NZ Woman's Weekly

Siblings that don’t help with elderly mother

Dear Wendyl,
I have cared for my elderly mother for the past five years, taking her into my home and doing everything for her, while my five brothers have done nothing. I didn’t mind as I realise daughters often get landed with their mother and I’ve always been close to her. But recently she’s become difficult to care for as she is incontinent, which means constant bed changes. She is quite demented and unable to remember simple things from one moment to the next. The other day she didn’t know who I was and abused me for half an hour. I’ve never seen her so angry or horrible and it really upset me. I’m not sure I can keep this up, what should I do?

Desperate, New Plymouth

Dear Desperate,
This is where your brothers come into the picture because you need to get your mum into full-time care, such as a nursing home. You need their support both emotionally and financially to do it. You have done a great job and you shouldn’t feel guilty about demanding some quality of life for yourself. I don’t agree daughters should take care of their mothers – sons should take their fair share of the burden and not treat their sisters like unpaid servants, which is what they have done to you. Talk to your brothers, tell them you won’t do this anymore and see if you can all work out how to get your mum into a home.

Send your questions to or write to Agony Aunt, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.


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