to ask for advice about what to do here - family related(146 Posts)
Dsis, DM and I live hundreds of miles from each other. Dsis and I are both married, have jobs and have DC who are about the same age. DM is a widow and lives on her own.
DM is about to have an operation and she'll need a lot of help afterwards. Her recovery will take months but she really needs one of us with her full time for the first few weeks. After that, extended family who live local to her will be able to take over giving help with shopping, etc.
Dsis agrees that she needs help but is being vague about what she'll commit to doing. She has put off speaking about it for weeks, and I just let it go (we are not close). However, now the operation is imminent and she's still ignoring my email, texts etc.
I've said in an email that I'll be flexible about which half I do, but I think this is not what she wants to hear. What she wants - I think - is to do about 3 or 4 days and leave me to cover the rest, which will really cause me big problems.
Having DM come to me isn't an option as my house isn't suitable for her and she won't be able to travel after the operation anyway.
I don't want to leave DM when she still needs help but I don't know what else I can do?
Maybe you just need to state which half you are doing and make it clear the rest of the time is her responsibility, perhaps she is being vague because you are saying you can be flexible. One of you needs to make the decision so I would just state dates you'll take on if that ensures a conversation about it. It's a very tough situation to be in, I hope the op goes ok and that your sister steps up to help you
What is it you're hoping for? Do you want your sister to volunteer to have your mother at her home (undoable if she can't travel)?
Is it possible for your mother to go into a nursing home for those first few weeks? This seems like the only option if neither of you can move in with her (understandably)?
I agree that you should state what you are doing and leave the rest with DSis to organise. I would also make sure that she does the first turn, otherwise she might just leave you to it.
What will happen if DSis refuses to do half?
Wouldn't a nursing home be better? Or a live in carer? Most relatives can't just up and leave their own lives to care for someone for a few weeks. Sounds like your employers are going to be generous in letting you have lots of time off. Maybe DSis's aren't so generous. Maybe she can't afford lots of unpaid leave. Maybe her DC are having issues that mean she doesn't want to be away from them for long periods of time. Could she be worried that you'll react badly to any suggestion of nursing homes etc? Have you ever talked to her about that?
A friend works for a company called something like Country Cousins, who provide carers ( not nurses ) to move in , cook, do basic cleaning and tidying, and act as a companion in situations like this. Obviously I have no idea of your mum's finances.
Your DM needs to speak to the hospital and make it clear that she lives alone, with no family nearby. They cannot discharge her to go home alone knowing she will need help.
I've been in this position, unable to take time off work and could not let mum go home alone with no care package in place. once they knew this they arranged a care package, with careers coming in 4 times a day.
You have to be proactive and ask for help. The NHS is overstretched but they have a duty of care to a vulnerable person who lives alone and can't discharge her knowing she will be unable to look after herself. They have to assess her in hospital to find out what level of care she will need after the op.
Best of luck
What is it your mum will need help with? If it's basic care needs she will have a social services assessment before she's discharged for things like taking meds, washing, dressing etc.
She could have carers come in several times a day if needed, but I appreciate it's not the same as having family look after you.
I want my sister to commit to doing half and to pick which half she'll do. It can be at her home either - both of us have to leave our families and go live with DM.
I asked her to call me when convenient in the email. TBH I am reluctant to speak to her over the phone about it because she's inclined to be irritated and somehow turn it back on me.
Its obviously not the first time I've tried to organise something that she's not keen on and she's an expert at making it sound like I'm the one who is being awkward. That's partly why I've been at pains to say x would suit me best, but if you would prefer that I do y, then I can swap.
Generally, the way she gets out of things is to say in general that she'll do it. Then as the time gets closer, to be unavailable when asked to have a conversation in which a commitment is required. And finally, when we do speak, she communicates her annoyance with me by giving crisp, unhelpful answers. But she will explain that she needs to be back home after 4 days because she has some trivial family thing to do (take her DC to scouts or something) as though i don't have exactly the same things and have already worked out that they can miss the club or get a lift from someone else.
Then, if I push her to take her full share, she will accuse me of creating tension, implying that she won't do her full share or something, and tell me that she'll work out with DM what she'll do and its none of my business.
yoink it is like that but our experience last time was that the hospital arranged 15 mins of care a day in which time DM was supposed to get out of bed, have a shower, get dressed, have her bed made, have breakfast made, have dinner made and served to her, wash the dishes, load the washing machine and hang out the clothes and take her medication.
Sorry type - I should have said it can't be at either mine or Dsis's homes. Both of us must go stay with DM for a bit.
Has your mum spoken to your sister?
Would your mum be able to get any sort of home help when she's out of hospital. I really feel for your mum in this situation.
Maybe she can't fo it for that long, maybe her employer won't give her time off, maybe she can't find alternative childcare.
YANBU but if this is likely to be a longish recovery ( and what about the hospital stay itself?) I think you all need to be looking at paid care as well as a few days of you staying. You are right that the care provided by SS can be very inadequate but there are some extremely good private care agencies ( try Home Instead) who can help out.
I would be very irritated by her refusal to get involved but this does sound like more that you can realistically cover between you.
I hope the operation and recovery go well.
Dsis is able to arrange with her employers to work from home for a few days. She told me this a few months ago when the consultant said there would have to be an operation. However, now the date is known, and its soon, Dsis has gone incommunicado. She's never said she'll do half, just that she'll do "some".
Is your sister close to your mum? Is there a possibility that she doesn't want to do it and could feel you're trying to push her into it?
The problem is DM was really worried about she'd cope a couple of months ago. She told me that she'd spoken to Dsis and Dsis had said she'd help. I said I would too.
I found it that we need to do about two weeks between us - that's an absolute minimum. i spoke to Dsis and she confirmed she'd help but she didn't want to be specific as we didn't know the dates "Let's work it out when the time comes" is what she said.
So, the next time I spoke to DM, and she was still fretting, I promised her that Dsis and I would look after for the first bit. Now, i feel that I need to honour the promise but Dsis isn't saying she won't do it, she is actually not replying at all.
I'd second DementedUnicorn - maybe she feels that your mother has to sort out some of the help herself. Why do you assume that the two of you will form 100% cover? Or is it not an assumption?
Dsis is closer to Dm than I am. She likes to be the good one though - the one who does the quality time stuff.
Last time that there was something like this, Dsis suddenly found that she could only do 36 hours when it came to her turn to take over from me after I'd done 9 days. She makes it sound like I am fussing and then leans on DM to get DM to say she'll manage.
Afterwards, DM just remembers that we both helped.
Your Mum needs a carer. She can't assume that her two adult children, who have kids of their own, will drop everything and move in with her for weeks.
Well she'll have to do half, fair's fair.
Why does she think her inconvenience trumps yours if you both have families/work etc to be dealing with?
I'd be tempted to text her saying that as you've not heard from her, you'll do the first half, then leave it up to her to organise the second half with your mum.
You know she's ignoring it hoping that she won't have to bother and you'll do it all for her with her generously throwing in a day or two, don't you
Well she'll have to do half, fair's fair.
She doesn't though, does she?
Is there any respite care or rehab care available near your mum? You and DS doing the caring isnt going to work. You have family commitments of your own. You need to look for other options and point out to DM and the doctors that a rehab space will be needed and not go ahead with the op until you've got it in place.
Your sister doesn't want to do. That much is clear. She's being non-committal because she feels too guilty to just say outright no.
Your mum or you need to make arrangements which don't involve her.
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