How do I deal with caregiver anger from my brother?
My brother has been living with my mom since my dad died five years ago. She is legally blind, with advanced Parkinson's and back pain. He has done a wonderful job of taking care of her. He stopped working, but has returned to graduate school. I live about ten miles away, and have a full time job 40 miles away. I come home each weekend to help out as best I can, but he treats me with intense hostility. I'm afraid of him. He'll blow up at me, or just refuse to talk to me. He is very sweet to our mother, but I'm really hurt by his behavior. I buy him presents because I know he can't afford them on his own, but he just hates me. I can't talk to him...I'm too afraid to. My mom says he's depressed, but she doesn't say anything else to him because he'll get angry at her. Before Dad died, we were very close...I considered him my best friend. Even back then, he would have flares of anger, but I've always been very protective of him and would back him up in fights. He hasn't really talked to me for about a year and a half now. I love him dearly, but like I said, he terrifies me because he seems to hate me so much. It just seems like one day he decided he didn't care about me anymore, and that I'm the worst person in the world. I just don't know what to do...because I spend all of my free time with them, my social life is compromised. Neither of us are dating, as far as I know...it would upset my mother if I didn't come home each weekend and at least pretend to get along with him. I feel like all I can do is try to be patient and work within the system he's established, but I just want to know if there isn't something else I could be doing. I feel like I'm grieving the loss of my brother as well as my dad.
Thank you so much for describing how your brother's anger is affecting both you and your mother for whom he is her caregiver. The resentment from your brother is not uncommon. He has taken over the 24/7 responsibilities for your mother's daily needs and most likely resents your having an outside life. My experience as a psychologist with over thirty-five years of experience treating families and caregivers, has often revealed the long term resentments we often carry as adults. Dr. Mom's diagnosis that your brother is depressed is likely right on target. Often when people are depressed their symptoms are increased irritability, anger, and often quick to rage at others. My first suggestion is that you hire a caregiver from an agency to give your brother some time either during the week or weekend. Your brother is likely burned out or close to it. Secondly, you need to get some emotional support to learn how to stand up for yourself and stop being intimidated. Give yourself permission to take a weekend off from your family responsibility to do something nice for yourself. Right now it sounds like mom has two loving kids who are stressed being around each other because they have many unmet personal needs that are critically affecting the quality of their lives. Thirdly, I suggest that you find a neutral family friend, clergy, or professional mediator that can assist you and your brother begin to look at how the stresses between you is directly reducing mom's present quality of life. My wife Carolyn Rosenblatt is a nurse-lawyer who recently wrote a book that directly deals with the most difficult emotional subject of How to handle family conflicts about elders. Please check her book out: The Boomers Guide to Aging Parents, The Complete Guide. I hope this helps you begin the needed peace and family healing.
I am not an expert but it sounds like you need to give him a day off if he will let you. Instead of both of you staying there and not speaking, let him leave for a full day off. It that works, Maybe your "gift" to him could be a night away in a motel or at a friends house. He needs to feel normal and you need to allow him the time to be away. My sons do this for me and it is such a wonderful gift.
Perhaps in addition to giving him some time off as suggested earlier, he should see his own physician. Just because your mother is ill and has to live with her own limitations, doesn't mean he doesn't have legitimate emotional or physical issues of his own. His dr. could recommend a therapist that would be able to direct him how to vent his resentment and offer a means of anger management.
In the meantime, you still need to take care of yourself. There is no point in all 3 of you becoming handicapped by your mother's illness.
I understand first hand what your brother is experiencing. I too am the caregiver for my mom who has rectal cancer and whom is undergoing her second bout of Chemo. I have two older siblings both male and I refuse to speak with them nor deal with them due to the fact that they are not interested in helping out when it comes to my mom. I understand your helping your brother on the week-end and that's fine and I commend you for doing so, but he (your brother), still looks at you as the sibling that doesn't have to deal with this on a continuous basis like he has too. I resent my brothers also for not being there when my mom and myself need them. It may take your brother awhile to come around if he ever does. I tell myself everyday don't worry about what their not doing and just do the best you can for mom, but it's easier said than done. Your brother needs a break and I'm not talking about just one or two days he needs a vacation where he can regain a little normalcy back into his life. Bless all of you! And once again at least your helping him and your mom.
I think it is great that you are asking for ways to help. Sometimes the best help can just be reaching out to your brother to let him know you not only care about your mother, but him as well. As a caregiver for my mom, my recently deceased dad and helping my partner with his mom everyone asked how our parents were doing but people often ignored that we were burnt out, running from hospital to nursing home and missing meals, each other, etc.
The only thing I would add is that your brother probably needs more than one day off. If he has one day, I bet he won't know what to do with himself. And if depression may be lurking, it could make things tougher for him. If possible, can he get a longer time off to reset and then get a day or two a week "off" moving forward?
Again, never underestimate just telling someone you care and you want to help, but be sure to follow through on the help they request. Even if you cannot commit to the full request, listening and helping will go a long way.
Just plain dealing with an unable parent daily is really tough emotionally. Grad school in itself is also quite stressful, and someone may have told your brother that being a caregiver is jeopardizing his future. The academic environment isn't always understanding about caregiving situations.
Either change your mother's living situation or get your brother some regularly scheduled, frequent relief, and don't balk at the cost and don't believe your mother if she says she doesn't need it. Your brother does. There's a reason why paid caregivers don't do this 24/7. Many assisted living facilities run short-term respite care.
