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Sharing is Caring:

The Dynamics of Sibling Caregiving (with video)

Sharing isn't always easy for brothers and sisters who grow up under the same roof. Divvying up the wealth of toys, bedrooms or vehicles may have been a challenge at your house, and sharing the daily household chores could have led to family conflict as well.

Some things never change.

According to research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network, sharing the care of elderly parents can be as much of a challenge for adult siblings. Consider these statistics:

  • In 43 percent of U.S. families and 41 percent of Canadian families, one sibling has the responsibility for providing most or all of the care for Mom or Dad.

  • 46 percent of family caregivers in the U.S. (40 percent in Canada) who said their relationships with their siblings have deteriorated blame unwillingness on the part of siblings to help.

  • Only about one-fourth of family caregivers (23 percent in the U.S. and 27 percent in Canada) give themselves high ratings for their ability to work together.

"Senior caregiving can either bring families together or cause brother and sister conflict," says sibling relationships expert Ingrid Connidis, Ph.D., from the University of Western Ontario. "In some cases it can do both. These issues can be very emotional." Connidis has partnered with Home Instead Senior Care to develop the 50-50 Rule® public education program to help siblings deal with the many issues of caring for a parent and to improve caregiver communication.

Key Findings

Sibling Caregiving Dynamics

  • Among a group of siblings, on average, the primary caregiver is a sister, age 50, who has been providing care for an 81-year-old mother for more than 3.5 years.

  • Primary caregivers spend 19 hours a week providing care, compared to four to five hours a week each provided by their other siblings.

    Care is not shared equally. In 43 percent of families, one sibling has the responsibility for providing most or all of the care for mom or dad. In only two percent of families, the siblings split the caregiving responsibilities equally between them. In all other families, caregiving is shared based upon skill sets or some other criteria.

  • The sibling who is the primary family caregiver reports putting in nearly four times the hours of care than their brothers and sisters (on average, primary family caregivers provide 19 hours of care per week versus four to five hours of care provided by their other siblings).

  • How is caregiving divided between you and your brothers and sisters?

    43%One brother or sister does most or all of the caregiving
    18%Two or more siblings share responsibilities, with one or more much less involved
    16%We participate based on our skills
    6%We take turns with caregiving tasks
    2%We divide caregiving equally
    15%Some other arrangement

    Nearly two-thirds of youngest siblings (64 percent) say they are the primary family caregiver, while only 57 percent of oldest siblings and 49 percent of middle siblings say this is their role. The youngest siblings surveyed are the most likely to describe themselves as the ones with the closest relationship with their parents.

  • The adult child who assumes the role of primary caregiver most often describes their traditional role in the family as the "responsible one" and "the organizer".

  • Caregiving arrangements amongst siblings occur more by happenstance than by careful consideration of what is best for the siblings or the parents receiving care: 27 percent say the caregiving arrangement with their siblings is "by default" and 25 percent say it is based on "proximity".

  • Family caregivers with siblings are most likely to perform tasks for their parents that include emotional support; advice and guidance; companionship; transportation; and assistance with groceries and errands.

How does birth order impact who is the primary family caregiver?

  • 57% of all respondents say they are the primary family caregiver
  • 57% of Oldest siblings are primary caregivers
  • 49% of Middle siblings are primary caregivers
  • 64% of Youngest siblings are primary caregivers

Family Roles Based on Birth Order

  • 70% of oldest children describe themselves as the "responsible ones"
  • 40% of middle children describe themselves as the "peacemakers" of the family
  • 43% of youngest children say they have the "closest relationship" with their parents

Quality of Care Influencers

  • Adult children say the most important characteristics for a caregiver are patience, reliability, a positive attitude, empathy and good communications skills. Caregivers surveyed give themselves the highest ratings for reliability and communication skills. They score themselves lowest for patience, financial management skills and medical skills.

  • 42% of family caregivers give themselves and their siblings below average grades for their ability to divide the caregiving workload.

    Four in ten adult children (42 percent) give themselves and their siblings below average grades for their ability to divide the caregiving workload. More than a quarter of caregivers (28 percent) say they and their siblings earn below average grades for their teamwork in providing care to their parents.

