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To think its really unfair to leave all the care to one family member

(68 Posts)
user1485342611 Sun 04-Feb-18 14:55:33

A friend of mine is absolutely exhausted because she's working full time and also doing an awful lot of running around for her elderly mother. She has a sister and a brother living nearby, but they seem to assume that my friend will do everything -maybe because she doesn't have children. She's had conversations with them where they've promised to 'try and be a bit more available' but have continued to leave the bulk of care to my friend.

I've seen this so many times - one person in a family doing 90% of the heavy lifting while other siblings/nieces and nephews/grandchildren breeze in now and again with a box of chocolates - and there's always an excuse: they've a busy job and Mary's a SAHM, they have young kids and Mary doesn't, etc etc

AIBU to think it's really unfair and shitty of family members to abdicate responsibility for an ill or elderly family member and leave it all to one person?

DancesWithOtters Sun 04-Feb-18 14:57:20

What kind of care does the elderly person need? Just shopping and visiting, or full on nursing?

user1485342611 Sun 04-Feb-18 15:01:30

In the case of my friend her mum needs shopping, lifts and company.

But I've seen similar scenarios where elderly relatives needed care, cooking etc.

MrsMcGarry Sun 04-Feb-18 15:02:32

Nobody can be made to look after anyone else. Maybe it's unfair of the elderly mother to expect any of their children to run around after them? Your friend can always say no.

I will not be doing any of the caring for my parents. I don't think my younger sister will either. I am sure that my golden child brother will think that's unfair. But my mother is a narcisstic bitch who made my life hell and my father let her, so I feel absolutely no responsibility towards them. My brother has a close (though really screwed up relationship) with her, has "borrowed" significant amounts fo money form her and relies on her for childcare. When our parents need help they can get it in proportion to the help they have given us during our adult lives, which means I'm free.

user1485342611 Sun 04-Feb-18 15:06:04

Well if everybody takes the attitude that 'no one can be made to look after....' how does that end up?
My friend's mother was a great mum and deserves help and company now that she's widowed and not as fit as used to be.

pigshavecurlytails Sun 04-Feb-18 15:07:32

Elderly people use their resources to pay for carers or if they have nothing they council steps in.

ThePinkPanter Sun 04-Feb-18 15:12:14

YABU. You don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

DancesWithOtters Sun 04-Feb-18 15:14:33

I think it completely depends on the relationship each child had with the parent.

I do not think there should be any duty or obligation.

When my parents are elderly I will be happy to visit them a couple times a week and take them shopping or help with DIY (I live 1.5 hours away, so no way of popping in every day) I will never take on any nursing care if it become required. I don't think it is fair to expect that an adult child should do so.

I think your friend should only take on what she can manage without it impacting negatively on her own life. Regardless of what her siblings do or don't do. How many days a week does she see her mother? Is she housebound or unable to care for herself?

Dljlr Sun 04-Feb-18 15:17:30

I spend every single weekend visiting elderly relatives whilst my three siblings get on with life and ignore them. The only time they've wanted to be involved recently is when my dad told them I was going round to write his will with him. I got there and there they all are, for the first time ever; and they buggered off again as soon as they'd seen us write that he was leaving bugger all cos he's skint and in debt everything equally between us. YANBU, it absolutely sucks when others opt out like this.

JustDanceAddict Sun 04-Feb-18 15:19:38

My mum did 100% of the care for her mum as her brother lived abroad. When my uncle/aunt came over it was always lovely, no resentment afaik (I was young), but looking back it seemed v unfair my mum was looking after he elderly mum and me simultaneously and holding down a p/t job (she lived with us). In my dh’s situ, the care for his dad (he’s in a home) is shared between his mum, dh & d-BIL, although dh prob does the least (but enough IMO) as he’s the busiest. Mil visits every day (she has nothing else to do really), Bil only works 4 days pw and only 1 schoolaged child abd has no social life. So sometimes it’s circumstances, but I should imagine at other times it’s due to the relationships btwn parents and their kids.

Sleepyblueocean Sun 04-Feb-18 15:20:17

My sil does the bulk of the care for my fil ( along with professional carers)but we have a severely disabled child who needs a lot of care. Dh is run ragged as it is.
When ds is older and in supported living, I'm sure people like you will be along to criticise that arrangement too.

MrsMcGarry Sun 04-Feb-18 15:21:21

It ends up with people doing things for people they like.

I've just been round to take cake to elderly neighbours. She's just had an operation and hes' a bit unsteady on his feet so whilst there I also swept and mopped their kitchen, and tomorrow I'll be visiting to take their dog out with mine. I do those things because I like them, because over the past 10 yeras or so we have built up a mutually benificial relationship, not because I feel any obligation. They have a daughter who lives a few hours away but she was there until this am and will be returning on Wednesday because she cares about them and so puts herself out to help.

If your friend's Mum really was a great Mum to all her children and raised them all to be decent human beings then all 3 children would be willing to support her now that she needs help.

Every old person was a person once. People tend to be treated by others as they treat them. There's usually a reason why children don't step up to the plate when parents need help.

