siblings doing nothing

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Amrut 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #7530 Reply

    Kattie Flanagin

    I have a sister and brother, both live several states away. I care for my 76 year old mother who we think has dementia or early alzheimers. The only contact is birthday, mothers day and Christmas card. No phone cals in between, no visits. To me or her. I try not to let it bother me, but have a hard time not being resentful. She doesn’t drive or get out except for appointments. Which I am responsible for all transportation. I also work full time and have my own family. I sometimes am so angry its put a real strain on the relationships. Makes me wonder why bother? Frustrated!

  • #7532 Reply

    Jackie Bransom

    Kattie, I can sympathize/emphasize with you about that.

    I’ve got 2 sisters. One is the “rich” one, married her high school sweetheart, lives in a McMansion, has the perfect life and has no time for anything other than herself, her kids, and her perfect little world.

    The other is the poor, broke one with the lousy life, husband that deserted her, 2 kids that she never talks to because they won’t call her and everything is always wrong.

    Both are so wrapped up in their own worlds they don’t see our mom. She’s 83, has Rheumatoid Arthritis, Pulmonary Fibrosis and is now on hospice care. I really don’t see mom lasting long now. She’s almost out of it all the time. We are just keeping her comfortable.

    Thing is, both sisters could come here to the house where mom is. They could have picked up a phone. They could have sent a card. They could have offered to stay with mom for a few hours while I tried to escape. Neither has offered. Neither has shown up for more than a couple of hours (usually that turns into 20 minutes).

    Yes, I get angry. I want to vent. I want to yell at them. I want to make them care. Thing is, I can’t. They won’t. Over the past 2-1/2 years I’ve learned that. I had to finally give up and realize that they are both self-centered and will never care. I can’t make them. It just won’t happen. All the anger in the world won’t do it. All the pleading, cajoling, shaming, it just won’t do it.

    Take time for yourself. Realize you’re doing it right. You are the one that does “give a damn” and you’re there taking care of your mom. That’s all you can do. Let the anger go. It won’t help you. Just realize they are doing their thing and you’re doing yours. You chose the right path.

    Get help. Get lots of it. Use the Medicare/Medicaid system. There are a lot of good companies out there that can offer you help. Easter Seals is the first one that comes to mind. Area Agency on Aging. So many places that can and will help you. Get the help. You will definitely need it. Let the family do what the family does. Keep your head up, cry a little and keep going. You can do it.

  • #7710 Reply

    Jen Lanier

    Kattie – As I discovered when I had 4 miscarriages, sometimes the “best medicine” is simply knowing that you’re NOT alone. I care for my 82-year-old mother, who is mostly bed-ridden but, luckily, still pretty sharp mentally. I also have two siblings — BOTH of whom live in the same city as we do — yet me, my husband and daughter do about 99.5% of Mom’s care. My one sister WILL come over for as much as a weekend IF she’s specifically asked to do so (and we’ve only asked about 3 times in 5 years) …… but VERY rarely volunteers on her own to do anything more. She does, at least, call my mother every day. My other sibling has been off and on throughout the years but has now invented a reason that she’s “mad” with both myself and my mother … so we haven’t heard ANYTHING from her in over 6 months. “It’s easier,” my Mom says, “’cause then she doesn’t have to help with ME.” It’s very sad to me that my Mom is aware of what’s going on — as she was one of the BEST mother’s you could imagine when WE were all in need of HER help and attention. She was compared to “Mrs. Cleaver” by our friends! Yet, now that SHE needs help, no one is around but ME. Like the other respondent stated, it’s very difficult …… but you HAVE to let it go, realizing that YOU will not have regrets and that YOU are doing what’s right. It’s the only way I cope sometimes. I wish you luck …… and hang in there. You’re NOT alone!

  • #7716 Reply


    Oh Jen … my brother (who gave mostly exercises) compared our upbringing to Ward & June Cleaver!! How lucky we were to have learned by that example!

