The Truth About Siblings and Caregiving

Here’s the truth about siblings and caregiving:

Caregivers and healthcare professionals know, “there’s always one.” In most families there is one sibling who shoulders most of the responsibility for caregiving. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of six or the only child. There’s always one.

Sometimes you become ‘the one’ because you are a natural leader or doer. Sometimes the role is yours because, admit it your bossy, and you don’t make lots of space for other siblings to help or have input. Sometimes your parents choose you and sometimes geography does. It doesn’t matter so much how you come to the role. What matters is how you handle it.

If you are ‘the one’ there are certain things you need to watch out for – besides burnout, of course. Beware these four traps: resentment, wishful thinking, indecision and indiscretion.

The four traps of caregiving with siblings

Resentment: It is easy to become resentful when you are ‘the one.’ “Where’s the help?” “Why is this on me?” “Why do they get a pass?” And of course, “This isn’t fair.” It’s not that your resentment isn’t justified – it very well could be. It’s just that negativity can eat you up. And when you are the caregiver, you need to take care of your self – mentally, physically, and emotionally.

When my parents were both hospitalized, I kept a spreadsheet of all the things I needed to do for them. There were 196 items on the list at one point. Plus I had my full-time job. Plus I had my kids. When one of my siblings would tell me they needed to take a break from our family crisis to buy groceries or do laundry it would make me crazy. I could feel the effect my resentment was having on me and I knew it was only going to make me sick or permanently damage relationships I wanted to preserve.

Unable at the time to seek the help of a professional therapist due to time and money constraints, I had to find a way to deal with my feelings. It was during my morning gratitude practice that I decided I’d rather be thankful that I was able to manage so much, than be resentful that I had to do so much. How lucky I was that I had the strength, stamina, resources and organizational skills to handle our family crisis. And who was I to expect everyone else would work the same way I did? We were all caring for our parents in our own best ways. This shift in how I thought about my responsibilities was huge for me. I was truly grateful for what I was able to do.

Wishful thinking: Even though I learned to be thankful for my role, my husband did not. “Why don’t you ask for help?” he’d say. “You have a family. Someone else needs to do that.” I understood where he was coming from, but I also knew he was practicing wishful thinking.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses. I am great at execution. I can manage logistics like nobody’s business. I have mad Google skills. Couple that with my assertiveness and I am often the best person to ask questions of oncologists, negotiate assisted living leases, lead meetings with the eldercare attorney. I do my research, prepare my questions, and ask for what I need.

I’m not so good when it comes to the emotional tasks or the soft skills. My sisters are much, much better in those areas than I am. So it would have been wishful thinking to ask them to take on some of my tasks and expect they would handle them the way I would. Better for me to ask them to step in where I wasn’t very good. “Hey can you call Mum? She needs someone to talk to.” Or, “Can you keep in touch with the relatives so I can deal with the doctors?”

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Indecision: If you are ‘the one’ chances are you are, or will be, your parents’ power of attorney and healthcare proxy. If that is the case, you are in charge. Own it. It’s good practice to ask for input from your siblings, but know when to stop gathering opinions and take action. Your parents gave you the role because they trusted you. You need to trust yourself. If your siblings don’t like it, that is unfortunate. But, you are not caring for them.

One way to avoid indecision while also avoiding alienating family members is to take a high input low democracy approach. Get everyone’s’ feedback. Value it. Weigh it. And then make your best decision. Hopefully, your family will understand if your decision isn’t in line with their input. And if they don’t, just know you listened and acted to the best of your ability.

Indiscretion: As a caregiver, you will most likely spend plenty of time with your aging or ailing parent. And during those interactions you may be tired, stressed, and frustrated with your siblings. Don’t mention it! Find a friend, a spouse, an online support group to vent to. Do not unload on the person who requires care. They have enough to worry about and do not need the guilt, worry and stress that comes from knowing family rifts are forming.

About a week before my mother died, one of the last times she was awake, she took my hand, and said, “Promise me you will be good to your sisters.”

“Damnit, I was trying to avoid this moment,” I joked. “But of course I will Mum.” It was what she needed to hear.

And I meant it.

You might also like:

How To Talk To Your Siblings About Your Aging Parents


256 comments on “The Truth About Siblings and Caregiving”

  1. Kathy @ SMART Living Reply

    Hi Liz! Just found you on the link for Women of Midlife on FB. The title of your post caught my eye because I think the majority of us in midlife face this issue if we have siblings. I know it came up with both my mom and dad. And while I was not the “primary” caregiver for either of them. (Dad took care of mom and then a friend took care of Dad) I was sort of the “lead” in many of the issues you address. In some ways I had it easier that many others, but there is always that dynamic with siblings. Two of us lived closer and two lived far away. The biggest challenge for me was that my older sister “exected” to be the lead but wasn’t really that good at it (IMHO) and my parents felt because she was older she should be the one in charge. So while I did most of it, I still had to let her feel like she was doing it. Fortunately it did work out because we love one another but it is seldom easy. Thanks for shedding light on this issue! I’m sure it is helping others. ~Kathy

    • admin Reply

      Thanks for your comments Kathy. These issues are universal – but they all play out differently based on the families.

      • Sadie Reply

        I’m glad. I read this article. I’m stuck with parents (they live with me). I have three siblings who don’t help at all to give them time. I get very angry when I see they have no attachments towards parents and busy in life with zero empathy. And always complaining on how I’m not doing enough.
        My mom had Breast cancer in 2019. My husband helped but none of the siblings helped her. I had to put my kids in-front of tv all the time so I can take care of her and take her to all appointment (she didn’t speak English). Plus I had to call the siblings to update them on everything (hence, taking more time away from my family). By 2021, I took all my phone numbers out as her point of contact and gave my Dads number without asking him so he takes complete care of her and not me. I was mentally exhausted and my kids were getting effected.

        I have my own husband and 3 kids.

        I’m always stressed I beg my sisters indirectly to have them over for a visit sometimes or even for one weekend a month but no one wants them over 🙁 since it’s work for them.

        Now, Its still so depressing since both my parents are in good health now but they just stay home all day 24/7. They have no friends and they go no where (we live close to beach in california…they don’t even go to beach)
        Me and my husband have no privacy. I think I have mild depression I’m never able to spend time with just my husband and kids alone at home.
        I hate talking to my siblings now.

        • Yves Reply

          I am in the position of trying to help my aging, housebound dad and also trying to support my sister who has had sepsis a year ago. She is the eldest, but has a radically different way of caregiving to myself, she herself needs to be needed and has taken every need over for him.. even the ones that he could have done himself, so now as a result he will do nothing for himself at all, wont wash, cook, clean his home. He does everything in bed, eats meals…everything. My sister enables this albeit well meaning, but all she does is moan how tired she is and can’t cope with him, so I feel like I am caregiver to both of them. A blind man could see that my dad need carers in to take care of personal needs, but she ignores me when I bring it up. I believe he would have a better quality of life if he was even in sheltered housing where he could socialise a bit. It is causing issues between my sister and I which I dont want, but I see no answer to it.

          • admin

            A very tough situation for you indeed. Keep in mind, she is choosing to tire herself out, and you can choose to let her.

          • Nadine

            I have a Sybil g loves the upper hand,I offered to split time have heard nothing she said my mom will not leave her house for no reason,well last time we spoke my oldestest sister said I was dead to her.. I am not gonna visit my mom under these circumstances I am 63 I was a Alzheimer care giver for 7 yrs…she just wants control,and money control, I pray a phone call is enough, I cry all the time toxic is an understatement, I offer but they refuse but blame cause they get no help,narcissist manipulation.makes me angry.

          • Kimberly

            I Feel at this moment I’m watching a rewind of what I was going through word fof word

          • Carla

            I really feel your pain same situation I have over 10 siblings and none help me out I take mom to all her appointments I try doing it all. I work a 12 hour shift job alot of times I get by on 2 hours of sleep I’ve been doing this for years mom is 89 and dad 85 he still drive but not a Ross town so I have to take them to appointments I don’t even ask my sisters anymore one always say what do she have to go for o just gave up I’m so exhausted the only way I’m surviving is the grace of God. It’s more, but I don’t want to keep going on and on, Thx you for your time

        • Lisa Fell Reply


          I was in a very similar situation, and in the last 11 months both my parents died. Consider yourself lucky to have them with you

          • babablksheepy

            sometimes it is not lucky to have the burden of people in your home 24/7

        • maria Reply

          I am experiencing this right now I was like hang on a minute I also have a life while they’re doing their own things while I ‘m here in the hospital every day night waiting for them to volunteer ):

        • Kristin Reply

          I just wanted to say something on the subject,I take care of my mother. She lives with me and my siblings live far and sister is closer but nobody teaches out to even say hi and see how she is doing.. It has gotten so bad that I have no friends I don’t go out alone and CC when I do go anywhere my mother is with me..Im 41 years old,I took care of my kids and they are older because I had my children young.. My mother want there for me when I was younger but all my siblings she took care of.. Even after all I do she speaks of them to people like they are the best kids and how well they are doing..I really want to break free and move on with my life.. She had been with me for over 8 years, I have health issues and told her I need to take care of myself and just have a little me time but all she sends to care about is herself and what has to be done for her..I would think with a roof over her head and getting whatever she wants would be good enough but it seems she doesn’t want me to have a life.. Like she is afraid that if I meet someone I will be happy and want to move on and move her into her own place and she don’t want that… My mother sabotage everything I try to do for myself to be happy.. I’m stuck in the house depressed and when I’m that way that is when she sends the happiest..idk what to do, I really think she plays a roll like she can’t do anything on her own but when she want there for me she did allot.. How can I leave and just move on without feeling guilty if I leave and move on she may be homeless and have nothing and that is what keeps me in this toxic situation that I’m in.. In the past 4 years I may have gone out alone maybe 5 or 6 times.. The house is in my name so I just can’t get up and leave ,I don’t want to kick her out. I do love her, but I would never do that to my children. If I had a place to live and then in my life I would be happy with that but nothing is good enough.. I’m so depressed.. Sorry I just had to let it out and say this somewhere..I just don’t know what to do..I can’t afford to pay for her own place and mine but I can’t live my life with her living with me cause she didn’t give me time or took to breath…I wish they would help a little, my mom took care of them and they are happy living there loves and I’m stuck.. What did I do so bad in life or my past life to deserve this??? I’m going to die if I don’t get help but she don’t care, she had appointments and says I have to be there and do my life keeps getting postponed…I need advice!! Please wear should I do

          • admin

            I am sorry you are feeling this way. Your mother is making choices about what she wants. You get to make choices too. You can chose you and still be a good daughter but you will have to live based on what you think is good enough, not what she does. Easier said than done, I know, but your life matters too.

          • Survivor

            Kristin, I am in a similar situation, except I am living with my mother (not the other way around). My sisters were very cruel to her when our father died and she does not want them near her, and I understand that, but she gets paranoid if I want to do anything for myself. I had to give up my fulltime job and work from home parttime to be availalble for her. She wants me to drive her to appointments, and help her shopping. If I make plans to see a friend she thinks I am leaving her. I joined a yoga group and she made such a fuss about me leaving her alone one night a week that I dropped out. I am invited to events with my old workmates and need to attend so I will get my career back at some future time but she always has an emergency as i am walking out the door… She has friends but she still wants me at home when she is meeting them. She is not sick or disable, just very needy. I cannot afford to move out. Nothing i can do except vent here and read. She does not like me talking on the phone or on zoom. Just wanted to let you know I understand. It is unfair and very hard to cope, but just remember to look after yourself in the little moments while she is sleeping. Get a set of headphones and exercise to music. This helps me. God bless.

        • Carly Reply


          I feel your frustration and can relate in most ways than not.

          I too am in California, my mother is in a beach community, yet she hasn’t seen the ocean in what feels like years.

          My sibling and I are approximately 1 hr away (on a good traffic day) and since COVID, my Mother has spent 99.9 percent of her time with my husband and I. Im still holding onto the idea of having children, or a child at this stage. We have embryos on ice and waiting for that “perfect” timing, but the reality is that there is no such thing.

          My sister had her for less than a week recently and by day 6 she was already spending her slatted 1 hour therapy session discussing my mother and all they ways that she can’t take care of her. It’s quite ridiculous to hear her complain.

          To all, just chiming in to say I feel you and wondering why we are not all coordinating a retreat of sorts to simply get away and chit chat with those in similar scenarios.

          Ps. Working Daughter is the best site name anyone could ever think of.

          • Mary

            I can relate to you 100%. I am the primary caregiver to my mom who has dementia and was diagnosed during mid 2020. For the past almost 3 years, i have taken care of all of mom’s life. I have four (4), yes 4 other siblings, and one sister moved to the city where we live, and began helping a year + ago (Thank God). The other 3 assist and see her about 12 hrs per year, and that is not an exaggeration! I do 12 hrs a week most week (even now that she has moved into AL).

            My husband helps 100%, and has supported me throughout this living hell (with little family/friends/support). I do it out of love and obligation, but it’s very difficult. We have finally gotten my mom moved to assisted living in January of this year, and things are better. She still requires help with all areas of her life, that i assist her with.

            This has almost broken me, and i have managed to work full time, and started a business as well 1.5 years ago! I will never get this time back, but i am willing to sacrifice for my mom. Even God feels very far away…

            I now take just one day at a time, and try to find some peaceful moments. We will all get our turns with this, and some people who are cruel enough not to help their parents may spend eternity in way that they do not prefer…

            Keep on keeping on, and try to find happiness in the small things.

        • SylviAnn Reply

          When my older brother passed away in 2021, the question between my younger sister and I was who was going to care for our younger brother. My deceased brother was the caregiver of our younger brother who has special needs and mental health issues. I am the oldest girl in my family and I was the responsible caregiver of my younger siblings. At first my sister wanted to be the caretaker of his disability check and I, his physical caregiver. It doesn’t work that way in the state of Texas. The money follows the client. Anyway, she both my brother and I into a state of anxiety. Finally, I had took him to her house. She tried to manipulate me into signing over the life Insurance, from deceased bro., So to start “fixing” the house for our younger brother to live in with a relative. I refused and since then have not spoken to my sister. I blocked her calls and my brother; however, I still spoke to him via phone. He will constantly call me and ask for money. I was in the state of a Mental breakdown. I made up my mind and said forget them, I don’t need their Toxic family relationship. Eventually, I received word that my sister has full court appointed Guardianship of our younger brother. Currently, 2 yrs. after the fiasco, my sister calls me through her daughter’s phone to tell me that younger brother had a bad accident as the day center he is going to. He slipped and broke his leg, had to get knee surgery. Then in her phone call she is starting to scarcastic about me blocking her. I just thanked her for letting me know about brother being in hospital. I called him, but after our phone call, he would constantly call again. I just made up my mind to block him and not be controlled. Tired of being a victim.

      • Katy Reply

        Hi its Katy
        I moved local to parents a few years ago I went to job and helped them, saw parents both dead, my brother lived 10 mins away did o
        except abuse verbally and tried to put my dad in a home
        Lucky my mum and dad died at home and we both get half each inheritance, even at Xmas my brother sends no card of love for my parents and one evening 6 months ago sent a text of 50 verbal abuse words, I never got over it and never will the house will be sold in 2023 and I will be having once a year contact maybe a call due to the disrespect and stress
        He disrespect my parents the house, the solicitors everyone
        If my dad had gone in a home we wd have lost inheritance its not just money he wd not meet me or be late for solicitors or not be there for house value and bullied me as single
        I will never forget it, lucky my friend was good and had a similar situation
        Now it’s just about selling house, so cold but distance will help I been abroad for xmas as usual a sarcastic call criticising my trip for no reason, its odd my brothers daughter never wants to be with dad Xmas or new year preferring grandma in Leeds its odd also my brother never lets daughter and me in house 16 years on ????
        I think.distance will help and its never saying thankyou or dropping in an Xmas card even when they died I was alone with them at home and in hospital

        • Susan Reply

          I have been (to my dad), and now my mom, I’m the only one of five that stayed close to them, but moved. They hate me for it. Told me once I could choose mom and dad or them, since I lived closer they assigned me their caregiver, even tho I was already, but to make me choose,,,my mom is very ill, terminal cancer, she treats them better than me, it hurts so bad, I love all my siblings, I will defend myself no matter what, that’s what they do, not only that my oldest son gives every Saturday for my parents for years,,
          I’m scared, I don’t think I can survive my mother, we are close, but she doesn’t ever show me that, always fussing at me(I’m her caregiver and live with her) she never stands up for me, even when she knew I needed their help,, time is ticking, I’m terrified of them, mom, how will I cope without my mom

    • Mar Reply

      Your story is so much the same as I have experienced. I too have been in this predicament for 7 years . Now mom has passed 6 months ago I still cop the brunt of this task. What was supposed to be shared never happened what was supposed to be love between siblings towards care for our beloved parents never happened what was supposed to be kindness to each other never happened. However we can hold our heads high with love and honour towards caregiving to our parents. Being once a aged care nurse I saw this happen to many families I never ever expected it to happen to ours. You are the best soul loving compassionate caring and human never beat yourself up we do our best we hold them to the best we can ever do. God bless you and you will have your hearts memories hold them cherish them your world and your giving will never be forgotten in the loved ones whom you hold their hand through their journey of life.

      • Kyle Reply

        I cares for my father as he dies from cancer for 9 months. My brother did nothing, my mom wasn’t there for me. I’ve never felt so angry and alone. 2 months after he died another car ran into my dads old truck, on top of having cared for my dad alone now I’m injured and have headaches and neck pain daily. My mom and brother couldn’t care less.

          • Bernadette M. Nelson

            I carry tremendous anger and resentment toward family members who haven’t even called me during the past 3.5 yrs I relocated my mom w Alzheimers from her home to assisted living near me. It’s hard to believe people can be so self-centered. They all learned that behavior from my mom. I think they regard me as the invisible Cinderella. I need to find a way to dismiss their value in my mind. Fortunately my husband is a huge help to me.

          • Melissa

            I was Googling estranging from family as I am 24 working full time with 3 siblings that don’t help with palliative care with my mother. I then decided to google ‘siblings not helping with caring’ to find someone who is going through everything I am going through. I am exhausted, my mum relies on me mentally for support and then caring and doing everything physically whilst I have 2 siblings that claim they are tired when one visits once a month from London, and my brother eats the food I buy or make for him once a week. My other sibling has visited twice since Christmas.

            I feel like I hate them. They talk about me… I’m now short with them… I have told them how I feel and now they just avoid us even more. I’m hurt. Why has this all been left to me. I have always been the closest to my Mum but I can’t believe how little my other siblings seem to care about her welfare. I’m at a loss. I no longer see it getting better. I haven’t had a day off in 7 months at this point.

            I thought I was alone. I now know I’m not. I just feeling I’m sinking in grief and chores.

        • Laurie Gibbons Reply

          My sister hasn’t talked to me for 6 months after my mom died, she never went to see her, my husband and I did all the work. Paperwork finances was my husband. I was there for my mom 4 days a week at the nursing home. I don’t regret it for a minute. I have said awful things to her because I don’t understand how she could do this. The last time she sent the police to my house because she was worried about me. I was so upset u yelled and screamed at her. I understand why she did because I have depression and anxiety and take medication for it. She said she will never worry about me again and that was the last time she talked to me.

