Can I sue my sibling for not helping me care for my parents?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Is there anyway I can bring suit against my sister, who has estranged herself from the family and left me with 24/7 care of my 90 and 92 yr old parents? I am struggling to care for them at this point. I am using local resources to try to get some help. Thank you for response.

Expert Answer

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

There is no legal obligation to provide care for your parents. That is true for you, too. You do not have to care for them. It will help you be less resentful if you recognize that you are doing this because you CHOOSE to do it.

You may feel that there is no other option, but there is. You can walk away, same as your sister. She will have to live with the consequences of her decision in the years to come. She also will live with the results of your decision to provide care.

Not only can you choose whether or not to provide care, you can also choose what kind of care, and decide what your limits are. You can decide to go with them to medical appointments, or not. You can decide to cook for them, or not. Any assistance they have from you is more than they would have if you opt out.

My suggestion is that you do what you can without threatening your future memories and self esteem. Good luck - it's not easy, bu often it is worth the effort.