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Siblings not pulling their weight

(28 Posts)
Aggy21 Mon 08-Aug-16 12:54:21

Had to get this off my chest. My DH is the only one of six siblings living in this country. He has elderly frail parents who are almost 90 and his mum is in and out of hospital. His dad is able to get about a bit but has his own health issues and is getting a bit confused. My gripe is the lack of interest, concern and sense of responsibility shown by his brothers and sisters. They rarely get in touch, a phone call from them being a big deal. They assume were exaggerating when we say how frail they are. One brother has not seen them in almost ten years, another two years. Others who could easily visit haven't made the effort for nearly a year. However, one of the most annoying things is, during their rare phone calls, they advise dad to do X Y and Z in direct opposition to what we've advised, eg they should take a holiday ( we would need to do the transportation), get rid of the man who does the garden ( we d need to do it till replacement found) get double glazing in ( they chose dodgy company and we had to sort out mess) remain in their too big house with stairs ( putting them off a perfect sheltered housing house which they were considering) It make me mad and causes DH a lot of stress especially as his folks are stubborn and difficult to deal with at best of times. Anyone else in same boat?

Humbertbear Mon 08-Aug-16 14:45:18

Does anyone expect siblings to pull their weight? My older sister visits my mother once a year (she lives a short bus ride away) and my younger sister is useless in a crisis. I expect to do everything, with the support of my daughter , and long ago stopped expecting anyone else to be there.

harrigran Mon 08-Aug-16 16:32:39

My sister married and b******d off abroad so that she was not available for day to day stuff. Thankfully my parents did not suffer long and disabling conditions they both slipped away without a fuss. DD is now living abroad and replicating her aunt's lifestyle, no children and lots of travelling. DS I think was suitably unimpressed when she announced her departure as he thought he would be lumbered.
I have a friend who has lots of brothers and sisters but she is the only one who lives close to the ailing parent and guess what? she gets the short straw.
I would be cross too Aggy if they don't pull their weight they should not have a say in how things are run.

Christinefrance Tue 09-Aug-16 13:41:01

As other threads and experience has shown there is usually one sibling who does the bulk of caring for parents. I think Aggy21 you have to lower your expectations of the other siblings and accept that your sense of responsibility means you will be the main carers. I agree with harrigran though, if others are not prepared to help then they should have no say in how you choose to run things.

Sugarpufffairy Thu 11-Aug-16 23:11:27

I was the one to stay around home and look after all the elderly relatives. I have seen it in other families too. I have thought that perhaps if the other siblings/children do not help with the elderly and ill parents they should have to pay along similar lines to CSA is obtained and paid to the parent with custody of a child from the parent who does not have custody. This could be paid on top of Carers' Allowance and it would also give the carer more value.

Judthepud2 Fri 12-Aug-16 00:50:22

I think you made a telling point Aggy when you said 'they assume me we're exaggerating when we say how frail they are'. In my experience, children when they move away and don't see much of their elderly parents, seem to be reluctant to accept that their parents are not how they remember them. It must be frustrating for you, having your DH's siblings giving inappropriate advice to your PILs. Perhaps DH could suggest they come and see the problem for themselves if they think you are exaggerating and before they give advice.

Synonymous Fri 12-Aug-16 01:51:53

Aggy we are all very different and there is usually one sibling who does the hard graft and often another who causes mayhem! Perhaps best to just quietly do what needs to be done.
I just wish my own DM had lived long enough to grow old and need my help. In spite of everything you have many blessings to count. smile

BlueBelle Fri 12-Aug-16 08:10:27

I know how it will be with my children one lives far away overseas but in fairness doesn't really interfere and does keep in touch, one lives overseas but nearby and never comes over ( hates her old hometown) so I always go there to visit to collect and return grandkids, makes the other two annoyed One lives nearby and will be lumbered but I hope and pray I will make the decision to go to sheltered accommodation or care home etc without putting a burden on her unfortunately like me she has an over active conscience so I feel even if I put myself in a care home she would feel she had to visit and check regularly etc only answer to that is kick the bucket before it all goes pear shape ... No I m not advocating suicide just hopefully that there's no invalid hanging on to long

Mumsy Fri 12-Aug-16 09:07:23

Some kids cant cope with illness when it comes down to their parents, are they worried they are going to be in that position where they will have to care for us? They avoid the issue like the plague. When my mum was ill it was my older brother and I that helped, my own children (adult grandchildren) didnt bother helping either. When my husband was ill and dying my kids didnt help, ok they popped in to visit and were gone shortly after and that was it! I have M.E. and Ive had no help or support from my kids or grandkids ( apart from son) . It got back to me that my older daughter wont visit as she cant cope with illness!! shock

harrigran Fri 12-Aug-16 10:01:13

When I became ill DH told DC that he would look after me and he has, solely, for the best part of a year. He says that he is greatly disappointed though that one in particular can not text or email me and ask how I am. With the best will in the world I am not going to be here forever and am dismayed that they do not care that much. It would be nice if they asked how their father was coping as he does not get a break from me, he does everything in the house.

Lilyflower Fri 12-Aug-16 10:25:36

My sister moved my mother, who was equidistant from both of us (an hour and a half each) to just round the corner from herself on the premiss that she would 'pop in' to mum daily and the children would 'always' be round to see grandma in her sheltered accommodation.

Needless to say, it has not worked out like that. My sister has a busy, full time job and her children were not that interested. My sister has become resentful that I do not do the 'popping in' even though I live two hours' away when the motorway is traffic free which it rarely is. She barely speaks to me and, when she is very stressed, I become the scapegoat for my sibling's ire which is very upsetting.