          • admin

            I am sorry it has come to this for you and your sister. All yu can do is apologize, follow through in your actions and forgive yourself. Your sister will come around if she wants to.

        • ACHR Reply

          I have been caring for my mum who is slowly succumbing to dementia. She is more confused every day. What hurts so much is that every 6 months one of two of my siblings call my mum and rages at her about all of her failings, her poor decisions in her life, many and most of them related to her choices that have to do with how much money they are getting in the will. She calls me crying, so hurt. She has trouble standing up for herself. I am so angry that two of her children do this to her with their hands out. The latest rage outburst at her was this morning, the morning after Thanksgiving. What kind of son does that to his mother?!

          • Survivor

            Oh this sounds like my sisters. I am so sorry you are going through this. It is very common to have family like this but try telling this to most people and they dont understand.

    • rmk Reply

      But each is responsible for their choices – if one sibling chooses to sink her entire life into caregiving – that’s a choice. there are always options. me of the choicest that is not yours is to dictate what others should do or go around playing a victim and resenting others who may actually have better and healthier boundaries. i learned no matter what i did or didn’t do, it was never enough for the one who wanted the role as martyr. but it’s always easier to see others shortcomings … right?

      • Katelynn Reply

        Choices made to be caretaker, not the only person who has responsibility towards parents. Usually the ones criticizing are the ones who do the absolute least. I think it’s better to just understand that people can make the choice to not help their parents. There are consequences to that choice as well. I just wish those who bug out, would just say it instead of creeping away sneakily.

        • Rose Braeunig Reply

          No let me tell you something I may not be true in wall but they are my family and she is taught me so much Dad my family has never taught me I love her that I m a c a m

        • GM Reply

          “Sinking their entire life into caregiving”? What a calloused thing to say. I’m sure that’s how you have justified why you are not helping. For those of us who bear the load of parental caregiving, your comments are hurtful and lack insight. You seem to blame the caretakers for doing a thankless job. If your answer to being stressed and worn out with caretaking is “just don’t do it”, you have no compassion and no heart for the one who needs the care. It’s a good thing for the recipient of the care that everyone doesn’t have your selfish self centered attitude.

          • Survivor

            Such a cruel thing to say, We choose to be carers because we have compassion. I pity the person who made that callous comment.

      • Sherry Reply

        Yes, one can make choices not to help. Choices are all over the place. Jet ski for the kids vs electric bill for monetarily poor parents. Billy Bob’s ballgame vs sitting with a sick parent who could die any minute. A friend’s birthday party instead of being at the hospital for a parent’s life threatening surgery. No groceries in the house, Mom? Sorry, I have to get my hair done.
        These are a very small sample of the multitude of excuses I’ve heard people use, in and outside of my family. In what universe can anyone honestly believe that it’s ok for one person to have to do it all? If you have parents, you have responsibility. Yes, one can make the choice not to help. And yes, there are consequences to that choice. One of those consequences is that now, literally everyone knows who you are. I mean who you really are. No matter how handsome or pretty you are, or how much perfume you’ve always worn to disguise it, people can now smell the sewage.

        • admin Reply

          I agree every choice has a consequence. But I don’t agree we can always know who someone is by the choices they make. Maybe you were Billy Bob once and your parent never missed a game and that’s a family value. Maybe your childhood was painful – we just never know what happens inside another family.

          • Amanda Hart

            Im at the beginning stages of taking care of both my parents long term by myself. They were both very abusive to my sister and I growing up, we all have been estranged for years and reconnected and estranged again many times over. When my own daughter left home at 16 because she couldn’t stand me anymore I had to get serious help. Professional help. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for 6 years now, still go to weekly therapy, and my daughter still doesn’t want anything to do with me. I was always too loving, a total pushover, a total peace maker and that’s just my demeanor. But I did fail as a mother. Probably even worse than my parents failed us. Now my only daughter lives with my sister who I know loves my daughter very very much and has been an amazing parent to her in many ways except two… and forgiveness. I had to learn for many years my therapy wasn’t about reconciliation with my daughter, but finding the value in myself and forgiving myself so I could move on and continue life with hope and a future. Now that Im in that place both my parents are going down hill. Im not married, I lost my daughter, I really dont have the life most people my age do , but I chose to stop feeling sorry for myself, use my time of singleness to help my parents in every way that my sister may not be able to and ask God to help me continue working on myself so when the time comes both my parents are gone I can truly be at peace and hopefully continue my next journey in life somewhere new. My options are limitless. No one wants to die alone and I know without a doubt no matter what happens God has ALWAYS taken care of me and whether or not my daughter ever wants me in her life again I know I will still have people in my life who love me. I don’t blame anyone for their choices. People have to do what is best for them. Helping my parents helps me. And gives me experience to help others with estranged family. Life is hard. And gets harder as we age. God bless you all. Thankyou all for sharing.

          • admin

            Thank you for sharing. “Helping my parents helps me.” Yes, it is a beautiful thing when we can see what caregiving gives to us too. Hang in there!

          • Andrea Carr

            Amanda Hart, it sounds like you and I are in similar boats. I feel, except for my close friends, that I have NO ONE to support me. My daddy is almost 88 and except for depression after my mama passed 18 years ago, has been relatively in excellent health.
            Now, due to his feeling of not be useful in things he could do when he was younger, it has been a challenge. I have one older sister who only lives one hour away and she often forgets what she promises what to do, what to do, etc…because she’d rather party, party, party. (She’s 61, I’m 56) My friends are great, but they luckily are spending time with their grandchildren, still working from overspending for many years, etc… Both of my daughters, and between them I have 5 grandchildren and 1 more on the way that I never get to see since I left their Father after 25 years of marriage. About a year after separating, all of a sudden I became a horrible mother, wife, and “bad to drink”. A little more than a year prior to separation, my 17 year old, whom we’d never had any trouble with, met some guy, and she ran away. It broke my heart in half. They are now all up their Daddy’s and his new wife’s butt, and won’t even go and see my Daddy ! (their own “Pa”, who adored them; thought they hung the son and moon”. I know lots encounter this, but my plate is loaded and more than physical help, I need emotional support- and there is none for me. My sister is oblivious, thinks spending 2 hours with our Daddy on Sunday is being a good daughter; I beg to differ- use common sense and don’t ask what he needs? Just pick up a few items at the grocery store, grab some toilet paper, clean a bathroom, etc….. I’m at my wits end, and though I cry and am angry after leaving his house (after work) sometimes because I am afraid of losing him, though I know death is eminent to us all. He’s getting better and stronger, but that’s NOW… one knows what’s coming down the pipe, and while I’m anticipating it and trying to think ahead…my sister is off partying like a 16 year old.

      • Rhoda A. Myers-Whitt Reply

        Your sister did what had to be done and she should have been helped in any way possible. To say she did it to be a martyr is just to let yourself off the hook. All too often siblings end up estranged because the one who loves the parent/s enough to try to make them comfortable has not even emotional support from siblings whose “boundaries ” are defined to allow them to avoid giving up anything. But those siblings will almost always be quite willing to take the time remotely criticize and then show up at the house sale and later the funeral to get the things that did matter to them.
        The parent/s would be ashamed of many of these.

        • Talia Reply

          Well said Rhoda.
          I have 4 other siblings who live locally 10-15 minutes away but do nothing to support our father, our only living parent.
          They have never visited their father only speak to him on the phone. They have never bothered to contact me to see how I am. I just exist. The hurt and pain they have caused me is difficult to put into words.
          I am now estranged from all 4 siblings, have been for 4 years. How selfish and self-centred they are.
          I will never forgive them for as long as I live.

        • Diane Reply

          We are 3 sisters. One sister is a very big enabler. She seems to be the one who sets the tone. And that’s not good because she overdoes and then gets upset very easily if you want to discuss anything with her about the situation. She is retired and so is my other sister. They are 78 and 75. I am 64 and the only one that works full time, I am a therapist and carry a large caseload which I push into 3, 12 hour days, leaving a couple of days to regroup before back to work again.
          But now my sisters have determined I’m the weekend person. Even so far as staying from Friday to Monday. Then back to my work on Tuesday. I finally took a weekend off. And now it’s back to “can I stay w my mother until Monday again”.
          I was a a bbq, got that text and just burst into tears. I finally had a normal week and then this. I told my sister I don’t want to do every weekend. It’s not fair. I’ll do every other weekend Friday through Monday. I need a schedule. I can’t anticipate no life at home.
          I live a couple hours from my mom. And I live on Long Island where the traffic to Jersey is known for being horrible. It could take sometimes 3 or more hours just to get there. Also, I’m spending between 550. To 700 every week in food and gas and tolls to go. I’m getting overwhelmed and I don’t want to feel resentful, but I am getting there.
          My sisters do good staying w my mother too. They break up the week between them, but not weekends. And they get days at home w their families because they don’t work. But we are all stressed.
          We thought my mother was going down quickly but when we introduced oxygen, she became stable. She’s always been independent. But now her mind is becoming a bit more childish and she is bossy, wants everything prepared and be entertained. It’s an all day thing.
          I’m patient but I set limits. My sisters set no limits and my mother is taking advantage of them. But it’s because her mind isn’t as clear. So I understand. But my sisters set a standard and that’s what my mother is getting used to. It’s not healthy for anyone.
          Since my mom’s condition is more or less stable right now. She is getting hospice services. But not as bad as other patients..but anyway since she is more or less stable, I feel this can go on for quite a while. And the thought of giving up all my weekends when I work, makes me feel sick.
          My sisters don’t understand. Like I said, if one is an enabler, she will not see my problem. The other one follows. So right now, I’m probably the bad guy. But I really don’t want to do this every weekend, like I have been. I want to do every other weekend and I’ll stay through Monday.
          It’s so hard to talk w my sisters. They have an opinion of me and they don’t understand my work and my business. I also have a home life. I’m married. My daughter lives close to me but is self sufficient. But I do have a life and responsibilities when I’m not working.
          I love my mother. I just don’t like this situation. Who would?! I want extra help and my sisters don’t.
          I’ve been crying since yesterday. My sister’s text ruined the rest of my week off, my anniversary is today and I don’t even care. I’m not bad. I believe my sisters think I am a little. Like I said one is a huge enabler and the other a follower. So to them I know I don’t look good for setting limits on my life. I just get a pit in my stomach, my chest and my throat thinking this could be months, even years. I feel my life is being controlled. It feels like I don’t have one at all. These expectations are truly gripping me. Makes me feel like I have no life. I’m struggling with this.
          How can I be positive when I feel this way. If I don’t set limits, I’ll be angry and depressed. I’ve learned how to not be a martyr and to set boundaries. And now there’s a push to get me to regress. I can’t. So I’m sure I look terrible. But I think I’m the only voice of reason. And I have to take care of my mental and physical health too. I’m a very good devoted daughter. I just can’t do things the way my sisters have planned it

          • admin

            You must care for your mother in a way that works for you and that you can be at peace about. You cannot worry what others think – that leads to burnout. Clear head, good heart – and tune the rest out.

        • Donna S Reply

          Rhoda, What a smart yet empathetic lady you are! My sis 7 hrs. away always accuses & complains about me, yet I haven’t gotten to live in my own house for 2 yrs. after retiring. If your parents didn’t plan for long-term care funding & don’t want to lose their home, how do you “choose” what happens next when you know they’d whittle away & die without you? My sis has never said thank you & picks fights when she’s visiting (over silly stuff like not owning certain cooking spices or her brand of shampoo). My husband has Parkinson’s so I do all the care for 3 memory patients “by choice”.

      • PJ Spinillo Reply

        Hi rmk:
        This is exactly what my brothers have said to me and it has cut me to the core. Please understand that your response implies the primary caregiver HAS good choices and that is not always the case. there are no Senior resources that do help, regardless of what you read. We are all alone with a huge responsibility and do not have anyone else to help and Its not a “healthy boundary” when it a moral and ethical choice that your parent should be cared for rather than warehoused alone in an institution, especially during a global pandemic. Through my time of caregiving for my parent, my sibling were still my sibling and my parent was still their parent and there ARE things others can do. Things like calling and asking “how are you doing, how is your husband” are you able to get a break? Can I help you by doing online banking, can I help you find ___________ (you name the resource). There is A LOT a non-present sibling CAN do to help and support and to refuse to do that is not a better and healthier way for anyone. Thanks for hearing me out.

        • Katherine Reply

          You said this perfectly. It describes my daily thoughts and observations regarding most of my large family; several siblings, my dad, and the adult grandchildren. It’s more than burn out that many caregivers experience. Its excruciating disillusionment about others. It’s a painful loss on top of a loss to realize that in fact most people, including those we consider “loved ones”, even those who have had dear, loving and kind parents, are very immature in their ability to consider the needs of others before themselves. I don’t mean to be political *crazy that this is a political issue, but it is the same realization that I came to when reading mass of opinions about people who favor abortions and those who don’t. The reality is that all around us are people who can and do end the lives of or have someone end the lives of children growing inside of them/or children whose lives they initiated (males). That is why there is really no such thing as a debate about abortion. Facts are facts are facts. Calling them something different to live with ourselves/others, doesn’t change the simple fact that a child was alive and growing and then is purposefully dismembered, poisoned, etc to stop life and growth. When actually watching the act that is reality. So too is the reality that there are humans who carry this out, and those who request it. In the same vein, people in mass abandon elderly parents everyday and would do it again and again and again in the face of arguments about duty and love and altruistic reward. It IS abandonment, it IS disregard, they ARE that self invested. The difficulty for those of us who have an intrinsic sense of duty, love and altruism is acknowledging the terror of realizing how few there are that seem to be like minded. So we argue with ourselves in frustration, trying to change the emptiness that is our siblings/other abandoners, into hope. It’s not there. As my angel brother/co caretaker with me to our angel mother put it as I grappled with this for the hundredth time, “they are not coming”, “they know and they are not coming”. Not for a phone call, not to ask how you are doing, or how she is, not to help with finances or support of any kind. In for a penny in for a pound. They fear that more than they are willing to care. The end. This is so continually traumatizing for me because my mother was so selfless and encouraging and giving. Haunting. So hard. Wish instead that they all simply didn’t exist. Lately, worse, I hope that they will end up taking care of a spouse with dementia and no one comes to help them.

      • Laura Farmer Reply

        It’s so easy to have this response when you benefit from a sibling shouldering the burden. Shame on you for making them feel like their stress and unhappiness is their choice, fault, decision. Some people have a different definition of gratitude for years of parental sacrifice. Shame on you for making us feel worse.

      • JFO Reply

        Martyr? Come on RMK. Don’t be another “slacker sibling” who can’t deal with the sibling that made the real sacrifice to become your senior parents caregiver. They made a difficult choice. Your comments about “healthier boundaries” and “playing the victim” are nothing more than justification for your self-centered guilt that the good folks on this forum are far too familiar with. You’re preaching to the wrong choir.

      • Debbie Reply

        Total B.S.
        Choose to sink our lives into caregiving? Not my choice.
        Responsible for our own choices? I had NO choice!!!!!

        There are always other options?? Absolutely incorrect. NO another sibling would help and you accuse the caregiver of playing victim.

        Dictate what they should and shouldn’t do? NOT even possible when they all leave.

        Victims? Let me tell you, we are victims. Victims of selfish, self centered siblings.

        You applaud others for setting healthy boundaries!
        For some, they do not have the luxury of setting any boundaries. If you have ever had to be an only 24/7 caregiver for a family member, you would know this.

        Role of a martyr? Someone needs to dig your head out of the sand.

      • Helen smith Reply

        Wow – that’s nasty what you just said – people can choose to be care givers because they are kind and love their parents – others choose not to be but can be generally supportive and others just do not care – ‘me first mentality’ but please don’t discredit daughters and sons and others who choose to care for someone who is ill

    • Elizabeth Butler-Henderson Reply

      I just lost my dad after taking care of him for two years actually more but the last eight weeks in care watching him die. My brother showed up the day he died and when we went back to the house proceeded to start going through the house saying he had to advocate for his kids to ensure they got their fair share because they got nothing from his wife’s family estate. He continued to do this even after the lawyer told us nothing can be divided until after probate. I’m now questioning whether I was wrong to be traumatized by watching him do this. Has anyone else run into this? He chose to only come for a week and the rest of the family has taken his side. I have been accused of playing the hero when I tried to explain that I just watched my dad for weeks dying and I am not ready to watch someone pick what they want. The last thing he was doing was taking pictures of the valuables which made me think he doesn’t trust they’ll all be there. I will never forgive him. I have lost my dad and all my family now because of his callous disregard for my feelings. Thought I knew my brothers.

      • admin Reply

        You aren’t wrong for feeling traumatized – your feelings are your feelings. We all handle death differently and your brother is not in tune at all to what you are going through. I am sorry for your loss.

      • Judi A Swarz Reply

        Equating caregiving with the differences of opinion on abortion is an extraordinarily poor correlation. I am my mother’s caregiver. I am also a proponent of the woman’s right to an abortion. One literally has nothing to do with the other.

        • C McC Reply

          You are absolutely correct. That the writer equated one thing with another was outrageously thoughtless. Plenty of pro-choice people are caring for family members. I am one of them.

        • Holly Reply

          Thank you for your response concerning the correlation between abortion and caregiving. I couldn’t believe that whoever it was that wrote that could make that stretch! Good Lord!

    • Andy Reply

      And then there the one sibling who never moved out of the house, never got a car, never learned to drive, never contributed a cent and has been sponging of the parents for more than 50 years and exploited them financially. That sibling gets my vote for the one who has to take care of them.

      • Christina Reply

        There should be no vote. If your parents took care of you, you should take care of them. If you grew up with siblings then it is on all of you to make the parents comfortable until. I think that is a selfish comment. I hope you have someone to care for you when time comes.

    • AJ Reply

      Hi I care for parents, as they live with me, I have other issues, I am the person who have to tc of my family too. There is issues my mum relates things that happen in my household to other siblings, as my DD will say things and these are all repeated. I am just trying to make peace. I have so much going on, rest of siblings stay at home, but will still try to drag me even making decisions or talking to carers, appointments to talking carer’s etc. I have personal issues that I am dealing with too, within my family. Even if an appointment is needed it will be on my day off. There kids are at school. I do not have anyone to open upto. It hurts, and knowing that all is repeated to others what takes place in my household is worse., she would do the same if she lived with the others too I reckon. Any suggestions, please.

    • Cee Reply

      I admit it, I am the sibling that doesn’t help. I figure, my sister was always the favorite who got everything, so she can do everything. No ugliness intended, it’s just what I believe is fair.

      • Christina Reply

        You call it fair. I call it ugliness. Put yourself in her shoes for one day, one month, one year….

    • Sharon Reply

      Towards the end of the article, the author said, “Do not unload on the person who requires care. They have enough to worry about . . . “ I would disagree a little bit with this. Sometimes there is friction between the siblings because the patient has a decades-old pattern of playing favorites or manipulative games, like gushing about how this one is so nice and does so much to one of the other siblings.
      If a patient requires care, that could go on for years. Staying silent in order to not “worry” the patient is going to poison the relationships between the siblings. I’m not saying the siblings should badmouth each other to the patient. However they should be frank with the patient if the patient is playing a role in the siblings discord.
      The article is well written, but it’s based on an assumption that because a patient needs care, that automatically means the patient couldn’t possibly be contributing to the discord among the siblings. Let’s face it, some parents have long standing habits of pitting the siblings against each other in order to control them.

