Dealing with unsupportive family
black and white film still of siblings fighting

Are your family members leaving you alone to manage your parents’ healthcare needs?

How have you responded to it? Have you tried to get them to become more involved? Have you accepted the situation or are you boiling inside?

Share your response in the comments below.

I want to ensure the highest quality of life for my mother, while she is living, and to the best of my ability. I know some day I will be able to say I gave her my all!!! That will give me peace for the rest of my life. That’s a blessing. That’s my choice. Some people make other choices. – Lauren C.A.

I was in this situation and had a multitude of feelings incl. anger, frustration, hurt, jealousy, envy, despair and all the other ugly feelings you can feel when the focus was on self. I believe that God equipped me to handle taking care of both my parents until they passed. He did not equip my siblings. They did what they could. The brunt was on me. I finally gave up and realized that I was being blessed not burdened. Once I gave into the role that God called me into there was more peace, love, compassion and kindness in my heart. It enabled me to be a better daughter and caregiver. – Gail H.

If they can live with their decisions, I can and do live without them. – Cynthia M.

I just give my Gram the care that she needs, and I don’t spend any of my time worrying or wondering over those who don’t help. – Pamela M.

I talked to a counselor several times to learn how to release the anger I felt for my brother who didn’t help. – Gail Z. R.

In life we should never expect others to “step up to the plate.” We can only control our own actions. – Pamela K.

I told my husband’s siblings if they didn’t like how I was taking care of their mom I would have her packed and to their in a half hour, are you ready? – Judy R.

 

Written by Cori Carl
As Director, Cori is an active member of the community and regularly creates resources for people providing care.

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136 Comments

  1. it’s amazing how just a little “support” could go a very long way… “they” have their right to complain and express hurt because our parents (or grandparents) were not perfect, but then they want their share of inheritance, and disagree on how that money was used to take care of parents… “where’s my part?” Meanwhile a little compassion for the caregivers, a little support could go a long way…

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  2. Is there any way you can generalize caregivers so it applies to more people. Unsupportive families happen for caregivers that are not just taking care of parents. It can be a spouse or a child they are caring for. But you tend to make your posts so specific that many of us feel left out of the discussion.

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  3. None of Mine Ever Helped Out with #CareGiving for My father. But are quick to Claim to Carry about my father or ride this side of the Family’s Coattails. . .

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  4. Yes and I am done with them. Not the first time either. I have lost so much because I have to be the one to give up on my goals and have to put my life on hold. By the time I am done I will no longer have the health or energy to do the things I wish I could do now. Sometimes when I think about it all, I say to myself just think about the here and now. I see no hope for the future especially because of my health issues.

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  5. My situation is different it’s my husband That had a massive stroke. And his parents are of no use..his dad has not been here in 2 months. His mom in 4 months his mom calls me and is so negative ..his mom and dad are divorce but seam to call each other and chat about Rick. But can’t come see him not come over and give me a break..so I can have time to my self .. just had long has I take care of there son..I’ve decided not to even answer calls they care enough they need to come see him..

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    • I have to care for an older developmentally delayed sibling. As we age it’s getting harder & harder. Our younger sib lives in another state so it’s all on me. I’ve got some outside support in place and sometimes that presents it’s own annoying problems, i can’t stand having these outsiders involved. I wish the sib could help, i wish extended relatives would call my special needs sib sometimes, invite her to dinner , visit her- Anything. My son is moving to another state soon and I’d consider following but can’t due to this situation. I can’t leave her behind , I’d feel guilty. I can’t take her with me because a retirement filled with caring for her 24/7 sounds overwhelming. It’s not easy being responsible for another’s every need. If you’re reading this and know a caregiver……. give them a break- just for a day. Give them a call…. let them vent and know you care

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  6. No, but I wish they had. My Grandmother suffered in her final weeks because of their denial. They force fed her, would shake to wake her, refused to give her medicine to make her transition easier, got mad at us on her last night with us because they didn’t believe she was really passing away, and used her to manipulate everyone to their bidding. They didn’t want to believe their mommy was dying and made her final weeks miserable. You couldn’t see her without it leading to drama. It broke my heart that to be rid of them we had to lose her. But I’d go through all that torture to be with her again.

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  7. Yes. Very sad to see my mom on her birthday etc. No cards no visit’s and no phone calls.