    My Mom had Alzheimer’s but knew for several years her other children excluded me. She passed in June. Neither of my siblings would meet with me to go to the bank or for me to give them some of Mom’s personal effects. I haven’t heard from either of them since September.

    Prayers for you and your Mother. Keep on keeping on … you will have no regrets.

  • #7720 Reply


    Kattie, I feel your frustration. I don’t want to be judgmental because my sibling is disabled – but so am I. I could list everything I do and purchase for my parent 365 days per year but I am grateful to do it, even if sometimes I wish I had help or a little break, especially after my frequent mnajor surgeries. What kills me is that my sibling doesn’t send cards for my parent’s birthday or Christmas and rarely even calls, rarely calls back when my parent is worried about her. Nor do her grown children- the grandchildren. My parent has always been incredibly generous with these people and continues to be even though she is on an extremely limited income. It breaks my heart to see her hurt and I have to work very hard at not feeling resentful, but I’m only human – I feel my parent and I have been abandoned. What does help is finding ways to reach out for other support for my parent and myself in the community, from friends, online, wherever possible. You are doing a great service to yourself and so many others by reaching out through this wonderful network. Good luck, Kattie!

    • #10287 Reply


      I came to this site because this is exactly how I feel. I have two sisters but I am the youngest. Sometimes I feel in me telling my story is me selfishly wanting to just say everything that I do. But I do get frustrated.

      The frustration goes back years. My husband, who has been gone now almost three years, even would tell me why bother, why go to them. He would tell me to spend all the time I could with my parents because we didn’t know how long we would have them so it didn’t matter what my sisters did or didn’t do. It only mattered that they needed me and I was there for them, but more importantly my husband understood.

      As it turns out I lost him first. I kind of feel like time was taken from us by my sisters, maybe because had I been able to count on them more he and I could have spent more time together.

      Then there’s current situations where my parents have aged and worsened in health and things with them haven’t changed. I can get angry over the phone, which I know doesn’t help, only to have the middle one react as if I was playing around.

      The oldest sister has her own health issues, which she is managing and handling, so she does what she can NOW that she has been going through her own stuff. She knows like is precious on a first-hand account. But I feel like I’m not getting to live my life, like they did, because they are not pulling their weight.

  • #7721 Reply


    I live with my folks; they have a large old house they’ve lived in for over 40 years. They don’t want to leave but can’t take care of it or themselves in it. I make their appts and take them to them. I am here for them 24/7 if they need anything. My 4 siblings are here for every holiday and other special occasions, but only 2 really ever call or come by any other time. They don’t check to see if the folks need anything, or if I do. But, the way I see it, although it is sad for my parents, my siblings are the ones really missing out and the ones who will likely find themselves wishing for time with them one day when they are gone. You should be proud of yourself for being there, and realize not everyone has the capability to make room in their life for their own ailing parent(s). I don’t have a husband, and am alienated from my own son for no good reason, but I have a daughter and 2 grandkids who all come here very often and really delight my folks. We will have no regrets. Hang in there and stay strong.

  • #7723 Reply

    Laura Boatner

    I also care for my mother, without the help of siblings. At times it can feel very unfair, but I think part of the reason they’re so scarce comes from guilt. In the end, when it’s all said and done, I will feel fulfilled and incredibly proud. They’ll never have that privilege.

    • #7727 Reply



      That’s how I feel. For everything I do, all the time I spend worth my parents, I’m creating memories that my sisters are robbing themselves of.

  • #7726 Reply


    I have a similar problem. I’m the youngest of three sisters, the only difference is we all love within an hour an and a half away. I’m the one that lives the farthest. With that being said, I do carry the brunt of the care for our patents. My mother is 75, and also possibly early alzheimers. My dad is 70 but diabetic and has suffered minor strokes that had left him with minor mobility issues. The oldest does give them money, thinking that will take care of it. That only started about a year ago. The middle sister takes them bottled water and checks their mail (on most days). And that’s enough. They don’t spend time, just drop in for a quick visit.