    • Peggy Reply

      Sometimes there are good reasons for people not wanting to come around. There is more than one side to a story

    • Athena Reply

      In my personal experience, the best solve resentment is talk to your siblings abt the issues, (talk/write to urself first so you don’t say anything that could potentially scare them and u). people have a different approach to cope with anxiety and fears of losing parents. Some people take the reigns & take action; that’s their way of helping that’s their love language. Others need the opposite — the plethora of urgent tasks could fog their mind paralyze them; they just need to be still. Your story is beautiful and it’s funny that your siblings and you balance each other out lol. You guys can learn from one another. But I wish you all the very best, and that you guys will always be close to one another. ⋆ ⚖️☁️
      Don’t ever let you guys drift apart I’ve experienced it with my mother and her siblings it’s wrecked her, us, and it’s an another form of grief when you lose relationships that you promised would last a lifetime

    • Mark Reply

      My brother is 71 years old and fell and broke his hip several months ago. He’s had surgery, rehab, and currently in Assisted Living. He previously had a stroke in 2008, open heart surgery in 2020, and now the broken hip. He made poor lifestyle decisions that led to these conditions. He’s currently using a walker to get around but still needs additional rehab. I am 66 years old and currently his POA and paying his bills. He doesn’t have many assets so I have to supplement his assets to make ends meet. Also, my older sister is 69 years old and trying to settle her husband’s estate that was left by him in bad repair. She was separated from him and lived in a condo in another state. She has always put guilt and sympathy trips on me for financial help. I have helped her in the past but she has never showed any gratitude or respect for my help. She knows that I have my hands full with my brother but she continues to try and convince me to feel sorry for her. I’m being pulled in two directions and cannot even manage my life!

    • Maggie Reply

      I wish this article would help me, but my siblings are useless. Not a call to see how I’m doing or if I need help. I’m the executioner, power of attorney, the assertive and the soft/emotional one, all at once. There is no balance with me. I don’t know what to do!

  2. Linda Hobden Reply

    I see this happening all the time with my mother in law being the one to look after her own mother and mother in law; my own mum was the one who did most for her own parents when they were alive; and now with my own mum I feel that both myself & my sister should help together – my sister & I don’t always see eye to eye and our personalities clash so That should be interesting! I’m the eldest but my sister is more bossy! LOL. Thanks for sharing !

    • admin Reply

      I’m the youngest and bossiest Linda! Don’t expect your sister to be anything than what she is. Our styles become more dominant under stress. Work to her strengths.

    • Laurie Gibbons Reply

      Help me, I have said nasty things to her and have apologized over and over again, she has deleted me from texting. Calling her and email.

  3. Tara Reed Reply

    I’m THAT ONE… thankfully the other two step up but I’m the closest, have the most flexible schedule and don’t have small children. I’ve seen things play out so much worse in other families… The best advice you gave was NOT TO COMPLAIN to the person needing care. It’s so important! Thank you for the article – glad I found you from Midlife Bloggers on FB. 🙂

      • Darren Reid Reply

        I am the youngest of 3 and my parents are both 91 and disabled and I am the one. I live close by and retired from the police last year with I’ll health problems.

        My older brother is local but has issues himself the other brother works overseas but has had lots of time to assist or give me a break but there is always a reason why he can’t.

        I feel very resentful towards my brothers as they should be helping me.

        Running out of space to hold this in and I can see things getting nasty.

        Never discuss this with or in front of my parents.

          • Patti

            My 4 siblings have decided not to help me with our father who has a debilitating degenerative disease. I’ve managed his medical care and all of his affairs for over 5 years. It consumes many hours of my time to include an average of 150 telephone calls per month plus 50+100 text messages and several emails. I manage a team of paid caregivers who help him daily plus I directly care for him every other evening after dinner. I work full time in an office as well. Dad pays me via a legally contracted care agreement and I pay taxes on the money received. His attorney developed the contract after my siblings insisted we use one instead of him gifting me. Dad agreed to use the contract to keep the family peace. Regardless that I document all of my care to Dad of which he reviews and signs, my siblings still say there is wrongdoing. I pay taxes on the money Dad pays me and I’ve offered to meet with them to review the records. I gave them a choice of attorney presence if they wanted. They refused to meet with me. My siblings also took their accusations that I am exploiting our father financially to the local elder protection agency who investigated me and reviewed Dads bank records. The result of the investigation was that I had done nothing wrong and Dad was deemed competent as well as safe in my care. Dad also realized that I am the person who he can rely on so he made me sole financial power of attorney. My sibling were furious and refused to accept the reality that I am the only family member helping Dad. Instead they continue to do what they can to sabotage or ignore any accomplishment by me of a job well done for Dad. When he is hospitalized, they try to interfere with my medical decision making for him. At Dads last hospital stay, the nurse manager quickly recognized when my sibling wrongly influenced a doctor therefore the hospital has put measures in place to protect Dad going forward. One of my siblings threatened the facility where Dad lives and the leadership there recognized in general that my siblings, who rarely visit Dad, are the problematic ones in the family. The fact that the entities that share in the care for Dad have recognized that my siblings create problems has helped me feel empowered and acknowledged however I must admit that the pain of my siblings cruelty and abandonment of both Dad and me will overshadow every time. I am admitting this here to you in an attempt to release the hold they have on me. I read the comment posted by another reader to avoid not going to the elderly parent about the sibling problems. I believe my Dad knows what is happening but in order to preserve himself, we don’t speak of it. My mother who is divorced from Dad recently broke down in tears over my siblings behavior toward Dad and me. I reminded her that we are not responsible for their behavior and she accepted it. I don’t think I’ll ever feel completely whole and happy while caring for Dad given their mistreatment by siblings however I think that I am a healthy person doing my best under sad circumstances.

          • admin

            Wow! You are doing an amazing job- not just the care, but also focusing on what matters most. It must hurt – a lot.But hopefully the feeling of showing up for your father in the way you have will overshadow the pain they have caused you. Thank you for sharing.

          • Katelynn

            Patti, you rock!!!!! Your Dad is so lucky/blessed to have you. Keep up your work. I am sorry the only thing your siblings don’t say to you is: THANK YOU FOR TAKING SUCH GREAT CARE OF OUR DAD!!! WE APPRECIATE IT.

  4. Kristina Reply

    This really brought me to tears. I am the middle child and single mother of 2 girls, one of which was diagnosed with a mental health disorder. My father just spent 3.5 weeks in the hospital and 8 of those days were in the ICU. I was everything for my mother during that time and now they depend on me for a great deal as he is disabled and in the early (rapidly progressing) stages of dementia. I am a FT employee and mompreneur, as well. I have an older married sibling with grown children and a younger adult brother with no spouse or children. The load, however, rests on my shoulders. I sold my home and moved closer to my parents, but the other two are in their own worlds…one choosing to live on the complete opposite coast. Every now and then I find comfort in knowing I am not alone and that all things will work out just as they are meant to.

    Thank you for this post!

  5. Chelsea McGraw Reply

    We shared the last five years of our mum’s care, but my sister was particularly gifted in the emotional and physical parts of her care. My brother and I let her know in many ways how grateful we were, but most importantly we dropped everything, at a moments notice, to support her and jump in to take over on a regular basis. We all did the best we could and got through it with compassion, humor and love.

    • admin Reply

      Humor is an underrated caregiving skill Chelsea. Thanks for your note. We all play a different role – and that’s okay.

    • Rebecca Reply

      How lovely that you were able to do that and express this about your sister. I have been taking care of my mother for two years; given up vacations (and lost money), worried to the point I’m going in to see in two weeks if my cancer has recurred from stress and have not even gotten a phone call to see how it’s going. They talk to my mother but not me. I’m just the person who opens the door and does the work. I’m nothing more to them. I call them out on these things sometimes but they can never admit they do anything wrong or apologize or try to do more. I’m just the witch who complains. No call in two years to see how it was going during her COVID, various hospitalizations, not a thank you or a how can I help. And I took her in when I was still grieving over my DH’s unexpected and traumatic death. I work full-time. When she’s gone, I’m so done with them. They had a chance to be decent and loving and they decided to still act like the pouting spoiled children who have a chip on their shoulder that they’ve always been. Nothing ever changes. You are who you are. I have tried to be nice but set reasonable boundaries. Instead, they want to come in my home when I’m not here (there is a history of stealing things from me and snooping around), ignore mask mandates during the height of a pandemic around a 90 year old (and they were unvaccinated) and threatened to call senior services on me about it when I was just trying to follow guidelines and do the right things. I want to run away screaming. It is a thankless job although I’m glad I can do it. I find myself sometimes getting angry and in front of my mom, which I don’t want to do because I wanted her time here and us together to be comforting and make us close with good memories but stress does horrible things to you when you have no support. My siblings, like always, think somehow I’m getting something they’re not. Yeah, I’m getting to change colostomy bags, lose vacation days, get insomnia, worry night and day, never leave the house for more than an hour at a time. All they do is have a nice visit (if they choose to do so, which is rarely). Neither of them offered to take her. Every day I try again to make this a good place for her to be but no one realizes the stress and difficulties involved. They tell me I have a victim or martyr complex as well. Well, I don’t know–my husband killed himself in front of me, I’ve had cancer, I have a horrible job that I have to keep in order to have the funds and keep a ranch home built for two incomes (and now there’s only one) to take care of my mom because she’s in a wheelchair and can’t do stairs. But I keep going. I guess asking for help and thinking my mother had three children, not one, makes me a martyr.

      • Jen Reply

        Oh, I have been in your shoes and honestly the situation hasn’t changed just my mindset. I have 4 siblings and my children 20 and 23 they are the youngest of 10 grandkids. Caregiving started when my youngest was in middle school and the relationship with my siblings became strained in the last 5 years. I can only tell you, it only improved when I changed my mind. I decided I’m the lucky one. When my mom leaves this world my memories will be more. They will comfort me longer, and be a gift that eases the pain. I try to remember having two children of my own, mom loves them unconditionally and to ease her hurt I will too. No matter what. My faith will make me strong and give me rest and peace.
        Wishing you the best

        • admin Reply

          “I can only tell you, it only improved when I changed my mind. I decided I’m the lucky one.” Love it!

  6. PC Lim Reply

    I’m the youngest among 3 siblings. My dad has been diagnose of stage 4 nose cancer. My eldest sister migrated to melbourne with her family and my eldest brother is living at my place after divorce. I have 2 boys the youngest is Autisctic. Im a working mom at the same time i need to care for my dad condition day to day with my mom help as well. Is very draining and exhausting for me. My bro lives with us but he simply dont bother to help us on any domestic housework. Today he was told to sleep at living hall as he snore too loud! It cause my dad unable to sleep well having insomia anf chest pain. He wasnt happy with it and went off. My sis only ask for updates on my dad via mom. Im so stressed up! Despite my dad went for radiotherapy or having any checkup they are no where in sight.

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry you are dealing with so much and with so little help. Focus on what absolutely must get done and the rest can wait. And I hope your siblings step up.

  7. Bonnie Reply

    I did it all for my elderly Dad off and on for years. Full-time in the end. When he passed, my sister questioned every decision I made. Instead of being there for each other, she stuck with her husband’s family and was her typical uppity self.
    She was upset that he left assets in my name, knowing full-well that I would share equally with her. I fully believe that if it were her husband’s family that was in need, she would be there with bells on her toes. More money over there on that side. This is after years of me hosting holiday meals and just basically trying to have a happy family. Inheritance rolled around and I was as fair as possible. There was not a whole lot to get. Sorry, but she can’t fatten it up at my expense. All you caregivers out there, do it because you love your parent. You cannot control others if they have a selfish agenda. I have never felt so alone in my life. While my Dad was alive, I just made peace with the fact that I doing all the work. Now that he’s gone, it seems just as hard because, well, he’s gone. A big loss in my eyes, indeed.

    • Melanie Reply

      I cried when I read your post. I do understand.I wish you comfort for your loss. Yes I love my mom. She has dementia, she does not know me. I go to the nursing home every other week for a few hours, I know its not much at all. My sister does not go ever. she says she can’t its too hard and she would want to bring mom home. She says she feels guilty and that everyone hates her because she’s sick too. Sister ends the conversation saying Thank you so much for going, your going to get a crown in heaven. This is stupid. I want her to check on momma, not guarantee me a crown. I am not sure how I feel towards my mom, I believe I do love her but its mostly sadness that I feel. My own children barely know her and do not feel inclined to go see her. I have (1) niece that goes up there. So I’m not doing everything, but I dread going sometimes.. I just don’t understand my sister and I did get angry and asked her “When can you go up there” she replied “I don’t know” and never went. I just can’t NOT go. I do feel better when I leave the nursing home , glad that I went. Did Mom enjoy our visit? Not sure. Really. My mom does not talk anymore. Only makes sounds. At times she crys, acts like I’m hurting her, even if I’m putting lotion on . I wash her hair every time I go, I pull the chin hairs out (or she’d look like an old man. I bring fresh flowers & throw out the old, clean &straighten the room & bathroom. I feed her if I’ve arrived at meal time and play music on my phone for her. the 60’s music she used to like to dance and sometimes she still bounces in her wheelchair and smiles.Then I bring her a chocolate drink, do her nails. I clean the closet. I bring bag of new socks. I bring clean clothes. Not always new ones because they walk off. I bring all my beauty aids for her in my bag, because blow dryers, shampoo, hair ties and perfume walks off. I read all these stories and feel uplifted. I am going to be thankful that I can manage to get up there and stop being resentful that sister don’t go. Its the most valuable lesson learned lately & I needed it. Thank you all.

    • Michelle Reply

      Hi Bonnie, Thank you for this comment. My sister is doing the same. I am looking after my dad on my own living in his house & my sister is too busy with her family. She wasnt very nice to me when my mum passed away so I am expecting worse if & when my dad passes. I do feel alone & I feel like banging my head against the wall but most importantly I am there for my dad & wouldnt have it any other way. He has looked after both me & my daughter through the years.

      • Shannon Reply

        It’s been 10 months for me looking after my dad. My mom was going to put him in hospice. I said no he’s not ready???! My mom & 2 sisters haven’t spoken to me since… I feel anger some days & I’m dealing with trauma from over 2 years ago nearly losing my life to breast implants. He’s maybe got another 3-6 months.
        It’s so hard some days 🙁
        3 meals a day etc.. running around getting everything. Almost 1 year.
        I miss my space ..etc…
        It’s very heartbreaking seeing my dad grieve over his marriage these past several months 🙁
        I hope we’ll be sane after this !!!!? 🙂

        • Katy Reply

          I helped mum and dad at home before they died but brother 10 mins down the road
          He was really cruel
          Telling dad to get rid of car, dad grieving for mum who died
          My brother really nasty, threats, abusive texts ironically we both got inheritance and still bitter and horrible no Xmas card this year no card for mum and dad who died, only interested in the money, has hatred did nothing
          Had to
          Cancel work
          Pay massive phone bill after death
          Buy loads of cleaning products as dad sick
          Do appointment, pension, cleaning, legal matters, pharmacy, shopping etc
          Brother did o
          Whrn they died did 0
          Once house sold contact maybe once a year or less
          It was the cruelty as I’m alone and bullying so bad on phone, one day rang solicitor to get advice
          I hate him
          as dad taking in ambulance cd not speak or move my brother laughing as 3 ambulance men looked on I was so upset with his selfish, greedy, uncaring attitude saying they I notice his daughter does not spend time with him at Xmas so it’s karma!!!!!! Wait till there old ?

  8. Rene Reply

    My younger sister is good at and does a lot with my mom . When I offer to take my mother to app or take something off my sisters plate she says no.

  9. Kathy Reply

    I’m having a hard time because it happened unexpectedly that I became my fathers caregiver. He stayed with me half the year and was a snowbird the other half. But within months, he declined to the point where he can’t live alone. My siblings feel I should take full responsibility because I’m retired. This enrages me to no end. Because I don’t work full time now (I do babysit for extra $), it all falls on me? It’s astounding to me why it takes so much time to take care of his business (paperwork, banking, rides, errands, medical appointments, shopping, etc.) but it’s pretty time consuming. My siblings do help somewhat with rides and two of them are very helpful with many things. But the rest of them enrage me with their lack of concern for either dad or me. There’s no answer. They know how I feel and I ask for help. One did stop for a haircut, another did stop at the drugstore with dad to get the pneumonia vaccine. But I just asked for someone to take him to get his new glasses and got crickets.

    • admin Reply

      Can you try asking a different way? “Let me know who’s taking Dad for his glasses this week. I will be (fill in the blank.)

    • Lk Reply

      I have the same issues. I am retired my Mom is still in her house but do all of the apts, shopping, paperwork, cleaning, etc. When I ask for help from my sisters they say they work and have no time. Mom doesn’t drive anymore and uses a walker. If I ask for help get told off from them. I get no respect and do this for nothing nor do I except pmt. How do I get some help from them? I am stressed out.

      • Sharon Alexander Reply

        . I retired dad became ill was taking him to the doctor’s appts after dropped dad off at home. Will go to mom’s house help do her hair, clean up her bedroom.(she complained about my oldest brother not helping) my mother have 5 daughter
        She complained to me I am the oldest daughter…I had stayed the night two weeks, give allowance, go home prepare for dad’s doctor appointments…my parents dont live together.

        Now that I’m dad caregiver at my house.
        The family call me bossy and mom told me you are taking on too much.
        My son stopped by and said mom you know what you are doing. I said, yes. Son said, “You love your dad”.

        I told my son your grandma is upset or disappointed cause I can no longer help her. Wash her hair, grocery shopping, sometimes cooking. .anything she ask I try my best to do. One sister said, mom dont care what you do for her she will always complain.

        I been home 6 year…I been there for both parents

        Mom said she understand the other children not helping me with dad
        I said, they dont have to help ….I don’t understand you the
        mother and I am the sister.
        They can call to see how I am doing if they dont want to help dad it okay.
        I should not said anything to mom, she is very upset with my dad for leaving and dating an other lady.

        I wont complain God gives me the strength and guides me….I always had problem with the family.

        My said, I am not bossy just a caring and living person…you understand.

        I was a caregiver for my daughter went to heaven at 38yrs. old.

        I am my dad caregiver, he was not happy…went to nursing when he had radiation for the throat cancer.
        Now, lung cancer, bone cancer cannot live alone ,someone must be with dad 7days 24hrs.

        I my be dad caregiver I am learning that people will be people you can’t change them…only be YOU!
        I feel great about taking care of dad…(Hospice/end of life)

        Only God knows the day and time. So I will roll up my sleeve and continue on this life Journey.

        You cry, you talk to friends…dont tell but so much, you pray…God will bring you through if you belueve and have faith…..I am stronger now that I texted this smile, stay healthy…take care of your body… can make get through…always love yourself and let your light shine

        • admin Reply

          Words to live and care by, “always love yourself and let your light shine.” Thank you and take care.