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  8. Yes

    My older brother abandoned me and my parents. He didn’t want to help take care of our parents.

    My friends and fraternity brothers have done more to help me care for my parents than my actual brother.

    I haven’t seen my older brother since 2012.

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  9. Yes got absolutely no support whatsoever, but now want to reap the benefits now mum is gone. I took on more than I could handle and it has taken its toll. No one asked me how I coped, just expected it would be me.

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  10. I am an only child so I have no help. Have been trying to hire someone to help but Mom doesn’t trust anyone except me. Gave up my career and I have no income coming in.

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  11. No. I am blessed with an amazing sister and our three adult children are incredible. I thank God everyday for them and the two sons in law that do everything they can. Blessed beyond measure.

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  12. Families are no use. They’re a hindrance not a help. I miss them not at all. Nada. Zip. Friends and strangers are more of a help. I’d love to know the psychology of that.

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  13. My mother’s son helps one day a week (unless on one of his many vacations or some other dumb excuse) and he feels he’s doing his part. I can’t even begin to describe the anger. I provide or pay for care the other six days while working full time. If I go on vacation, I’m paying for 24/7 care out of my pocket.

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    • Have you checked into what services Medicare and Medicaid provide for people living with family members? In Colorado, care gets paid for having two people watch your family member.

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    • I’ve tried to get that assistance. She meets the income requirements for assistance as soon as I liquidate a $5K life insurance policy. I need to buy a lift chair and keep the receipts and fill out new paperwork. Thanks for mentioning it

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    • Melissa Janning Medicare will also pay for replacing your bathtub with a walk in shower

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    • I didn’t know that. I considered remodeling the bathroom. We only have one bathroom so I was afraid it would affect the resale value of the house. Mom and I have a system now that works (bench, safety bars) but a remodel would definitely be more safe. I will look into it. Thank you.

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  14. Yes sure did, I had a very hard time with it. Until I realized their problem isn’t mine it’s theirs. They either want to step up to the plate or they don’t. Saddest is I see my mother hurting inside because they don’t visit or call or anything. I have done all I can do and can say I have done my best for her. Have given up time that my husband and I should be able to have a break and not worry. Very sad to see this happen to so many parents. They think all their children will help when it comes time for their needs and not just one child

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    • Melissa Benanti thank you! I think we need to be reassured at times even though we all realize that a lot of people are living with the same issue. Take Care

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    • It’s a common problem and people are often selfish. But, that doesn’t make it easier on a day-to-day basis

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  15. Only if there was money in it for my 2 sisters No help at all !

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  16. Yes they have left us for years to do this on my own. They show up for her birthday tell me what I need to do and leave. One stayed an hour and one for the afternoon. It’s sickening. They don’t need the added stress. Ya right yes it really pissed me off.

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  17. Yes because my asshole sibling lived out of state and only occasionally showed up and acted like he was running the show for a week each year!! It’s why I have now chosen to be an only child!

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  18. Our volumes bring families back together.

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  19. Family stay away or keep silent. That’s fine. God does not like ugly. Karma is a bitch. I’m disgusted but mostly severly angry and disappointed.

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  20. Not so much my family but hubs just leaves all HS issues fall to me? Yes it is not pleasant but a phone call to him would not kill them? While far away those calls would be appreciated.

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  21. In some ways it was easier not having to deal with others when making decisions.

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  22. Thankfully my family is supportive but if they were not my motto would be…Those who DO, DECIDE!!

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  23. That’s when the saying, “you never know what strong is, til being strong is the only choice”, comes into play. If it’s not us then who? Its hard not to be bitter and angry though.

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    • I like that saying. Thanks!

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  24. I don’t , because they don’t exist to me anymore.

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  25. No response, that’s how. Can’t force it especially if it’s not present in them.

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  26. Gave up on my sister, her husband, and her three adult children. Pointless.

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  27. I told him to leave. I should not have to beg for help from a family member. My fraternity brothers have helped me and my parents way more than my actually brother ever did.

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  28. I don’t. If they cared they would offer something, anything.

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  29. I used to boil inside, spent sleepless nights, etc. But I eventually just accepted it. Not easy though.

