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Being an only child sucks

(36 Posts)
MrsWhirling Wed 27-Feb-13 10:08:39

I wish I had a sibling who could help me care for my lovely elderly parents. My mum has an important appointment at the hospital this morning & I cant be with her due to having a newborn baby. English isn't their first language & I'm worried they Wong fully understand what is being said. Feel so sad no-one else could help me to care for them now. Sorry to vent. Just that really xx

CMOTDibbler Wed 27-Feb-13 10:14:13

Its really hard caring for elderly parents when you have small children, but having siblings doesn't make it necessarily easier. I have a brother, but he does absolutely nothing for our very frail parents, and I actually find that worse than if there was no one else at all.

My dad gets consultants to write anything important down now, and then he can talk it through with me later - thats really helpful as I can't be with them for their many appointments.

OldBeanbagz Wed 27-Feb-13 10:15:22

Big hugs to you, i'm sure your mum understands that you'd like to be with her but can't on this occasion.

Can you speak to the hospital and see if they can get someone to translate? Or ask the consulant to speak to you on the phone after the appointment? Failing that ask your Mum to get them to write down the important bits for you to read.

I'm not an only child but my sibling lives too far away to be of any help. I feel it's only going to get worse as our parents get older sad

smellysocksandchickenpox Wed 27-Feb-13 10:17:05

I think 9 times out of 10 the bulk of it falls to one sibling anyway and that just adds insult to injury.

siblings often fall out at times like this! at least you dont have someone swanning in once a month telling you you're doing everything wrong!

Its very tough for you, and you have good advice here re perhaps talking to the Consultant yourself after the appt. But rest assured, having a sibling wouldn't necessaraly make things easier. I have an terminally sick Dad, and a disabled brother in care. My other younger brother is worse than hopeless. He takes little or no interest and offers no practical help. I sometimes wish he would just piss off altogether and let me get on with things, as he is just a hindrance on the odd occasion when he does bother to involve himself (usually when £ involved).

I know it is lonely for you, but I have a sibling, and I feel that way too. At least you can be in control and don't have some eejit breathing down your neck when it suits them, and leaving you to cope alone when it doesn't.

MrsWhirling Wed 27-Feb-13 11:12:53

Thank you everyone, your replies mean a lot. The unhelpful sibling thing is interesting, I guess I have these fantasies of fantastic brothers& sisters which in reality isn't always the case. My mum is going to ask the consultant if I can call her during the appointment & she can put me on loudspeaker. That way I can hear what is being said. I never thought to ask the hospital if the can translate - top tip! Xxxx

gremlindolphin Wed 27-Feb-13 13:10:42

Hi MrsWhirling - another only here! I never minded being an only child until my parents got older. My Dad died in 2002 and I have other supportive family but no one has the responsibility towards my Mum that I have.

When my Dad was ill my children were very young and it was very hard balancing children and parents. My Mum has been ill and is now very disabled
and in a nursing home near us which has its own own issues.

I also console myself that siblings are not always helpful - I have the fantasy of having a sister like my lovely best friend but thats not always the case!

Also if I make decisions there is no one to argue with me, just supportive dh and family who are just happy that I am doing things.

Good luck! xx

ssd Sat 02-Mar-13 12:25:08

trust me op, having siblings is absolutely no guarantee of any help or support

I looked after mum for years with no help from siblings at all

when she dies db was great (for a week!) amd older sister wasnt there for any of it, no help whatsoever

so I wish I was an only child and didnt carry a mountain of resentment around with me, even though mum is no longer here

ssd Sat 02-Mar-13 12:26:14

died not dies (unfortunately sad)

CressidaFitass Sun 03-Mar-13 03:11:03

You probably won't be able to speak to the consultant at the hospital but if you phone and ask for the consutlant's secretary and ask if the consutlant could please write down advice for DM she might, if not too busy, pass that on and DM could bring the info to you.

Yellowhorse Thu 07-Mar-13 08:01:49

I feel for you, as I am in a similar position, of being an only child.
I do,however, agree with some of the others that having a sibling can be more of a hindrance, as I have seen with many of my friends. Also, the work tends to fall on the shoulders of just one of them, as others live abroad/miles away/ have fallen out with everyone etc etc.
The language would be a problem, but our local hospital offer a translator service, weak to the PALs office at your hospital to see if they offer the service.
Factor into my equation that I struggle to get on with my mother, she can be VERY difficult mentally, although is not senile or suffering from Alzeimhers.
She is anorexic, and in denial over it, the so called health professionals are totally useless. The anorexic tendencies have spilled over to other areas,and although she does not have OCD, she is verging on it in certain areas of her life.
So, I reckon being only child may not be as awful as some people have to cope with when they have siblings, but it is far from easy when you get aged parents with health issues whatever your situation. Sadly.

SinisterBuggyMonth Sat 09-Mar-13 00:06:22

Yep this is me. I've just come back from A & E with DF who had and asthma attack. He is im 24 jr extra care sheltered accom but is refusing the care and getting avoidable illnesses because of this. he'd just a wreck now, half the time he's apolgising, next minute he's shouting at me. Ironically if he'd had it yesterday I would nt have been able to go to been with him because I've had a chest infection and was on the verge on asthma attack. But there who else would go?

This is what worries me - if something were to happen to me, who would been doing this?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 14-Mar-13 21:41:45

Dhs parents are elderly and his Mother has Alzheimers. We have just got her into a care home where they live 250 miles from us. BIL, who lives abroad is ranting that we did not move them both to be near us, whilst having no intention of coming home himself! Siblings are not always helpful!