  10. Sue Farmery Reply

    I had full time live in care of my mother,who had dementiait, it certainly wasn’t how I expected to spend my early retirement. I had one morning and one Afternoon a week when siblings came to visit. Those hours off were cherished, I go out for a coffee, go and check my own flat or sometimes just had an uninterrupted nap. But the times siblings cried off with very little notice had me in tears. Why their doctors appointments had to be on the one morning they should have mum. So what if they were asked to pick up the grand children from school. I had gone through a night of our mother screaming and raving, the only thing getting me through was the thought of three hours to myself the next day. But an 8 am phone call of “I have a bad head today so I can’t come this week” had me i tears. I even screamed at my sister once, I’m bloody exhusted you get here by 9.30 or Mum will be on her own I’m going out, resulted in her irate husband calling me selfish! After two year I put Mum in a nursing home, sold the family home to fund it and picked up my life. Neither sister was happy, by the time mum died all but £25000 had been spent on Mum’s care. One sibling even accused me of losing her inheritance!.

  11. overwhlemed Reply

    Unfortunately, two of the four siblings in my family are incompetent and cause trouble rather than help.

    My one sister is psychotic, and adds to the burden. My one (well) sister and I had to take care of her while my father had cancer after a severe psychotic event that involved the police, $20,000 in damage in a day, and a hospitalization. My father died while she was in her 11th month in a psych rehab facility that took me 3 months to find.

    My brother lives in a cabin in the mountains and hasn’t worked in the ten years since he’s been released from a prison 12 ,00 miles away. He has temper explosions, and is angry all the time. He also does nothing to help (at least he hasn’t been arrested – trying to deal with embassies and a foreign prison is unbelievably difficult).

    This leaves my well sister and I to take care of my mother, who lives 2 hours away, has Alzheimers, lives alone, and resists help. I’m still trying to finalize my father’s estate,. which even included finding a bag of gold coins a few weeks ago that I sold for $9,000.

    All of this has made it hard for me to work for the past 2.5 years. Both my sister and I are burned out., having taken care of a sick sister, sick father and now ailing mother in that time.

    Those of you siblings who are competent and not helping, please jump in – your other siblings are suffering. Please forget your excuses …

  12. overwhlemed Reply

    PS: yes, both my sister and I have neglected kids because of all the family caregiving. I’m a single father and my kids’ mother abandoned them after our youngest daughter died.

  13. Jody L. Both Reply

    JodyB868801 13 minutes ago
    I have been caring for my disabled 83 year old mother for 3 years now, but I have lived in the house with her for 48 years, we were raised and I raised my children while living in the apartment that was built when my grandmother asked our family to move in after my grandfather died. When my grandmother died in a home, my mother turned to me and asked me to promise her that I wouldn’t let anyone put her in a home. She wanted to stay at home, that was in 1995. I told her I would, so in 1998, she wrote up a paper with her husband as a premarital agreement. The paper was signed and witnessed by a lawyer. The agreement stated that whichever of her children stayed in the house and cared for either her or her husband would be entitled to half the inheritance of the house, I don’t care about that, however, I just lost my mother 7 days ago. What I am being faced with is the sister and brother who let us down in my moms time of need, and never really had the time to come and see her, let alone help me to care for her, no matter how much we begged them to. They have been waiting to rid themselves of me, not even giving me a chance to adjust to my mother’s death, my brother pulled me aside and told me that now since they got my mother taken care of, I needed to get out of the house cause they are selling it. Can I clean and gather my mother’s things up? I couldn’t believe he was talking about the house, which is paid for, no mortgage, and I just let him talk. I chalked it up to shock. The next day, I couldn’t get out of bed, I just cried and cried, but my sister and brother banged on the door, they had to get clothes to bury my mother in.. I could barely function, and they are out like it’s a grand event they are getting ready for. At the dinner after the funeral, as I was leaving with my son, who also lives in the house, my moms friend stops me to tell me to get the house cleaned and ready, she is coming on Saturday with a For Sale sign to put out. I almost lost it, what is going on. Who doesn’t allow for time to grieve the loss of their mother, especially when it’s thier mother too, and jumps to selling a home out from under her sister, without any idea of where me and my son will live. It’s a good time to be homeless is what was said, as it’s getting warmer out. What recourse do I have, and I don’t know if that premarital agreement will do me any good, my sisters and brother may not remember that it even exists. My mother made me lock it up after it was all signed.

    • admin Reply

      Jody, I am so sorry for your loss and for what you are going through now. I am not an attorney and cannot offer legal advice but I would recommend you consult one. Perhaps try the lawyer who drafted the premarital agreement. HOping things work out and you can take the time you need to grieve and care for yourself and your son.

      • advice Reply

        One of the best pieces of advice from friends, was to consult a lawyer. For between 0 and $250 they can tell you your rights. Make several notarized copies of that paper and take the original and a copy to a lawyer. Let them tell you your rights. My guess is that you do not have to go along with the siblings. It is contested. Do not move out!!!!!!! You have rights. You lessen them if you move out. When the realtor comes do not let them in. When the realtor leave take the for sale sign down. The realtor is just a person for hire. The lawyer visit will tell you all about your rights and you will then feel more in control of your situation. They cannot just ride rough shod over you and your feelings.

  14. Veronica Reply

    I feel ya….I’m sorry I had to laugh at the cricket comment, I get that from one of my siblings every time I’ve asked for help. Her excuse. “I have plans”. Too bad she can’t include our mother in her plans.

    • admin Reply

      Sooo frustrating. But you have to laugh otherwise you’d cry, or sceam, all the time.

  15. Feeling guilty Reply


    My mother always prayed daily, her prayers have been answered in having a sweet personality. Recently she broke her leg and as a very old person it has not healed; she is facing another surgery.

    I am feeling a bit guilty because I cannot work and also take care of her full time. Turned over her care to another sibling in another state, who is overjoyed to have her. There are many siblings who want to spend one on one time with her. This sibling thought he would never get the time with her. Flew her out this morning. I have taken care of her for a decade. She was happy and able to drive and see her friends until this incident. Her friends are angry with me.

    When ever I called my other siblings for help they drove from different states to help me with mother through this or that surgery. They held her hand and did the lions share of her care. At the present time, some of them are mad that the sibling who lives farthest away is now getting a chance to have her stay with them for a few years. She will be facing another extensive surgery and he is happy to see her through it. They are mad because she is now several states away and they cannot visit her as easily. My mother is happy and sad. Sad to leave her home and friends, happy to reconnect with her son, who had the least amount of one on one time with her growing up. I try to placate the sisters that did not get picked, they are hurt. So, this is a story of siblings fighting to have a mother that is wheelchair bound on a walker facing another surgery. I Just wanted the world to know that prayer goes a long way to making a tough situation better. My mother’s prayer’s have been answered. We all love her and fight over her. After ten years of taking care of her, I do feel guilty sending her to another sibling when the care has gotten really tough. On the other hand with many sibling who are fighting for her presence, why can’t I fell good about sending her to one who stays home and has the time, desire, need, and money. Anyway, I thought writing about this would make me feel better and display a different scenario. One where mothers siblings, and her children all want her to come live with them. She is a wonderful loving kind person and has little money, but the love…..

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry you are dealing with this. You should never feel guilty for earning a living. We are all doing the best we can.

  16. Stressed out Reply

    Reading all these comments makes me feel a little bit better. Last year in 2018 my mother was diagnosed with dementia and primary Progressive aphasia. This led to us three siblings getting together to get her house sold because my brother offered for her to come live with him and his family. She could no longer drive and we thought it would be best for her to live in that scenario since he was offering. Mind you he does have two young children and a wife. After about 5 to 6 months of her living there we decided it wasn’t working out for her or them. Very stressful because my sister-in-law was doing most of the work for my mom… Doctor appointments, errands, paying the bills, finding ways to keep her busy. So we decided to move her down closer to where I am into an assisted living facility. Right now I think this is the best place she can be but of course they cannot meet all of her needs. Since I live the closest to her I have to take her on errands or two doctors appointments and visit her because my other two siblings do not live locally. I also have two young children and a husband. Our eldest sister who is 11 + years older than me and my brother and has grown kids of her own decided it was best for her and her family to relocate two states away. That was about three to four months ago. I have not heard anything from her in four months. She calls my mom maybe once a month but my mom’s communication skills are going. Her Aphasia makes it hard for her to remember things and find her words. I honestly don’t know what’s going through my sister’s head by not calling me to find out how my mom is doing. Mind you in the past we have all had Family dysfunction here and there. I believe that she’s a narcissist to some extent also so maybe it’s better to just keep on not talking. I can feel the resentment kicking in because I’m over here doing the majority of the work and there’s been 0 contacts from her asking how I am doing or how my mom is doing overall. My brother and sister-in-law have been a source of moral support and even came down a few weeks ago to see my mom and call her on a regular basis. I just can’t bring myself to call my sister because I really don’t want to have to resolve issues with her while I have so much going on with mom. Also my husband has a multiple myeloma diagnosis from two years ago so she knows I’m caregiving for my mom while my husband has cancer… Although it is only stage one and he is able to work. I just don’t get it though. Where is the empathy?

    • admin Reply

      I thin k you are smart not to risk delving into old issues with your sister. You can’t change her and you don’t need any extra drama. Focus on who and how you want to be.

  17. Anna Reply

    I will never be a caregiver for anyone again! No one helped me out of 5 siblings, my older brother ask me not to come back because he had an 18 year old girl that wanted to be paid, my other brother and his girlfriend said they wanted to take care of him- but one weekend I had the flu and they did not bother to step in during my one week of being sick, my sister 50 yrs old said she couldn’t do that, and my other brother just didn’t offer, oh and one more brother said in so many words- he wasn’t killing himself doing that!.. This is how it went down; in the end I was accused of stealing- which I didn’t, in between my dad coming home- after about 3 times driving 2 hours to take care of my dad- my mother became very hateful to me, it was Thanksgiving and not a one of my siblings came to visit my dad while I was there, my mother told me in the end not to come back it made my siblings mad when I came there, I was totally banned from even coming back to the house I grew up in- it has been a decade now, I was told by my mother I was disinherited and taken out of her will, I was threatened by them shooting into the phone, my name is still being slandered by anyone that ask about me, I called my mother and told her I was diagnosed with cancer stage 3 and was told that they did not care if I died- I was laughed at and mocked because I had cancer- they just left me to die, at the same time my sister in law had cancer and no one even told me she had it or when she died because they didn’t want me there, my own sister caused trouble and I had to leave the hospital when they did euthansia on my dad, and I also took care of my mom when she came down with pneumonia, should I go on??..Also I studied not just CNA, but I studied Nursing at a community college and worked in hospitals and nursing homes…What the heck?? All I can say is ‘not a one of them had better ever ask me to be there for them when their time comes!… If I caregive for anyone else, it will be for someone outside my x-family…..And by the way, I never asked for any money to take care of my dad but yet my older brother wanted to pay an 18 yr old with no experience to take care of my dad..My mother and siblings spend every chance they get to destroy my name, and for what? I did everything just perfect. It was hard for me to come each time to take care of my dad, but I made him a promise I would see it thru and I did. My dad was euthanized on June 2, 2019… I am still trying to get over his death to this day… I was treated so horrible by my own family… I am through with all of them and anyone that judges my by their lies! And I know my dad noticed how they were doing me. Why could they couldn’t just let him die happy?

  18. Violet Garay Reply

    Thank you for the post, my biggest challange has been time management and lack of privacy. At times it leaves me feeling sad. I have a few friends that are very supportive and I tend to talked/vent to, they lift me up when I feel overwhelmed. One of my biggest has been feeling guilty for not being able to do more at times. I’m also a full time employee, so I find myself balancing job responsibilities, moms errands and taking care of me. I moved in with my mom to help. It’s been a struggle at times I feel very unappreciated. I’ve had to make adaptations to my life. But still feel guilty when I need to pull away from home to just get away for me time. Glad to see I am not alone.

  19. Kim Reply

    I am “the one” as well. I only have one sibling. He is older and lived closer to our parents, but I was the one they chose to be POA. I have been dealing with resentment towards my brother for years due to the fact I was handling everything (while working full-time) and he felt stressed. During our Mom’s recent health crisis. I spent time with my brother in the hospital waiting on advice from doctors. It was then I realized how I was clearly more capable of being “the one”. I now do not hold (as much) resentment because I am trying to be grateful for the opportunity to give back to Mom.

  20. A. Reply

    Thanks. Reading these made me realize that when I got away from being my parent’s full-time care giver with zero help from my sibling for five years, and there for all medical issues for 30 yrs with zero help, and then being accused of being a thief and worse, that there is no going back. My sibling got control of everything. Now he has to give up his life to take care of dying parent. My parent just called to ask me to come daily for several hours for pay. I refused.

  21. Paul Reply

    I now know most people , particularly siblings, are inately selfish . I’m the youngest of four. I had to look after my dying father, and now 17 years later I’m the one caring for my frail, home bound and dying mother. Siblings don’t help, they do nothing… they can’t even be bothered cooking a meal to help out with the tiresome workload. You get no thanks, zip, nothing.
    It is rubbish to say.. “oh put up with it, maintain relationships”… what a croc. People on the whole are truly lothsome and selfish, and the worst of the worst are siblings. Full stop.

    • Kim Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m the youngest of 6. I’m caring for my 94 year old mother. She moved in with my husband and myself a year ago. I’m the only one out of all the siblings that works. I might add my husband and I also take care of her home that she still owns and her yard. Not one offer to spend an hour with her. Very few phone calls to ask how she is. One sibling lives less than 2 block away. Yes the same neighborhood. Another lives 10 minutes away. And the rest all within a 1/2 a mile. I keep saying when my mom passes, I’m done with the whole “FAMILY”. I’m burned out, angry, sad, depressed, tired, angry and any other feeling you can have. I want my old life back

  22. robin doherty Reply

    I have cared for my mom, (89 now with moderate dementia), for 19 years since my dad died, 2 of my siblings agreed to take mom for 2 months a year, my older brother took mom every year for 2 months, missing one year due to damage of his house from a hurricane, my older sister took her once maybe twice for 2 weeks until after she retired and bought a house in Florida, she has taken her for 2 months for the last 3 years. Both live in Florida and are retired, so one eventually took her for 2 months then the other did. I cared for my mom mostly 10 months a year except for the last 3 which was 8 months straight. This year mom went down to Florida on Jan 1, and was supposed to return home May 6th. However due to the pandemic the airline cancelled her flight, I live in NY which is the hotbed of the country. My older sibling called and said he wanted to bring mom home the first day the airline started flying to NYC, I asked/insisted that the wait until the smaller airport near me opened, (both siblings are retired, however my husband and I still work, me part time), the reasons for returning her were, the first one he said was they were expected to have a busy hurricane season and he didn’t want her down there, I asked don’t you get at least a 7 day warning?, then he said my sister couldn’t do it anymore since she can not walk, (only along the beach), (I walk with a limp and a cane), then he said he hadn’t seen his daughter since the end of December, I haven’t seen my since September, well after an argument and me hanging up the phone he sent me an email saying how childish I was to hang up…at the end of the email he said he would fly up with mom, “no need to see you”. well a few days later I got another email saying he and my sister would be driving up to NY with mom in an RV in the next two weeks. I do feel safer that she not be on a plane, but am so hurt by the way they are rushing to get “rid” of her. I know it is not easy, but to put her well being at such a risk and making up poor excuses to defend their decisions instead of just being honest is more than I can take. Going to be a long time before we speak again, Mom can’t travel anymore so no more Florida and the care rests souly on my shoulders for the rest of her life.

  23. Morgan Baylor Reply

    I took care of my siblings since I was 10 years old. Atleast my twin brothers – My mom had me when she was 17 and she’s always been young and most of the time irresponsible. She’s always out and Partying while I took care of my brothers . We were always close but her going out problem has made me resentful to her . She treats me like a maid , telling me to Make her room comfortable for her and her Company. I got tired of being treated like a Robot . She uses things that make me happy to try and control me . For Example ; my Boyfriend was having home problems – She offered to let him live with us. He lived with me for about 3months – and it helped a lot with the weight of taking care of my brothers … He helped me do everything that involves taking care of them . For these 3months we’ve adjusted to her being gone and now when she tries to come home she wants to be rude and controlling . It’s Unfair for her to try and restrict or rule when she is barely in the house ! So Everytime I speak up she yells and Swings at me – she’s hit me multiple times for speaking up about her going out problem. My Boyfriend has been my HERO if it wasn’t for him .. so much would go down. He’s been there to block the hitting, He’s been there for every mental break down when so couldn’t take it anymore, He’s been there to save me from myself when I got suicidal . So now that I stand up to her she says “Your boyfriend can Really go home.” He has done more for her kids than she had … I couldn’t take the control or trying to manipulate me or trying to revoke something because I spoke my mind. This time I broke down I let out all my pain ! And she closed the door when I was hurting ! I kicked and I cried and I yelled and My boyfriend did everything to calm me down . I moved out and Into my Grandma’s I’ve been crying everyday since I left.. I miss my brothers a lot even though it was a weight taking care of them most of my life … I miss them Everyday . My boyfriend can’t live with me anymore due to my Grandmas Rules … I wish people understood how close we were and how much we handled together . I feel lonely … I don’t get to wake up to him everyday anymore .. I’m depressed.. I can’t call my brothers because I blocked my moms number since she kept texting me negative things . I literally Haven’t been okay . I don’t wanna go back to my mother … I just feel Very Lonely and Depressed .

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry you are dealing with so much. No one deserves to be hit-ever. Here is the number for the abuse hotline: 1-800-799-7233. You deserve support. And here is the number for the suicide hotline should the depression lead to suicidal thoughts again: 1-800-273-8255. I hope you get the support and care you deserve.

  24. Karen Jimenez Reply

    Thank you for this! I’m the daughter-in-law of a fiesty 91 year old and my husband has been her caretaker long before we met 7.5 years ago. Like most families, there is a complicated family dynamic. But, out of all her children, she trusts my husband the most because she knows he wants what is best for her. My issue is less about the caretaking (which is stressful enough while working full time) but more of the opinions of what family members including grandchildren think we SHOULD be doing. Yet, the most time they spend with her is a 4 hour visit every few months. They never see the reality of it. I really appreciated your advice about trusting what we are doing and if they don’t like it, too bad, we aren’t taking care of them.

  25. Nicole Reply

    My mother has been ill for years. I took care of her mother (my grandmother) so my mother could have a good quality of life. I have 2 other siblings, one is 20 min away and the other 2 hours away, neither one ever help me out even when I asked. My grandmother passed away , and I am taking care of my mother with no help yet again. They always have excuses. When I have asked for help they become dismissive, they ignore that I have asked for help, they have also become nasty to me. I am the oldest, I have back issues, a full time job, and my own family. The disappointment in my siblings is effecting my physical and mental state. I don’t know what to do. I feel emotionally devastated and it is consuming me. What do I do????