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  30. I really care about what God’s Word says. He does state to honor thy Mother & Father. There is severe punishment and despair for those who decide to shrug this off. Everything is recorded. The Lord’s eyes see all. My hope is that selfish people who decide to ignore and treat their chronically ill, elderly parents as if they don’t exist, should receive the same treatment from their own children in their time of need. I too hope the Lord will follow through with His Word, when the time comes- to get what they deserve. They have to look at themselves day after day in the mirror-that has to be some punishment right there. There is not much love either…when you can leave the brunt of caregiving all on one family member and be alright with that. No one willing to adjust their life, except the caregiver.

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  31. It destroys families…. I just gave up on all my siblings. I won’t answer any calls or questions any more. It stresses me out to much. My mom is my priority, she has never been my siblings priority. I get sick every time I think of how much better mom could have lived if they all just helped a little. I can’t stomach them right now. Just put mom in a facility and I cry every day. I have been caring for her 24 hours a day. It got to be so hard on my mental and physical health. I want her home with me, but can’t any more. I hate my siblings every time mom has a bad day. I will never be able to feel ok about them again. It is a terrible thing.

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  32. I’ve seen this often as a nurse of 20 years experience. It’s often the grown up children that the parent has lavished most attention on that abandon them.

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  33. Just DO IT! They need you and that’s all there is to it. You have to look at it from the ones side your caring for. Especially with alzhiemers. They don’t understand always there’s a lot on you. Their just happy YOUR there, at least my mom was. If your giving your all to that person you shouldn’t even have time to think about the drama going on around you.When the one you love is gone, the drama will still be there, never fails. But you’ll still of the rewards you were given for doing no more than what you should have been doing. My mom left me as she began with me, loving me & I her. What more could I ask for? But, make sure you don’t go back to associating with those who had no time when you were going in circles keeping up. We have choices, make wise ones!

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  34. I was lucky! My fathers siblings stepped in immediately to help (only child living out of state) and were there when I couldn’t be… but as a nurse… you see it daily

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  35. You can be mad but you only make yourself sick.
    What do you do when no one helps? You do it. It’s that simple. And your going to be exhausted…
    you can ask their doctor for palliative care or hospice when indicted.
    God Bless

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  36. Forgiveness. I was so frustrated & angry at my sis & bro. I repeatedly tried all the suggestions: asked for specific help, counseling (they went only once), family meetings, phone calls, aunt/uncle intervention, prayer, letters, etc. I held them accountable when they didn’t do what they said they would for Mom, so I became the bad guy (blamed, accused & excluded). The bitterness was making me feel angry all the time. I didn’t like feeling that way, so I decided I had to forgive, even though they didn’t ask. I’m writing a book about how I learned to forgive & let go. It’s process that started with that decision. I hope to help others release the resentment & find peace. Now I have no regrets and am at peace. Prayers for all. Keep on keeping on.

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  37. Yeah it’s hard. Just be proud you’re doing what’s right.

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  38. I gave up everything to be with my parents at the end of their lives. I’ll NEVER regret it. Although I miss them terribly I have a peace I can’t explain knowing I gave all I had. Love you Mom. Love you Dad.

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    • Me too … No regrets and miss my parents. I cared for my Mom.

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  39. Nothing much you can do but just keep going. I used to think I had the best siblings EVER– I am still surprised each and every day that I was completely wrong about that. Some days, that realization is harder to deal with than my demented Mom…

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    • Leslie, that’s exactly how I felt.

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    • I feel the same way too. My siblings have disappeared like dust in the wind. They criticize everything I do and never help at all. It’s very disheartening.

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  40. I know what that felt like hence it being one reason our ties are permanently severed

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  41. I have a brother who who lives 5 minutes from our mother AND his wife is a PA and neither of them offer to help with anything!!!!!! Oh wait maybe I should be more clear, they do visit on holiday’s for 20 minutes if that… and he does nothing but complain about this and that and makes her feel like crap. I have come to the conclusion that he is worthless and I am in no need of his help! He will be sorry one day and he is the one that will have to live with the guilt of being a shitty son!

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  42. They have made their choice. I made mine. It’s not for me to judge. They’re doing it not doing what they feel is right and I am too.

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  43. Caregivers often acquire their own health issues bc of the stress and exhaustion. It’s so important to let go of the anger, seek counseling if needed. You have to put your own oxygen mask first! I cared for my mom for years before she died, then my dad until I had to put him in a home. Now my husband has early onset dementia. I still have to work full time bc I carry insurance. It has been nearly 20 yrs. of my life. Sending strength to all my fellow caregivers

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  44. I feel super exhausted and super angry at the same time. But what i need to do is to whatever it takes in giving the best for my late mom because i ❤️ her more than myself.