  • The overall effectiveness of the entire team of sibling caregivers is directly proportional to three key factors:

    1. Their ability to make important decisions together;

    2. Their ability to divide the caregiving workload; and

    3. Their level of teamwork in executing/implementing this workload.

    The higher the self-reported scores on these measures, the higher the overall grade the caregivers typically give to themselves and their siblings on working together to care for their parents. Conversely, the lower these scores the more likely caregivers are to report problems related to caregiving, including the deterioration of relationships with their siblings.

    This direct correlation is demonstrated by these trends:

    • More than two-thirds (68 percent) of caregivers who give their families the highest ratings on their "ability to make important decisions together" also give their families the highest overall ratings for working together to provide care.

    • On the other hand, seven in ten caregivers who say their families fail at their "ability to make important decisions together" also say their families fail in their overall ability to work together to provide care.

  • Nearly one-quarter of family caregivers say they would like to encourage their brothers and sisters to help more.

    Primary family caregivers who indicate they personally take on more responsibilities, including helping with errands and medication management, are the same individuals who say their family is poor at making important decisions together, dividing the caregiving workload, and teamwork.

  • Nearly a quarter of survey participants (23 percent) say the one thing they would change about how they approach the care of their parents would be to encourage their brothers and sisters to help more.

Caregiver Team Ratings

How do you rate you and your siblings on each of the following with regards to providing care to your parents? (Percentage reflects number giving themselves the highest possible rating.)

28%Our willingness to help each other
27%Our ability to make important decisions together
24%Our ability to communicate openly
23%Our ability to work together
22%Our teamwork
22%Our consideration for each other's ability to help
16%Our ability to divide caregiving workload

Impact on Sibling Relationships

  • When it comes to caregiving, there is a feeling among siblings that "anything you can do I can do better". Survey participants were much more likely to give themselves excellent ratings for important personal caregiving traits than they were their brothers and sisters. Following are the excellent ratings survey respondents assigned to themselves and their siblings, respectively: reliability (73 percent; 27 percent); communication skills (57 percent; 24 percent); and empathy (51 percent; 23 percent).

  • Just as the effectiveness of the caregiving team relies on three primary factors—ability to make important decisions together, division of workload, and teamwork—so does the quality of the sibling relationships. Caregivers who rated their sibling team highly on these three key issues are seven times more likely to say their relationships with their siblings have improved (instead of deteriorated) as a result of caregiving.

  • 46% of caregivers who say their sibling relationships have deteriorated say their brothers and sisters are not willing to help.

    The overall effectiveness of the caregiving team impacts quality of sibling relationships. More than one-third of respondents (36 percent) who give themselves and their siblings average or below-average overall caregiving scores report that their relationships have deteriorated as a result of providing care. Conversely, 69 percent of caregivers who give themselves and their siblings above average overall caregiving scores say their relationships with their siblings have improved as a result of caregiving.

  • Among those survey participants who say their relationships with their siblings have deteriorated as a result of caregiving, the most common reason given (46 percent) is that their "siblings are not willing to help". Of those who said their sibling relationships have improved, almost all said their communications with their brothers and sisters are better now.

  • Three out of four primary family caregivers say their traditional family role has changed since becoming a caregiver to their parent. In addition, about one in five (19 percent) say they have "become the parent now", and about one in seven (14 percent) say they "are more responsible".

Caregiver Traits

(Percentage is based on highest importance or highest ability ratings)

ImportanceMy abilityMy sibling's ability
Patience89%35%19%
Reliability88%73%27%
Positive attitude79%43%22%
Empathy72%51%23%
Communication Skills69%57%24%
Organization51%47%22%
Financial management35%39%22%
Medical skills27%14%8%

Survey Methodology

The Boomer Project (www.boomerproject.com) conducted an online survey of 711 U.S. adults ages 35–64, with living siblings or stepsiblings, who said they either currently provide care for a parent or older relative, or did provide care in the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent of the participants identified themselves as primary caregivers; the remaining respondents said they provide care too, but not as their families' primary caregivers.