  26. Pam Reply

    I don’t know how to fight this scenario… I have one sibling, we both live fairly close to parents. I am unmarried with no children. My sister is married with a couple of teenagers. I work a very full-time rather stressful job, my sister does not work. For some reason, I am always the one my parents turn to for help. They seem to resist giving chores to my sister. I visit with them regularly, she does not. Anytime I raise the issue of her maybe helping out more or getting down right frustrated with her lack of help, I am made to feel like I’m complaining. Often they use the excuse of her having a family so doesn’t have time.
    They always call me first to help them with anything. It’s exhausting and so unfair but I don’t have any way to talk to them about it. It isn’t that she won’t help, but it’s like you have to call and she has to fit it into her schedule and that could be weeks away as she’s very involved in kids activities and taking courses etc. It came to a head this weekend when I pretty much threw groceries at my mother after doing a big groceries while feeling totally exhausted and having bad period lol. Not good! And only reason I visit regularly is of course because I want to see them but if I don’t visit they call non stop. So I started going over once a week just to deal with any little issues and a visit that they could rely on and save all their issues for that one day. It saved my sanity. After my grocery throwing incident I said I will start doing online shopping for them and pick up after work and my sister can start doing the big in store shopping. When either of them is ill and needs to go to hospital, it’s always me that goes, that gets the call. I’ve had my own health issues through all of this as well. I just don’t understand why they put sooo much of it on my shoulders. It’s a responsibility I’m capable of and of course I want to help them but I am so independent, I’d be taking taxis and ordering online myself so I find it difficult to understand the incredible dependency. Help.

    • admin Reply

      Ultimately, your parents and your sister are making choices – who to call, when to help. You have the same opportunity – you get to choose when and how you will help. It’s not easy, but every choice comes with a consequence. What will happen if you are not avaialble? Your parents will have to make another choice. How can you choose to be the caring daughter you are without becoming a stressed out, overworked person?

  27. Jacque Reply

    Moma was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer and was gone within 6 weeks. My older sister couldn’t deal with it. She only came once. I remember the last night Moma was home before she went to hospice, crying and asking me if my sister was coming. And I said “No Moma. She’s too scared”. And Moma patted my check and smiled at me and said “Its ok honey. I’ve known her longer than you have”. It was the last time my mother ever spoke to me. It took me a long time but I finally figured out that if she could forgive my sister, I had to. And a couple of years later, my sister said “I know how hard what you did for Moma was. I will always be thankful because it was something I just couldn’t face.” Asking her to do what I did would have been like asking me to be taller. (I’m 4’11”). That was really all I needed to hear. So, if you are the sibling who didn’t go – tell the one who did thank you.

  28. Rosemarie Reply

    We care for my father in law at our home which is half way across the country from my husbands 4 siblings. Dad asked to live with us 2 and a half years ago, even though 4 of his kids live in NY. My husband and I both work, although I own my business and have been able to work from home and I’ve gotten done part time help with Dad. My dilemma is this…. my husband is really overwhelmed and stressed. He is frustrated that when he suggested to his siblings that maybe we could share this responsibility that they chose to say that Dad needs to be in a facility. My father in law doesn’t require tremendous care and he’s very quiet however he just likes being taken care of and having company. My husband feels stifelled and feels he just can’t just come home and relax by hiMyself. He is growing more frustrated with me because he thinks I do too much for my father in law and he doesn’t feel it is fair that his sisters aren’t stepping up to the plate to care for his dad it even his brothers. If we could all do a few months the burden wouldn’t be so bad. It won’t be easy for Dad and he might be unhappy at others homes Uti isn’t it right that they ( his siblings) should try. Dad had gone back for 5 weeks last summer and they said he was miserable and didn’t talk much. We work hard to involve Dad and include him, sometimes he’s not happy but I really think if the other siblings could just take the time to try new things it wouldn’t be so miserable. Dad enjoys listening to Music and trying to remember singers names, watching g old movies etc. aim worried about my marriage, my husband is getting resentful and I dont like this about him. Plus I know it’s not healthy for him. My husband and I-work together to take care of Dad. I do most of the “women” stuff and the Dr visits etc. Dad prefers to be with his son and is always looking for him. I try to sit and watch tv with him so my husband can watch what he wAnts I. Another room for a break. My husband always says without me he would not be caring for his Dad. He feels his siblings are being selfish and he won’t even talk with them cause he doesn’t want to hear their excuses. I don’t either but it’s time for us to get a break. We would use respite but with this pandemic , facility care is not an option. I’m going to call my brother and sister in-laws and tell them I’m concerned about their brother and our marriage and pray that they will figure out how Dad can be cared for back east and give us a break without hurting Dads feelings and they need to make him feel wanted. Sorry for my venting but it felt good to write it down. Pray for me tomorrow!

  29. Kathy Reply

    Oh my goodness! All of these stories are so sad. It really hits home. I’m the youngest sibling of five and had to quit my job and move in with my mom to take care of her. I have been with her for two years. I left my home in Arizona and moved into my childhood home with my Mother. My husband is living in our home in Arizona with his Father who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We try to travel back and forth to see one another but have not had a vacation or spent time alone with one another for these last two years. We each have siblings that want nothing to do with the care of these aging parents but I can assure you they will be there when the time comes to collect their inheritance. The laughable thing is my mom put a brother back East as Power of Attorney and Trustee. Therefore he has full control of the funds and makes me answer for every dime. Where are they all when I need help with the everyday tasks. They don’t even call or write other than to send pictures of themselves and they’re grandchildren on vacation. Sadly, my mom asks me to step aside so she can see their photos more clearly!! I’m laughing while really crying inside. When will I have my life back??? I turn 60 in three days?

  30. Keely Reply

    Some of what you write is in a more perfect world. The truth is…many of us do not have that sibling that even remotely helps out with any form of caregiving…whether it be the planning and negotiating or the soft emotional help. Let’s face it much of our world is made up of, and fostered to be, all about oneself… a selfish society for sure. I have been riddled with resentment towards my two siblings. It is true…this has been so beyond unhealthy for me and I have gotten better and better and just forcing myself to realize that it just “is what it is”. I mean I don’t even get a call asking how things are. I cannot remember my 50’s, yet my siblings lives have moved on. When I have tried to take to them about how incredibly burnt out I am…I get all sorts of crazy responses. The truth is…there just are individuals in this world that are not empathetic, are not caring, do not have the ability to put others before themselves….unfortunately two of those individuals happen to be my siblings. It is a constant battle to work on my mental health and keeping the extreme resentment at bay!!!

  31. Chrissy Reply

    I’m the youngest of five kids in CT, USA.
    I’ve been caring for my mom since I was about 25 when my father passed. I’m 49 now and my mom passed
    last year right after her 86th bday. I cared for her for TWENTY YEARS ALONE.
    My mom got worse, got thyroid cancer, was bed ridden, had pain EVER WHERE and my siblings all live
    close by. I changed diapers, made sure she didn’t get bed sores, took her to every appointment. I was the ONLY ONE
    at the hospital back in 2012 when my mom had cancer surgery; my siblings came “later” when she could’ve died because they either went to work, we’re in Jamaica or had things to do”.
    They have lie after lie, excuse after excuse and they all wanted her in a home and I PROMISED her I will
    keep her home.
    Meanwhile, I was working full time, caring for her, then she got worse and I went to part time work and took her
    for radiation treatments……..THEY TOLD HER TO TAKE A BUS!!!!
    I was also diagnosed with BREAST CANCER 3 years ago and had over 13 PAINFUL biopsies, a double mastectomy, a full
    hysterectomy, it spread into my lymph nodes, I’m left with heart damage from the chemo with other side effects and I STILL WENT TO WORK AND TOOK. ARE OF MY MOM, and the house and everything else.
    I have a hearing tomorrow because the HYENAS are fighting the inheritance because my mom KNEW and FELT
    my LOVE for her. I kept my promise and kept her home and took care of her. She left me the house and money.
    I was going to give them some but not after this.
    I got her her last rights, I have masses said for her, I CRY and struggle with PTSD and sometimes suicide. I’M the one who gave her her medicine, washed her, put diapers on her and made sure she was at peace and got EVERYTHING she needed. I’m the one who has memories of her choking on her medicine when I had to give it to her by syringe
    because she couldn’t swallow and lost ALL her teeth due to the radiation treatments. I’m the one who several times
    had to pick her up off the floor or watch her get put in an ambulance and I’m the one who watched her get carried
    out of OUR HOME in a body bag.
    I’m NOT SELFISH, but WHERE WERE THEY????? Now, they’re like “crows on a crime scene” seeing what they can get.
    I even let them take fine china, fur coats, shearling silver, DIAMOND jewelry and more.
    They don’t think I deserve the house and the money because I devoted TWENTY YEARS of my life to making my
    mom my EVERYTHING!!!!!!
    I asked them, “when you go to work every day and get a paycheck at the end of the week, who keeps the check”?
    They said “I do”….. I said EXACTLY! I got up all those years and took care of her but somehow YOU’RE entitled to money
    If it weren’t for me, THERE WOULD BE NO MONEY TO FIGHT OVER!!!!!!!! Do they know how much a home cost or a private nurse????

    I pray my hearing goes in my favor tomorrow.

    Some people are just greedy, selfish, cold hearted and disgusting!!!!K
    I WANT TO FOR and everyone who’s paying attentionG THEM……………AND I WANT To FORGET THEM!!!!!

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry you are dealing with so much. Please, if you feel suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. 800-273-8255

  32. Megha Reply

    I’m so happy I came across this page! I’m the second youngest of 4 and although I’m only 19 and my parents are still pretty young, I feel like I’m the “one”. My dad works hard every single day and has some health problems. My mom also has arthritis and she’s been struggling as she can’t even walk to a park. I always try to lower their stress and be there for them as much as possible, but what I just don’t understand is what the hell is wrong with my siblings? Why don’t they care as much as me? I’ve always been very empathetic and sometimes it’s too much. I always want to do everything for my parents and take care of them, run little errands and whatever else they need. They’re honestly the best mom & dad they have spoiled each and every one of us, but somehow my siblings still don’t see that. They take everything for granted and don’t bother helping in the house or anything. No one cleans. No one does the groceries. No one cooks or does the dishes. It’s mostly just my mom that takes care of that but I clean often. I always have a break down cuz I wish my siblings would care!! Why am I the only one? My parents deserve so much better. It hurts me so bad that they don’t feel loved and cared from all their children.

    • admin Reply

      I’m glad you found us too. Try to focus on the positive: the love you have to give, and not on the love others are not giving. Controol what you can control.

  33. Eleanor Gaccetta Reply

    There is a common assumption among many people that caregiving is an exhausting and stressful job. Even though there is a bit of truthfulness in such assumption, in reality, caregiving is not just entirely exhausting and stressful. More often than not, caregiving can also be fun and fulfilling. Yes, there are days when caregivers would experience fatigue, but there are also days when they would feel satisfied and cheerful about their job. Especially when the care recipient is a loved one, caregiving can be a life-affirming experience.

    • admin Reply

      Yes. You will also find articles here about the caregiver’s gain: the upside of caregiving.

  34. Carol Reply

    I’m a caregiver to both my parents nearly 90. They live independently but I’m there on a daily basis to help with cleaning, cooking, meds etc. I have siblings. Because my dad ‘pays’ me some for my time, they clearly think this is my job. It would be nice to hear from them once in a while. It’s a tough job and they have no clue. One sibling has come to stay in my house while I took a break. Then my house gets treated like an air bnb with her out of town kids staying. Thanks for your article. We do our best and soldier on.

  35. Sher Reply

    I have been looking after one parent for twenty some years and the other for about fifteen years. I have had to look after them with hardly any help, though siblings live nearby. They were out traveling, going to concerts, etc. It has been exhausting and I have done without a social life, lost friends, etc. So now I have been told that I have cancer and these siblings have suddenly came forward to help out a bit and let me know just how WONDERFUl they are as they are REALLY TRYING to HELP me…. after twenty years. I told them about the cost of caregiving to me and the impact on my life – and the lack of response from them just reinforced the idea that they really don’t care. There doesn’t seem to be any conscience or guilt, or any concern really for my life. It’s almost like I should be grateful that they are doing anything at all. My poor parent is scared about what this means for their care because I did such a good job caring for them. We never thought about the possibility that the parent would outlive the child. Do not throw your life away. It’s all well and good for other members to tell you ‘ oh you should NEVER put parents in nursing home.’ So then WHY are they not helping? I knew I had a selfish family but it is astounding to me that you could value a sibling so little as to only think of them as hired help. If the table had been turned, I could have never treated someone like this. I read that about 39 percent of caregivers die before the one they are looking after – the stress and family drama alone is enough to do you in….

  36. Blanca Reply

    How do I ask potentially to my siblings to help out with my 99 year old dad
    I feel burned out

    • admin Reply

      It may require a series of conversations. If the arrangement was that you would care for your Dad then it’s time to renegotiate. Acknoweldge that you had an agreement but let your siblings know it needs too be revisited. If there was no agreement, then maybe you don’t ask. You let them know what you will and will not do.

  37. Karen Krowzack Reply

    I am geographically in the role, plus I’m a childless widow. My main ask of my out of state siblings is to periodically check in with me, to see not only how my 86 and 91 year old parents are doing, but to send me an encouraging text/email/call with their support. This is hard work. It’s always me letting them know the latest news, after a while, I don’t even bother giving them updates, since they rarely ask for any

    • admin Reply

      You need to take care of your parents and you. Anything else, like updating opthers, is gravy.

      • Marilyn McCleery Reply

        Feeling like the only one thinking of my parent, by my own ch poor ice but feel frustrated no one else helps. I reach out but get nothing or told you only get what you own?? Why expect more? You ate you don’t argue or complain! I’m not! Just feel sensitive I care& my family leave it alone! I be left msg to my twin sister, no answer back, it’s all about then no one ekse

  38. Mar Reply

    This is an incredible article but when does being the only care giver turn into abuse? I’ve been “the one” since I was literally 14 by getting things done and reminding parents of their responsibilities and scheduling things and over time this has turned into habit for family members. people just ask me to get things done for them saying they can’t but really they don’t want to challenge themselves or put the times, I’m talking simple things such as phone calls.. I have an older brother and even though I’ve been the person in the family who helps the elderly the most my brother gets away with a lot because my culture is very in favor of males. Of course I didn’t feel any resentments or problems when I was younger but I’m now in my 20s, I weirdly have a lot of problems to deal with, I recently had a horrifying health scare and even though family was aware I’m emotionally going through hell they still relied on me to do all these tasks that my brother would totally be able to handle and help with. I eventually cracked and told them that this is not fair and I can’t handle so many things emotionally and they now don’t speak to me because they believed it should be my honor to want to help them… I’m confused.

    • admin Reply

      Your family members are making choices – to rely only on you. You get to make a choice how to respond. It stinks that they stopped speaking to you – that has to hurt. Still you have the right to prioritize your needs and health as much as theirs.

      • 28 year old needs help Reply

        Hello I can’t find way to post so I am doing reply my dad is 86 years old I have 3 year old I am single mom at that I have 2 brothers that are financially stable to help take care of my dad they won’t one hasn’t seen my dad in 3 years the other one comes down an visit an tell me what I need to do better he won’t let my dad I. His car he says your not getting my car you have pull ups on I won’t allow that nasty shit in my car my dad goes to bathroom he wears pull ups because he has prostate cancer my dad is very sick I have to help him to bath room or he can’t walk in there we have use wheel chair it’s just me lifting at my dad his doctor wants him go to rehabilitation my brothers said if he goes they call social worker say I am unfit mom an unfit care taker to my dad he already lied to cops two weeks go they pulled guns out on me with my 3 year old an my dad who also has dementia he told them I was shooting at people driving by an had my dad held hostage wouldn’t let him go which was all lie when they seen it was they couldn’t do anything to me scared my daughter an me my dad he traumatized by every time we get out in the vehicle and my other brother he told my dad that he would not be in his house at all because yes, he took my side a few years back when my brother tried to take my home for me that my mother left me at her death he tried to take it from me, saying that it was his and it wasn’t even his biological mother it was his stepmother because we have siblings and he said that he would not allow my dad to come in his house due to the fact that he took my side and done the right thing I love my dad and I will always take care of him and is very hard to take care of him in a three-year-old in a house by myself but I took care of my mom until she passed away and I will do the same with my dad, but the one thing I don’t understand is how can my brothers treat my dad the way they do when my dad done everything for my brothers as long as I can remember there’s a big age difference and me and my brothers they’re 30 years difference between me and my youngest brother and 35 years difference between me and my oldest brother my dad always done for them. My dad paid on their house when they were going to lose it at one point because they didn’t have the money they have now my dad made sure they had food. Make sure they were taken care of with their kids his grandkids and my dad has got 19 grandkids 14 grate
        Grandkids but none of them help either they don’t even come around unless they want something like one of my nephews. My dad promised him his brand new four wheeler with something happened to him well my nephew coming with that four wheeler and he’s never been back to help my dad do anything and my dad begged him to do things my ex actually come and help do some things with me when I needed them whenever he come to see his daughter, but he doesn’t come very often. He only comes once a month to see his daughter because he lives so far away now and I can’t understand why they want to start trouble with me when I’m trying to do the best for him because the doctor told me it would do him good to go to rehab. It would help him walking. It would give his strength back And my brothers threatening to call social services to get him and my daughter took. They said that I was unfit and I don’t do anything I don’t work because I can’t I have a disability and my daughter has a very rare breathing condition where she just quits breathing and I have to give her CPR and she can be playing or sleeping when she does this And I don’t understand why they want to act like I’m not doing everything I can for my dad and my daughter I feel like they just want to start trouble because my daughter was born my brother called CPS, which is the social workers in my area and told them that I was unfit to be a mother that I had nothing for my child And I would never have nothing for my child because I was on drugs and her dad was an alcoholic, but when they done the drug screen on us, they found nothing like I told them if I was addicted to drugs, my daughter would come out addicted to drugs of some sort and she didn’t and they should’ve said that I was right there that he was lying but they said they still had to come out and do their job and when they seen everything I had for my daughter They close the case because I had clothes for my daughter all the way from preemie to 12 months I had newborn diapers and preemie diapers and I had sizes 12 and three that I was stocked up on in a closet that you couldn’t get nothing else in that closet cause it’s full of diapers. I had her own crib and her bassinet to go by the bed so I can look over and see her bedside bassinet and I also had a swing for her in the living room. I had a pack and play for her in the living room. I had everything she needed and more and they close the case and my brother has already called about eight times on me in the last year, my Aunt are calling because they say that I am doing my dad wrong by putting him in the rehabilitation center which they don’t understand is not staying there. He will only be there from 7 to 21 days on how well that he does if he does good and he can do the things or want him to do without having trouble he’ll be home within seven days if they were mean to him or if they mistreat him then I’m going to take him out right away cause I have power of attorney over my dad and my siblings are very upset that my dad done that because they said that it should’ve been them not me to make his final decisions even though I’ve been the one to take care of him for the last year almost 2 years and I see the process of him getting weaker and weaker to the point that he can’t even walk outside to every vehicle and it’s not that far and I know that he needs us to get better but I don’t understand why my siblings wants to start trouble with me for trying to do what is best for my dad and I say my dad because I’ve never treated him like a father. The only time they’ve ever come around is when they wanted something from him or wanted his money and now that my dad is not working in the coal mines he not got his black lung they don’t want anything to do with him I am trying g take care of him with buying his pull ups baby wipes everything he needs for example, his shower chair I had to pay cash for his best Komodo had to pay cash for had to pay cash for his walk with the seat I have to pay cash for his urinals, his pull-ups, the baby wipes I paid cash for him but cream for him so he doesn’t get bedsores or a rash down there and I have to pay with all that out of my pocket and they won’t help me pay for anything because his insurance doesn’t cover those and when he goes into the rehabilitation center I want to have to pay monthly as well. We set up a plan so when he does go in, I will have to pay monthly a $300 a month and all I get to my name is $943 a month and that’s all I get. That’s all the income where my brothers get a lot more than that. I have one brother he gets 6000 a month from retirement because of the type of work that he had done my other brother. He gets $4000 a month plus his wife used to work and got hurt and cut her fingers off so they got a really really big settlement like I mean it was like I think right around 90 to 100,000 they got back and they won’t help me with doing anything anything he needs and I feel like I’m losing my mind. I’m drained I am wore out I have no energy and I can barely keep up with the housework during the day anymore because with my dad and his dementia he hollers at me every 2 to 3 minutes because he’s worried that his oxygen is not on his face and it’s not working , or he’ll holler at me and I won’t be nothing wrong or nothing that he needs. He just holler to see where I’m at in my house so it’s hard for me to get housework done during the day and most of the time I’m doing it late at night at 12 1 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock while he’s in bed asleep and my daughter is in bed asleep, and then I get up the next morning about eight if I can sleep in or some I’m gonna get up at 6:30 and then I’m gonna give my dad his medicine and fix him something to eat fix his coffee pull up put socks and shoes on I get my three year old and I dress her for the day and I changed her pull up. I gave her her sippy cup, and then I warm up her food for the morning and I do all that and I do all the dishes from that morning. I gotta give my dad more medicine because it’s getting close to lunch and then I gotta fix lunch and repeat the process again as well as trying to learn my daughter her ABC’s in her numbers because she was a very smart girl. She knows almost all of her ABC’s and she knows her numbers to seven so I’m trying to learn her rest of the numbers and her all of her ABC’s and then she said she watches a cartoon and I let her watch cartoon for about an hour hour and a half and then I try it onto something that my dad likes to watch that she plays with her toys I don’t want her to be dependent on watching TV all day long and then when I get all that done you know and I fix lunch and I do supper and I put my dad to bed and I change his pull up 2 to 3 times a day cause I wanna make sure he stays dry, and I rotate him because he stays in the same spot all day long unless he gets up to go have a bowel movement other than that he uses a urinal and stays in the same spot so I wanna make sure that he is rotated so he doesn’t get a sore and then anybody else time for supper time to put them to bed and it’s going on 10 o’clock and I still haven’t even ate breakfast lunch or dinner yet and I’ve been on my feet since the time I got up and I don’t get to sit down until I go to bed at night which is most of the time early in the morning between two and 3 o’clock because I’m cleaning the house and cleaning up my daughters toys I’m cleaning up my dad‘s mess that he’s made. I’m doing the separate dishes making sure everything is clean and spotless. You know that you normally do with housework and then my brother wants to come in and try to tell me what I need to do and what I can do better and want to cause trouble and the only thing I need to know is how can I stop that? How can I not let them be around my dad if they’re gonna keep causing trouble because they’re stressing him out and they’re causing him issues they’re not that they pull the guns out on me over nothing my dad had to go to the hospital because we thought he was gonna have a heart attack because of what happened and my brother calling my dad and bragging about what are you doing and I don’t want them around my dad cause him to be upset which makes him smother more which makes his heart hurt which also when he gets really upset his dementia gets worse especially with Sors. It makes it hard , so does anybody have any advice on how I can keep my brothers away