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    • Let the anger go. You have every right to feel that way. But it’s blinding you to the little joys that come with careing. Expect nothing from them. You won’t be disappointed. Save your energy for yourself. Anger is exhausting.

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    • Tracey Strachan Guy thanks tracey. ☺️

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  45. I’m caring for a special needs child as well as checking in on parents and in-laws who are getting older…in 11 1/2 years, when I retire from my full time job, I’ll be a full time caregiver. I visit with 1 brother 1x/year, 1 2x/year and haven’t seen or heard from the 3rd in 3 years. I’m bitter that my kids don’t know their cousins and that my sister-in-laws seem to feel they can dismiss us because we are not friends…no, we are FAMILY!

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  46. Inhale… exhale… Remind yourself of what you can control and why you yourself are there in the moment – then try your best to let go of the rest.

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  47. Nobody helped me. Brother called angry every chance he got demanding money. Never changed a diaper or called to check on daddy. So so hard!

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  48. Morons! They spend more time whining then withe the person!

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  49. I keep doing what I do and be me. The acts of others will never change me or my heart. I would never give up on my son. I am all he has.

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    • I feel the same way, I’m the only person my son has. We just keep on keeping on, until gods angels take him home, Pam from Texas.

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    • I done it with my mom and my dad also. It is worth it knowing that you are the reason your loved one feels loved, appreciated and wanted. Prayers for you and your son.

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    • I done it with my mom and my dad also. It is worth it knowing that you are the reason your loved one feels loved, appreciated and wanted. Prayers for you and your son.

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    • I done it with my mom and my dad also. It is worth it knowing that you are the reason your loved one feels loved, appreciated and wanted. Prayers for you and your son.

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  50. You distance yourself from them. Get rid of toxic people. I did. If they don’t care to help as mine did, the hell with them. I would take care of my parents alone in a flash again.

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    • Amen!! I have the same issue….my brother and I have poa, but this happened after 3yrs of doing it on my own….he was whining about leaving him out when I have contact with our dad’s medical team…..so the other day there was an evaluation on my dad’s progress……so now it’s time to talk to a social worker, he’s upset because he thinks he’s being left out….so I have the interview and he contacts me hours later saying how busy he is….so I told him that I would like his help with our father hygiene……haven’t heard from him since……

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    • I’m sorry you’re going through that. I took care of my parents for 10 yrs. When they started getting very sick my sisters never helped until my father was diagnosed with dementia and lied about things. They both passed away and my sisters were available when the will was read! Just remember to take care of yourself. I didn’t. If you’re not around you can’t help your dad.

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  51. NOT MUCH ONE CAN DO, 24/7 IS JUST WHAT IT IS.

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  52. Numngern Ellis
    Maybe dad needs this page❤️

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  53. My 3 siblings do not get a vote in anything regarding my dad’s health care. I wash him, clean him after he uses the bathroom, manage doctors and finances. I fumed for years. About a year ago, I lost the ability to give a crap about anyone else or their opinions. I have no filter and everyone knows it. I just quite frankly do not care anymore, nor will I EVER do this again for anyone. This has broken me. Marriage in the future is out of the question.

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    • Same boat here, caring for Dad & his Mom, my Grannie. Her other son lives in Colorado my brother and sister live a couple of hrs away and may visit 1 X a yr
      I do everything w/ a bit of help from my 2 grown daughters who live less than a mile from us I do NOT consult with anyone anymore I just take care of it. I too have NO FILTER and don’t care anymore. They show no support so to hell with them. I’ve given up part of my life to do this, missing out on many things with my kids & grandkids☹️ so in the end there will be no conferences on what to do, I’ll do what I know is right and I’ll feel good about it too

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    • They all 3 tell me I’m doing a great job at least.

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    • Right I think they do this to make themselves feel less guilty or here’s my fav
      “We could never do it as well as you’ve done” yea ok you’ll never know either cuz you never tried
      Sorry no filter

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    • David are you depressed? Clinically depressed. You’ve been so badly let down buy your siblings. That’s awful. I’m really sorry. Are you able to ask for an assessment of your mental health?

