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Email: grm4love@care-givers.com

Message:

Many of us have problems with our siblings in regard to caring for our parents. In most families it is usually one adult child that takes on the responsibility for caring for a parent. The other sibling (s) is (are) simply not capable or don't want any part of it.

To top it off they usually direct the one who is caregiving, make them wrong for their decisions and choices. Some may even threaten legal action in terms of financial estate of their parents. Many of us have similar issues surrounding our siblings....share your experiences so that others may learn, heal and grow. What are your experiences?
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I consider myself a Christian and believe in forgiveness, but I find myself extremely angry at my brother. My Mom has Alzheimer's and she fell and broke her hip in July 1997. I contacted my brother, who lives out of state, to let him know. We spoke several times until Mom was to be released from the Rehab Hospital. He told me he would call me to find out what the doctor's recommendation was for Mom's future care, but to this date, he has never called to inquire about Mom, his Mom too.

Through the family grapevine, I heard he got remarried and they had a child. He did mail me a birth announcement, but never inquired about Mom. Needless to say, I never acknowledged the announcement. I feel so much resentment and anger. Now I need to place Mom in a nursing home, and I feel so guilty and feel like I have so many decisions to make, that the mere mention of my brother makes my blood boil.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? How do I handle my feelings
Email: grm4love@care-givers.com

Message:

HI TERRY

Unfortunately, what you are experiencing with your brother is not uncommon for caregivers. Most of us have a story to tell...my brother simply can't cope with any family problems. Although he is a dentist and his wife is a nurse they were not there for mom and I when we were caregiving my father. The only reason he came up to see dad was because he would want his children to do the same for him when it is his time

It seems that there is always one child who faces and handles the challenge and role of caregiver on their own. We are the ones that can do it best or God wouldn't have given us the challenge ...and it is also a gift as well, because tremendous healing takes place for the caregiver and the one they are caring for.

There are some wonderful support groups and chat rooms for Alzheimers in particular online. If you need some info on them, please email me at grm4love@care-givers.com and I will help you to find some of the areas.

Also, although it is difficult to place our parent in a home, it is often necessary so that we can be freed to be even better in our role. There comes a point when you can no longer provide the proper care and you must learn to let go... Perhaps you can get some counseling offline as well to help you adjust through this period of time as well.

Let me know how I can support you.

In Love & Light,
Gail
Terry,

I'm new to this site and when I read your letter it really hit home. I care for both my parents and have a sibling that lives out of state and does not participate except to offer suggestions on how I could do things better. While I accepted my role several years back, I do admit the ongoing care is draining me. I just didn't have energy to carry the anger against my sister any longer and decided to minimize my contact with her. I know this was the right decision for me. Given the energy it takes to provide the support and care needed by our parents, we need all of our resources to do our best for them and ourselves.
Email: wjreardon@sunet.net

Message:

Hi Terry - I goofed... hit enter before typing message. Regarding your brother... sounds like he is related to my sister. I just placed Mom in an ALF (she is 91 - has Alzheimer's) and has lived with me for the past 6 years...but only diagnosed 9 months ago. In these 6 years my brother has taken my mother for as much as 6 weeks perhaps twice a year, which was helpful, but always at his convenience, never ours. My older sister has offered NO help, but lots of criticism.... forget your brother.

Live your life and do for your parent what you can. It is easy to offer suggestions, criticize etc. but harder to be the caregiver facing the daily problems. All I can say is, as long as when you put your head down each night knowing that you have done all you can.... the rest will fall into place. I'm not saying it is easy and the anger is a natural feeling - but I'm learning it takes energy I don't have so I am just trying to ignore the ignorance of a know-it-all but do-nothing personally.
Email: grace@vcn.com

Message:

Hello,

I watched my brother become so bothered and jealous of my sister as she became the person my parents depended on as they became more frail. Instead of supporting her, he would play on all of us, as well as my father for support against this sister. I, too, allowed myself to let him influence me as to the quality of care my sister was able to give.

Oh, how terribly wrong I was. My sister had two young children and two elderly parents to care for...my mother has Alzheimer's/dementia. What a load my sister had and how hard she worked!

Finally, I and others realized what had been going on and took measures to help our sister. Our brother retaliated with court battle after court battle. Threat after threat. I heard him threaten my sister and her husband's life. Was she able to get help from the court? No, my brother was very able to lie and manipulate to the point that he managed to discredit each of us who stood to help our sister and aunt.

What I have learned is how vicious siblings can be when there is either a need for control or there is some estate involved. I have also learned how difficult it is to prove when a sibling is threatening and harassing. I have learned, too late, the value of my sister's care and love for my parents. I have learned how much we as siblings need to support our sibling caretakers.