    To me we should all be doing the same thing, the same amount of effort. That had yet to happen.

    You are not alone. In a way, I see that I am not alone. And, yes it is very frustrating.

  • #7729 Reply


    Thank God I found this website and understand I am not alone in this situation! Just about been banging my head on the wall trying to find answers, thinking it must be something I’ve done wrong. Now I know! Its selfishness that causes lack of concern for the sick family member and the carers. And it will never change, so trust in God, pray and He will take care of you, even though there are hard times, there are also blessings too.

  • #7751 Reply

    Cori Carl
  • #9767 Reply


    I guess I’ll never understand the thoughts behind my sister’s actions. Maybe she thinks about helping and just never does? Maybe something happened and she hates us all? I’ve racked my brain and spent years trying her to help out. .. our at least cat! I guess the last thing left to do is accept that it is what it is.

  • #10152 Reply


    I feel you! I am the youngest and caring for mom. My sister out of state one other brother out of state and three brothers here. The ones here don’t even stop to visit or call. The youngest of the boys is building onto his house to help care for mom but not no where near done. I need a break from it all. Mom knows my husband and boys more than her own children! I’m trying my best to care for mom along with my family and myself. Not an easy thing to do at times. Still trying to figure how the baby of the family became the most responsible out the bunch?

  • #10234 Reply

    Brenda Marie

    Hey Kattie,

    I could imagine how frustrating this situation is for you. It is a great thing that you are caring for your mother, I’m pretty sure she is more than grateful. If you have not done so already, you should reach out to a close friend or other family members for help. As a caregiver, it is also very important that you take care of yourself too. Remember, you do have a family of your own.

    I hope that you find someone to help you so that you can at least take a day off. Also, can you tell me more about your experiences?

    Feel better!

  • #10261 Reply


    My situation is the same but different. My husband and I took in my now 97 year old grandmother almost 4 years ago. She has two sons, one is my father, they are both retired but one of them (my uncle) put her in a nursing home so she called me. She had many issues, but we were able to deal with quite a few and have brought her “back to life”, so to speak.

    I expected the same selfish behavior from my uncle since she has been here, but my father who used to call her almost daily, now rarely calls her at all. I am angry, disappointed and hurt by his lack of contact with her and the ease with which he is able to avoid talking to any of us in this house. I know it would be better for me to let this go, but it seems that with each passing year I get angrier and angrier.

  • #10262 Reply

    kristi barclay

    i feel the truth to the matter is, my siblings are extremely selfish! For gods sake she is there mother too.. No matter what the EXC– USE is… there’s NO excuse good enough!! If they’re not benefitting, they’re not coming around.. They dont want to help me with OUR mother, thats fine. Karma will take care of that. But it hurts my mom soo bad.. when she asks if i have heard from them i get a lump in my throat, the desperate look of hope falling to a sad disappointment.. How do they live with themselves? I hope they dont come around at her funeral. ITS TOO LATE THEN.. They missed out.. And they made her hurt when she didnt deserve to..

  • #10264 Reply

    Judy Davis

    Wow! So glad I saw this! I have been dealing with three older brothers that do the same thing..don’t call..rarely visit and leave it all to me to handle. My mom will be 91, is mostly bedbound, on a feeding tube, and has progressive dementia. She lives with me because I have experienced the pathetic nursing care out there via Assisted Living and respite and if I want to sleep at night, there is no way my Mom is going in those places. I took care of my Dad before my mom and had to learn the hard way. It does not matter how clean those places are or how pretty the rooms and lobby are…it’s about the people that work there and they are underpaid and overworked and most don’t give a care about your loved ones…it’s just a paycheck to them. I spent way too much time trying to keep my brothers involved and hoping they would participate in our parents care..all they wanted to do was add their two cents and not lift a finger..I finally stopped trying to include them and needed to let go of the did no good for me or my Mom.My Mom and Dad were the best ever and to see how my brothers can just bury their heads in the sand…anyway it gives me a strange peace to know that others are dealing with the same things too!