I quit my job to care for my Father to prevent him from going into a nursing home. I got little to NO HELP from my three siblings. Yet a lot of advise & what I was doing wrong. He passed away Oct. 9th 2006. Now my mother is very ill. She is @ end stages of COPD & once again I am the one whos there for her. I love her & have NO regrets about my Father. Yet, I stay angry with my siblings!! They will blow my cell phone up to find out whats going on. I have decieded not to talk to them!! It stresses me out to much & is not fair to me!! I know in my heart I am doing whats right & the best I can do!! If they are that concerned drop what they are doing and go see her!! I have & I am a single mom of a 17 year old. GOOD LUCK & I FEEL FOR EVERYONE IN MY SHOES : (
I feel for you all. I'm a full time care giver (with a full time paying job) and I'm sure I'll hit that point with his family soon enough. Or maybe I just knew from the start that they wouldn't help out. Either way, in May, one way or another, someone in his family will help for a few days because I am going out of town. Sounds like your brother feels trapped. Depression can do that. Is there anyway Medicare or you mom's insurance can pay for another HHA so he can have a few hours for himself? He needs days(plural) so he can have a vacation, see his dr, study without interruptions. He sounds like he's really, really burned out.
Dear Anonymous I understand what your going through we must remember that we're doing this for our parents and their the one's that need us. I now speak with my siblings and their still not helping me in the least bit, now I have moved my mom in with me and my family and my brother has basically moved into my mom's house and he's still not doing anything, (taking her to chemo or going to the store to get any items that she needs). We will get through these trying times!!
To anonomous who's brother moved into mom's house: you could always suggest that you sell mom's house to cover her costs of living in a nursing home. That might get him off his duff. But yes, this too shall pass (my mantra through clenched teeth)
Funny thing you said that b/c I mentioned to him yesterday that I wanted to put her in a nursing home b/c I had no help, he told me no way b/c they would take the house. The other thing about that is mom is in her sane mind and doesn't want the house to be sold she wants him to have the house and on top of that she sees nothing wrong with my brothers not giving me any help, everytime I mention my brothers not helping me she tells me not to talk her about my brothers not pitching in to help me out. I get so frustrated like why is this happening to me?
After reading this string of posts, I can offer a couple of thoughts, for what they're worth (discard at will, lol!). I am the primary caregiver for me elderly parents; my mother has AD, and is physically in good shape, and my father is in chronic A-fib His 90 year old heart is wearing out, but his mind is intact. Both parents live with me and my husband in our home. I have eight siblings, all younger than I, who are all trying (for the most part) to be helpful in so much as they can. Even given that, however, there is no end to the childhood patterns that feed on the past to fuel the present. Family alliances shift and re-form. Old resentments resurface with new dimensions. Nine children means nine opinions, all offered with regularity. My parents love all their children, and each child loves at least one of my parents, or both, dearly. It is EXTREMELY difficult to convey to them (both the nearby and the out-of-state) all that needs to be done and how difficult the constancy of it really is. My sisters come frequently (one every six weeks--they rotate), and have learned to get into the routine quickly and be really helpful. One of my local brothers takes at least one evening a week for dinner, and his family are regular visitors. Other brothers call my parents regularly, which pleases them no end. And now, finally, my point: It doesn't matter nearly as much as you might think in the big scheme of things. To be the caregiver is to be in a situation that is incomprehensible to anyone who has not done it. I try to remember that each of my sibs is in a much different place than I am, either still putting kids through college and both parents working, or raising small children, or have jobs out of state that are not easily relocated. I try to remember that just because they're not right here, doesn't mean they don't care and shouldn't be kept up to date or involved with decision making. I'm sure it is frustrating for them to know that they have (necessarily) very little day to day input and are routinely uninformed as to all but major things. I try, I try. Even in this "ideal" situation, the frustration level can be enormous! No matter how much support one has, it doesn't help at 3 a.m. when one is changing soiled sheets with weepy mother as sad father looks on, tired and unable to do these things And then through the next day, one wanders through the day, sleepless, but with three meals to prepare, doctor's appointments, laundry, answering the same questions over and over and over (rain-mom!). The word "spontaneity" is no longer in my vocabulary. "Alert", "wide awake", fleeting at best. Somehow, from whatever position in the family lineup, we all get through this, and there does/will come a time when a "real life" comes back. All of this will fall by the wayside (ok--make that "be thrown to the wayside"). Until then, though we cope. We use community resources. We "google" Alzheimer's Disease, caregiver relief, sibling issues, financial assistance. We swap silly phone calls making sick jokes with anyone who will stay on the line for five minutes. We cry. We do it all again the next day. We email. We see physicians, attorneys social workers and dentists. We just do it. It's rough to be the sibling caregiver, and it's hard for the siblings who can't. It might be rough for those who "won't" too, but I certainly don't ask, because I really don't want to know. We support each other, and we take care of ourselves. As "anonymous" (one of many) posted "through clenched teeth" comes the mantra: "This too shall pass."