  39. Marykate Reply

    My mother had dementia and she has been living with me and my husband for almost 9 years. I have a corporate level career so my husband retired early to be her caregiver. I have two sisters both live out of state, one is in denial, the other does what she can but she has limited income to fly back and forth. My mother’s memory is gotten to the point that she couldn’t remember what she had for dinner, let alone that she just finished it 5 minutes ago. With COVID, we stopped having a paid caregiver come to the house twice a week to provide some respite for my husband. And to add to that, I was let go of my job and being the breadwinner it has caused some financial hardship. My husband, bless him, has become angry at my sisters for the lack of assistance they are providing, even coming to watch mom so we can take a vacation, as it has been almost 9 years that we have been able to get away. They haven’t come to visit their own mother in years and mom is hard of hearing so phones calls or FaceTime just doesn’t work. My husband is 13 years older than I and I would like to spend some quality time with him. My sisters just don’t understand what we do each day to make mom’s life comfortable. I was going to send them an email telling them that if they want to see their mom before she completely forgets them, then now is the time. My husband says that I shouldn’t have to tell them, they should know and come. Thanks for listening.

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry about your job and stress. There are no “shoulds” in caregiving. If we want our siblings to help, we have to be direct. You have too much to manage to spend your energy on why your siblings are acting the way they act or whether they should behave differently. Tell them about your mother’s memory – you will feel better as a person for giving them them heads up and opportunity. And tell, don’t ask, that you are taking a vacation and you all need to come up with a respite plan. Hang in there!

    • Donelikedinner Reply

      Dear friend, when I told my sister that I was taking a holiday after three years without one, my sister responded by booking herself a holiday for the same time period. She lives out of town, and takes short holidays every month or so, with holidays out of country several times a year. She knew how much this meant to my family, and she did it anyways. Selfish is as selfish does.

      Your husband is right. Drop the rope! Let them figure it out, or not. you are not their conscience. They will have to live with their own choices. Playing happy families doesn’t work. They are what they are. That is their choice. They live their way. Fine. Let them.

  40. maria Reply

    good post thanks. looking after a parent brings out some interesting behaviours. its taken me 2.5 years to trawl my way through it (I am “the one” due to geography) and now I do realise my job is to be “the best I can be” with my mum and with myself and those others I am responsible to/for. I think it is perfectly OK to keep troublesome/mean siblings at arms length because for ME, their behavior isn’t healthy, and yes, I do think neglect by other siblings of the caregiver sibling can be classed as abuse. So I’m now committed to getting better at being “the best me” I can AND that includes keeping myself safe and healthy by keeping one-on-ones with the neglectful siblings to zero (totally OK with them in a group environment). I’m also not necessarily in agreement about not talking to the parent. My mum and I have an understanding that we do our best work together when we are the most honest with each other – if I don’t say anything when she mentions a sibling thats behaving badly, she picks up on it and the lack of acknowledgement by me is frankly worse that just honestly discussing it. Doesn’t mean its open season on my siblings – I do reassure mum that I’m not out to change anything and that they do love her and she should have whatever relationship she wants with them and I will only be happy for her – just that its better if I tell her what my actual situation is so we can have clear air between us as we do this incredible work together e.g. they never thank me and have actively said they won’t support me but they tell mum they think I’m doing a great job! I agree with mum that I do do an outstanding job (always makes us laugh) but that they aren’t supportive of me in my role for her. Mum always agrees she would rather know this as its the truth and of course it affects me. It does take the power away from their unhealthy impact on me and it sets my relationship with mum to a healthier, strong place. I think it matters to our relationship, mum and me, because of the highly personal work we do together and looking after an aged parent is highly personal work I think we can all agree! Also one last thing to share – with covid rules changing my siblings could fly in to see mum – yay i am exhausted so I actually messaged them told them what a great job I was doing and that I was tired and deserved a break and I would be going away while they were here. Go me! it was very empowering and I loved my week away. Then last night I organised a meal out with everybody and when one of my siblings avoided thanking me directly for clearing out and selling mums home I said “yes it was a massive amount of work and I did it on your behalf”. Same sister said “mum has such an amazing vital spirit coming out of her” (she’s 92) I said “yes, mum and I have done a massive amount of work together over the past year since she nearly died and thats the result of it, isn’t it amazing”. My point is “be your best self” and rather than rely on outside validation for what you do, honour and respect yourself by validating it TO them! I am going to practice this and get much better at it – its gonna save me.

  41. Donelikedinner Reply

    I am in my 12th year of parental caregiving. One parent has died and the other is at the end of life now.

    Summary of sibling experiences during this journey with two parents: lies, gaslighting, malice, more lies, false accusations, narcissistic abuse, abdication of responsibility. Not a journey I chose. People show you who they are with their actions. I believe them. Done!

  42. Steven Reply

    Thank You !!!
    I needed this I was going crazy and didn’t know why ? Being a care giver is something your siblings don’t see or understand ! Between the making the coffee to start the day of the week that never ends ? My father died years ago and my mother is 83 years of age there are many day’s I wish I could be like them Buy a stove or something and pick up the phone when I want too ! I’m often reminded of the years I left to be around my children 5 Year’s is short compared to my siblings ! Like damn near their whole life !!! It’s hard to hear about their problem’s from my Mother when I know they are happy about the situation , knowing I’m here to deal with her !!! Just thank You I feel a lot better 😌!

  43. Carol Reply

    I have taken care of my dad for 13 years and my mom for 8 till she died of Alzheimers, as their primary and only caregiver. I have asked my family to give me a break sometimes and I get a lot of excuses and lip service, but absolutely no one has given me time to take care of me or my own health or even take a 2-3 day vacation in all those years…while they go and do as they please and go wherever they want. I gave up begging long ago! I burned out long ago, don’t see friends anymore and basically have no life but taking care of my 90 year old dad….I know nothing will change, but it feels good to vent at least! Thanks for listening!

    • Katy Reply

      Dec 22
      I had to learn its about money
      How much they get
      The house value?
      The cost of grave?

      My mum, dad died in last 2 years the bullying after there deaths shocking for my brother, yet I was with them, helping them house sold 23 half each by will
      Don’t want much contact now due to cruelty
      When mum died sent me 50 verbal abusive texts ad wanted me to put dad in home inwd not

      They tried to isolate me now they can go to hell

  44. ROB Reply

    I understand and feel the same pain and anxiety. I am the youngest of 3 sons and I am 61 years old. My 2 older siblings visit from time to time. I am with mother 7 days a week from 10 to 12 hours a week and she is almost 97 years old. She is extremely ungrateful and emotionally abusive to me as she has been to me most of my life. She suffers from dementia and I do all of her care. She has horrible hygiene and I dread my life day to day. Fortunately I live a few doors away. My oldest brother visits a few times a year and my middle brother visits monthly and sometimes twice a month. However it kills me that I get a 90 minute break about once a month. My career is over – I have gained 50 pounds in 2 years – Eroding my savings and after raising my daughter on my own for 14 years I have no life yet again. My siblings do live a distance in the next state about 90 minutes away. In fact after mom was in the hospital I slept on a chair next to her bed for 2 months. I feel helpless drained and unhealthy. I dont want mom to pass yet almost daily I find myself thinking that if she never woke up I would be better off. I dont mind at all helping her but I just dont understand why between the 2 siblings I cant at least have one full day a month to myself. I appreciate this quick escape as I am writing this post

    • Carol Reply

      Rob, yes, we are in very similar situations. My brother lives about 90 m. away in another state also. I don’t wish my dad gone, but I do wish the nightmare of NO life was over!😢

  45. David Reply

    I REALLY NEED HELP!! My dad just passed June 29th and for months I was helping him ,with his med his feeding tube his dr appts.etc. At the end when he was no longer able to get out of bed or breath without a machine and oxygen I was the one who administered all his med via crushing the 20 odd pills up and flushing his feeding tube putting the meds in his tube flushing again and cleaning and replacing it along with his liquid diet and ,his breathing treatments and his incotinisce Every 2 to 6 hours I had to give him one thing or another and I thankfully wrote down each time I had administered mess what his vitals were and what he wanted.However it became more difficult as my disabled, over opinionated,and ungrateful spoiled mother was now my job to take care of taking over for dad who made all her meals took her out anywherw/time she wanted and basically did whatever she wished just to not listen to her bitch and complain and make up unrealistic occurrences regarding anything from money to not getting fed,to people being in the house and her stuff was missing and blaming us. I had had some good talks with my dad and he had made me promise to take care of her until she passed and NOT PUT her in a home,but I am almost at wits end here! She argues with me as bout everything complains about all I do accuses me of stealing from her and criticizes my looks daily she never is appreciative never th as nks me only says I do nothing when I alone feed her her dog clean the house water the gardens grocery shop for her and she has even called the sheriff’s on me quite often stating I’m not feeding her or she is intimidated or I have stolen this or that etc. She is not only confined to her wheelchair but has early dementia what can I do

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry for your loss and sorry for all you are dealing with. Talk to your mother’s primary care about dementia resources and she if she or he can help you get some support. Check out for some great info on dealing with dementia – and specifically difficult behaviors. Dementia is progressive and perhaps your father was too ill to comprehend how much care and support your mother needs know and will need later and how much care and support you need – in different ways. But only you can decide if you can renegotiate your deal with him.

  46. Jeremy Anderson Thompson Reply

    I would like right now for my mom to stop talking to me permanently and stop knocking on my door. And to stop saying my name. And to stop telling me where she’s going. Stay out of my room. Return my bankcard to me and then never come near my room anymore.

  47. ubiqitusniverse Reply

    Having worked with advocacy superstars in elder care sector, i learned about falling preventative caregiving tactics, organizing docs for legal dispute communications and teaching/learning about emergency decision making and power struggles. My mothers family raised kids with a pride in loving our elders and a sense of urgency about really clarifying the desires of our aging members to be sure we respected them. There is a beautiful truth to the gift you are giving your parents. If your siblings are judgemental or try to make your work out to be a byproduct of your failures or availability, you just remember:
    Support groups are only a half hour and can be remotely.
    You have to give yourself permission to assert boundaries in a respectful way. You do not have to engage with someone who is not listening. If you want to communicate about important matters that relate to your investments in your folks by way of time money, energy and attentive care, it may be best communicated as a daily log book which will carry with it the weight of truth should anyone find it tempting to dismiss your investment. If you are in a position where you are setting yourself up for a fall financially, do not undervalue your time. Assert your need for a long term goal of security and reassurance so that you will be lowering your stress level and minimizing resentment. If you are in a position where your younger sibling is in home caregiving and was previously unemployed or struggling, understand that the services being carried out are not undertaken by an individual who is undeserving of compensation. No adult living with parents and taking care of them is any less valuable an asset to the parents and your family because they had a bad go at it in the professional world. We often forget that the coping mechanisms people use are directly linked to their childhood development, and just as nobody is a failure because of trauma, suffering or pain, nobody is capable of giving relief, moments of compassion, and company in a hard situation better than someone who has faced poverty, hardship and felt less than. Take an opportunity to embrace the sibling who has struggled and is now helping. It is not a free ride to live with aging parents who are experiencing mental problems or physical limitations to a degree that requires assistance. That daily grind takes resolve, heart and a strong desire to help. That is not the kind of person deserving of judgements. The kind of dynamic you could allow to grow out of a dismissal of prior conflicts and competitiveness would surely improve the quality of life for all involved. Also recognize if you are caregiving and your older/younger/farther siblings arent around but have dismissive attitudes toward your contribution, they often dont get a fraction of the reality. Parents want to be together. They want to be about other subjects, and will downplay their own needs. This is another gift you give them. They dont have to have a bulletin board with their embarrassing bodily issues and the work you do surrounding that is what keeps the healthy environment alive. Take a meditation on zoom or do yoga or tai chi or play music from their time. Find a way to connect with a counselor or locate an area agency on aging and read When I am an old lady i shall wear purple”. Godspeed.

  48. Karen Reply

    I am sad for my mom. I am the”one” and have 2 siblings that are void of any support or care for my mother. I stopped myself from feeling resentful and trying to understand why. It just is what is is but I am stuck feeling sad for her that 2 of her children seem not to care. She is a wonderful mother and of course doesn’t deserve this but the older I get I understand more and more that things happen to people that they don’t deserve. I do my best focuses of what I can do for her and hope that helps both her and me.

  49. Karen Reply

    I am sad for my mom. I am the ”one” and have 2 siblings that are void of any support or care for my mother. I stopped myself from feeling resentful and trying to understand why. It just is what it is, but I am stuck feeling sad that 2 of her children seem not to care. She is a wonderful mother and of course doesn’t deserve this but the older I get I understand more and more that things happen to people that they don’t deserve. I do my best to focus on what I can do for her and hope that helps both her and me. Thank you to everyone who shared previous posts. It helped me during this restless night.

  50. Jane Kelly Reply

    I always lived at my house, caring for my grandmother, and later my Father, through alcoholism and cancer. Towards the end I cared for my Father for 6 years. Three years before he died my sister moved in because she was pregnant and need financial support ( she said she wanted to be with Dad for his last years). Now I’m stuck, taking my sisters children to school and picking them up everyday ; feeding everyone; buying and collecting groceries; essentially caring for her. I want a day off! Is this normal? Does anybody else do this? I really don’t want this responsibility but feel she cannot do it on her own. She has my house, so I’ve nowhere to go to avoid this. What would you do?

    • admin Reply

      Wow- you are, and have been, handling so much. Only you can decide what t do – and if you trust yourself you will know what is right. Keep in mind, your sister has made choices and tyou get to make choices too. So far you have chosen to care for her and her family. But her choices don’t have to dictate yours. If you want to keep helping her , do it. If you want to find a middle ground or different path – I am confident you will do that – – aim for equal amounts of courage and compassion.


    Hello, I am the oldest of 3. One sister and one brother. My mom had me promise many times when I was little to never put her in a home. Fast forward to moms retirement age. She asks me if I want to be her power of attorney and medical stuff. I having 6 children at the time say oh hell no i can’t imagine any more responsibility right now. Besides my sisters a nurse and should be fair with what you want. So I relinquished my eldest stuff. Fast forward again to now. I’m fifty and all baby’s are grown and gone. My sister refuses to give me my mom and puts her in a assisted living until they deem they cannot manage her dementia and I finally get the chance to get her here. I work steady hard everyday to take care of her and we were doing great. Them out of the blue one day after a month or 2 my sister (who lives out of state mind you) sends her daughters to my home to move my mother into my nieces home who has 2 baby’s. One 1 yr old and 1 3 month old to also care for. No warning no explanation just rips her away and my mom was so upset as was I. My niece basically needs my mom’s income to survive is what I figured out so my sister gave her my mom. I’m seething with anger.

  52. Deb Reply

    I also have a mother with Alzehimers that I care for however as long as my mother gets what she wants it’s bearable but the moment I take 5 minutes for myself my mum’s attitude changes to nastiness towards me, I also cared for my dad for 9 years who had vascular dementia but once again no help from my 5 siblings, or should I say they ring mum to say hi every now and again I guess that helps with the guilt who nos..I to am tired and exhausted.
    I also help my daughter care for her 2 children.
    I really have seen how self centred families can be..I could seriously write a book on caregivers from dementia parents to mental health partners..

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry you are dealing with so much on your own. Try to think about what caregiving gives you vs. what it takes from you. Would you rather be you or your siblings?

