fell out with sister over caring for elderly mother(34 Posts)
My elderly mother lives alone and is increasingly frail. I live 4 hours away and work full time in a demanding job. DSis lives close by and works 2 days a week. I have arranged a gardener, cleaner, someone to help with personel care, and I visit when I can, usually every 2-3 weeks. As DSis lives much closer and only works 2 days a week, she is able to visit more frequently, and continually piles on the guilt that I am not visiting enough, she thinks I should visit weekly. I simply cannot do this due to work and other commitments. She is now not speaking to me as says I am not pulling my weight, which I find really sad as we have always got on very well. We will all be together over xmas, and I know there will be an atmosphere. I feel so angry that she is treating me this way. I want to make the first move to get things out in the open, but DH says it is up to her to make the first move as I have done nothing wrong, and it is her who should make the first move, as she has been incredibly nasty to me. It feels a bit like being back in the playground, I feel we should be acting like grownups and not like children!
So if you live four hours away that's 8 hours there and back. Is she expecting you to give every Saturday up?
How about suggesting your mother moves near to you?
Ok you are doing your bit and she is doing hers-but were they joint decisions? Did you talk her through and get her buy in for the gardener,cleaner etc? Maybe the issue isn't how much you are doing but that she sees you as doing this above/in isolation or it is seemed to be a competition. Maybe I am wrong as it doesnt say clearly in your post.
Communication is key here. Don't hold back. Why not say to her can we have a separate chat about how to manage your mum's situation going forward so you can do things more jointly? That you did things with the best intentions but would like to involve her more?
This is an incredibly difficult time for you both. If you have got on well in the past there is hope that you'll be able to resolve this.
A few questions - how often is she visiting? How much is she doing day-to-day? Does she get a break?
Do either of you have children or other caring responsibilities?
Could you think about this differently, eg spending a couple of nights once a month so that she gets respite and you have fewer journeys?
Op it sounds from your post like you are doing your best.
What is it exactly your sister thinks you should be doing more of? Has she told you why she is peed off with you?
Work and other commitments?
Is there no way you can juggle things around a bit/compromise?
Innocence's idea is a good one about spending a few nights a month at your mothers to give your sister a complete break.
As the one who lives nearby while fit her away siblings pay for help, I can tell you it is draining and I get desperate some times just for a day when I can just not have to fit things round my elderly frail parents. Yes I work part time bit I also have 'other commitments' which are suffering because my siblings only appear for visits but aren't going to and fro with shopping, doctors appointments, prescriptions, making sure they're eating properly.
yes you have work and other commitments but that does not mean your sister should carry the full burden for up to 3 weeks at a time.
i was in the same position as you unfortunately my mum was terminally ill i saw her as much as i could you need to speak to your sister see each other`s points of view you are both doing your bit to help your mum you are obviously doing what the other cant do you are both helping your mum in different ways ,and not to be rude your dh needs to stay out of it he needs to be neutral .
My brother lived a good five hours drive away but never ever came home or helped me with our mum when she had dementia. Matters came to a head when I could no longer cope because I unexpectedly had to take on my two grandchildren who were very young and I was also trying to keep my job. I asked him to take over finances; unfortunately a few months later I discovered that her care bills had not been paid by him.
When challenged, he said he couldn't remember agreeing to that. I can say that at this point in my life I disliked and resented my brother intensely.
My mum had to go into a home and I insisted he take some responsibiity and did so from a distance after that.
I think your mother is perhaps deteriorating faster than you realise and it does sound as though your sister has had enough, reached her own limit and that is why things are starting to fall apart. Not speaking to one another is not going to resolve things and waiting for an apology is just going to intensify her resentment.
I certainly don't think you can be expected to go every weekend, but by the same token you cannot expect your sister to give up every weekend either. Long term Carers must have breaks or the caring arrangement will break down and I think this is happening here. I hope you can resolve matters.
I can see it from both sides but at the end of the day, your sister doing more than you and she properly feels resentful. Maybe you can try and get more personal care for your mother so not all the pressure falls on your sister?
When I am that age I think I rather be put in a home then put that amount of stress on my child.
a bit more info in response to above - yes, my sister expects me to go weekly, regardless of the fact this would mean my giving up every weekend.
DSis currently visits weekly, this is really a social visit, going out for a coffee and cake, or going to the bank or a look around the shops, as there is nothing domestic that needs doing, it is more the company that my mum enjoys. She is mentally very sharp, and gets very bored at home.
I agree communication is the key, but when I suggested gardener/cleaner/carer, DSis said this was not needed and it was our responsibility as daughters to do this. (my sister has a cleaner and gardener herself, so don't know why she was so anti, I don't have any such help!!) So I arranged these things with my mums full approval. She is horrified that she might become reliant on us, and wants to enjoy our visits by doing something nice, rather than us doing household chores. My mum feels the current system we have is as good as it can be given her health, and doesn't want to move from her lovely bungalow. Neither my sister or I have children at home, they have all grown up and moved out.