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. December 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Posted by Kathy

    Hello! Just find this site. My mom (78 yrs) has been living w/my husband & me for the past 3.5 yrs. She's had numerous health problems, but so far, she's able to take care of her own meds, bathing, fixing meals, financial issues. Helps w/housework when able & feeling ok. She still drives when able. Had a partial knee replacement few wks ago. Our children who are 45min away are also very supportive but everyone works full time. I do have siblings, however, they are all out state, and we're not in touch w/them. They are all in dire straights and have forgotten about their mother. It's sad. She's has anxiety, depression, diabetes, pacemaker, short term memory loss, but otherwise, in ok health. She cannot walk very far. There are days when I just want to "scream." I find myself resentful of my siblings, however, it's probably better this way, as they'd probably cause more problems, instead of helping. I know that I am so fortunate to have a very supportive husband, kids, church friends, and neighbors. Thanks for listening. I am trying to find a support group that meets @ least monthly, if anyone knows of any. Thanks.

    Reply

  2. November 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Posted by Brenda

    I am currently caring for my father age 92 who has heart and lung problems and suffers with frontal lobe dysfunction which causes some confusion and dementia related issues. For 65 years my father cared for my mother who is 8 years younger and had a very serious mental illness which she refused treatment for until hospitalized against her will. They are both now living in separate nursing homes and miss each other but understand on some level that they cannot be together. I am responsible for their finances and had to move to another city to care for them. The daily stress and frustration can become overwhelming but my Dad always remains cheerful in spite of his many challenges and I need to cherish this time with my parents. Guilt is a constant companion, but I have learned I am stronger than I thought and humour gets me through most days. I rely on my husband more than ever and am grateful I chose well. Having some kind of balance is so important, I find I put myself last most times. Hang in there and remember to enjoy the moments however brief that you can share with your parents. My sister is unable to help and I have no resentment about that. I love them all and that's what's important.

    Reply

  3. April 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Posted by Sharon

    It's good to read the stories of others and their journey ... I am the only daughter with 3 brothers in Florida ( in N.C. ) and became primary caregiver for my parents 9 yrs. ago -- Dad with Alzheimer's and Mom with Parkinson's - caregiving is very hard, especially when the responsibility is mainly yours and siblings are away or will not help; Dad passed away in memory care 4 yrs. ago and I now have a CNA helping with my Mom which has been a great relief for me and blessing; I think the emotional part is at least 50% of the difficulty/burden---no matter what I do I still can feel guilty and it becomes a vicious cycle...I take care of myself with friends, other interests...balance -- but I will truly say, it's been very hard by myself these past 9 yrs.

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  4. March 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Posted by Linda

    Amazing, to read so many of these stories. This is not what any of us ever thought would happen to us BUT.. My father died unexpectedly 2 yrs ago yesterday. It was a very hard day w/mom, 86. They were married for 65 yr and she had never been alone. When dad passed on, the care came to my youngest brother and the oldest, me. the 2 in between live out of state. One is financially well off but very 'limited' in time he can come visit - very busy and 'too' costly to fly in 'so much'. My sister is not as able to afford travel so she does what she can. This situation has caused a riff between my younger brother and the other two. My younger brother stays w/mom 5 nites/wk and she stays w/us Tues/Thur nites and every day w/me except Saturday. It has been very hard on me for many reasons, one being I've only been married 6 yrs. Mom is very needy and clingy. For a while it was constantly, 'i wish i was dead, why didn't God take me, I wish, wish wish. . . ." i wanted to scream often but held my tongue although not my attitude which was not pretty and she can always sense it - mothers! Caregiving a parent is so hard. We tend to reverse rolls and yet I've discovered the hard way, that mom is still mom and i needed (still) to respect her for that and treat her as such - it's hard. I had to learn to talk with her not over her, to ask her and not make decisions for her. I had to learn how to take care of her finances, her health records, take her every where since can't drive because she has macular yet not treat her as invalid. Since I have to read every thing, I have to shout because she is getting hard of hearing. to which after saying, What? several times, I'll yell and then it's 'you don't have to yell at me. I know i'm a burden. . . . Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. My youngest son has stared helping out, taking her w/his girlfriend on outings on Saturdays, what a blessed relief for me. I have 3 grandchildren i love to fly to visit. When I went, it was my break but now mom wants to go w/me says, 'my time is short, I won't be here long and i want to go too'. (guilt trip?) I confess, i don't want to take her, then starts the guilt and stress which takes a lot to fight off meself. Ah, life. But I tell you all, if it were not for the Grace of God, His strength, His help, and friends I can turn to for prayer and support, i'd be a basket case filled w/the anger, rage, selfishness, self pity I started with 2 yrs ago. It has not been easy or is it, but I am learning so much and hope and pray that if and when my time comes, my 3 children will have learned from me, how to care for 'mom' together. By the way, one of the things someone shared w/me was, 'remember, when your mother dies, you will know that you did everything you could, not perfectly, not always w/a smile but you were there. Your brother will have to face himself with what he did nor didn't.'

