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Carolyn Hax: Man's siblings refuse to help care for elderly mother with dementia – Entertainment and life – The Ledger



Advice: Caring for each other is a sacred contract. People who break the contract do not go easy – they even refuse the reward for deeper connection and responsibility.

Dear Carolyn: I've spent 10 years helping my aging parents. They died six years ago. Now my husband's mother is 91 with dementia, and he and a sister are all caring. His other two siblings refuse to help.

I feel they either need to spend time or pay someone to help. My husband refuses to talk about money. And think it's OK.

My siblings also refused to help or pay and took full advantage of my good nature. I'm furious and sick of this. Please help. ̵

1; J.

It's not ok you are right.

But even if you knew it wasn't ok, and even if you wanted it otherwise, your siblings still didn't make their share of caring for your parents. They still dumped everything on you.

So what is it now that your husband is facing the same problem? How should he solve in his family what you couldn't solve for 10 years alone?

Don't celebrate this pragmatism for lack of sympathy. You are justifiably furious and sick of the workload imbalance imposed on your family by other people's apparent selfishness. You are also probably traumatized to some extent by having to navigate alone in weeds with modern aging and death.

But with your anger and frustration over your husband's experience, it is not the way to help him or his sister (a round of applause for both of them by the way) or yourself or his mother.

Apply what you've learned from your 10-year-old odyssey, yes, for every way – but with what you learned about families too: that they don't always step up when they need to. That you can't force people to do the right thing. The anger is a normal reaction to this. Allowing your anger to take over will only increase your weight. Doing just about sad relatives who need you – and honor your own principles – is a valid and healthy counterweight to the bad feelings of being dumped.

Caring for each other is a sacred contract. People who break the contract do not go easy – they refuse themselves the reward for a deeper connection and responsibility.

Your husband's other siblings will also lose the bond he and his sister probably form through their mother's care. 19659003] Is there any consolation when you are in the hardest work? Let's call it a thunderous "no" … so respite for carers is absolutely necessary also physically and emotionally.

Make sure your husband and sister-in-law have some relief, is a natural role for you – at the arm's length from direct care – if you want it. Choosing exclusively is also a valid option; You have earned it.

However, if you choose to help, you can maintain a schedule to help your husband and sister-in-law avoid burnout and research adaptation resources and find a good geriatric social worker to help with the logistical, economic and emotional burden.

And you can listen with an unfortunate degree of empathy when your husband needs to speak.

Your anger can still be too raw for it – a just concern. Even with the cost of your son-in-law is caring for your mind, some therapy that suits you can be money very well spent.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com /carolyn.hax or chat with her online at dinner every Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.


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