LouiseBrooks Sun 04-Feb-18 15:38:29

OP you're right that it's usually one person - more often than not the childless or especially the unmarried sibling. It is unfair but some people are selfish and can't be bothered, no matter how great their parent was. Perhaps they forget they'll be old one day. Personally I can't understand why some one who had a good parent wouldn't want to help them when they needed it. I am not referring to those whose parents were abusive etc, I can understand why they have no wish to get involved.

I think your friend needs to be firmer with her siblings and also see if there are ways of making life easier for herself, e.g. online shopping instead of actually trailing around the supermarket.
She should also see if her mother is eligible for attendance allowance or something similar which could help pay for a carer. My friend did that and it made a huge difference.

user1485342611 Sun 04-Feb-18 16:25:48

What a nasty and totally unjustified comment sleepyblue.

user1485342611 Sun 04-Feb-18 16:27:46

The reason is often selfishness mrsmcgarry. If they know one person will step in when no one else will, siblings will often sit back comfortable in the knowledge that mum is being looked after, and they can just call around for the occasional visit.

Aeroflotgirl Sun 04-Feb-18 16:30:58

I totally get it, when she goes, they will be the first for the inheritance. I agree, they should all pull their weight, it does not sound like much, not like she needs full on care, than you would be considering a nursing home.

user1485342611 Sun 04-Feb-18 16:39:43

Exactly Aeroflot. If everyone did their fair share it would mean a small amount of work for everyone, instead of a lot of work for one person.

Dipitydoda Sun 04-Feb-18 16:48:15

My mum did 100%care for her parents they lived with us. It was made clear that they always took priority over me as they were old even though I was a young child. When I was ill (and quite poorly) when 10 and my grandma was I sat covered in sick whilst my grandma was attended to. Now my mum is elderly she seems to expect me to do the same - but refuses to live closer and expects me to move where I can’t get a decent job, make DH move jobs and pull ds out of school. Every call is emotional manipulation. My DB lives close by, but apparently it’s a daughters role! Don’t ever judge families you have no idea what’s gone on

bigbluebus Sun 04-Feb-18 16:54:05

If there is no specific reason why the siblings can't/won't help, then maybe your friend should give them individual tasks to do and see if that works any better.

When my DM needed care, and none of us lived nearby, me and DB used to discuss who could do what and share the load between us. So he ended up doing medical appointments which were in the week so I couldn't do them (he worked shifts and could work around appointments) and I used to go at weekends with DH and do the gardening. ironing and any other jobs and then take DM out somewhere. I also did her grocery shopping on-line and the neighbours would help with anything urgent when we couldn't get there.

Bluelady Sun 04-Feb-18 16:58:29

Every family is different. I looked after my folks until they needed 24 hour care, the found them the nicest care home I could and visited them nearly every day. My next door neighbour's in laws are in a care home two minutes' drive away and she complains about her husband visiting them twice a week and refused to have them for the day at Christmas, despite her parents being there. I was shocked.

CPtart Sun 04-Feb-18 17:01:38

My DM cared for my GM (as siblings lived too far away) and it drove her to the brink of a breakdown. She ended up on antidepressants and blood pressure medication. Sadly my DM passed away in an accident soon after my GM.
We all have choices. Isn't that what people "save all their lives for" to "save for their old age" and buy in help. The reality is when the time comes people don't want to spend it! That's their choice too but it's unfair to expect DC to step in.
My DM would have foregone every penny of her inheritance to not have spent the last several months of her life run ragged, but she felt too guilty to say no. Don't be angry because some people don't feel guilty. We all make choices, nothing to do with fairness. Your friend could say no, she chooses not to.

ny20005 Sun 04-Feb-18 17:40:14

It's really difficult. I don't know what we'll do when either of my parents need help. We all live abroad - technically I'm the closest as I'm 55 minute flight away.

It's hard when all siblings at close by but tiny want to help out. I can imagine it must lead to a lot of resentment

charlestonchaplin Sun 04-Feb-18 17:43:31

You can be sure that these relatively absent siblings would be appalled if they don't get an equal share of any inheritance. Yes, sometimes people aren't able to help much, but I am sure that more often it is people being true to their selfish human nature.

laura65988 Wed 07-Feb-18 19:52:30

Tell ure friend to open her mouth and stop them from using her as she doesn't have kids she still work full time and had a life tell her to invite them to the mother and tell them she is on a break do they will need to do it as she is not available she is letting them do it and that is why they are using her but there mum looked after them so it time they returned the favour

JeffsNewAngle Wed 07-Feb-18 20:02:24

They need family mediation.

All issues aired and laid on the table and a mutually agreed plan going forward.

Maybe some family members aren’t aware about all your friend does or how much needs doing.

A mediator will help expose all issues in and help that family come up with a plan which suits everyone. Including the elderly lady.

@Dipitydoda, I’m sorry you were neglected by your mother. That wasn’t right, and even though your mum probably thought she was doing the right thing attending to her mother, she wasn’t.
You were a little child and deserved her care and attention. I hope you can find your way through the hurt of that neglect. You’re not alone, and help is available if you want to talk about it. Maybe give a child charity a ring for advice of where you might look for a listening ear. Hugs 💐

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