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  5. March 24, 2011 at 2:20 am | Posted by ATA

    In a previous comment I wrote that I receive a monthly allowance of $250/month...it should have read $250/week. Unsolicited the sibling with the POA began giving me this allowance for the duties I perform for mom and dad as their 24/7 live-in caregiver.

    Reply

  6. March 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Posted by shibani kumar

    I went all the way to see my hospis declared ex:husband to India with my son, there I was told to assist the nurse, as I had done caregiving for long. He had had a major stroke, his right side was paralised, lost memory and speach, I took is as a challeng,gave him lectures, taught with actions, gave timely meds and diet got the nurse to clean him well, thank God,! today he can walk with a walker, shave himself, is off diapers, writes with left hand,he needs help to shower, all doctors were shocked....now he lives with my daughter,who never came to see him when sick,

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  7. March 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Posted by Joan Bullock

    Hi, I have read the many stories of so many of you. I know I am not alone in this situation of being the primary caregiver to my parents. My Father recently passed away after fighting the difficulties of diabetes. As the years went on he had good moments, but also the ones that were so hard for me and my family to see him go through, but we never gave up on hope that he would get better. He was a true fighter and a soldier so he did not give up without a fight. My Dad is a true Hero and a man of so many qualities that it brings tears to my eyes knowing that he is now gone and the sadness we have and especially my Mom makes these days difficult for us all.I will continue to be strong for my family and most of all for my Mom and not let her see the sadness I feel, I guess I am writing to see if anyone has thoughts to share on how they have gotten through a time like this and keeping things together for the other parent. I worry that my Mom will get depressed and the sadness with affect her health. My two siblings live in florida and do what they can and visit when they can, but the responsibility of the house, etc.. lie on myself, my husband and two college age children. I know we will get things figured out and find a way to continue each day and go on as my Father would want us to. When I get to thinking about him I just close my eyes and see him up in heaven looking down on us all with open arms and feel him giving us a big hug saying " I am fine and everything will be okay" Thanks to anyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Have a nice day:)

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  8. March 16, 2011 at 1:22 am | Posted by ATA

    Mom is 95 and dad is 92. Both display signs of Alzheimer's but are still alert. Two years ago, after one of many falls, the hospital would not release mom to her home because only my dad was there, and he was capable of being a caregiver. She became a fall risk and temporarily placed in assisted living. Shortly after my job ended. Because my father's dementia was progressing it became obvious what I should do - I left my apartment and moved into their home to take care of them. I envy those stories where the siblings share the caretaking duties, and give the main main caregiver breaks. My siblings will visit, they will take mom out for dinner, but they do not give me a break. The power of attorney rests with the older siblings (I am the youngest and the only daughter) and they refuse to authorize me to hire anyone to relieve me if the cost is over $10/hr. Mom had a caregiver for a few months until Mom wouldn't cooperate with her any longer. She was not from an agency and just couldn't handle my mom's dementia. I receive an allowance of $250/month and now have decided to give myself a respite by hiring a qualified caregiver from an agency. That is the only way currently I can get time for myself, to go to church or just go for a drive. I don't know what the relationship with me and my siblings will be like after my parents are gone. In m family I do not have "power." Yet, I know I am doing what I should be doing with my life right now. This is a journey and I hit the wall many times, but I go on, one day at a time. I have moments with mom or dad that are priceless. They forgive me so quickly when I lose my temper. I've had to forgive my mom when she's cursed me and remember what my counselor told me "she didn't ask to get this way." No, she didn't. She never had a break - she was always "on duty." And dad was a hard worker and good provider. I love them and most times I am able to cope and serve them with love and patience. One day when I was so "burned out" and had endured a verbal attack from a sibling, I went to my dad's room, where he lies unable to move, and just put my head on his chest and cried. He patted my head with his good hand and just said, "mija, God has blessed us so much." Yes, He has.

