My mother is afraid of burdening my sister in any way, but she still piles on the guilt of having to undergo medical procedures alone. I understand this is a sandwich generation issue, but it’s also a sibling issue and I can’t deal with it.
— Helpless long-distance girl
Helpless long-distance girl: “Powerless”? No, you can work on it. Do not even make “the slightest suggestion” that “she will help our mother”. Until now.
When a cancer survivor and someone with special needs children at home is the only local person for a sick, elderly, widowed mother; no one You end up intervening to tell her she needs to do more. Especially not those who live in places where the most soul-sucking jobs are out of reach.
If you have the means, provide money for your mother’s care, such as a home health aide, visiting nurse, housekeeper, or meal delivery service. Or choose chores that can be done remotely, like ordering grocery delivery or managing insurance and prescriptions. Even a nominal donation is a far greater sign of good faith than accepting helplessness beyond telling a brother what to do.
By the way, it’s your mom who’s stirring this pot, which is totally inappropriate. Your sister does. do not have. option. Just like you, you don’t have a choice. We treat the obstacles of our geography as, “Oh, I can’t do it anymore,” and the obstacles of cis responsibility saturation as, “Oh, what’s one more little thing?” That’s why families fall apart over caring for the elderly.
Treat the two obstacles the same way. And in response to her mother’s complaint, and answer unambiguously: that her daughter is driving her to an appointment. do not have. option. Now suppose you and she (her mother) need to brainstorm a plan B. Isn’t it time for a home helper, a medical attendant, an informal network of friends? If she resists, gently/firmly/non-harassingly remind her that it’s not her sister who can replace her. Let me remind you. Alternatively, you can keep her status quo and let her manage these things herself. So is she okay with that? If not, return to the carousel of options. Don’t make the mistake of thinking just because you don’t like an option that there is actually another option.
· My siblings have our dad join us to doctor’s appointments by conference call – preferably by video. At least we can listen to the docs and say something like, “Hey, Dad, remember what you told us about X last week?”
· I completely agree that giving helpful suggestions to add to a sister’s list is a terrible idea. One thing you can do from afar is to contact your local authority on aging to find out what services are available to your mother. Then, get the mom’s buy-in and line them up to be your primary contact.
· You can work on it. I just don’t want to do that. There are many things you can do that don’t involve your sister. For some reason, you and your mom want to give these responsibilities to her sister.