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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Annie’s Mailbox: Brother not part of parents’ care

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: I am the youngest of three children, and my parents are in their 80s. They both have myriad medical conditions.

Since moving home, I got a new job and assumed the role of caregiver for my parents. I cook, shop, run errands, do laundry and take them to the doctor. My older sister, who lives out of state, visits often and jumps right in to help. She will even trim the bushes. My brother, however, I have no use for. He’s twice divorced, makes a six-figure income and travels extensively. He could easily do more for our parents, but his visits are infrequent, and he stays less than two hours.

The role of caregiver is one that should be shared equally and enthusiastically between all siblings. It’s one of the most honorable things one can do. My brother understands that. He just doesn’t want to do it. What’s the best way to get him to start pulling his own weight? – Holding It Together in Indiana

Dear Indiana: You and your sister are kind and compassionate. But you cannot force your brother to be the same. Instead, ask him to contribute financially to your parents’ care. Use the money to hire additional help around the house or to have a caregiver come so you can get a break. Hopefully, he’ll be relieved to help in a way that doesn’t require his physical presence, and you will be less resentful.

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