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    • Tracey Strachan Guy thank you but I’m fine. Not depressed just not forgiving or affable.

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  54. My father’s family, my family, I’m the only one who volunteered. He’s had a head injury since I was 12. Now he’s 67 and I’ve been his caretaker for the last 15 years. Setting aside my archaeology degree for 24/7 care.

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    • I too had to withdraw from university to care for my parents. I was able to go back and slowly work on my degree. It sucks being a 36 year old man taking classes with 18 and 19 year old students. But university will always be there when you are ready to go back

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    • I went back ten years later. I had one semester to finish, but since it was my final year, it was very intensive. I managed to finish, and volunteer at digs when I’m able, but in the end honoring my father seemed more important. I finished not for a career, but for myself.

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  55. Their loss in the end…….ir karma

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  56. My son’s Dad was going to move a few weeks into the time after my son’s accident. He lost money on a housing contract apparently. He announced he was going to leave in August which caused my son some real set backs in his PT progress. Then he moved across country in October. He comes back when the weather is mild but does not help financially. He talks to my son but he left. It is hard for my son. I am sort of used to doing things alone but I do get burned out. One sister comes to pick him up for a meal occasionally.

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    • I’m shaking my head
      What a selfish way to behave.
      Your an absolute angel to care for your son the way you do . God bless you

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  57. People get scared. You can’t blame them. This journey is not for everyone. I only pray…

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  58. I don’t get much support. I just do what needs to be done. I’m exhausted.

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    • Many times it’s better to get outside help. From living arrangements (Adult Family Homes, nursing/rehab facilities) to transportation to nurses & caregivers coming into their homes.
      Even agencies that help you navigate through all this so you can make the best decisions.
      There are day activity centers for the elderly that are a godsend for family caretakers that need a break & some time for themselves.
      Use these resources. Trust their staff. These are professionals trained in how to take care of your loved ones.
      Give yourselves a break! It’s easy to get burned out. That leads to resentment: To family members that don’t, can’t or won’t do more.
      Ourselves for the same reasons.
      To our loved ones for expecting so much.
      I see this to often!

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    • I understand how you feel sounds like me.

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    • I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Look to the red cross or salvation army in your area. Maby they can help

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  59. Luckily we have no family for this type of drama and for that…I am so thankful.

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  60. What else can you do but carry on. My older brother didn’t want to help me care for our parents so he just left one day and never came back.

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    • Lorne was he the one they lavished attention on when you were younger?

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    • Tracey Strachan Guy I would say we both got equal attention but it was no where near lavish.

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  61. My sister cared for our father with 99% no help! I didn’t live close, nor did two others! Two did! The brothers couldn’t/wouldn’t help! A few of us helped financially/monthly! Now I’m caring for my husband!

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  62. Four brothers, two sisters, 18 nieces and nephews and I am the sole caregiver to both my parents. I finally stopped wondering, questioning, trying to figure out my siblings mindsets. I use that time more constructively now. People tell me I’ll be rewarded for what I am doing. I tell them that i am being rewarded right now, this moment, because i get this time with them. This special. Yes things do rough at times, as we are three strong willed people, living under one roof. But even at this age and stage in my life I know I’m capable of still learning and I know, because I feel it inside, that I’m growing as an individual. This life, job, what ever you want to call it chose me, and I am thankful and humbled.

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  63. I took care of both of my parents alone. Mom was very appreciative. Dad not so much. Mom passed away and now dad moved into a facility closer to my sister. Who is now the amazing one for taking him places to get him out of the facility. When they lived at home I couldn’t take dad out much because mom wasn’t able to go out due to being dependent on her oxygen concentrator. She didn’t feel confident with the tanks. Dad was always unhappy and said I held him prisoner. But what could I do I was one person and I had two parents to care for. I cooked three meals physically cared for both parents. When one went to the hospital I would run back and forth day and night. Called my sister but she had a life and her own problems. Now I am the abandoned family member. Mom passed away dad moved away. My sister and her kids won’t communicate with me. Which is my own fault. I went through so many emotions being their caregiver to being completely lost and alone. So anger issues grief etc. Reared it’s ugly head. But no one understands or will forgive me. So now for self preservation I have closed the door and my heart to most of my family including my father. I have lived across the street from my parents for 10 yrs and gave up my career to care for them. The only thing that’s keeping me from going off of the deep end is telling myself I did it all for my sweet mom. Some of her final words to me were amazing. But she also knew that this would all end this exact way. She knew her family that well. She told me she would worry about me and told me to look out for myself after she was gone. I miss her every day.