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  9. March 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Posted by Patience Charlie

    Hello everyone, My name is Patience, i was the only one taking huge responsibility of our mother, we are three siblings, my big brother and my my younger sister that lives in Europe, before i left my home Nigeria to Canada our mother who was almost 80 then, she had diabetes, high blood presure, joint pain, and seeing her suffer and remebering how she took care of us as if she has no life of her own was something i could not bear, i called my siblings to think of how we are going to take care of her, my elder brother said he has this and that to do but he will help the little he can, my younger sister got mad at our brother, then i told my brother if he can't remember our childhood i do, i took up her responsibility, i was into a huge business which require me travelling most of the time, i got her three care giver including myself and my sister, to cook, wash her cloth, clean her house (my father's house) to chat her up and to read her favorite book the Bible,my sister will send money and gift for her, when i travell i buy her things, i leave my business to visit her her for two weeks, as my duty every month, i will wash her cloth, bathe her,cook, and in the evening we will sit outsite under the african moonlight and talk, laugh,i will cherish always the memories of mother and daughter under the moonlight, then my children became forcy to stay permently in abroad instead of going on vacation, we left for canada and open an account for her in Nigeria through my brother, i call her twice a week, then one day she ask for a favor i got so sick in my stomach my brother was using the money to build his government aproved school and she was not getting enough, she went to be with the Lord May 2006 my sister and i cried and mourn for her for three yrs.there are 3 things i have noticed in life,(1.) don't pet and pamper the only son or daughter more than other siblings, my dad was longing for a male child so my brother was spoilt and took things for granted.(2.) when is in your reach to give or help your mom or stranger in the street do it with your whole heart, when is our turn to be taken care of if nobody is there for you, your past goodness will locate you, the person you don't know will take care of you.(3) when there is a dispute between siblings on how to take care of parents, somebody should get up and take the responsibility, i believe there is a reward in every goodness, we should always remember the good side of them, and not the bad. what is the bad side of them, yelling at us, missing out one thing or the other in our life and we should remember they have their past too they are strugliong with, if is in their reach or power to do everything we want, we know they will give us the whole world to make us happy. let us love without reservation. thanks

    Reply

  10. March 15, 2011 at 7:05 am | Posted by Deborah

    I cannot stress enough how important it is for sibilings to stay together in one mind, spirit, and trust during these times of caregiving. Although not all siblings can have equal caregiving responsibilities, due to location restrictions, the ones that are away should be able to know their ideas are respectfully considered in the ultimate best care of their loved one.