  53. Eve Reply

    I have mixed feelings on how I should handle my relationship with my siblings moving forward. On one hand I have my brother who I may talk to twice a year. On the other I have my sister who I talk to every couple of days. I
    can be direct with my brother, but we don’t talk often. He is very straightforward about his opinions. I respect that. He is raising his kids on his own and doesn’t have time to help out with mom and pop. I thought I had a great relationship with my sister. Over the phone there was a lot of verbal support on both ends. My parents had to be moved from their home and I live in the same state, and generally more involved with their needs. Initially, both lived with me for 7 months. They wanted their own place so they were moved a few minutes away from me. This move was done with the help of my sister. Mom and pop both have had serious health scares recently. They have lived in their home two and a half years. Consequently, I have been the one to help them with everything. I do it because I want to. It makes me feel great and I want no regrets. I do my best not to impose myself on them and asks them what they would like help with,etc. Over the phone my siblings have stated that they appreciate all I do. Over the last few months I felt as there was a lack of sincerity from my sister. Primarily, she had gone through a divorce and numerous other things. I never once ever was or have been resentful. However, after both my parents have had health issues and my sister coming down, I feel let down. It is clear that she had her own motives and resentments toward both my parents and myself. I asked if she did and never did receive a reply. However, her treatment and total lack of respect toward me with attacking texts have dumbfounded me. At first, Ididn’t know what to think. Now I realize she had issues she needed to resolve on how to help with my parents and what her role is. But, in the process she has lost a good friend and person to lean on. I am generally a very giving person. But, to protect myself I am avoiding conversing with her unless it specifically is related to my parents health issues and their needs. I feel like I have been emotionally steam rolled over. I never felt this way before she came. Mind you, she doesn’t live here, wants to take over decisions without including our parents opinions or mine. I am hurt and over it. I wouldn’t take this treatment from anyone. I will not take it from her, either. I have been the go to for holidays, etc. No more. It’s all so unnecessary and sad.

    • admin Reply

      It is sad and I am sorry it is happening. My two cents: conduct yourself in a way so as not to further the rift between the two of you so that if she changes her approach to your relationship, you will be able to repair it.

  54. Jeremy Thompson Reply

    I would like right now for my mom to stop talking to me and to stay out of my room and stop saying about bugs that don’t exist.

  55. J Reply

    I think it is quite easy for someone to claim another is playing the martyr or victim when you are not there in person to say ‘no’ face to face with a parent, to say ‘no’ I won’t help, no I won’t pick up my parent in the middle of the night from the hospital when the nurse or social services is calling, etc. I have every right to feel resentment that my parents chose to move close to me and my family, and to dump all of their issues on me. My husband and I were supposed to quit our jobs, move our children, to get away from my parents? And yes, one of my siblings had the audacity to suggest this. Apparently it was my fault my parents chose this, according to her.

    Yes, I appreciate anything my siblings do and did to help. I’m sure they felt at times that I thought what they did was not enough. I did understand they didn’t live as close as I did, but yes, most times what my siblings did was not enough. It was nowhere equal to what myself and my family did, or what we sacrificed, but it didn’t go un-noticed or under-appreciated by me. I’m not trying to be mean or ungrateful, it is simply the reality. Their help was a temporary reprieve. It was all done on their schedules, but life and emergencies don’t happen on someone else’s schedule. I do resent the loss of money my husband and I gave up using our sick and vacation days, and especially mourn the loss of time with my children. I simply don’t understand all the advice to just accept your role and not have expectations of others to help. Neither my parents nor the rest of us could pay for help. I made my parents apply for what little help we could get for them. I get that you can’t force others to help. I am still dealing with siblings over the estate that expect me to deal with things for our parents’ home. My attempts at nicely and firmly letting my siblings know what I will and will not do are met with attitude and downright threats to not do anything with the estate. I chose not to be executor when my parents asked me to, because I simply could not handle doing anything more. I just want my part, and absolutely deserve it, though all I did over the past 20+ years was because I cared. The estate won’t be a lot, but it will help. I live in a rural area, and have to occasionally work with hospital social workers, medical providers, etc. I also felt pressure not to be seen as an uncaring daughter saying no to helping my own parents, even when it was causing me high stress, having to work more to keep caught up, etc. Neither of my siblings had to contend with that. I have dealt with so many life and death situations with my parents on top of other issues. I watched them both die slowly of cancer. One sibling didn’t come to either memorial.

    Please help your siblings who are doing the work you choose not to do. Thank God and your sibling(s), who are doing for your parents what you have the option to say no to, and please have some understanding and kindness in your heart when that sibling says they are done, and respect their decision.

    I am glad I was there for my parents, especially my dad. He was a great person. My step-mother was selfish, and treated my father and everyone else poorly in private. Most days I am just done. I don’t really care about the estate, except to recoup our financial losses. Glad I found this site. It’s so sad that so many of us have such similar stories. The selfishness of others never ceases to amaze me. I just want my life back!

  56. Jeremy Thompson Reply

    My mom keeps talking to me and I would like her no longer to be anymore right now and to stay out of my room. And she’s still going on about stupid bugs that don’t exist I would like her to quit with this bug nonsense right now.

  57. Danika Reply

    At a young age I was the only grandchild to take care of my grandmother and spend a lot of time with her. We’re also the one’s who do for and spend a lot of time with my mother now even through its a travel but still less for my siblings. We’re moving a short ways over for my husband’s work and the hope was my mother would come with us because I want to care for her and in my gut I feel it will mainly fall to me. I feel this way because I prioritize her were my siblings have not in the past compared to their spouses parents. Yet they are trying to get her to move near my sibling, who even she said didn’t prioritize her like the in-laws; but she’s a “pleaser” I guess you can say, loves her grandkids, and the area. My gut is screaming that when she gets to the point of needing even more care it will still fall to me so would be best for her to just come with us. However I want her to do what she wants, but feel she is being influenced. I know my siblings are good people but can be more selfish and pushovers for their spouses wishes, even through my mother is ALWAYS putting them first! I can’t mention it to her because she doesn’t like to think of aging or her medical issues which will all get worst. Should I mention it to them or just bite my tongue? If discuss, how do I go about it without pointing out their previous decisions that have concerned me?

  58. Ellie West Reply

    I cared for my Stepfather for around 3 years before he passed away recently. My advice would be, try not to go it alone, you will never be hailed a hero in these situations. My error was that I thought I would only ever be popping to the shops to pick him up a newspaper two or three times a week, or a bit of light shopping. Instead it turned into endless Hospital and Dr’s Appointments, cleaning, cooking, washing, Gardening, there were many times I felt out of my depth

    I have 2 sisters and 1 brother all older than me. One sister had the “I live 300 miles away” get out of Jail Free card, another sister “My Job is so busy and demanding” The brother just kept out of things (Hardly helpful) We have never been particularly close, but right now I cannot bear to speak to any of them. The reason for this is the small amount of money my Step father left, and how people show their true colours at times like this. I have been accused of everything from theft to fraud, when in reality I had tried to protect his account after finding out thousands of pounds had been taken over a number of years. (Most of which mysteriously vanished) I knew who had taken the money and opened online Banking Accounts, but the fact that they were my blood stopped me taking the matter further, and as I finally managed to gain control, at his request, they crawled out of the woodwork with their greedy grasping hands stretched out, and then proceeded to strip the contents of his rented house of anything of value without a word to me.

    The fallout has been horrendous and continues to be, so please take heed and don’t be another me!

  59. Anna Reply

    It’s even worse when the elderly parent ranks their children from highest to lowest importance AND has per-conceived ideas of gender roles by expecting the girl(s) to look after them.

  60. Geri Soto Soto Reply

    I need your help. Any suggestions on how to reach out to ask siblings to pick one weekend a month to care for my elderly father. We have 5 of us all together. That’s all we are asking. I am printing a calendar 3 months out. I just need to know what to include in the email. Thank You.

  61. Kevin Vidal Reply

    This was a very strong analysis of being “The One”. I was “The One”, and shared the same personality and organizational skills as you have. I was really the best one to organize the mess of my mother’s situation. No one was willing to leave their lives in other cities for her. I was.

    But, my situation had a different dynamic and I want to point it out because others may share a similar scenario.

    I was the youngest child, my father died before 1 year of age, and I became the most successful as an adult. My mother made it known to my siblings that I was her “favorite”. She demanded that I care for her. They all walked out on me and her.

    The point is that sometimes siblings can really be much more sinister than you’d ever expected. Often, it is related to resentments that go back to childhood. They surface in the caregiving situation as though you are all competing.

    My mother insisted and from that point forward it was ugly. This was my reality and perhaps for others. Historical resentments and ugliness among siblings, especially in large families, surfaces when the matriarch or patriarch, requires care. In my case, it related back to when my father died, and as an infant, my mother gave me all the attention.

    I loved this post. I will save it.
    Kevy Michaels

  62. Rodney Mcmillan Reply

    Compared to to some in your comments, at least my siblings call on a regular basis but I am the youngest and chosen Caregiver threw the process of alimination. I try not to be bitter, instead becoming prepared and having a Wonderful wife that never complained, at least not about my Dad. He lives with my family and I try to incorporate his strengths into my family which makes him feel as comfortable as possible even though he knows how much he needs us in his time of need. I can’t get back the time I spend on him but when he thanks us I know it’s sincere. I just ask God to keep giving me the strength and sanity as he gets older.

  63. APanel Reply

    I have enormous resentment toward my siblings over the care of my parents. I can barely stand to look at them at holiday functions. They all live within spitting distance of my parents yet I am the primary caregiver for my parents. Sometimes sibs stop in once a week to hang out, eat the food, let their dogs run around then they go home. I moved back in with my parents over 10 years ago. I needed help then gradually they needed help. This is now a full time job. 24/7 care. Every medical condition you can imagine exists in our situation. Help bathrooming, showering, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc., is done by me. My siblings have never uttered the words “thank you” or any sentiment even close to that. I am invisible, taken for granted and, as far as I can tell, what my death would represent to my sibs is they’d have to figure out who’d take care of my parents. I feel I mean nothing to them. I am an employee of this family only without any pay. And it is expected. I feel like I’m going insane that I’m the only one who sees how I’m being taken advantage of. If I ever mention that I need help, it’s met with anger and some derision. This is stealing my life and my will to live. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I dream of running far, far away from my family. They’re selfish, narcissistic and toxic human beings.

    • admin Reply

      I am sorry you are experiencing this. What if you took a break and told them, not asked, that they needed a plan for your parents. Would they step up if you weren’t there temporarily?

      • APanel Reply

        About twice a year I go to visit friends out of state. I put together a schedule of hired caregivers and my siblings fill in when they can. Maybe nights or during the day sometime. I have been told I should be the one paying for the hired caregivers because I’m the one who wants to get away for a few days. Without fail, and this is not an exaggeration, every trip has involved a huge family fight. It starts with someone complaining that my parents should already be in a home somewhere and it escalates from there.

        I have asked, in all sincerity, what if I were gone tomorrow? How would they get the care my parents need? To the person, put them in a nursing home. No hesitation. Two of these sibs are retired and could actually help out more if they had an ounce of decency. One is working and has kids yet he is the only one who regularly stops here once a week.

        I’m at my wits end and am really really struggling to figure out what the hell I’m doing in this life besides being my family’s employee. I love my parents but I NEVER expected to be the one that ensured their safety and survival in their senior years…especially at the cost of my own.

        • Cristina Reply

          It seems like there is a lot of gaslighting going on when the response to “why can’t you help a little bit” is “well, you don’t need to be doing all you do–mom could be in a care home.” It’s like they are saying that we are bringing all of the work on ourself. Does this make sense?

          • admin

            It does make sense, AND, unfortunately, eery sibling can decide for themselves how much, if any, care they want to give.

      • Katy Reply

        You need a break
        Contact council yoy may be entitled to free carers sometimes at home
        There are respite places they collect parent in ambulance yoy go in holiday and they bring back back your parent on date to suit you
        There are carers groups
        I understand had a selfish toxic greedy brother wd not help

  64. S Reply

    I am the oldest of three sisters and my sisters don’t always consult me about our parents. They live closer to our parents and they decide together what they think should be done for our parents. The other night my sisters called 911 and the police came to take our mother to the hospital. Our mother has a condition where she believes she has bugs living on her head and she was putting insecticide on her head. Had I been included in the conversation, I would not have called 911. This was the second time my mother was in hospital for her condition. The time before she voluntarily went to hospital. She was prescribed an anti-psychotic but she stopped taking the drug. Now this second time she was discharged within a day and she was not considered by the hospital to be suicidal or a danger to herself in spite of her putting insecticide on her head. Our mother is furious with all of us even though I had nothing to do with this and I do not condone having anyone committed until you’ve exhausted every other option. I think my parents need a social worker involved and occasional home care visits but because I was not involved last time, I have trouble speaking with hospital staff or doctors. My parents appear to be handling everything well when professionals visit them because they are able to cook, clean, get groceries, do laundry and their house is in good shape. I find my sisters don’t always listen to our parents and everything seems to be more about my sisters feeling safe – putting our mom is hospital versus talking to her and finding a gentler way to help her. My parents favour my sisters so I suppose I will end up being the marginalized sister. I will do what I can to help our parents from a distance. I don’t think the sibling who steps up is always the one who has the parents’ best interest at heart. I find my sisters tend to steamroll me out of the way and they take advantage of the fact that I live farther away. I’ve been told my sisters are just on the border of elder abuse because it is illegal in our province to force medical care on the elderly. I wish we were more of a united front but I don’t see that happening.

    • admin Reply

      Many adult children do prioritize trying to keep things safe over their parents’ autonomy. The balancing at for siblings when one lives at a distance is to understand the pressures of and impact for the nearby siblings with the wise observations and opinions of the distanced sibling.

    • Theresa Reply

      I am so glad to have found this website. I moved in with mum when dad died 6 years ago. She’s now getting confused about people and places and sometimes doesn’t recognise me. She only started to be more confused than usual in June this year. Her sister and mother both had dementia so it probably is this. She has a doctor’s appointment in a couple of weeks. My brother lives with his family in Australia. They have just gone back after a 2 week holiday in the UK. They visited us 3 times and seemed pleasant enough (my sister in law has never been pleasant to us before) but last Friday they were horrible. Sister in law’s mother had dementia and eventually went into a care home. My brother and his family keep telling me that our mum should go into a care home but she doesn’t need it. She’s mobile, self care skills are good, she can make tea/coffee, prepare vegetables, cook a meal, do the laundry etc. I feel she would be worse in a care home as she is used to being independent and would be even more confused as to where she was and who people were. My cousins agree with me. Last Friday we were looking at family photos. Mum didn’t recognise my brother sitting in the room with us and brother, sister in law and nephew kept on and on and on at mum, trying to get her to link the photo of my brother when young with the 61 year old man sitting near her. I changed the subject 2 or 3 times but they kept bringing it back again. They speak fast and not always clearly anyway. Mum was getting more confused and distressed but they wouldn’t stop. It was like an exam and they were trying to prove to mum that she didn’t know the answer. They said they were helping her with her memories but they weren’t, they were just upsetting her. When they left, my brother started again, asking mum if she recognised him. I slapped his backside lightly in a discreet attempt to get him to stop but he didn’t. Then my nephew (26 yrs) told me he didn’t like the way I’d treated his father, basically accused me of lying, saying my brother hadn’t been over to UK for 5 years and had been relying on me to say how mum was and he was worried his gran might fall. He hardly knows his gran. He moved to Australia when he was 7 and my brother has never been good at keeping in touch. He didn’t even tell us when his son got an award at school or when he passed his degree, and never sent us photos. I feel my nephew is just saying what his parents think or told him to say. I feel my brother is dominated by his wife. On his wedding day, he asked dad not to call him by his pet name because his wife didn’t like it. When dad had his stroke, my brother said he knew all about strokes because his father in law had had one. Now, of course, he knows all about dementia because his mother in law had it. He doesn’t seem to be willing to accept that these things affect everyone differently. I tried to tell him about the DAWN method (can thoroughly recommend Dementia with Dignity by Judy Cornish) but he wouldn’t listen. I think they were trying to prove to me that mum should be in a care home but all they proved was that they had not one ounce of compassion, empathy or respect for mum. I vented to my cousin afterwards and she told me my sister in law had done a lot of cleaning in the kitchen when she’d come over the week before. My cousin was gobsmacked that she should be so rude to do this. We don’t live in a tip. It’s not perfect but it isn’t that bad. I am so angry with my brother and his family.

  65. Luisa Reply

    Thank you everyone for sharing. My father just transitioned to heaven after 10 years of me running a 16 hour/day skilled care facility for one (my father only) in his house with SEVEN caregivers (different schedules/availability). It was a B%^* to put it lightly with my full time career and being 8 hours away. My father and caregivers were all loving and awesome. It was the volume of chronic daily stress and management, and my siblings utter incompetence and disregard for my loving father that made me sick. Their disfunction created my reality. Can’t get them to help.

    The reason for my post is that I wanted to share what I believe is normal and acceptable path forward with siblings following this experience. I forgive my siblings because I respect their choices in life, as I expect them to respect mine. Having said that, they showed me their true colors bright as could be. Since our values are on opposite ends of the earth, I will be cordial to them at events, but otherwise have no contact with them. My days are short now, and the last thing I want to do is spend time with people that screwed me, AND don’t think they are at fault in any way, and also think we should be friends. Not sure about you, but it doesn’t get more mentally dysfunctional than that. The healthiest thing we can do in life is make wise choices, and let EVERYONE reap the seeds they have sown.

  66. Linda Reply

    This site is a find for an angry soul; Like so many of the articles written above – I have a brother who has left all the care for my aging parents to me. While I am happy to do that he has taken it upon himself as a reaction to try and block me in everyway imaginable, with lies, calling the police on me, accusing me of safeguarding issues etc. (Each time this has backfired.) This has been going on for two years. He comes to see his parents once every six weeks. To cut a long story short – my father has since passed and mum is now in a care home. I put her there (much to my brother’s disgust) but had no choice as she had a stroke and became completely paralyzed. At the care home her physical abilities came back – except for her legs as they went into lockdown with covid for five weeks and mum had no physio. I am now wanting to bring mum back home so I can care for her full-time as I am not happy with the level of care at the home. My bother has brought in social services and is now trying to block me bringing her home. Twelve professionals have been called in and all claim that mum’s best interest is to be at home. However my brother stipulated that my mum needs a carer for twelve hours a day as I am incapable of caring for my mum. This has been agreed on. (I was not part of the decision.) My mum is nearing death and sleeps about 18 hours out of 24. She only accepts her medication and food from me and while at the care home they wash and dress her while I am still doing the main caring. This order from the social care has now been thrust upon me. I do not want a young girl caring for my mum when I can do it. I have been caring for my mum for the last two years and will do so until she dies. It is a natural calling for me. Do I leave mum in the care home? I am so angry with my brother who’s focus is to hurt me and not look at the best interest for my mother.

    My other question is regarding the relationship of a mother and daughter. By our very essence it is natural for a mother to give birth and care for her baby: no one can tell her how to do it better than the mother. I feel this is the same at the end of life. I know what is best for my mum without having to take an exam or prove to a social care worker I am capable. This is denying woman of our natural abilities as care givers. I fear the connection between mother and daughter is trying to be controlled by men who do not understand, and are possibly threatened by that bond. Am I accurate in thinking this and if so what can we do to prevent this happening?

  67. Arthur Reply

    I am in a situation where my brother in-law refuses to help with my mother in-law and my wife and I am financially keeping he in her house. I have 3 kids and this dim wit does not see anything outside of himself. He refuse to help with a situation that in fairness she has caused but is now my wife’s and my responsibility. I am deeply resentful for what he is doing as he has no kids, goes to him tee times, works just enough as an accountant and then is a volunteer fireman while playing with Legos yes Legos at almost 50 years of age. What can I do about this as I want to cut her off but she does help with the kids however at $1100 a month it is just too much!

