DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My sister lives with her new husband about five hours away. She thinks she is doing me a favor when she buzzes into town to “help” with our mother, who has some major health problems. What happens is, I am here taking care of Mom every day, and then my sister decides, since she is the older sister, that she knows best, sometimes even better than the doctors, and she starts messing around with things, just to blow back out of town for three or four months.
I can tell my mother doesn’t always understand what’s happening, but she believes if it’s being done by my sister, it’s got to be right ─ even when it isn’t.
I get that my sister thinks she is helping, but how do I get her to understand when she is back with her family, I am the one who has to get things back to normal here? --- THE ONE WHO IS ALWAYS HERE
DEAR THE ONE WHO IS ALWAYS HERE: This is a common situation in caregiving, and, unfortunately, one that often leads to hard feelings between siblings.
If you haven’t already done so, try speaking to your sister privately, letting her know you appreciate her help, but remind her that there is an overall plan of care that you’re responsible for sticking to. Make it clear that you’ll be glad to relay her concerns to the doctors, but that it could be harmful to your mother to start altering what’s already in place.
It may not work, but at least it might help her think a little differently about what’s best for your mom.