The original poster has no concept that she is not in the position of "giving" her brother gifts, until she first shoulders her 1/2 of the responsibility. Pitching in on the weekends is not accepting her half. For example, the poster has the responsibility of either being there 3 1/2 days a week herself, or use her income from her job, to pay for a caregiver 3 1/2 days a week. Her brother doesn't just need a day off occasionally. He needs and has a right to regular days off to pursue his own life. Or she could pay for 2 weeks respite at a nursing home every 2 or three months. Or she could hire a FT housekeeper to prepare meals and clean. The original poster doesn't begin to have a clue as to how far short she is from carrying her part of the responsibility. The fact that her brother can't work and she continues to keep her job and lead her life, is an indication. I quit work to care for my brain injured husband. His siblings continue to bring in an income, attend family weddings, go on vacations, etc - while I have overdue dental needs. His parents continue to flit between their homes in Florida and N.E.One solution would be for both siblings to work and split the costs of in-home caregivers (or nursing home). The other would be for both children to contribute equal time. Whatever the solution, what is in place now is unfair and I understand the brother's anger.
I too am waiting for 'and this too will pass' and we'll be able to gain some sense of normalacy in our life. I just hope we wont' be either too old to enjoy it or that I won't have to enjoy it alone? And by the way, those comments like;"your'e an angel" or "God will reward you..." or "You're such a special kind of person...", none of those really help much. I don't feel like it's a choice I'm making today, to be here. Basically, I have no choice in the matter! Sorry, it's not a good day.
I am so happy to see this website. I have been so frustrated with my siblings also. I am taking care of both parents who are in a assisted living facility. This facility is wonderful, beautiful and the people are the best! My parents are totally unhappy there. I have done so much for them that it is too much to mention. My siblings all live out of state and are quick to tell me what I am to do and that I'm not knowledgable enough to help my parents as I'm not in the medical profession. I am in involved in my community and with our hospital. My parents' doctor is one of the best and kindness person that is best fit for the older people. I am to the point that I can no longer help my parents as they are very ungrateful, complaining everytime I see them (either about the facility or the doctor). I am so tired of trying to help them through everything. My Mother has gotten to be very snappy at the aides at the facility and has been very snappy at me. I don't know how many times I have been with both my parents in the hospital(s) with no help from the siblings for support. That is the key - SUPPORT-- not TELLING me what I should TELL the doctor to do. . . It is ok to ask and suggest - and then relay the information to my parents with them making the final decision. Doesn't this make sense? Or am I the only one that feels this way?
Hello Caring.com family. I am the anonymous poster that posted right underneath the expert Mikol Davis. Well I'm checking back in to update you on my timeline. Mom at this point is in the hospice unit at a local hospital unable to speak and is unresponsive on a morphine drip. Basically she's at the very end. Despite all the hard feelings and wasted time thinking about what my siblings weren't doing and how they weren't there for me and my mom and not calling to see how she was doing doesn't really matter anymore. I hate that I spent time with all the negativity rather than taking the time to devote directly to her with positive thoughts and reinforcement. If I could just talk to my mom again and tell her how much she was loved, I would take it all back, forget about the siblings and what their not doing and focus on your parents and do all that you can do for them because this disease isn't about anyone else it's about them. If I knew then what I know now I would have done things totally different. Please try to overlook the siblings and focus on the most important people and that is our PARENTS and WE as their loving caregivers. Michele
Michele, I found more peace in this comment than any other. God help me to be able to remember your good points and try to overlook the siblings and try to bring Mom as much joy as possible while she can still recognize it. Thank you so much!
Have you tried to ask your brother what the problem is - why he won't speak and is so angrey with you? Maybe he just wants to vent some frustration. Maybe he thinks no one is listening to him. Also, have you tried to ask him what he would like from you - rather than assume he wants a day off... ask him how he'd like you to ease the burden for him. It may work. Good wishes to both of you.
I can relate totally to no support from siblings. I have one brother who only lives three hours away by car. He is a recovering alcoholic, retired, and thinks that helping alcoholics and working in soup kitchens is much more important than his mother. I have had enormous arguments with him over this outside of my mother's presence. But she hurts that he doesn't come down to see her. She took a mild MI the first week of October, was in ICU for a few days, and it took him three weeks to come down for ONE day. I have learned, through the help of friends and his oldest son who won't speak to him, to give it up; he's not going to be there.
That said, I still have bigtime resentment with him, but now, I just don't display it to him, not say it.
I agree with another poster that even tho the original poster said she went over the weekends that that is not enough and the care should be 50/50. A weekend does NOT cut mustard in my opinion. My mother turns 90 next month, has her mind, which is sharp as a tack, but I know it is only going to get worse.
To the original poster and others who have suggested that the brother get on antidepressants, BS. You need the antidepressants if you can only spend a weekend there as you are somehow repressing the situation from your side. As a daughter, I'm surprised that you are not doing more than your brother, as it seems to fall upon the daughter's shoulders more times than naught.
Rethink the situation and see what your part is in it. I give your brother the utmost respect for what he's doing and I can totally understand his not wanting to talk to you. You need to grow up and be more responsible. I too have a full-time job, and most weeks put in over 70 hours as I can do some work at home. Your excuse of the full-time job keeping you from going over during the week is just that: an excuse.
It's time to reassess the situation and get more involved, in my humble opinion.
Dear Ohio daughter this is Michele again just letting you know my mom passed Jan. 22nd 2010. I wish every second of the day I had her back. Please try to devote as much time to your mom as you possibly can and God bless you and her. Take care!
