Default caretakers - whose fault is that?

From one reader who speaks for many: “Why does it usually fall to one sibling to care for older parents? I have been caring for my parents for more than seven years. Thankfully they have assets to provide for their assisted-living expenses and healthcare. The past five years have been hard on all of us, due to falls, cancer, surgeries, etc. My brother lives three hours away and, despite my repeated pleas and his promises, he cannot/will not visit for more than four hours, or help in any way. He calls every couple of weeks. Medical appointments, shopping, accounting, bill paying, holidays all fall in my lap or they would not happen.

“I don’t think I am suffering from ‘martyr’ syndrome, I just want help! My brother is not (by his own admission) too busy, he just promises to visit to help with a project, then doesn’t follow through. I’ve come to accept that he isn’t going to change. I am so resentful. Friends in similar positions (both sides) cannot explain why there seems to always be one sibling out of their families who carries the load.”

Do you see this as a widespread problem, and have you found a way to resolve it, or at least make peace with it?

— Carolyn Hax

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