    Reply

  11. February 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Posted by Nancy

    Know one thing, that I learned from being the chosen, trusted sibling to care for every need of our mother for over 10 years. I had a job, two kids in college, even one of them had cancer. During his illness, my husband tended to mom while I was primary mover and shaker for the kid's treatments. He survived. That experience alone, took our undivided attention away from Mom who was still living at home. My two siblings lived away in another state, a younger brother and an older sister. For your particular situation try to wrap your head around what I know to be true with my own two children: For every child in the family, there is a different mother. Likely viewed by his mother as needing something she can give him, be that shelter, money, etc, does not mean that she loves you less. Likely it means that to your mother, you are self sufficient, and don't need these things. You have probably had words with your bro about his sweet deal, and you'd think that he'd be providing outstanding care for her in exchange for what she gives her. Something about their relationship started when he was little and you cannot change your mother's relationship, be it enabling and codependent, is not going to change. By loving your mother from "afar", are you sure that your mother interprets this tack you;'re taking as something wrong with her. If she is at life's end, and eventually she will be, you have the same right to nurture the relationship you find positive with your mother, wherever your brother lives. Being the closest living sibling, and my mom would give me an extra $25 in my Christmas card for "everything you do". She'd tell the other two, feeling guilty that she didn't give them that extra, that she gave me some extra because I could use it. Thus, both kids from afar, saw me as being the "favorite", taking money from mom, (and thus dipping into their "share" of the inheritance". She also was a big loan shark in the family. Every kid who ran into short term or long term financial binds, mom was glad she had the money to loan. When she loaned sis some money, she just gave it to her, with no promissory note. When I had to borrow short term for some school tuition, I went to the savings and loan and drew up a promissory note, owed to her in the amount with interest. She received an automatic payment from me each month, and it was paid back nicely. At the end of her life, she knew that a nephew, a daughter (not me), a granddaughter had borrowed a few thousand dollars from her. She was trying to die and was in a coma. Mom had unfinished business, you could see her in that bed, with the deepest frown on her face. Hospice was called in and she came home to live with me. Immediately she told me she wanted to see her attorney. She looked over her will for the last time, and in doing so, to keep family from killing each other, she outlined the debts owed to her, and canceled them at her death. This way, the estate was divided according to her wishes. I was the executor, and this was a sore point with the others. I was entitled to be paid for my work as executor, but because I did not want to lose the relationship with my sister and brother, I ended up eating lots of expense to keep the peace. I think my mother would have wanted that, and knew I'd be the only one of the three to do that generous thing. The problems that arise from sibling problems in caring for mom or dad is lack of skill in communicating with one another as adults, not from the birth order, not from the talent or skill we had, but it would blow your mind how childish the others behaved even as early as the funeral. My sister continued to stir up crap between my brother and me. It took me back to when the three of us shared one bedroom in the '50's. Mom's legacy was intentionally set, which failed to make each one of us a part of her ending. She understood that the son had a job and that the other daughter had health problems, so she relied on me, then carried stories which either she didnt' understand or remember about property, about her care and her wishes. She wanted me to get four months' rent from her estate for living with us. Instead, I inherited her puppy. The older sister dropped dead a year ago ("see I told you I was sick!). My brother and I will never ever have a good relationship. On the day of her funeral as we're walking into the service brother says, "Can you provide for me a full accounting of all expenditures from Mom's assets for the past two years?" Uh, no, I was offended, and sad, and having planned her funeral, put the meal together too, the two sibls drove in the morning of the funeral, were not there when Mom died, I paid for private care for overnight care in her last days so I could get some sleep. My husband was here with me as he'd been her son in law for 40 years. I needed thanks from my siblings. While sis did NOTHING except perhaps stir up rumors, I'd call her from time to time just to get her to weigh in on some decisions. She always said, "I trust you to do the absolute right thing for Mom." The brother-never. After the cancer of the son, my husband had to have an aortic aneurysm fixed. Mom was living with me. I called my brother who lived 175 miles from us, wondering if they could bring Mom over to there 4000 Sq foot home for a week while I could nurse my husband back to strength. "Gee, Nanc, I have a golf tournament this week, I can't help ya". His two children live in same city. He didn't bother calling them to see if they could help me out. The very next year, I was the CEO of the largest home health company in the state. Because of the distraction caused by my mother's ill health, and my husband's illness (he was back to work in 3 weeks) the Board of Directors asked me to resign. I had to face them down, and ended up getting a year salary to keep my mouth shut. Headlines would have read: Home Care Nurse fired because of mother's care at home". I took that money and bought a business serving seniors at home, and we take the burden off the siblings so they can finish the work that they need to do to let go of mother. Mom lived to see the day of the opening of the new business, but she also told siblings that she made it possible for me to do it. (Inferred that she gave me the fees to start-It was not true). My brother over the past five years barely contacts me, and did send a Christmas card to my husband. I was so hurt.Come on kids, grow up and man up. The brother has no right to affect your relationship with your mother. I think you will have huge regrets my friend by being the long suffering daughter who is being prevented from having a relationship. If your brother has SS, are you inferring that he is really able to work or contribute financially? SS benefits aren't that easy to get anymore. My family referred to each terrible incident between us as "running up Martyr Miles". When I needed someone to really let me be a martyr, I'd turn to trusted friends. The siblings were not helpful in any physical way. I stood vigil at Mom's death bed for five nights and days. I was stupified by their not calling me. She was unconscious, so she wouldn't know if they called. Mom's brother came for 15 minutes, he could not take seeing his sister in that emaciated shape. Six years later, learning from our own family experience, my Uncle, Mom's brother's health began to fail. He opened up his safe, got out all of the vital papers including his will, and hobbled down to his basement, and put a bullet into his head. He left a note: I hoped I'd have an old age without pain and suffering and loneliness, but that isn't the case. I love you all, be fair with one another. I do not want to spend one more penny taking care of me, I want you girls to have it." Love Daddy. Those two siblings are not speaking, one riddled with guilt, one riddled with a sense of entitlement for being the closest daughter to him, so she just wrote herself a check for an added $70,000. I never had that kind of guts, but "M", you are not going to change a family dynamic at this stage of the game. Your mom is who she is, your bro is who he is, and if you can think of time when she's gone, go ahead and stay away, the only one you are punishing is yourself. Get a counselor and tell him or her what you're doing. It will help. A sense of humor helps. My children are certain about what we want, how we have things divided up but we will be moving closer to the daughter when we get older. She knows I have a long term care policy to get hands on care, so she can just be a daughter. Go ahead, try just being a daughter. Good luck and know your story is told daily a million-fold every day in America.

