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Sibling Distance and Caring for LO
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 9:22 PM
Joined: 10/12/2019
Posts: 5

I have never posted before but come here often. My sister and I have been working to care for our mother with Alzhemiers. Its a challenging road and I have sought support, advice and help from the beginning. My sister has choosen not to. Now that mom's disease has progressed she wants to care for her while I want to look into a nursing home. I want to be able to let go of the caregiving role and she feels guilty making that move. I held on to finding a nursing home or memory care because I wanted to do things my sister's way. Last month mom started wandering and for her safety we moved her in with my sister, her husband and two childeren. Its not working well. She is well over her head as I thought it would be. Now she is looking for me to help out. I dont want to be caregiver. I want to enjoy my mother and spend time with her in other ways--not caregiving. I have been enjoying dinners, family visits, storying telling and learning her on another level. I cant add caregiving to my life anymore. My health is declining and I want to start a business at home to help with my upcoming retirement. I have the right to choose just as my sister does. 

Any advice on how I can maintiain my relationship with my sister and not hold on to resentment. Or her for me? We just arent close anymore. I attend local group sessions and have a perosnal counselor. I cant get her to get the same support. We all need EVERY support offered. I open to your words. 

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 11:17 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5079

If you can get your sister to join this group-I and plenty of other people who have cared for LOs in our homes will be happy to share what we have learned with her.

 I and many others here have been the sole caregivers while our siblings did as you would like to do. Some of us have been critical of our siblings for being MIA ,"missing in action",  and others have learned that not everyone can or want to be caregivers and that is OK. I never asked my siblings to do anything hands on-only to give me respite from time to time and when they did that, it was a big help to me.

So ask your sister to join us and I will be happy to mentor her. What I have learned from taking care of my mother for 14 and half years is invaluable. All my friends tell me I should write a book.

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 5:17 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2209

I wonder if this is a situation best negotiated with a 3rd party professional. Maybe a counseling social worker or geriatric care planner. 

What sort of help is your sister requesting? One night a week? A 50/50 split? Does your mom have money to hire help to give your sister a break?
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 9:20 AM
Joined: 10/12/2019
Posts: 5

I am looking to find us a geriatric care manager. I will call hotline to see how to find one in our area. My sister wants to do things her way but doesnt take into consideration what works for me or the fact that I dont want to be hands on anymore. Currently I cant get her to meet with me in person. I guess she sees I am not giving in on what her requests are but maybe I can offer other things like date night with her hubby. Also she haschosen to be the care worker and caretaker. I told her I didnt think that would be a good option. I have offered to wash moms clothes, fix her lunch, take her to needed doctors appointments (I have applied for FMLA to do that) and bathing and church once a week. She wants more. I cant handle that. She wants it on days and times she wants it. Period. No questions. 

I have asked her numerous times to check out this message board and ones on facebook. As well as sending her pages from 36 hour Day that address concerns and events thats happening with moms. 

I am coming here out of desparation to save our sister relationship. I love her too much to make this disease destroy us.

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 1:36 PM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 581

I am so sorry that your sister refuses to see the problem from your perspective.  She is making a choice, but not allowing you to make yours.

You cant control how she will react to your choices in this matter. Instead of rehashing your differences over + over, I think I would write her a note(keep a copy) of exactly what you are willing to do + when + reiterate your opinion that you would rather she be in a facility that offers her good care.

If she wants to take on the caretaker role, that is fine, but there are consequences that she will have to endure that should not be impacting you.

I think you are offering what you reasonably will do.  If she does not agree, sadly, it may fracture your relationship

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 7:30 AM
Joined: 7/1/2017
Posts: 137

Does your mother have any money that can be used for caregivers to help your sister?  Social security benefits?  Savings?  Adding a caregiver can be a life saver and can give your sister some breathing room with no strings attached.
Teach I mean no disrespect when I say this. Your sister wants to take care of your mother in her home.  It sounds like she would like your support and you have told her in no uncertain terms that you are unwilling to help her when she needs it and that is your right.  She may want the help on the days and times that she needs it because that's what will help her.  She has a husband and children that I am sure she would like to do things with.  When you are caregiving for a loved one in your home there is no spontaneity.  You can't just say "hey let's go to dinner" or "want to go to the mall? or a movie?"  EVERYTHING has to be planned and let me tell you, that gets a little tedious.   
I know my sister offers to sit with my mother when it is convenient to her, but not when I need that coverage.  She sees it as she's offering to help and I am being difficult when in reality she's offering to help when she has nothing else to do, NOT when I NEED the help.  That is how resentment starts.  I would suggest you sit down with a geriatric care manager or a therapist or a mediator, someone, if you want to try and fix this.  The resentment will only get worse because you both believe you are doing what you think is right and what works for you, and you are.  But the relationship between the two of you is suffering.  I give you a lot of credit for trying to save your relationship.

