The responsibility of taking care of my younger sister

Hi all,

Im just feeling a bit distress right now. My family have all been feeling ill and tired since 27th December so I have been helping my dad more with looking after my sister (while my mum rest). Its been very difficult lately because she isn’t eating much and shes only sometimes drinking.

Its difficult because my dad doesn’t talk to my mum, my mum is resting a lot and i am trying to balance working from home while taking care of my family. I feel like im that middle person a lot.

My dad is making the decision to take my sister to the hospital even though im worrying that my sister will likely get covid if she goes (my sister, mum and dad are probably vulnerable to covid). And even though at first my mum doesn’t want my sister to go to the hospital shes now going with the flow because of how tired she is.

I just feel like things are my fault and i want to help my family the best i can but at the same time its difficult for me to have the responsibility of my sister wellbeing. I know some of you say i don’t need to worry about my responsibility with taking care of my sister but with my dad not wanting to talk to my mum and brother and my brother not wanting to help with my sister at all, i have to take at least some responsibility.

Hi Kira,

I’m sorry I didn’t see your replies to my questions on your original thread. It does sound like your Mum has done a lot to support your sister with learning sign language, researching and trying to get help with her Pica and so on.

Instead of taking her to A&E which would be very stressful for all concerned, could you persuade your Dad to contact the GP or 111, instead.

Whilst you wait to get through, I have a few suggestions (as well as caring for S, I am a special needs teacher and have worked with children similar to your sister). If you google “something special programme about food” there are some programmes uploaded to Youtube. You could try having some of the foods featured on the programme and play a signing and eating game whilst watching the videos - make it a no pressure thing. Some folk are encouraged by praise, cheering, clapping etc and for some it is better to ignore them eating - you know your sister best.

If she isn’t drinking she might suck ice cubes, lick frozen lollies, eat jelly, drink with a straw or drink water if engaging in water play with a bowl or baby bath filled with water and containers for pouring etc (if she is likely to tip the water out - then best do it in the kitchen or bathroom with towels at the ready.

Another idea is to think about her pica. What type of textures/sizes/colours does she prefer? Can you think how to transfer her sensory preferences to food. e.g. I taught a girl who loved to eat shaving foam. She was very impressed when we substituted this for spray cream. Another pupil, a boy, used to pick small particles off the floor and surfaces - he loved those hundreds and thousands sugar strands (not very filling!? but graduated to Rice Krispies scattered on a table top etc

None of this is your fault. All of you being confined to such a small house must be increasing everyone’s stress levels and working from home must be incredibly difficult.

Is the club offering outreach support? This is allowed and even if the staff just took your sister for a walk to the park, it would give her a change of scene and all of you a break. If not, then I think your family should request an urgent needs assessment so that your sister can get some support during Covid.


Hi Kira

Everyone in a family is affected when someone isn’t well. So you have every right to feel the way you do. What is actually happening with your sister apart from not wanting to eat. It’s really important given when not eating to take water. It keeps the kidneys working etc. It’s amazing how long humans can go without food.

As there been a phone call to 111 to check symptoms. I know people can be frightened. As they can be directed to attend hospital and the current situation makes us all nervous.

Do you feel there are covid related symptom’s or another medical issue/s. Have you all had similar symptoms.

Thank you both for the reply so far, i will properly read and reply in a bit. My mum is having a family meeting with me, my brother and my dad about how she wants my dad to stay with my grandma for a few weeks because she feels shes tortured by my dad and feels im being tortured too by my dads little comments, gossip and complains…

I feel like a divorce will happen at some point…