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  12. February 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Posted by M

    Hello, Mom is 89 years old. Has dementia. My brother and I both have DPOA, I am married and have my family along carrying for my husband who is a stroke survivor. My brother lives with mom in her own home. Has lived there free/clear for years and now on his social security. He has done nothing but jerk me around and has found fault with any assistance I have offered. He continues to "sponge off mom" financially. Upon letting him aware of his financial duties, he made it clear I am no longer welcome at the house. He called Police on my last visit to mom. The lies he told, were just unbelieable. Consults with lawyers advise me of court conservator/ guardanship which will remove mom from the house. I am torn to do what is morally and legally right, thou court hassles will create more of hostility within this already broken family. So I have chosen to monitor from afar and grieve

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  13. February 17, 2011 at 10:41 am | Posted by chris

    I was the primary caregiver for my best friend when she developed bone cancer and even though those last few months of her life were not pretty and were sometimes very difficult I would not trade the warmth and closeness that we shared along the incredible journey from this life to the next.

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  14. February 17, 2011 at 10:05 am | Posted by Bettianne

    My mother recently passed away at the age of 93 years. Since our family was geographically spread out we had to be creative. I had the major caregiving responsibility for my mother since I lived close by. I also had the financial responsibility since my mother did not have a good retirement plan due to circumstances beyond her control. Most of my siblings contributed toward Mom's expenses and, though it wasnt an even share, it helped. Those of us who lived nearby came up with ways to divide up the work. My husband and niece took on the role of taking my mother shopping. My children involved her in entertainment and family activities. I took care of medical, pet and household activities, and transporting her to spend time with her sister/family in another state. I can't say it wasn't burdensome at times since I have a full time job, but the willingness of my family to contribute time or funds was very helpful. I was the coordinator and it all worked out pretty well. We siblings are all still friends.

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  15. February 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Posted by Patricia

    I was chosen by my parents to be their caretaker after my brother became ill wth prostate cancer since cured. I am the oldest daugher and have a sister and 2 brothers.We all work together in separate roles for are parents. I am the main caretaker since I am unemployed learning about all the home healthcare, transportation, appointmets, etc. My sister helps after work and weekends. My brothers take over on weekends doing chores around home my father would do. I have to tell them what needs done but they happily do it and provide comfort and companionship to my parents. We all work together and this has made my parents very happy and secure.

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