARLY INDICATORS that an elderly parent needs to have their neurological health (and drug interactions) checked. Too many families go down the road of fingering each other before it becomes undeniable that the elderly parent is experiencing a health or memory problem. Likewise, many people think of "memory problems" involve losing one’s keys or forgetting a name. We often fail to realize that the formation of accurate perceptions is also a casualty of cognitive decline. Someone who intends no harm at all — whether it's a long-time neighbor or a cousin or adult sibling — may initially seem to be acting against the best interest of the parent. This may or may not be true. What IS true is that family members who are dealing with an elderly parent must be on guard against knee-jerk conclusions and alarmist accusations that may come from an elderly parent. Look at your siblings or others who have had a long-term relationship with your parent over the years and do not downplay the broader context. Although it may be tempting to join in with Mom in throwing your no-good brother/sister/cousin under the bus be willing to ASK yourself that if overstepping the bounds and creating “harm” or “drama” truly fits with the personality/history of the person your elders parent or family member has accused. Family drama originating from the hearsy of an aging parent COULD indicate that the parent — especially if they remain front-and-center as the “family newsgatherer” — may benefit from a neurological evaluation workup by a qualified geriatric specialist.

about 1 year, said...

I just read the comment from I don't like my mother but love her. I too consider myself a pack mule while mother gets all the attention from what used to be my family. It is hard to take knowing that is all I am just a way for her to get her needs met. I wish I knew how to stop and get off this trail and I am sure it will get worse before better. She just asked me last week what I gave her to drink with Christmas dinner said she had been sick for three days said someone tried to poison her oh dear this is way to crazy for me

over 1 year, said...

my siste's second husband wants t o out her in a nursing home against her wishes

over 1 year, said...

My 74 year old mother is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. My uncle (her brother, who lives near her) and myself are c0-P.O.A.s, and he was the Trustee of her irrevocable Trust. I also have an older brother who lives overseas. Mom's condition reached a point where, even with uncle's help, she could no longer live at home. Uncle, who physically had the binder containing the Trust, denied he was P.O.A. and could do nothing to put Mom in a home, I put on my black hat, saddled up and drove hundreds of miles to put Mom in a memory care facility. At that point uncle threw the binder, a few papers, her checkbook, tax paperwork and bills at me and told me he was done, he just couldn't be responsible. I learned, once I read the Trust, that uncle WAS P.O.A., so he could have placed her in a care facility at any point instead of pressuring me. Also, as Trustee, HE was (still) responsible for paying her bills and paying her taxes, that he's signed on the dotted line agreeing to do so. Also, I found that he sold Mom's home out of the Trust and bought her condo (a year and a half ago) in her name, meaning Medicaid would get it since those funds were no longer held by the Trust. I've spent the last 6 months replacing paperwork he didn't pass along (to get ready to file for Medicaid when her funds run out), putting the condo in the Trust, battling doctors and insurance on her behalf, pre-planning her funeral,... you get the idea. On the bright side, I had uncle replaced as Trustee with myself, since I was acting as Trustee anyways. Mom is my part-time job. My parents knew, when they set up the Trust, that my uncle should be the one to do this. He's close, it's his sister, I have a young child and a demanding job, and they wanted a Trust so my brother and I would inherit something. Alzheimer's runs strongly in our family. Anyways, I am "it". My brother won't even respond to my email updates, let alone provide any emotional support. My uncle and aunt call and complain about where Mom is, my aunt screaming "Your Mother's in Hell!!! Don't you care? All you want is the money!!!" any time there's a lull in the conversation. I said if they didn't like her current home they were welcome to find a new place, as long as it took Medicaid, had doctors on staff (I can't drive her) and could deal with an able-bodied exit-seeker. They want her in a luxury facility which can't handle her (she's agitated and sometimes violent) and doesn't take Medicaid. They want to sell Mom's assets, which aren't hers really, they belong to the Trust. I'm doing the best I can from hundreds of miles away. My father died at the end of 2013, at which point we discovered Mom's dementia -Dad had been covering for her. I don't feel I've had time to grieve either of my parents, and my uncle's (and aunt's) berating and my brother's total lack of support is making a terrible situation a nightmare. Honestly, I'm trying!

over 1 year, said...

My niece is terminally ill , who has more say regarding her care , well being, her son or her parents ,

over 1 year, said...

My niece is terminally ill who has more say for her well being her son or her parents

almost 2 years, said...

My smoother in law and her daughter froze my father in law bank account plus took his check now buying his needs are getting expense what can we do

almost 2 years, said...