  • #10270 Reply


    I empathize with all caregivers.
    I have been taking care of my Alzheimer’s mom for nearly ten years singlehandedly. I am the youngest of my siblings and every responsibility is on me.
    She no longer can do anything for herself, so I have to spoonfeed her and bathe her in her bed, so that in itself is tasking as I have to also do all her laundry by hand, and change her regularly to avoid bedsores.
    No family member assists.. Nor do i get financial help as i havent had a job for as long as I was taking care of her..I go nowhere except to buy groceries. It’s a lonely emotional journey with her knowing that there are other children who simply leave me to care for her alone, while my young son gets neglected throughout the years.
    Love is lacking in most human nowadays, that even those who nurtured them is given a back seat to their personal goals, forgetting that they too will age too, hopefully.
    I am one of six children, and the youngest one.

  • #10271 Reply


    Like so many others I am so glad I found this site. I felt like I was suffering alone. I unlike many of you am an only child, so no siblings to even help on my side of family. I am a cargiver ti my husband who has mitochondrial myopathy,a feeding tube,seizures and the list keeps going plus he is in a wheelchair. I also help take care of my in-laws. My father-in-law has Parkinson’s and is bedridden due to having His deep brain stimulator surgery fail to the point we had to have it removed. My mother-in-law tries to take care of him the best she can but her health is declining rapidly. I do have a brother-in-law however that lives on property w them. The only problem is like so many others he is so selfish he won’t help. “He can’t deal with it.” He prefers to drown his sorrows in a bottle and let everyone else deal with the grown-up stuff. He does like to tell everyone that he takes care of his parents though,just so they don’t know how sorry or incapable he is. I have come to realize in the many years that I have been doing this is that it takes a special kind of person to be a caregiver. Some people family or not are just equipped emotionally or mentally. To all caregivers I send hugs and prayer. Be proud of the unconditional love and support you give your loved ones. I know I do. It’s what keeps me going

  • #10272 Reply

    Martha McLemore

    I care for my mother-in-law who moved in with us. She is 86 with COPD, CHF, diabetes, stage 4 kidney failure, diverticulitis, addisons disease, afib and more plus 21 daily meds. She has 2 sons, one my husband and one 5 hours away. The other one, the oldest, comes down maybe once a quarter. The sad part is he calls and promises he will come to see her “this month” and never does. The heartbreak on her face breaks yours. She is not getting any better. I have found that guilt, shame and just general lack of respect for their parent is something he, and the grandchildren, will have to deal with once she is gone. Someone once told me you can’t make others care as much as you do. This is true, I just wish that one of them would help bear the load every now and again. Our home is their hotel, restaurant and entertainment venue. Came home from a trip away to find out my niece had eaten several Christmas gifts brought by while we were gone. She came in after we left and departed before we got home. What a peach. Her sister brought her boyfriend and shacked up with him after I had told them that there are separate bedrooms for them. The next morning she was all smiles and giggles. She requested wine at dinner. I asked if she brought some. My mother-in-law got sick while they were here. No one would call the nursing service. It’s really easier on me for them not to come at all however she’s needs to see them. So let us not only open up our hearts to my mother-in-law, never open the B & B we bought the house for, loose income and pay extra while opening our wallets to pay for everything for their vacation.

  • #10273 Reply


    The sad thing about being a caregiver to someone who you truly love and care for, is the hardest job you can do. Especially when you have siblings and other family members not wanting to help and always having an excuse. But when that special someone passes on, and your family is there wanting possessions, and feel they have been entitled to things. It is a hard job, but people who have a heart can only do the job. I know, I have done it for five family members while everyone went on with their lives like you don’t exist. You are being blessed in so many ways and one day you will know and know that you were the luckiest person to have been able to do it. You have the best, you have the memories. God Bless you and I pray you all be strong.