Rebecca-when we visit there is no personel care involved, as the carers visit each morning to help with showering.
it is purely a social visit, don't even cook as we go out for lunch, and maybe once a month trip to bank/hairdressers/other official stuff. My sister works 2 days a week as opposed to my full time, and lives an hour away as opposed to my 4 hours. Having said that, there is no expectation that she should be doing any more than she is. I don't see how she can be overburdened by providing care, as my mum is very adamant that we are her "daughters" not her "carers"
So your sister is annoyed because you don't visit your mum every weekend?? If that's all it is then I think she's being silly. An 8 hour round trip every week is too much. I still think as innocence said visiting every couple of weeks and staying for the weekend is a better idea
Your Mum sounds lovely - and very similar to mine. Switched on and hating feeling that she's a burden.
From your initial post I thought that your sister lived nearby and was popping in to sort out her pills daily! Clearly that isn't happening, and if she's only visiting once a week, I can't see what her problem is.
Life is unfair at times. The care of my Mum falls upon me as the closest 'child' in terms of location, but the care of my PIL falls upon DH's sister, as she lives nearby.
8 hours drive would be too much each Saturday
I dont think it is relevant when you keep repeating that you work full time and your ds works part time - why does that matter? That is not a get out of jail card for you. Do you highlight this to your ds - maybe she feels threatened and is worried about being over burdened as things progress?
You have both made a lifestyle choice wrt to how many hours you work and your dm's care/support should be negotiated and shared equally.....but actually all you are both bickering about is not care but socialising and keeping her company - how sad.
Looks like you have a very easy situation if your dm is mobile and you are not doing any care - just socializng - lucky you - but if you are having issues with this already you are in for a tough time ahead....so you need to communicate continually with your ds and your dm.
Obviously it is not possible to do an 8 hr round trip every week - but could you plan the year ahead so that your dm comes to stay with you twice a year for a month ... sounds like this is logistically and physically possible for her currently. This would give your sister some breathing space?
The SIS only sees her mum once a week. It's not like she's in there three or four times a week
I had a similar situation when my DM was alive. I was the one that lived close - DS lived a 4 hour drive away and would visit monthly.
Especially during the last 2 years of DMs life I had little life of my own as I was with her daily and when not with her she was phoninhg me or I was arranging stuff for her. I loved her very much.
What really made it awful was that DSs partner lectured me about what a strain it was for DS - WTF.
What would have helped me would have been for DS to ring me regularly and ask how DM was and how I was. To just acknowledge that I didn't have much of a life anymore. Just because someone lives close, doesn't mean its easy. Make up with your DS -work together and tell your DH to keep his stupid fucking childish views to himself.
Maybe you could phone your Mum daily for half an hour. Or alternate days for an hour. Then have her to stay with you for a week at Xmas, new year and summer?
I understand that it's a difficult situation and your sister is probably finding it very stressful
But I do think she is being very very unfair to you. You are helping as much as you can, how much or how little help you give is entirely your choice and your sister has the same choices- it is not ok to blame you if her choices are different
or get her a laptop and teach her how to answer a 'Skype' from you?
Sounds like you are doing the lions share of provision. Like others, I assumed she lived in same area and was popping in 3x a day to a housebound old lady !
I think you are doing far more than what would "be expected".
Sounds like it's company / people to chat with that she needs - would it be possible to do a bit of investigating in the local area what groups / clubs might be around for he to go to, so she's not as reliant on just her 2 dds ?
Start with the local Churches and Community Centres who have lunch clubs.
Look up the 'Local Offer' website for her local council, and there may be plenty of local things you weren't aware of.
I think your sister is a bit mean actually, not popping in a bit more than once a week. I'd just tell her very clearly that you cannot manage visiting your mum once a week. But I would suggest you should phone or Skype your mum a few times a week. I'm sure your mum would really appreciate it.
Your Mum sounds Ace palamino. I have worked with older people for 20+ years and you sound like between you and you Dsis you are doing everything right. Your visits to your Mum should be 'social visits' for you to enjoy time with her. Your Mum is clearly the sort of person who accepts her limitations and is willing to have help for day to day tasks. As I read it you and your Dsis are doing the same thing you're just not doing it as often as your Dsis would like. Is your Dsis thinking ahead to times IF things change? (That is not a given) And worried that as she lives closer the burden will fall to her? You are right. Your Mum would be horrified by the thought of being reliant on you and your Dsis. Rightly so. If she is willing to accept 'formal' help in the form of a well managed package of care there shouldn't be any need for you or your Dsis to do anything more than enjoy time with your Mum.
I agree with backforgood. Maybe you could look for social activities in the local area for your Mum to join in with. Try the local Council Adult Care Dept. Or the Community Nurse for Older People linked to your Mums GP surgery. They are Fab.
There is a big push going on right now and lots of funding to try and counter Isolation in Older People in our Local Authority. I don't know where your Mum lives and I'm not suggesting she is isolated at all but there is LOADS of stuff out there if you look.
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