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  64. I have been the sole [and single] caregiver for both of my elderly parents for the last 16 years and it has gotten tougher with them now suffering from Dementia. Their only son/my older brother just left it all to me. He’s to busy, would visit 4 times a year for 2 hours. People often think I’m an “Only Child”, and explaining that hurts. But at least you know you don’t have to hold ‘family meetings’ and then get let down when follow up help is needed. It leaves you feeling abandoned but at least you know where it’s at. So I moved them last year to a senior apartment and sold their home all by myself. And found Mom [81] a place in a full time Care Home for people with Alzheimers in August. After I’d moved in with them for 10 weeks helping Dad [84] out, after Mom had a fall and broken her arm. Now my brother has shown up already 6 times since Moms move, making a good impression on the Care Home staff. It’s like he only preforms his duty when there is an “audience”. Wish he’d act consistent and would stay away now as well, as he has done for so many years. Curious how long he can keep these visits up, though. His efforts now feel like too little, too late. But I try to let it go. I know I did my best and he has to live with his efforts when they are gone.

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  65. One of my sisters won’t even answer the phone or return a call to me when I call about my mom. I finally decided that it wasn’t my job to maintain a relationship between my siblings and my mom. I also got to the point where my health was in great enough jeopardy that I had to place my mom in long term care because of her dementia.That was6 months ago. Only2 of my3 other sisters know that mom is in LTC. And the ones that know just found out recently. But don’t you worry they will be there with their hand out when she dies.

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  66. The only mention of any support we got from anyone was when my husband’s brother offered him a place to stay in exchange for control of his SSD benefit check. As soon as he found out there was no check, the offer was rescinded. It’s been me, by myself, taking care of my husband (dementia and schizophrenia) for 3 years now. From the time he went into the hospital, nobody showed up to help out. Its like they all think he’s contagious or something. You just wait though! When the time comes for a nursing home, or god forbid–he passes–his siblings will call come out of the woodwork acting like he owes them something. We have zero assets. Not even our own home. What little he still owns is marked down for our kids and grandkids to have. When he passes, I wont have anything–not even my wedding ring. (pawned it to make rent. such helpful family members….) But I WILL have the knowledge that he lived at home for as long as was possible, in a place where he felt secure and confident.

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  67. Unsupportive? Read my story. LOL. Not helpful at all, and now one of them is taking me (POA of F&M) to court for guardianship, because she doesn’t agree with all the doctors that mom has ALZ and doesn’t need 24 hour care in a facility with a memory care unit. And that’s another story….

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    • I am so worried that will happen to me. I have one of Los Angeles County’s best lawyers as my friend, and my POA was signed 4 years before she ever was sick. Also, she is terminally ill and they estimate she has another 1-3 months left. This is soo horrible to read these stories.

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  68. I am caring for my Father who has a brain injury & my Uncle who is paraplegic & has a multitude of health issues. I’m the night & weekend caregiver. My Uncle has no children but helped raise me so he’s like a second father. Even though we held a family meeting & people agreed to help. No one does. I have a brother who lives 2 hours away but only comes to see my Dad on Father’s Day for an hour. I try not to get upset & just do what is needed & people keep telling I have a good spot in heaven & thats great but can I have some reward while I’m still here. Lol

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  69. I charged for the weekends when the designated sibling wouldn’t show up to take mom for a drive. The result is that I am the bad guy. The paid caregiver has been drawn into it and I am left with absolutely no regrets for finally standing up for myself . As long as mom believes that they show up because they care about her I am happy .

    Reply
  70. I am boiling inside. I live to take care of my husband who is stage 4, grade 3 lung cancer. He is going though the
    third chemo drug right now and it is making him so, so sick. We have one drug left after this one then the only thing left are studies. I am chronically ill and use to having my husband as my caregiver and all the sudden I became his. It’s very, very hard to be in this situation at all but to be the only person to handle absolutely everything is extremely hard. My husbands entire family, two grown kids, sister, brother and many other family members all live a short distant from us. I am still all by my self it is hard for me to accept this and even harder for me to deal with.

    Reply

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