I can sympathize with the situation. I too have been the primary care giver for my mother and my siblings both live out of town. I would suggest that you come to see your mother more often and give your brother more breaks. The weekends are great but since you only live 10 miles away 1 or 2 evenings during the week would be so helpful. Have dinner with your mother and stay until she is in bed - give your brother the time off to get out. Being a full time care giver is so extremely draining - and you do become resentful of those who don't have this overwhelming responsibility. Tell your brother to go for a week vacation and offer to stay with your mother that week (you too will have to take vacation time off). Allow him to get away - that is the best gift you can give him and pitch in more during the week while continuing to be there on the weekends.
Well, here's another two cents worth, in my humble biased opinion. I'm a brother and a caregiver for two parents (one's passed). I lost my job involuntarily when the business closed, but regularly put over 50 hours in caregiving, over 50 at work, and live 50 miles from my parents. Did that for over three years, and now for another five very full time. Never made it back to finish my last two grad school classes--2! Still full time caregiver, wound dressing changer, pharmacist, health advocate, transporter (parents, wheelchair, cane, prescription lists, change of clothes, medicines, walker & supplies ;0)), cheerleader, gardener, cook, cleaner, shopper, well--ya'll know the story from there.... Yep, my life events eight years ago are distant memories, as are most of my friends (a few dragged along), my schooling, my income--and my future as I envisioned it--all gone. I am broke, I am afraid, I am worried, I am anxious, I can be irritable, I am fighting a potentially losing battle, I am tired, I am embarrassed to run into someone I knew (sic), I am in default on my student loans, I am harrassed by letters and phone calls. Yes--all true! Haven't had a vacation since 1997, except for three separate overnight stays a year apart four years ago, because I covered the bases with a lot of planning and being a cell phone call away, I am a mess. Except, when it comes to caregiving, I'm on it, at moment's notice. I am rich beyond words with the love and devotion I was given and taught, and gladly have the ability to return and lavish it on the ones I love most. Thankful for the opportunity. Oh, yeah, almost forgot--I have a brother! Lives two hours away, shows up mostly at holidays with his family, friends, and pets in tow, expecting traditional meal presentation, decorations, gifts, you know--the usual. Parents are glad to see him, gets their minds off things, he gets a warped perception of things aren't so bad. Picks a project he wants to do. Then back to his life, six figure incomes, cars, boats, parties, friends, weekends at play, multiple (4-6) extended vacations a year.
I don't like talking to him much either.
I'll bet his light ain't on tonight typing about me, but he regularly calls me on my birthday wherever he is.
You have to actually want to be involved, and if you want to be, you just jump right in there, darling, make room and have at it, seeing is believing, actions speak louder than words, and when he trusts you enough, he might just expose what's going on inside. You can bet it's a lot, this didn't happen overnight, and he's not going to snap out of it just because it's tomorrow.
Until then, I've got work to do.
To the original poster about the topic of Caregiver Anger: Thank you for posting the topic, it is not discussed often enough. Concerning your situation, you have gotten excellent advice but I think that the best solution might be to sit down first with your brother to discuss the options.
I think that too often we only see the short term (no matter how long term it becomes) issue of caring for the ill person and managing to get through the days and yes the nights. It is important that life be more than that for everyone.
You and your brother have to consider your own futures because there can be a drastic financial change when the parent (in this case) passes. I don't happen to believe in equity of caregiving. Each gives as they are able but if they can't give time, they need to provide some funding to compensate if there is no other way to finance the needs of the patient.
One of the needs of the patient is to have a healthy caregiver and if this means that siblings need to contribute to time-off/vacations, sobeit. Caregivers don't usually ask and siblings often are so relieved to be let off the hook, that they don't even (want to) consider your needs. The caregiver should be given the opportunity to express those needs.
Assuming your brother is living at the family home belonging to your mother and assuming that you either have a home or are renting to be close to your job, consider the option of selling the home, giving up your lease and buying a home which would be in between his school and your work. That way you would be able to share care equally AND have a home health aid to pick up some slack when you both need to be gone.
It is obvous that the tension your brother feels is not going to abate as it is equally obvious that despite what others are saying, you have done all that you may be able to do from a distance. So it could be time to close that gap.
I hope that you have already been able to follow some of the suggestions previously given and we would love to hear about the outcome.
As I have read the answers to this blog thread, I thought of many ways in which to respond; with most ways already being addressed in one way or another. I could talk about being the youngest of 5 who has carried the responsibility of my mother for over 20 years, with rare, sporadic help from my siblings. I could talk about the acrimonious relationships with siblings and my mother that come from tons of baggage from an abusive father in child hood ... I could talk about the resentment this has caused to buildup over the years as I have tried to raise my son, work full time and deal with my mother and a mired of illness and close calls, full time. I could talk about how my mother won't let anyone but me "help" her with the day to day living, how she is dependent upon "me" for her happiness. I could talk about my own feelings of inadequacy of whether I've done things correctly, how I long for the day of "normal" life and the guilt I have over that wish. Or I could talk about my loving college age son who tells me often how much he loves me and what a great mom I am, or my wonderful husband who opened our home to a difficult situation and stood by supporting me as I have dealt with these difficulties over the years.
All of these issues would be helpful for me to discuss and maybe at a later date I may sit and ask for the fabulous help and advice this forum can offer.
But this thread is about the original poster and her conflict with her brother and her mother. Although the question was about how to help you with your brother, I wonder if perhaps the underlying issue is, is it ok for you to feel the frustration that you are feeling. All of the advice, whether positive (or not) is useful to you.