  68. CC Reply

    Thank you for sharing some of your story and perspective in the article. I’m my mother’s sole caregiver and I am in my 20s, so there aren’t a lot of people I can speak comfortably to on this sort of topic in my everyday life. While our situations aren’t wholly similar, a lot of what you wrote resonated with me greatly. Your article definitely gave me a bit to think about.

    I hope all is well with you and your family, and thanks again for sharing.

  69. Peggy Reply

    I tossed and turned last night trying to figure out a way to get my siblings (3 of them) to help more with my mother’s care since she moved in with me 9 weeks ago. Nothing came to me but to look for something on line that talks about this issue. I found this website. Our father suffered horribly with vascular dementia the past two years. My parents did not want a nursing home so collectively we honored their wishes and kept Dad at home. The last 6 months of his life were horrible but we all banned together and got Dad to the finish line the way he wanted. He died in April. My mother has lung cancer and it was in remission until after Dad passed and it came back with a vengeance with malignant pleural effusion. She can no longer live alone and the doctors are giving her 6 months. I took her to my house assuming we would continue to do for her what we had collectively done for our father. Unfortunately that has not been the case. I assume they are just burnt out from our time caring for our father but why do they think because she is at my home their work is done. The resentment that I feel for them right now is off the charts. 2 are retired and have the time to give but are all about having a good time now. They stop and visit the nursing home (as my husband and I now call our home) but do nothing to help. My husband and I work full time albeit from home so they must assume I just have all the time in the world to care for Mom so why should they continue to alter their lifestyle. They know Mom is well care for and to quote them “in the best possible hands” They say your family will be there for you when every else walks out but I found that statement is totally untrue. If they don’t change their attitudes soon I know by the time Mom passes I will want to have nothing to do with them. I’m stressed and burnt out and so deeply hurt and disappointment in my siblings. For the record I have asked for help and their version of helping is laughable. So my husband and I soldier on and hope when it is all said and done, we will still have something left of our health and sanity.

  70. Kellie Garcia Reply

    I feel that ai am the lucky one because I get to take care of my parents. It is the least I can do for them after all the sacrifices they have made for me throughout my life and all the times they were there when I needed them. My siblings and I all knew as kids that I would take care of them. It takes a special person to do what we do. A person of strength and a caregiver at heart. I spend my life helping people… why not my own. My Mother has leukemia and there is no cure for hers. The hard part is seeing how hurt she is when the rest of the family thinks that she is lazy and could do more for herself. My Dad gets upset that she sleeps a lot. He upsets me as well when he does that to her. He is lucky he doesn’t have to suffer like she does. I try to comfort my Mom and let her know that I understand and that is the only way he can deal with it. I think that my Dad puts this defense up because if he acknowledges the truth it will make it real and he isn’t ready to face it. I just wish I could make them all understand that she needs their love, strength and support. Causing her depression or making her feel like a burden only makes her condition worse. They are all selflessly shortening the life of the Mother I love and want here and they are missing out on what could be the last days they have with her. I just hope that I am able to show her enough love and care to make up for the rest of the family so she doesn’t feel alone. But it would be nice for them to get a clue before they have to live with guilt for not being supportive mentally.

  71. Ellen Reply

    It’s comforting to know that my situation is nowhere near an original one, since so many others have commented on the same predicament – complex, draining elder care responsibilities and siblings who will not help (or, if they ever do, the help is minimal and clearly offered with lack of empathy or love). In my case, I have only one older sister and no other family members, except my mom who is in steep decline and her sister (my aunt) who is recovering from a stroke but probably has early stage vascular dementia and will likely undergo a slow decline also. Mom is a full blown narcissist who does nothing to deal with the realities of her decline, frequently ranting or spewing abuse; her sister (my “maiden aunt”) is a much more normal human with whom I have built a trustful and kind relationship over the years, most intensely in this past year where we have slowly worked toward discharging her from a notoriously bad nursing home (it’s under constant state investigation) where she had to go during the height of COVID chaos. Aunt doesn’t really require nursing care, and she is in the process of being discharged to my and my mom’s home. A decision I thought long and hard about and spent 9 months observing the troubles at the NH and observing my aunt’s progress/plateau. (She will eventually need a NH, but now just isn’t that time, and assisted living is completely out of our financial reach.). There are just no perfect answers here and the situation with finances, my mom’s narcissism and physical condition, legal matters, lack of family support, COVID chaos, bad local nursing homes, my aunt’s aphasia… is just complex beyond imagining.

    I have tried to focus on what very little is positive in the situation: my loving relationship with my aunt, the home that we have (though it’s not good for my mom’s needs), the liquid financial funds I do have and can sacrifice/rebuild later, my aunt’s Medicaid status, and a supportive day job where everyone is going through their own crises and feels they can talk honestly about complex home life issues. I’m constantly seeking outside help but it’s so hard to find in COVID times.

    My sister who lives 10 minutes away has a work from home job and you’d think she would be at least a minor asset in the situation… but she is one of those people who never rewrites her story, and my aunt has been a target of her disdain throughout our entire lives, for reasons I don’t fully understand. I do understand the disdain for our mother, who has been an incorrigible narcissist as long as we both can remember. But over the last few years I have realized (to my great despair and shock and grief) that my sister just really, at her core, does not want to have anything to do with our family any more. And that I am now completely alone in terms of taking on huge responsibilities – and that she (and probably other people) believe I am stupid, incapable and unwise, that I don’t know what I know (such as how my aunt’s NH is imploding and there’s no other beds open and she wouldn’t qualify for them anyway probably), and that there is no “happy ending” that will allow me to walk away scot free to go “run and play” like she (and the rest of our society) believes she has the right and self-actualizing duty to do. My mom and aunt are still alive, exist
    (Sis has always resented this??), and have needs which aren’t being met by the shoddy medical system they have financial access to – though conditions may and will change.

    It’s just the coldness being manifested toward me now that’s really shocking, I’m trying to take care of humans (odious as my mom’s behavior may be) and she believes they don’t deserve anything; and she’s lumped me in with them as a “bunch of losers” she desperately needs to cut herself off from.

    This past spring we were both undergoing stressful moments (me with my mom, she with her dying old pets) and words were exchanged that I don’t think we will ever bounce back from. It was the kind of exchange where you realize that while you may yet talk to your sibling again (text, call, send a meme), you will never again REALLY talk to them about the things that matter to you. My sister has become a stranger. Over 3 years I have lost my beloved dad to cancer (someone my sister also intractably hated) – the most supportive person in my life; at last understood my mother is a dead-end narcissist (this is like losing another part of your life story, because you realize all your explanations for her behavior were wrong); my aunt lost the ability to speak and wound up in a truly awful NH overnight; and now my sister is gone. I never was close to her, but always hoped and expected things would improve as we matured and adulted. But she never took my outstretched hand, never wanted to move forward. We cooperated briefly when my dad died, but now she’s so clearly done with us losers. And now I realize she’s just a damaged, cold-hearted person and always has been (and that her way of dealing with things is something the world at large looks on as “smart setting of boundaries” while someone like me is the delusional fool being sucked down with losers).

    Turning away now, I try to focus on the warm relationship I have with my aunt. She is so motivated to recover and tries so hard. She is calm and only a little stubborn these days. She thanks me for my efforts and apologizes for any difficulties she thinks she has caused (my mother and sister have never apologized for anything in their lives). She is an asset to me as I deal with my mom alone. Someone to have a laugh with and try to reach a goal with (improving her a1c as she is diabetic). I know she will have to go into a home some day, and I think she does too, but that time is not now. Her current bad NH is not her final destination.

    Grieving my lost sister who I apparently never really had. Rewriting my story yet again.

    • admin Reply

      keep focusing on the positive – why not? its’ better than focusing on the conflict. hang in there!

  72. DW Bielski Reply


    I just came across this post. I am in the same boat where I have no life. My sister only lives about 2 or 3 miles from me but thinks all she has to do is come get my mom for just a few hours on Sundays. She keeps dropping her off earlier and earlier. I am married with a 21 year old in college and a 19 year who moved to Nashville for songwriting. I can’t even go see her perform most times. But, the people I am most angry at is not my sister or my mother, it is the messed up Medicaid and Medicare system! When elderly can no longer or never have been able to afford assisted living after going through their savings or family money, Medicaid should supplement their Medicare and allow them to stay where they are. I believe Florida operates this way. Many of our parents don’t need nursing homes, they just need to be in a 24/7 monitored environment like assisted living. My research has shown Medicaid wastes so much money on nursing home care for elderly that do not need this type of care. They are only there because it is the only option for them. My mom was paying $100 less a month in a very nice assisted living than what the state would pay for her to be in a nursing home that she didn’t really belong in. And, I would NEVER put her in a state run nursing home…EVER. This is why she is living with me. Yes, I am angry, resentful, stressed, etc at my sister and mother for putting me in the dilemma and keeping me from enjoying my own family. BUT, we all need to act on this with our local and federal elected officials to change the way Medicaid works. There is power in numbers. I was flat out turned down by Tim Scott of South Carolina when I reached out to him because he was a ranking member on the Council for the Aging. The response I received was to write to my own elected officials from my state. He only works with his constituents in South Carolina. If that is the case, he shouldn’t be a ranking member on the Council for Aging which is to serve all Americans. If anyone is interested in starting a movement to help caregivers, let me know.
    So many of these articles are the same complaints but nothing is done about it except “take care of yourself” which, as you know, is a joke.

  73. DW Bielski Reply

    Correction….meant Medicaid should supplement their Social Security, not Medicare.

  74. Samantha Reply

    We just lost my mom about a month ago and feeling sad of course, but also hurt by my sister and extended family. My sis was my moms caretaker and has received a lot of support, calls, cards, gifts, etc which is nice since she was taking care of her. However, some of these same people have not reached out to me to say I’m sorry about your mom, etc. I live in another state and wasn’t with her as much as I wanted to be, but that doesn’t mean I don’t or didn’t care. I do, I just have other priorities as well. Now I was asked to say something at her service and all I can think of is going up and saying, “I do care even though none of you seem to think so.” I would never do that of course, but I feel like my anger/annoyance is stopping me for really feeling and saying what’s on my heart. I want to let them know I DO CARE even though I wasn’t there 24/7 and my sister doesn’t hold the monopoly on grieving. Any suggestions on what I should say to get my point accross while also sharing a few heart warming stories about my mom (of course my sis is also doing the eulogy). All of this is frsutrating and heartbreaking. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks.

    • admin Reply

      Focus on you and your mother. It is no one else’s business what your relationship was. Your mother knew you cared.

  75. Mary Reply

    I have a severely disabled child, and my ex-husband’s mother insists I provide all care for her. She is 94 and her health is steadily declining. I already care for my significantly developmentally disabled child with seizures and Crohn’s disease who requires 24/7 care. One of her children offers to help, but she absolutely refuses to let him do anything for her. Both of her sons can be angry and aggressive and are already planning to fight over the house owned by my former mom-in-law, and when she passes it will be war. I refuse to leave myself and my son in the middle of this mess and am preparing to move away for my safety, but I am concerned for her wellbeing. She is aware that I am leaving the area, but likes to pretend that I’ll stay here and take care of her and put my child’s and my own safety at risk so she doesn’t have to depend on anyone else. Her son (my former husband) was incredibly abusive. I get that I am “THE ONE”, but I am passing the torch. Any suggestions on how to do this??

  76. Victor Sledge Reply

    Thank you for this post! Caring for parents with your siblings can definitely be challenging, but elder care mediation can help! I found a blog post with more helpful information about it.

  77. Overwhelmed Reply

    I have 9 siblings that all live very close and I was my mother’s only caregiver for 12 years while raising 2 young children and working part-time! I was doing pretty good handling all with her care until covid happened and my kids were now home doing online schooling and my part-time job turned full-time as I work in health care and was needed to step up. I was so burnt out that I complained alot about my stress and tiredness to my mother, which would’ve made her feel helpless. I have regrets and guilt about doing that now that I’m out of the stressful situation I was in. No one stepped up of my siblings knowing my work load had significantly increased. I never asked them to do stuff but I would say to them I’m rushing from here to there and have alot on my plate with hardly time for a shower hoping for an offer of help. Did anyone else take their stress out on their parent and having a hard time with the guilt of it? I also feel that her health declined due to covid not going anywhere being isolated and my time with her not as much made for an inactive, isolated life..more guilt 😞 .

    • admin Reply

      Anyone else who was human did! Don’t beat yourself up. We need our parents even when we start caring for them. And I think most parents still want to parent us no matter what is happening in there lives.

  78. Elaine Reply

    So much sadness disappointment with family. If your stuck with the whole job hire out as much as you can. I’m surprised people don’t get it that we see them for who they are and probably don’t want them in our life anymore. My niece is dumping her parents end of life care on us and can’t be bothered to visit. If I never see her again it will be too soon.

    • JZ Reply

      I am so with you ! My mom is on hospice for dementia .She was a horder. We are 3 but only 2 has ever helped in parents illness. I work the other daughter doesn’t but she won’t help me.Even though we agreed to both care for her. My brother is cleaning moms house. I’m moving there but obstacles are there was a pit bull belongs to grandson. I refused to go move w mom so dog was removed. Now they want me to stay in a small room while there are 4 other bedrooms I get the smallest one to share w mom . I’m know I’m going to explode either way if I don’t go or if I do !

  79. EVS Reply

    My 50 y.o. brother cares for our elderly mother (86, macular degeneration, mobility/balance issues, incontinence) but it’s a tricky situation because he’s effectively disabled (untreated bipolar disorder and alcoholism) so he has lived with her rent-free his entire life. They have a nice house in the country. He’s very resentful that he needs to care for her but in my opinion not having ANY bills for decades and having free use of her debit card and also inheriting the house when she passes is a pretty good exchange for her care. He works really sporadically when he feels like it, basically for spending $$. He says the situation is not fair. I travel to see her (from across the country) twice a year to give him breaks. He really dislikes her and rarely speaks to her, but will food shop, make her food and take care of the house (to an extent). I offered to pay for in-home care a few days a week to give him a break. I found a place and made the arrangements and they tried it for about 6 weeks but found it too intrusive. I guess my question is, is this a fair exchange for him? Should he be paid in addition to living rent free, “borrowing” thousands that are never paid back and inheriting the house? I think I just answered my own question. 😉

  80. Bec Reply

    I want to thank everyone for sharing their stories. I am barely a carer but already falling into all of the traps. As frustrating as it is, it made me feel better to know that this sibling problem happens to a lot of people.
    I seem to have become the one, and I am happy to own that, but I’ve had to delete certain family members from my life because they are too hurtful. I really did want them to help, but they seem to be so resentful of my mother choosing me that they get nasty and paranoid. Instead of saying thank you or how are you, or calling for a chat, I get accusing and paranoid messages. I do my best, but yesterday I broke – I was so tired, frustrated and oversensitive, I couldn’t take it, My mum explained that they will only do what they want and no more; that it is best to leave them alone. One of them did step up to help me yesterday, and just that small gesture made such a difference.
    I think you guys are all amazing – I don’t know how you do it, but I hope I can learn from reading your stories.

  81. J Reply

    It’s really sad how long the comments section is because so many people are caregiving and abandoned by their siblings. I’m in my 30s and taking care of my disabled father for 2 years. Very minimal support and help from friends and family. My husband is a great help but it’s just a lot. We also work full time and now I’m pregnant. But my siblings still don’t help. Nothing will likely ever change that unfortunately.

  82. John Reply

    I am one of six siblings. Our mother is 97. Our older sister is the “caregiver” you speak of. Each of us loves our mother and wants to take an equal part in caring for her. Our older sister, however, believes she is the only one who knows what’s right for our mother. She has gotten so controlling, dismissive and mean that one by one each of us has simply given up trying to help.

    I wonder how many of the martyr stories on this thread are similar. Maybe no one is helping you because YOU are impossible to work with. Take a hard look at yourself, not your siblings.

  83. Dk Reply

    I found this article because my husband and I are on the other side of this, his brothers are making caregiving decisions about their mom but then expect us and everyone to “pitch in” and make their plan happen. Their plan? Mom stays in her home and they and us rotate staying with her to help her. She isn’t even that bad off, but this has been going on since April. They encourage her to be dependent and then get resentful and angry and passive aggressive that we don’t volunteer more to come stay with her.
    My sister in law that lives in the same city as mother in law keeps getting angry because most of the caregiving from her perspective falls on them. It does the rest of us live three hours away. But here’s the thing. Her husband is the POA and he encourages his mother to not go to hospitals or rehabs etc when she’s injured. He created this set up and didn’t consult the rest of us to see if it worked for our lives. Sure ok you do you but you don’t get to make a decision, without asking us if we find this set up feasible, then resent us for not doing our “fair share” per your idea. There are three sons, and the POA and other brother are always carrying on with the devoted sons at the beside routine vying for her love and go be the favorite. My husband isn’t interested in playing that game, he knows he’s the last in line, they don’t discuss anything with him other than we need you to stay with mom, etc. so yeah resentment can cut both ways. I went this weekend to stay with her and most of what is going on with her is learned helplessness. I’m a nurse and work with geriatrics and much of what she needs “help” with is learned from the doting sons, she was pretty self sufficient very quickly within my arrival. Anyway for the caregivers out there who feel like siblings aren’t doing their fair share, and to the comment in this article about the POA makes the decisions agreed, but ultimately if you make decisions arbitrarily then it’s on you to make that plan happen. We didn’t creat the plan, we didn’t make the unrealistic promises, and we aren’t going to be guilted into or manipulated into playing the who’s the best most devoted child game.

  84. Kit Reply

    I’m an RN and primary caregiver for my mother. I have 3 siblings who do little to support this process. My dad died 11 years ago and eventually I had to sell my home to move and care for my mom. I was in a senior management position making 6 figures and had to give up my career. Now 7 years after selling my home and 5 of early retirement I’m at my caregiver end stress wise. One sister lives on the west coast….we are on the east coast. She flys in once or twice a year for a week or two to give me respite. The other 2 live within 20 minutes. I’ve decided to place my mother in respite at an ALF for a month this summer to really get a break as well as getting some needed house repairs done while she is away. Now the siblings are giving their opinions and feel it’s not up to me. They think they should have a say in finances, house, care etc….but have never lifted a finger to help. One visits about once a month for an hour and brings a donut. The other has issues and just visited for the first time in a year and a half. How is it they feel they have any say? This has caused a great deal of stress for me. I might add I’m also in a relationship and my significant other of 3 years moved in last year and helps a great deal. We are both miffed about the sudden interest in my moms care. I deal with all the care, meals, laundry, house upkeep, medication, Dr appts and everything else you can imagine. How is it they think they have any control? I live here they do not. Frustrated and sick and tired of the BS. My brother is now threatening me if I don’t comply with what he thinks…not happening! My mother has all her estate planning done and YES it favors me but I’m the only one who gave up everything to provide her with her wish to stay in her home. I’ve had to make an appt with my mothers attorney to come over and meet with my mom about any effort from the wayward siblings need to control her care. Will this ever end? Tired of the BS.

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