  • #10274 Reply

    Barbara miles

    We have our mom living with us for 10 years and took care of her she is 93 and not in the best health and I know what you are going through the only times they see her is maybe twice a year they are so busy with their own lives, kids , grandkids or just doing their own thing traveling or whatever. We have lost 10 years of our life taking care of her and just lately now that they know she is really honing down hill fast they are all trying to tell us how we should be taking care of her, it has caused a separation in the family my husband has told them they are not welcome in our home and when they have time to visit her they can see her at his sisters house he will bring her over there and leave and go back and pick her up, I just want to say to you Thank You for taking care of your mom the reward of time spent with her no amount of money and ever buy you will have memories that they will never have, their loss your gain and yes it has disrupted our lives but we would do it again

  • #10279 Reply


    The idea of setting back, slacking on phone calls, decreased visits must be very common……after 10 years of providing care to BOTH PARENTS from a stroke and Alzheimer’s, when I advised my two siblings that my father was gravely ill, and asked them to visit, they came home more regularly, but only looking and caring about their future inheritance. APS became involved because all of the finger pointing and increased violence…it wasn’t long before all realized who was telling the truth, who was concerned about money, and who were “the bad people”. My husband, daughter, and son, along with a host of caregivers, were the only ones providing care, up until the other siblings tried to take advantage of my father’s decline due to dementia…..they used him as a puppet to wade through the court system looking for money that he had already spent on care for himself and my mother……as you guessed, no one ever knew about the dementia, because the siblings hid the diagnosis from me as well as the court’ officials…..they schemed for 3 years trying to get my mom moved away from the home she shared with my father after 66 years of marriage…..after the last (not only) physical attack to me and my daughter by brother’s plans and by sister-in-law I gave up and told our local prosecutor my mother’s life was in extreme danger because APS did nothing to help. Note APS, did nothing to protect mom about repeated acts of violence, or me or the caregivers even after returning me to the position of power of attorney for my mom….after 3 years of watching and reporting to APS officials about my mother’s stolen medication, and medical supplies and numerous acts of violence by brothers family to caregivers. My mother was moved to my home, and I was granted guardianship…she has gained 35 to 40 pounds after being removed from the Webb of abuse caused by the two sibling (one who helped out of town and one who took up residing in parents home)…-and as you guessed, I had to leave my father behind, because although receiving minimal care under brother, APS took the position that he was competent……He only lasted 7 weeks after my mother was removed out of the home due to lack of knowledge and concern about brothers care giving….he succumbed to a horrible death of falling so hard that his skull was fractured in two places…..but my mother has survived this terrible horrific ordeal and is shown very much love and care on a daily basis, as she was shown before this ordeal began….. She continues to communicate more and more each day despite her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for the last 15 years…..I am still trying to straighten out her legal affairs…..after living in the home for a year, brother had a new will done leaving her out of her husbands’ will after 66 years of marriage (everything split equally to the two siblings who did very little in caregiving, other than the last 3 years of horrific events) This was also given to APS showing siblings intent and motives, but they likewise did nothing….despite violence by brother and his wife, an attempt to aspirate my mom after disregard was given on how to provide thickened liquids…..the system to help protect helpless people was flawed mainly because I was to busy providing care for 10 years, and raising my own family that I only kept minimal receipts sibling knew that all along and sat back and waited until my father became someone they could manipulate and demand that my father with dementia un revealed ask for an accounting. Although the last 3 years were hell for my mom and dad, the are only allowed supervised visitation only upon written request They didn’t succeed….my mom is alive and is happy…,,,how can people live with themselves after being so mean..I am trying to forgive because surely they couldn’t understand what they were doing…This was nothing but pure evil, and that’s why we are choosing to forgive…our hearts will never be a source of evil as displayed in all of their schemes, for the love of Jesus Christ poured down, through and out all of us…I pray that no one ever goes through this ordeal…

  • #10309 Reply


    From another angle: When my father became ill, I went to stay with my parents in another state. I stayed for a month, and had to come home on business. The very next day, my husband became ill, and has been sick every since (2 years). I’m now caring for him.