Take heart in knowing that there are many of us out here trying to work through these issues with and without help, we are with you, supporting you in spirit. Try to take each day as a new one with no mistakes and the energy to try anew.
Yes your brother is resentful, as are you. You are trying to work full time and care for your family and try and spend your weekends to help where you can, which probably makes you feel that you are neglecting your own family and yourself...it's ok for YOU to feel anger at your brother, who doesn't seem to understand how you are trying to help. Just as it's HIS right to feel anger at your seemingly "normal" life in comparison to his. It's easier to be hostile and angry at each other, then it is to deal with the stress and guilt you both have over the care of your aging mother. Parents are suppose to be strong and live healthy for ever, they are suppose to be like all those independent healthy older adults we see in the media and on TV.... These are all normal feelings.
Trying to get him to "go away" may be hard, I know that I have trouble every time I try ... I always think that no matter how resentful I am, no one knows or can take care of mom the way I do....your brother may be suffering a little from that, as I know to well sometimes being a martyr is so much easier than letting go. But done often enough your brother will began to enjoy the time off. As one member stated try and just listen to him, don't offer anything to him just listen. I don't know what your area provides, but for the cost of a gift you could pay a service to be with mom for a few hours. As part of your weekend trips find someone to be with mom for an hour or two, while the two of you GO OUT and away from the house together, then, after you come back, ask him what needs to be done while he gets out of the house for some well deserved time off. Just coming and "taking over" doesn't help. For him this is not just a personal choice and an obligation to your mother, it's also his job ... the work that defines him. Think of how you'd feel at work if your brother showed up once a week to take over for you at your job.
As hard as it can be for me to accept, I have learned to admit that as a sole caregiver, the feeling of being so lonely in your stress can be overwhelming, but I can have also learned to admit that I can also be sanctimonious and sort of a victim at times (after all no one has it as hard as I do...) - a true defensive mechanism to deal with the stress.
Be patient! For me, no matter how hard I try to be positive, the hostility I may sometimes show to all my family is actually, in a weird way, a sign of my love, we always hurt those we love when we are hurting ourselves... Be patient, we do listen and hear what you have to say if you do it often enough. :)
So here's my bit to add to the mix. Hire someone to stay with Mom so you and brother can go to some counseling together where with a third party to whom you can both share your concerns, grievances, etc. This may lead to the brother getting medical care for possible depression or it may give him the vent he needs to acknowledge and deal with his emotions. It should, hopefully, open up the channels of communication between the two of you. Secondly, hire some outside help or look into daycare for Mom. Your brother needs to have a life of his own to some extent; you need to have at least a weekend a month for yourself. I've decided that honoring a parent should not mean being a doormat or feeling as if my life is smothered out of existence by the parent's needs. There must be balance in this challenging and exhausting task of caring for aging parents.
Lots of good suggestions, nevertheless, whatever care u provide to whoever that may be JUST DO IT WITH LOVE regardless of everything else. Keep in mind that you are only paying the price of lottery ticket that may pay big when you are the PATIENT, and one day, I guarantee you, you will be.
JUST LOVE AS MUCH AS U CAN AS LONG AS U CAN. the rest is just small stuff
If your brother had respite from taking care of your mom, he may be easier to live with. Have you considered adult day care? This is the most cost effective option for long term care. Most adult day cares provide transportation and are open M-F 8 to 5. Your brother could work, run errands, have a LIFE and know that your mother was having a productive day. Adult day cares like Active Day http://www.activeday.com also provide therapeutic programming for Parkinson's clients. It will improve her quality of life. Just that peace of mind for him, may make things better for all of you.
I understand your brothers feelings. I am a caregiver for my mother and my sister and brother, both older than me, do not assist at all. We struggle to make ends meet also. Your brother needs help with letting go of his frustration. He also needs someone to talk to besides family members. When you come for the weekend he should go have some free time. Doing something that makes him happy or doing something he use to do before taking care of your mother. At least he has you to help on weekends. Please try to assist him in finding help and there is also places your mother can go during the day to give him a break. Or maybe you can afford a PT aide to come in and give him a break every other day. It is very hard to take care of a parent. Your feelings are involved. Hopefully everything will work out for the both of you.
Wow, I can totally relate to this post! Only problem is that I relate to your brother. My mom has PD and has lived with me for almost 6 years. I have 4 brothers who all live within 10 minutes of me. I've tried everything to get them to help but there's always an excuse of some kind. One even told me he couldn't handle the "smell" in my mom's suite. One said it's hard to see her deteriorating. One says there's just not enough time in the day. There's always some excuse.
I tried setting up ONE day a month for each of them, but THAT didn't even work. She fell last month and broke her arm and has now become almost 100% dependent on me. I CANNOT LEAVE MY HOUSE. If you're not in that position, you totally can't understand. I CANNOT LEAVE MY HOUSE! CAN'T DO IT!! Can't run to the grocery store, can't run to McDonald's, can't go out to eat with my husband, can't go out as a family with my adult kids. I CANNOT LEAVE MY HOUSE!! The only way I can is if I BEG my brothers to help and they moan and groan and finally agree. But even THEN I'm on a time limit of when I have to be back so they can leave. It's just ridiculous. AFter I sent an email out to all of them the other day begging for someone to watch her so I could do some shopping, one brother even told me the other day "for someone who never goes anywhere, you sure do go a lot of places". THAT'S BECAUSE I HAVE TO ASK PERMISSION FROM THEM BEFORE I CAN DO ANYTHING!! I'm sure it comes across as me going a lot of places (maybe once or twice a week), but that's because I have to tell them every step I take! They don't have to call me everytime they leave their house to let me know what they're doing. I DO! I have to report EVERY STEP I MAKE to my brothers! I'm 48 years old!! Hell YES I resent them for having an outside life. I resent them for abandoning me, I resent my mom for having PD, I resent the world right now.