It is easy to sit on the outside and criticize and quite another to be doing the work and there is hardly ever any clear cut guidelines on decision-making. One just does the best they can. We need to have a support group of siblings of caregivers so we can all keep ourselves aware of the difficulties that our siblings go through and to remember that their job is a "Big one"

The best we can do when we see a problem, like their house getting down or something, is to jump in and do that job with their permission, instead of complaining about the job they do.

I have lived under these threats and it not only hurt my parents, my siblings, but my family, and all I came in contact with. There is something so inhuman about living in fear of someone in your family. We as siblings of caretakers should do all we can to help before we start to complain. Maybe our help is all it takes to keep our sibling going and ok. With our help maybe that what we complain about would be resolved.

My story is long but I learned too late this lesson in life. My mother, thanks to my brother, is now in a nursing home I would not put anyone. Her care there is so much worse than anything my sister did. How I wished I knew then what I know now. The best thing sometimes we can do for our parents is to love and support the sibling with love and gratitude.
Email: grm4love@care-givers.com

Message:

Dear Linda

Your story is of such great value to other caregivers who are in similar situations with their siblings. I am grateful for your post....perhaps we can create a chat or listserv for siblings of main caregivers a little bit down the road.

The growth you have experienced, the forgiveness and love you now have for your sister is so powerful...I know your sharing will help many. Hopefully your post will start an ongoing thread that others might respond to as well.

I was wondering if you would be able to find another nursing home that would benefit your mother more at this time.....one that the courts might approve of.

Blessings to you.
GRM4LOVE
Email: rtvel38ab@webtv.net

Message:

Thank you all! I hadn't had a chance to read your replies until today and I cried when I read them. Thank you. I very much needed to hear what you had to say. You're absolutely right to not dwell on negative thoughts about my brother. I have enough with dealing with my guilt in placing my parent into a nursing home even though I know it's the right decision. Moving day is May 1st. Pray for me because I know it's going to be hard. God bless all of you that replied.

Terry
Message:

Hello Terry,

Although, I have not had to deal with the issues of placing a parent into a nursing home, I almost did. It was horrible for me to even research the homes when my mother was critically ill last year. The guilt is something I think we all go through and you will need to feel it until you get passed it..

From others who have shared about their experiences, it usually is for the best. Their loved one generally receives proper loving care and the adult child still gets to supervise and be responsible in the loving way they chose to. It also gives you the opportunity to begin to sort out your own life once again.....to create a semblance of order...you are in my thoughts and prayers. If you care to place your mother's name in the healing circle...I would be very happy to do so.

Please let me know. Your mom is truly blessed to have a loving daughter as yourself caring for her. Blessings to you in all you are doing.
LOVE & LIGHT
GAIL
Email: jb9922@aol.com

Message:

I am caring for my mother who is 79 years old. She is a hypochondriac, she does have some medical problems but she brings a lot of it on herself by sitting here all day and thinking up something that could be wrong with her. I have three sisters, granted they live out of state but since I have been taking care of mom & dad (he died in July 1998) since around 1993, not one of them have offered to come out here and relieve me for a few days, when I have asked them to they just can't work it into their lives. I have taken over all of mom's bills as my dad left her nothing. This includes her house payment plus every thing else. I have asked them to pay to have someone stay with her when she has been released from the hospital for one thing or another, they have informed me that they will only pay a fourth of that charges.

This house is still in mom's name, I tried to assume the VA loan, so it would be in my name, mom would not hear of that, so I am making the payments, do not get any tax benefit, do not get it reported on my credit report. Yes I do live in this house, only because Mom needs someone with her. There is a lot more but will not bore you at this time. When some thing does happen to Mom I will never see or talk to anyone of my sisters again. I don't want to have anything to do with them ever again. I just became an only child. Thanks for listening

Judy
Message:

DEAR JUDY

I am so sorry you are having to go through the challenges set before you on your own. It is a devastating feeling when siblings abandon you, and also when you have difficulties with your mom as well. I would suggest that you get some counseling or advice in ways that you can approach your mother and communicate appropriately to her your needs, the expenses you have taken on, etc. By coming from strength, you may be able to show her the importance of helping you out as you are caring for her.

It is a difficult road to travel, but have faith that you will be guided to answers and situations that will benefit you as well.

Blessings to you. Gail
Message:

HI TERRY

I hope that you are doing better with the situation regarding your brother. While I have not had to put a parent into a home, I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it is. I was temporarily faced with the prospect of having to do so, but fortunately, my mom healed and is doing well.

I am sure your mom is grateful, even if she is unable to express herself, for the soul knows more then we understand.

