I’ve just read an article from Agincare.com entitled “top 3 excuses form siblings who don’t help with care giving”. It’s obviously been up there for some time. There are 295 (well 296 now) comments and they go back a few years. Forgive me but I found it really draining and disappointing to read, much as I understand the strength of feeling expressed about how selfish some siblings are when a relative is needing care.
What follows is comment number 296 that Ihave just posted. You can read it here.
What you describe here is extremely common and happened to me as carer for my dad. However, I have become convinced over the years that this is a natural phenomenon and families should be supported to prepare for the fact that the impact of the presence of an illness and dependency on one family member will affect the whole dynamic of relationships. The main caring role will nearly ALWAYS fall upon one person and no-one knows who until it is upon you. I looked after my Dad with my mum. I can honestly say that I don’t know whether I’d have been able to do it for my mum. Now there’s a challenging question to ask. Which of your parents would you rather care for? I know I’d hate to be condemned for not doing it. It does not mean I love them any less. Other family members should not be put into a position of defending themselves and coming up with those excuses that you dismantle. They are excuses and nothing more. Do you think that by such condemnation you are going to bring them on board? Of course not. I felt the same way on occasions during my caring role but getting more bitter did not help any. All I could do was to give testimony to the two way relationship that developed between me and dad. It took me by surprise. I was not expecting this from dad, now severely brain damaged and quadriplegic after an unsuccessful heart op. I was convinced he was more gregarious after his heart operation than before. Part of my role was to maintain his presence and all the rights of belonging, continuity, identity and engagement he deserved. I found reading the piece really draining. It serves no purpose to wallow in this bitterness and I believe it serves to perpetuate the stress and burden model of care, something I have always found uncomfortable and which itself implies blame on the person being cared for. Don’t waste time point scoring against relatives who apparently don’t care as much as you. My dad died some time ago but my sisters are still my sisters and I love them dearly. One of them is starting to look after my mum now. I know I couldn’t do it and I won’t give excuses.