It's easy for people to say "get outside help", but it's $17/hour her for "outside help". Just not in the cards for me. My only savior is my husband who will tag off and sit with her so I can get some air. Has our marriage suffered? YES IT HAS! How could it not? Do my brothers care? Nope.
So put yourself in your brother's position. Yes, he's angry. Yes, he's resentful. You would be too. You need to step up and spend AT LEAST half of your free time there with your mom and give him a break. He spends ALL of his free time there AND some.
Sorry for coming across so angry, but this one really hit a nerve!! Good luck and prayers for your mom.
i totally understand the brother being angry and resentful, i also feel angry and resentful towards my brother and sister because they offer no help with caring for OUR mother. i have to do it all myself and i know if they would just maybe give me a couple days a week or even a month it would help because i am so tired and stressed and burned out. that is something you do not understand until you are a 24/7 caregiver for a parent especially one that is not physically or mentally capable of doing any thing for her self.i love my mother very much and i am very tired to
How sad that all these people (me included) are having to deal with the resentment that comes along with being a 24/7 caregiver for a parent. I didn't want it to get to this point. I don't want my last memories of my mom to be my anger and resentment that I have shouldering her total and complete care. It's not fair. My brothers will have good, happy memories of her.
I just wish there was an answer for us, but unless you have a lot of money, there really isn't one.
Hugs to everybody who's going through this!! At least we're here for each other!
I really think that too often we don't just come out and say to our siblings, "I need help and this is what I need...how will we get to that point? What will you do?"
If siblings are too far away, they need to determine what they can contribute to helping to hire a home health aide for a few days a week or to at least supplement what health insurance won't cover.
Sometimes the situation is not going to be what we wish for, it will be what it is. It is up to us to find our way to seeing the glass as half empty or half full. And then to fill it rather than to let it drain us.
I believe in protective pants with additional pads, and bed liners which can be easily changed and like shortcuts rather than middle of the night changing of bedding. I believe in finding temporary solutions to tide one through the night if at all possible. Caregivers cannot live sleep-deprived or they become stressed-out people they don't recognize.
I read several years ago a suggestion that caregivers locate other caregivers and sometimes swap with them. Sometimes a different perspective helps to come home again.
And Gail is right, without significant money, there aren't many good answers. The pity is that many non-caregiving relatives simply don't get it, making the life-style that much harder to endure.
Never forget to check with a local Office on Aging to see what kind of help is available...unless you have to jump through too many hoops to avail yourself of this assistance.
I can totally relate to the brother being angry. The sister has a life while he doesn't. She comes on weekends, does she take over the caregiving on weekends? It does not sound like it. Otherwise, why can't he take the weekends off? Is she there just to observe, be entertained, criticized, and advise? That's why the brother got so angry?
I'm on my 4th year as a full-time caregiver for my mom w/ dementia. My 4 siblings have not offered to help. Two of them are within 45-minute drive. I have asked my sister many times. And yes, I have gotten ANGRY and frustrated with them. I even yelled out to her that I'm going crazy. But does she understand? No. Instead, my anger and frustration only drove them away. Instead of understanding my difficulty, they just stay away and dismissed me as being unreasonably angry.
All 4 of them are financially well-off and 3 are married. I'm the poorest, take care of my mom at my 2br apt, while they all have 4 or 5br houses. And yes, I'm single, no one to help out.
This past Xmas holiday, can you believe no one called my mom or send her any cards or presents? It's a good thing she has dementia, and no longer cares.
It is a very large job to try and support sick relatives. It is so amazing that people who have not done any work, show up and degrade your efforts. I still feel abandoned by my siblings, as if they left me for dead after a mugging. I am shocked that their character resembles swiss cheese or less. When something needs to be done, they are angry that I asked them. My sister actually told me that I was the only one that was stupid enough to be a caregiver. My parents have spent thousands of dollars to keep my 2 siblings in their homes. Now they resent doing chores to help my parents stay in their own home. It's because the same amount of money is not available to finance the needs of my siblings. I am the youngest and have worked two jobs with an autistic son for 20 years.My siblings really feel entitled. They are very concerned about the money being spent on Mama and Daddy. Whose money is it??? ok I've said enough today. Thanks guys for reading and listening.Truly I thank God for you guys. Even if it is not in person listening just having someone who understands means so much. Love Ya!! I really wanted to sign with my own listing not anonymously
Every sibling is going to be different. There are plenty of variables in upbringing even within the same family. Perception can be different just because of order of birth.
It takes a special person to be as devoted, loyal and dedicated as the wonderful caregivers who have responded here.
It takes a different type of person to be so selfish and insensitive. In your family/families there are obviously both types of people.