I very much sympathise with my sister and appreciate that she has done much that is helpful for my mum. However, circumstances she chose herself led her to doing what she has called 'the lion's share' for my mother.

These situations are awful and frequent. The ladies in my book group report similar tensions and resentments as their parents age and succumb to frailty and Alzheimer's. My own situation is such that my sister has driven a wedge between us through unnecessary resentment that it will be almost impossible to remove.

inishowen Fri 12-Aug-16 10:27:08

When my dad was dying of cancer, my brother lived in England. We lived near dad in Ireland. Dad couldn't eat, but could manage Complan. Brother came to visit, and raged at mum "no wonder he's losing weight if that all you're feeding him". Dad's sister also made the comment "at least your mother doesn't have any real nursing to do". Dad was incontinent by then. How easy it is to make comments at the people who are doing all the hard work.

Lupin Fri 12-Aug-16 10:35:54

I've been where you are now to some degree, and it's stressful and hard too to cope with the resentment that unhelpful brothers and sisters help create. It's been my own experience and from seeing what others have to cope with that it's best to accept the situation as well as you can. At least any feelings of guilt will be lessened because you know you tried to do your best.
I cartainly wouldn't advocate falling out with your family, but to try charming, loving, but firm persuasion to get them to come through you before advising anything. Ask them to check what you have in place first because you are on the spot. A round robin letter? Don't denounce them but ask them to co-operate in that small way to make your life easier while you endeavor to cope. Who knows? From small acorns etc.
Hang in there. All the very best.

chrislou Fri 12-Aug-16 10:43:55

what a good idea

tigger Fri 12-Aug-16 10:54:58

I agree with Lupin, at least you can put your hand on your heart knowing you did all you could. What is so annoying is that now big sister has returned home from abroad after thirty years she pontificates about how much she did for mum when she came on her brief annual visit. Still at least she came once a year.

greatgranny Fri 12-Aug-16 11:21:45

Not sure, but think it may be a legal requirement for offspring to help support their parents if needed?

Shazmo24 Fri 12-Aug-16 11:39:42

Your husband needs to do what is best for his parents and if that means moving them into sheltered housing so that they are then safe, he is less stresses, house is sold etc then just do it.
If siblings complain then say "well you aren't here but I am"...If they can't be bothered to even visit or give you support then they have no say

Tessa101 Fri 12-Aug-16 12:00:10

Agree with Shazmo 24

Angela1961 Fri 12-Aug-16 12:05:36

I do sympathise with regards to caring for elderly parents but will also make a stand for only children who do not have siblings to share any care or even just to lend an ear when it gets tough going. I cared for my dying mother by moving the 250+ miles into her home from her diagnosis of cancer to her death 11 weeks later. It was hard,it was lonely but it was something that had to be done.She was also my best friend and confidante and 3 years on I still miss her.

Nelliemaggs Fri 12-Aug-16 12:28:51

Every family is different but it is sadly really common for the bulk of the caring for elderly parents to fall on just one offspring.

Father died young and my younger brother, always her favourite and the only one of us without children, did more for her than any of us to settle her into a smaller house, make it right for her and deal with all financial matters. She was then shocked rigid when he and his wife moved to the Far East. He came home for her birthday and brought her to us for Christmas Day and I supported absolutely his right to live where he wanted.

Mother was very dependent on all of us and as she grew old I became her carer with help from my older brother and we organised for morning and evening carers as well. Younger sister lived a 5 hour drive away and we three in the UK all tried to get mother to move closer to one of us while she was young and fit enough to do it but she didn't want to budge.

We could never do enough to please mother and even when I was visiting every other day (every day when she was ill) she complained that I didn't spend enough time with her. My protestations that every 5 hour visit necessitated an additional 2 hour each way drive obviously set her thinking and on my next visit she produced a page of sums. She had added up the 2 door to door journeys from younger brother's home in Hong Kong to the south coast of England, counted every day with her as 24 hours 'caring' , multiplied the figure by 2 as his wife came too, and on my next visit waved the paper at me in triumph and announced that it proved that favourite son spent more time looking after her and travelling to her than I did.

My siblings who couldn't care for her on a regular basis were wise enough to leave decision making to those who did and 7 years after she died in her mid 90s we all get on well enough with a fund of funny grandma tales to tell.

Synonymous Fri 12-Aug-16 12:38:14

Angela flowers I completely understand and know from experience that although the sense of loss never really goes away it does become easier to cope with. ((hugs))

Synonymous Fri 12-Aug-16 12:53:40

flowers to all those who are trying to cope. Very many good ideas and thoughts so much worth sharing.
Although DH and I have downsized and are trying to simplify and de-clutter to make everything easier for our DC I am acutely aware that whoever survives the other needs to be prepared to work with them to reduce their burden as much as possible. It is never that simple though is it! hmm

grove1234 Fri 12-Aug-16 13:17:24

Dreadful (with Family)l time when younger brother (unmarried no kids) was dying (brain cancer)but came thu realizing that I was extremely capable gave me enormous self confidence ,So thank brother.
You have my best wishes give yourself treats .

chocolatepudding Fri 12-Aug-16 14:07:30

There was a similar thread a few weeks ago and someone hit the nail on the head for most of the problems with family members here on Gransnet. "Have no expectations of family" was said by a member (cannot remember who) and I think this is so true in so many ways. I wish I had learnt that phrase 20+ years ago.

Aslemma Fri 12-Aug-16 17:35:52

Even before reading all the stories on here I did realise how very lucky I am. I have four sons and a daughter, all living within half an hour of me, and although some are able to help more than others, if push came to shove they will all step up to the plate. I have had a rough time recently, with a triple heart by-pass last September, pneumonia in March and sciatica also since March, which is still causing me problems. They have all been fantastic.