I am the primary caregiver for my 90 year old mother with whom I live. Also living in the house are my two minor children. I am a single parent, and the children's father has abandoned us. We get no help from him and no help from his family. I work part-time for a doctor, care for my children, and manage my son's career (he is a teen actor) and my daughter's learning disability. I also run a small business. My brother is a recovering alcoholic and cannot get a job. He has gotten into super expensive student loans and owes $500,000 on these loans for his two kids, one of whom is 30 years old and refuses to get a job or help pay back his loan. He lives with his parents. My brother leases a brand new Mercedes. He is constantly asking for money and has taken $7,500 from my dementia mother. He refuses to pay it back. He yells at me when I ask him to help in her care. He insists that he helps but then claims he is too busy looking for a job. Additionally, when I ask him about his son, who is 30, if he could help here and there, he insists that this young man, who is unemployed, is just too busy. Too busy talking to agents, producers, studio heads - but still does not have a job. Today when I told him I felt like I am taking on 98% of the burden he told me that if I continued to talk like that he would hang up on me. I told him go ahead, hang up on me. I realize I am in a dysfunctional situation. I tried calling various government agencies to see about getting professional help for an affordable rate. I can't even get any respite care. I am desperate.

about 2 years, said...

My Brother has kept my Mother away from me for 2 years saying that i just make her blood pressure go up and that i am insane, She is iin the second stages of alzhimiers Disease and i need and want to see her. I'm not insane i am bipolar and medicated and seeing a doctor monthly. Before she got bed ridden i took care of her everyday, taking her out to her favorite places, shopping and kept her from morning till 6pm, as she loved to play with my baby daughter. This is killing me, im so scared she is gonna die and i won't get to tell her how much i love her and to say goodbye! is this legal?

over 2 years, said...

Family dynamics are hard. My situation isn't as difficult as many I've read in this thread, but still my brothers and I have become estranged. I moved back to the same city as my parents ten years ago because all of us had moved away and I knew my folks would need help eventually. So now that my Dad is 92 and my Mom has Alzheimer's, I'm the one caring for both of them. My Mom went into memory care this year and my brothers have come to visit, but when they come it never seems to give me much help. It's more work because I have to arrange get-togethers and still keep up with my caregiving roles. From taking classes from the Alz Assoc. I knew that keeping the family informed is important, and I tried to do that for a while. But it was always me taking the time to write all the news and them just replying, thanks; or something like that. Again, more work for me and no support coming back for my efforts. My brother had the idea to have video chat meetings so we all signed up for Skype or something but when the meeting time would come I'd log on and sit there for ten minutes waiting for the others, who didn't show up and each time I wound up getting disgusted and closing the window in a huff. It obviously was not as much of a priority for them as it was for me. Over the past few months I've stopped communicating with my brothers at all, because it only angered me to try. They rarely take the time to call my Mom even though she needs calls more than ever, living alone in the care facility. My Dad still gets emails from them but they don't include me so I'm now isolated from my siblings. I chose it, because dealing with them was more frustrating than helpful. I know it's not a healthy response but what can I do? It's not like they are suddenly going to start being nurturing. I think the problem from their POV is, they feel guilty because they can't really do anything to help. But from my POV, they don't really try to help, they just assume they can't. Through this situation I've realized that my brothers have opinions about me, based on my past behavior. I was never big on taking responsibilities in the past and I wasn't smart with money, and I've noticed that they still think of me that way, even though I've stepped up and taken on all the responsibilities regarding my parents. To them I'll always be the little sis who is kind of a loser and who tries to skate through life. That's not who I am any more but I've felt that judgment, I believe that in their minds I'm still the same. I'd like my brothers to give me "credit" for all I do, but they really have no idea how much I do, and besides, life just doesn't work that way. Whatever. I never thought my relationship with them would deteriorate like this, but I feel okay about myself regardless, because I know I'm doing the right thing. What it comes down to is that we as caregivers (yall are my new family lol) we take care of our relatives because we care about them, and because we have the ability to. And regardless of how that goes, we know that we're doing the right thing. Along with hardship comes growth, so I know in the long run I will benefit from the situation, even if I can't tell how, from my current perspective. I am scared about how long this might go on...but I just take one day at a time. I put my life on hold for a long time and I'm just now starting to look around me and start doing a few things for myself. My brothers don't realize how much work this has been for me, how much heartbreak I've suffered, or how much it has changed me. But I do, and I suppose that's all that really matters.