Your siblings have grown older but have not matured. They resent your parents for not being able to continue to support them in the manner to which they have become acustomed. They are angry at your parents for not being younger and healthier.
Continue to hold your own and to protect your parents' welfare from these soulless creatures.
If you ever get the conversational opening, ask them to remember the good things about your parents. Perhaps that will touch a nerve.
Thank you, Lady Dawn!!
I would LOVE to have you as a sister. I am the sole caregiver of a mother...of course mymother isn't as bad as yours...but my 2 sisters completely ignore that I need any help at all. they both say "put her in a nursing home that she can afford" One...she cannot afford a nursing home and two..she would just die in a nursing home. she was in rehab for 3 months..and completely gave up. she is not like that now. I don't expect my two sisters to give as much as me...but any help would be appreciated. It is stressful! I am paying most of the bills. I work 13 hour days..have to get up 2 hours before and stay up 2 hours after to take care of her. I would even appreciate a thank you...instead of the hostility I get from my sisters. good luck!
I approach this issue as a former sole caregiver, whose parent passed away in 2003. I had cared for her for six years, taking her in during my first year of law school and postponing my career for four so that I had time and financial resources to tend to her needs. Those lost four years forever changed my career trajectory. Now I am in a job that I hate but have nowhere to go, while my sister is a very successful career, having used the years that I cared for my mom to climb the corporate ladder.
At the time, I felt some resentment. Now I feel raging resentment, especially when all I hear is I'm sorry, I should have done more but I had to take care of my daughter, life sucks . . . . oh and I (me) should just let it go because it makes her angry to hear about my delayed grief over my lost life.
The sad thing is that we were always so close before I took on responsibility for my mom. We could read each other's minds.
I wish we had tackled the issues you are confronting at the beginning and that I had no let the resentment build up so long. She seems to think that telling me that she loves me should take away all of my pain. But there comes a time when love is not enough, when relationships have become too frayed to be mended. Don't let that happen to you and your brother. Ask him about his feelings and needs and share yours no matter how difficult it is.
I found this looking for a way to deal with my sisters non-involment yet bossy attitude. My mom has been sick for a year now. She had a brain infection that has now led to dementia. She had made me her DPOA a long time ago which my sister alway resented as she is the oldest. When mom 1st got sick, during the 8 weeks she was in hospital, my sister visited 3x tops. I was there everyday. Then and now a year on, she only wants to tell me how to do things, not actually get her hands in. When I have actually had to ask for help, she usually will send one of her adult kids instead of helping herself. From reading these posts, I now am going to believe that she is going to just tell everyone I won't "let" her "help" because I don't take her orders and do what she wants. I do what Mom has always wanted, not what sister says. I think the original poster needs to understand that those of us "in the trenches" really do resent "orders from the General" when the General has no idea what goes on day-to-day.
I can relate to the brother, as I am the caregiver to my 89yo mother with Alzheimers. I cared for her from the very beginning or onset of the disease (before we even knew what she had). Speaking from experiences, your brother does have depression and it is not fun. I had depression myself for about 2 years before it was diagnosed. I got involved with caregiver support groups and went to a therapist who gave me the tools to get through a day of caregiving. I finally got help - 3 days a week for 3 1/2 hours each. My brother who lives 7 minutes away rarely comes by, and when he does he stays for 15 minutes. Big help, huh? I agree, his sister could do more. Unfortunately, major damage has been done and it will now take time for the heeling to begin. Get the brother to a doctor and a support group for family caregivers. A therapist would be beneficial also - see if his health insurance pays for this or find a local college with a therapy program - as they take pay on a sliding scale. Good luck to this family! I relate...hugs!
Caregiver anger is often the last thing we have time to deal with as responsible Adult Children. As a treating psychologist for the last 37 years I have often seen how often men in our society can easily express anger, and rage long before they ever connect with their underlying sadness and grief. Yes we need to encourage our proud wounded men that they are not lessor men because they seek relief of their clinical depression. Local county psychological associations offer providers that offer low fees for treatment. No one needs to suffer. There are resources out there.
I mean no disrespect to you at all with my response, but i feel for your brother. i am the youngest of all my siblings , i am 45. 7 Yrs ago my husband and i moved in with my mom because her health was declining. she has never driven and i was constantly missing work or using vacation days to keep up with her doctor appts, grocery shopping, ect....not one of my siblings did this. so, since we were only renting anyways and our 2 children were already grown, the sensibke thing seemed to move in with mom. now she is 85, can't be left alone at all. she can walk with a walker, but i must shower her and do all cooking, cleaning, doctor appts, list is growing. i did end up having to quit my job to keep up. my husband works, but his employer does not offer health ins for me. we have no social life. our marriage is crumbling. hard to have intimacy when my mom is calling me into her room ever 5 minutes for something. i rarely, if ever, get any alone time with my own two
children or grandson. bless her heart
, but my mom is at that age where when company is aroubd, she interrupts and dominates every.
conversation with her medical issues. my siblings are kind to me. although never really close, we have maintained decent relationships. one sister has agreed to be mom's payee, which does ease some stress for me. but, 3 of them live within 10 miles of us. my brother lives out of state and calls mom maybe once a yr. if she calls him, it goes to voicemail with no return call. the 3 sistets that live close go for weeks without calling or visiting mom. when they do, it is sickening. my mom fawns over them and acts as if they are angels. she orders me aroynd to serve them up coffee and food, like a servant. i do not get paid anything for this. my husband and i are quite capable of maintaining our own home. there is no ay out of this situatuon. everyday my resentment towards my siblings grows. i am depressed. i have anxiety. i simply despise them. they have jobs, go on vacations, enjoy time with their families, have good marriages, ect... i am sinking here. they ignore it and offer me np respite at all. so, i know how your brother feels. i have a hard time being civil to my siblings. irriational? Probably. but i can't help it. my mom was a good mother tp everyone of us. she does not deserve to be put in a nursing home. so here i am. please examine how your brother's life has been put on hold. i know that you must see why he treats you as he does. i know my siblings see this. its easier to ignore it. and yes, i throw hints and have flat out asked for a break. always excuses.
