Dear Mary
Feeling Used and Abused

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Dear Mary,

I am having a hard time trying to explain to my sister how much work and time it takes me to help take care of our Dad.  Both my sister and I work full time, have kids and generally have very busy lives.  I seem to be able to also help my Dad with his groceries, clean his apartment and prepare meals and take them over to him.

My sister who lives even closer than I do to our Dad, does none of this.  I am feeling used and abused by her.  What should I do?

Shelby

Hi Shelby:

Feeling used and abused is a horrible way to be.  Something has to change or your resentment will grow and you will quickly become burnout (maybe you are already burnout).  Here is what I suggest.

Your sister needs to get a real life sense of what you do.  She needs to “live in your shoes” if only briefly to better appreciate you and all you do for your Dad.

Can you tell her that there are a couple of special projects (either at work or with your kids for example) that will require greater attention by you for a week or two?  Can you explain to her that you simply will not have the time that you normally devote to caring for your Dad and that she MUST step in?  With planning and talking with your sister – try and get her to commit to doing more for him, even for a week or so.  Once she sees all the effort it takes to do what you do as a caregiver, she may have a greater appreciation and respect for your efforts.  The extra bonus to this idea is that it she might decide to help out more on an on-going bases.   What would she do if you did not live close by?  It would be all on her shoulders to manage won’t it?

What you are doing now is not sustainable or fair to you.  You need her help.  She needs to hear you, wake up, grow up and pitch in more. 

Mary

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Caregiving Matters

Mary is a daughter. She also Chairs our charity.

Mary has also held Director roles on three other boards, most recently with The Palcare Network of York Region.

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