Chottie Fri 10-May-13 04:00:51

Just to add that siblings are not always helpful. Sometimes it is because of distance, sometimes it is because they are very happy to take a back seat......

ssd Fri 10-May-13 09:46:51

agree chottie

taking a back seat is the easiest option, and phoning once in a while isn't enough

Numberlock Fri 10-May-13 10:10:54

I am also an only child with an elderly month in residential care and now facing some difficult decisions regarding the next stage of her care (see my thread on here).

But as hard as it is, I am glad that I am an only child as I only have myself to rely on and don't have to deal with the frustration of siblings that won't/can't/don't help out. This is based on friends' experiences and reading other threads on here.

I hope you feel better for coming on here, OP, I find it very reassuring to know other people are in similar situations and how they cope.

FreckledLeopard Fri 10-May-13 10:13:31

I'm an only child and my mother is in the early stages of dementia. My father died fifteen years ago.

It really sucks, doesn't it. I wish I had siblings to share the burden. When my grandmother was in a care home, my mother did the bulk of all the help for her (she lived closest), but her sister often came to visit and she could at least talk things over with her siblings.

Numberlock Fri 10-May-13 10:17:36

Sorry to read that Freckled, sounds like you are in the same position as me. (My dad died around 20 years ago.)

Hopefully we can support each other on here.

noddyholder Fri 10-May-13 10:19:57

I have only one child and have worried about this but have seen my closest friend who has 2 sisters struggle with this and get no help at all! And my mum has alienated all of us bar one (we are 4) and the one son she does see wouldn't do anything for her and is only interested in her money

noddyholder Fri 10-May-13 10:20:45

Its lovely to hear the stories of only children who are happy wit it thanks smile

Numberlock Fri 10-May-13 10:33:48

That's good, noddy, things that will make it easier include getting power of attorney registered long before it's needed and discussing what your care plan might be and what your wishes are. Also, being open about finances/savings so that your son/daughter knows what the options are likely to be.

Hopefully it will be many years away for you though!

noddyholder Fri 10-May-13 11:41:45

smile

MrsAVB Sat 18-May-13 10:29:42

mrsw just wanted to post to hand hold. My parents are not elderly as such (in their 50s), but my mum has a chronic heart condition and my dad has enduring mental health problems and has been suicidal. I'm an only child and although I hear what others are saying about siblings not always being supportive, I echo what you feel. It's lonely and burdenful. Although my parents have a very supportive network of friends, the dynamic between them is one that I feel no one else understands because my dad hides his problems, gives a great impression of coping, and then spectacularly bursts!
If you ever want to vent, we are here, lots of love xxx

skyblue11 Thu 30-May-13 16:21:39

It could be worse.....I have a sibling who is disabled, so I am his appointee etc and have regular contact plus meetings etc. I also supported my Mum and Dad when he was alive and had dementia, I also helped with my Nanan as dad had dementia, and now it looks like my Mum had the onset of dementia and she needs lots of support right now, so I have a double whammy situation!

Numberlock Thu 30-May-13 21:49:52

Hi skyblue sorry to hear all that. Do you get some respite from time to time?

skyblue11 Fri 31-May-13 11:06:54

Hi Numberlock, no I don't and I work as well, in fact my job was insecure and I managed to do really well and get myself another job which I was really pleased about as it was much more secure, better money and conditions but I actually turned it down due to the inflexibility. I need flexitime and term time to do all I have to, looking back to when I turned down the offer given what's happened this week it was probably for the best but I still feel sad I couldn't do it.

RockinD Sat 08-Jun-13 20:28:54

MIL is currently in hospital. DH went straight there from work when she was admitted and will visit as often as he can, but missed today because he is working. BIL has not been to hospital or phoned and SIL couldn't go this afternoon because she was going shopping. They both go and see her once a week at home, but as soon as there's a crisis, DH has to sort it out.

It doesn't seem to matter how many there are in the family, this stuff usually comes down to one person.

ssd Wed 19-Jun-13 08:58:42

thats very true rockinD, and IME when the elderly parent dies the person who did everything then has to grieve alone as no one else is too bothered

whataboutbob Thu 20-Jun-13 13:17:23

But the weirdest thing is- it s often the child who does the most who is the brunt of the parents' frustrations. Whereas the one who does least is often seen as the golden child. I think it s because they don t get associated with all the unpleasant stuff that has to be done, and so allow the ailing parent to preserve their self image- themselves as they were before they got old and I'll.

ssd Thu 20-Jun-13 22:41:23

yes that can happen whataboutbob, I was lucky it never happened to me, that would make the pressure worse

allnewtaketwo Thu 20-Jun-13 22:46:10

I'm very sorry to hear about your mum

But being an only child has nothing to do with it. I live hundreds of miles away from my parents and wouldn't be any help at all to my brother if he was in the same situation as you.

Similarly my dad recently had to real with his elderly father, and his sister was of no help at all. Actually their were rows over his care as the 2 siblings disagreed.

ssd Fri 21-Jun-13 14:16:15

allnew, you're wrong, you may be hundreds of miles away but if you phone regularly, keep in touch and have a real interest in whats happening, your emotional support would be invaluable, even if physically you couldnt be there

allnewtaketwo Fri 21-Jun-13 15:14:21

But you're assum

allnewtaketwo Fri 21-Jun-13 15:15:06

Assuming that siblings have a relationship such that they emotionally support one another. That's very often not the case at all

ssd Sat 22-Jun-13 19:08:16

dont I know it

sorry to hear about your mum.

Dh and I cared for his dad when he died at home, where he wanted to be and now we are caring for his mum. Dhs sister was worse than useless when her dad was dying, she just made a horrible situation worse. I have a lovely brother but whenever my parents need help its me that helps, not him.

At least being an only you don't have a sibling who is a negative force in the situation.

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