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Taking care of aging parents

Problem: I have been in the position to take care of aging parents with little help from siblings. Everyone is out of town, and of course there are many excuses to not come and visit. My opinion is they just do not care to take the time, and they have their own lives to live.

My problem is I resent their lack of participation. I love them, but on the other hand, I find their lack of loving behavior a problem. I am not sure I can see this in a different way. I do not want to be hateful, but this is very hard for me to handle in a good way.

Discussion: I imagine it is a choice on how you see this situation, and it is sad that your siblings seem unwilling or non-participatory. It does seem like they are not feeling any loss right now, but parents are not around forever, and they may lose out on the time they have.

Have you explained the situation to them so that you are being honest about your need for them to help? Have you sought out other help in the community? Have you asked your siblings to contribute to their care through monetary gifts so you can hire people to help you? These are things we most often do not think of, but from the perspective of your own health, it may be necessary. They say the caretaker is often the one who has health problems after taking care of their loved ones.

This is a stressful situation so I do urge you to take care of yourself and be honest with siblings. Ask for help and be direct about it. There are times when we are forced to take the high road. Sometimes we face things alone, and if we are responsible people, we often get the work that others neglect. I do not know if that is comforting, but doing right as a way of life is not a bad thing.

The resentment you have can possibly be worked out by having a family meeting so the situation can be sorted through. Maybe scheduling visits and getting commitments for the long haul would be a good idea. If not, the family can schedule a helper to come in, and ask them to contribute with money rather than time. However, it is time to get some help. If your parents can help with costs so much the better. If not, get a person to help you.

P.S.: How we see others is a choice. We can see them through their flaws, or we can see them as able to change. There is power in seeing them as able to change because when we change our view, we often see differently. This may be a deep thought, but mull it over.

To submit problems contact Juanita Sanchez, psychotherapist, by email at or contact High Plains Journal.

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