Blessings to you. Gail

Subject: RE: HOW DO YOU
Email: jb9922

Message:

Dear Gail,

Thank you for the kind words. I am in Counseling, in order to be able to deal with Mother and all the problems concerning her. I am going to FL this month for two weeks to be with my sons. Not one of my sisters have made the effort to come out here to stay with Mother. I have not seen my sons for two and a half years, so I am going. The sisters have known since March that I was going in June so this is not just a last minute thing. After I come back from FL there will be some changes made. If I like it in FL I will be moving there. I will give Mother the choice of going with me into an assisted living place, going to live with one of her other daughters, or staying here in an assisted living place. If I don't like in in FL I will stay here in this area, but will get out from under that house and all that is costing me. Will give Mother the choice of living with me where I choose to live or an assisted living place.

Anyway after all of this with my three sisters and their lack of caring about anyone except themselves, I have just become an only child. When anything does happen to Mom I will never see or speak to them again.

Thanks Judy
Message:

Dear Judy

I was so happy to hear that you are in counseling. I think that you have created some important options for yourself along with how you will present them to your mother. I hope that your visit with your sons in Fla. is fruitful and enjoyable....I am always here at the boards.....Your sharing your situation on the boards is a wonderful support for others who may be in the same type of situation.

Just remember, that while you feel as if you are the only child...your reaching out is creating an extended family to support you in your time of need. God Bless You in all that you are doing.
LOVE & LIGHT
GRM4LOVE
Email: rtvel38ab@webtv.net

Message:

Hi Judy,

I guess like Gail says, there's usually one child that assumes the responsibility of caring for their parents. If you have read the previous posts, you know that I have a brother who has not bothered to call and inquire how his mother is. He has no earthly idea that she is now in a nursing home, & I truly believe that he does not care nor does he want to know! Placing Mom in a nursing home was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I go and see her every day, and even if she's asleep when I go, I see her and kiss her and I see for myself that she's all right and I can come home feeling at peace. I have pretty much realized that he will never be around especially when Mom passes away, so like you, I feel like I am an only child. I will always be there for my Mom, and know that I did everything I possibly could for her, and God knows that, and I can live with myself knowing that. Keep in touch. If you ever need to talk, you can e-mail me directly at RTVEL38AB@WEBTV.NET.
Terry
Email: rtvel38ab@webtv.net

Message:

Hi everybody!

You are not going to believe what I did. I decided, after giving it a lot of thought, that I wanted to let go of this anger & resentment towards my brother (see my previous posts). I wrote him a letter last week to let him know that Mom is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimers and is now in a nursing home. Lo and behold, he called me and says he's sorry and that he is going to make plans to come and see Mom. I guess I'm a little skeptical, but have to wait and see if it happens. I'm not completely over my feelings, but feel good that I contacted him. We spoke for well over an hour and I brought him up to date on Mom's condition. I will let you know what happens. Keep me in your prayers.
Terry
Email: jiorns@snet.net

Message:

My mother is also a hypochondriac! Judy, your story is very close to my heart. I have 5 brothers some with wives some not. Only one helps at all. I used to resent them all, even the one who comes around 'at his convenience', but now am just grateful he comes to see her at all. I gave up the hate and resentment a while ago. They will have their guilt to live with for not seeing and doing for their mother. You can stand up tall and be proud that you did what you could for her.

Some of us have compassion and love, and some only care about their own selves. I too lived in my mothers house, and this past year the brother who only visits at his convenience persuaded her to turn it over to my husband and myself for all we have done for her. The others now have no say when she is gone.

Good will come to you for doing good and loving your mother enough to care for her.
Email: Lgr6599907@aol.com

Message:

Margaret, I have a brother too, however he cares nothing about our mom! The only time he comes or calls is when he needs money. After years of being angry and not understanding why, I have learned that the why is not important. What is important is that we are making our parents happy and doing the best that we can, and that we are doing what is good for us. It is your brothers loss. My mom has the beginning stages of Alzheimer's and my sons are able to see her every day if the can ( she lives with us and the" boys" are 18 & 20) my brother and his family who live less than 10 minutes away haven't seen her since last May! She nearly died in Dec. and they didn't bother to come to see her. Just know that you are a terrific person, and that you are reaping the benefits of helping your parents, whether your mom knows it or not!
Email: Just 337

Message:

I also have a problem with my brother. I live 2 hours away from our parents -- he lives only 20 minutes and works a mere 10 minutes away. Yet, he only comes by in a crisis (only a BIG crisis) or if he needs something from dad. He wrote mom off a long time ago. Mom has Parkinson's and is very seldom lucid. Every so often I see mom inside. Sometimes she'll look at me and smile, squeeze my daughter's hand. It happens maybe once or twice a visit, sometimes not at all. My brother refuses to believe any of mom is left. It breaks dad's heart. He does not know my brother feels this way and I will not tell him. It does my dad good to see me concerned over mom and visiting mom, even though I doubt she knows I'm there. I just can't make my brother understand. Just do it for dad!

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