    Meanwhile, my sister-in-law took over for me with my parents, and stayed with them until Dad passed a month later. Now my brother is caring for my mother, and I am still in another state caring for my husband.

    Several years ago, it was my mother-in-law. I wondered why siblings and grandchildren didn’t come. After she passed, we found out that one was waiting until she was off chemo–she didn’t want Grandma to know she had cancer. Another was going through problems with a special-needs child. A daughter suffered from agorophobia.

    There are always reasons; not always good reasons, but in my family, I hope we’ve learned to work together as much as possible, and be gentle and forgiving to each other. For me, thinking the best of my sibs, stepchildren, etc. is the only way I can survive.

  • #10312 Reply


    I am just starting to be caregiver to my parents (ages 89 and 87). I will be completely moved in with them in their gigantic house within the next 6 weeks. I have 4 brothers who all insist that it’s “my job” to do this, not theirs. I am the only girl in family and decided after about 5 months to go ahead and do this but am going to insist my 4 brothers come over on weekends to give me a break. We’ll see what they really do. I know them all too well and their visits will probably consist of maybe 1-2 hours tops.

  • #10313 Reply

    Phil Chwalinski

    I moved 2000 miles, gave up my life in California, to take care of my mother, after my niece begged me for a year to come home. I have 2 older brothers and an oldest sister who live near her, but wouldn’t/couldn’t help her. The oldest brother did help me in a big way to move back home, and it was a job. He will help me a little and has helped me in the past 3 years with re-modeling the house, I think only so he doesn’t have to do it full time. The other 2 are real problems which have added to my lack of peace of mind. My sister has called the Sheriff no less than 4 times for ‘welfare checks’. The last time she called them they told her she was in a nursing home. So she showed up to the nursing home (HIPPA violation on their part) and still didn’t get a clue to mom’s real situation. My sister thinks she can take mom out of the nursing home and move her into an apartment across the street from her and everything would be fine. No clue. My other brother had a major health crisis (self inflected) and was evicted from his place. He begged me to help him, so I did. When he got better he took advantage of mom’s situation and I had to kick him out. He left in the middle of the night and didn’t say goodby to mom. I have neighbor’s who care more for me and my mom.

  • #21388 Reply


    Thank you all for what you have shared.

    I am so disgusted and angry. I try not to be. Everyone bailed, friends family. Im alone doing this 25 7.

    They fail to help, at all but can go on vacations, travel the world, move to gated community’s, buy new cars. They’re F’ed up. I have no respect for them and none of them will be called when the time comes. The inevitable.

    • #21509 Reply

      Brenda Marie

      Hey Lulu,

      This seems like a frustrating and sad situation.Have your siblings ever explained why they choose to not help you? Even though you’re upset and I understand why. I need you to let go of that resentment and anger. These negative feelings are only affecting you and your caregiving.

      I hope you feel better!

  • #63579 Reply


    Hi I am from India. Came across this forum. I can relate to it. My family has been taking care of my grandparents from last 16 years. I have two uncles who live about 100 miles away. They live in their own little comfortable world, never care about how we deal with everything. No calls, no visits and no offers of taking their parents home for a while. Due to my father’s transfer job, we often have to relocate. It turns into a circus trying to manage the relocation, only then they realize they need to step in and offer help. as soon as we settle in the new location, the calls start ringing to arrange for my grandparents to come to us. The situation has been getting bad, especially after the death of my grandpa. my mother is suffering a lot due to this, we never go out on vacations, never attend any functions. My mum has missed almost all the functions of her relatives. its become a nightmare trying to cheer my mum and at the same time taking care of my grandma. I have come to despise my uncles and their families. I see no option but to shift my grandma to an elderly home. I can’t risk my mum’s health. Absolute nightmare stuff.

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