 Here is the link to the National Org of Geriatric Care Managers

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 10:22 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 1990

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Hi, Teach2000,


There is an article I saved from Carolyn Hax, who is an advice columnist, who stated that “moral imperative” is a part of this care equation, and that “dismissiveness [of parent caregiving responsibilities] betrays utter failure of character.”


The fact that you cared enough to post here is good. Encouraging your sister, who is handling the day to day care of your parents, to post here, giving her the support of time off from caregiving duties, however that looks, by hiring a caregiver on a regular basis on her terms so that she and her family may have time together, so that she may have some space from the stresses of care giving duties, may be another.


It’s impossible for me to know your family dynamics that have developed over the decades, and which led your sister into this decision. I can vouch for the fact that home care is far better (in most cases) than institutional care, at least in my limited experience of having seen my parents cycle through at least five different nursing home, assisted living or rehabilitation facilities, and at least three different hospitals over the twenty years I was monitoring or taking care of my parents directly.


Again, I’m speaking only for myself. To some, I will sound judgmental. This is not my intent. It is just that your sister has taken on voluntarily what many have taken on to save this economy billions of dollars through the unpaid labor of care that is provided to family members. The health care system, another entity, “takes care of” the rest, as well as it is able, but they do this through LLCs, entities made for profit, and other schemes made to rob the elderly of their last pennies prior to their death. Dignity and living in their own home or with their own families are given short shrift when profits are at the forefront. 


Here are some practical suggestions for you:

*support your sister by asking how she and your parent is doing by phone call on a regular basis

*find and arrange for alternative care for your parent on a regular basis, on your sister’s terms, and pay for it, as in a caregiver who can come and care for the parent to give your sister a break, even if she still wants to stay in the house, whatever, just to give her a break from the responsibility

*listen, and try to respond

*send tokens of appreciation that your sister is caring for your parents, notes of encouragement, small soothing items, something to show that you care

*try to keep your relationship with your sister (as it is evident you are trying to do)


I mean well with my suggestions. Don’t minimize what your sister is doing. I’m glad you’re committed to keeping your relationship with your sister strong. That’s hard. I wish you both the best.


Take care. Be well.



Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 3:29 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 1037

Dear Teach2000, 

There is currently a post entitled “how to manage mother with young-onset Alz and two very small children”. The young woman who made this post is asking for advice because she wants to care for her Mom in her home along with her husband and two young children. Several very wise people replied to her post and shared priceless information. I think you and your sister would benefit from reading the post. It’s full of wisdom and firsthand experience.

Everyone has different opinions and feelings. I hope you and your sister will come to some sort of agreement where your Mom is concerned. It seems to me that you are willing to work with her just not as a full time caregiver. If you can offer two specific days a week to sit with your Mom, would your sister be happy with that? You said you have offered to do appointments and date nights. That seems helpful to me. Has she told you exactly what she expects? I hope she will meet with you soon. 

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:15 PM
Joined: 10/12/2019
Posts: 5

@MPSunshine I am glad that you responded. I will take your suggestions. I am always looking for differernt ways to get through this. The articles gave another perspective. I will keep her feelings more in mind as a result.

@abc123 I hope so too. I am still working on understanding her thinking. 

I know at this point our relationship is damaged and currently at a standstill. Hard to accept but all these posts and counseling is a BIG help.

Thank you all

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:46 PM
Joined: 5/22/2018
Posts: 359

Teach,  if one of my siblings offered what you are offering I would be overjoyed.  Of course, logistically my three other sibs live too far to assist. But I so wish they could take mom to lunch, do laundry or give me a date night! I have to pay the caregiver for extra time to do those things. I am exhausted from doing it all. I feel like you are trying for a compromise. Good luck.
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