My mother had lung cancer and was given 6 to 9 months she lived 21/2 years my brother and sis-in-law moved in to take care of her she also had hospice and me but my health was not the best I am a brittle diabetic with low vision so not a lot of help. how ever I have another brother and sister in-law who lives less than 2 miles away and a sister who lives in another state my brother who moved in to take care of my mother felt like they was doing the job all by their self which in most part they was hospice came to sit with my mom 8 hour a week for them to get out not counting personal care I stayed 2 or 3 nights a week depending on my health but there was some times when I could not help for weeks I might be in the hospital or sick or I might need to wake them to give mom her med because I couldn't see to measure them and that would upset them because they could not get the much needed rest care giver really work so hard and they start out really wanting to help but get burned out and are relived when the end comes and I think has more guilt to deal with because of that everyone needs to do their part my sister never gaver money or time and she could have my brother that lived 2 miles away never gave money or time he could have I gave both and had and have very little money I live on disability but I have no guilt unlike my brother and sister I only feel bad for my brother and sis in-law who moved in to help momma they got most of the work and stress
What about this scenario, does anyone have this going on? My BIL insists on being my inlaws caregiver because he's a alcoholic, hasn't worked in 20 years, is a freeloader with no money. So by insisting on being the caregiver, he gets to live there free, eat their food, and MIL gives him an allowance. BUT the kicker is he doesn't DO ANYTHING FOR THEM but be a warm body in the house. He drove my FIL to the hospital last week because he couldn't breathe and DROPPED him off at the emergency room door and said call when you need to be picked back up!!!!! Now when my husband and I even mention to him or my inlaws about moving closer to us (we are 5 hours away) or bringing in someone else the BIL will snarl at us to mind our own business and he's doing a fine job. But really he's just terrified of losing his meal ticket and inlaws don't want to rock the boat and upset him. Mean while we are a rock in a hard place on wanting to help out but not being allowed to or threatened when we try. Now my husband is feeling guilty because his parents have been in and out of the hospital and sick and we've visited once, but it's not easy when we work full time, 3 kids and a 5 hour drive. It's very stressful and were not sure what we can do any longer to help the situation.
Interesting reading all of this. I have been caregiving for my parents for almost 10 years now with no help from my brother. My father had Parkinsons. He passed away last year. My mother is still alive, at 88. I am sure I have another 10 years to go with her. My brother's excuse is that he lives in another state. Yet even when he does come to visit, once or twice a year, he stays only 2 to 3 days and refuses to help even then. Two times when he was up here my father was in the hospital, but he wouldn't go visit him because he "doesn't like hospitals." He sat on my mom's couch and drank beer. My brother has not once taken either parent to a doctor appointment or anything else. (Even when specifically asked to step in and do so). He won't help with the financial end, paying bills, etc. either because he doesn't "do computers" and doesn't "do finances" (his wife does it for them). I finally had it this year and told him what a worthless SOB I thought he was. He and his wife really went after me on that. And they got my cousin in on it and even my mother. Now their rhetoric is all about why do I help my mother - I bring it on myself because I helped my parents. I should just refuse to do so and put my mother in a nursing home. I guess everyone is just wired different. I don't understand how my brother can do what he does and yet still say (and believe) what a wonderful son he is because he calls my mother once a week. At this point my brother and I are not speaking, and I am not so sure I really care anymore. He is not someone I would chose to have as a friend. I do think that if one has not actually experienced what it is like to be a caregiver day after day, year after year, there is no explaining to anyone how it feels. The first few years you can keep your sanity, but after it drags on and on, you lose a part of yourself. Yes, there are times it is wonderful and rewarding. But most of it is draining and exhausting. It sucks everything out of you. It sucks the life out of you and you don't even see it coming. One day all you know is you are mad as hell at the world. (Yes, I realize what it has done and I am pulling myself out of the hole, while still making sure my mother is okay). So what I have to say to those who judge the caregivers - is to give them a break - literally and figuratively. They are going to be angry and mad and resentful. Medically, technology can now keep people alive long into and past illnesses that would have taken them years ago. But as a society, we have not caught up with those medical advances to figure out how to take care of those people we are keeping alive and take care of the people who care for them.
I am too a caregiver with no assistance from my siblings. I had a stroke which almost killed me because of the stress and depression. The original poster commented on how now, they wished they could have focused on their loved one instead of how his siblings did not do anything to help. I offer another assessment.
I too focused on my father before he passed, as my mother watched me deal with him and now i watch over her. My siblings dont call, rarely come over and when they do come they eat us out of house and home and beg for things in the house. My father passed and yet nothing has changed. I feel that the original poster is going through those feelings of loss, that is why they feel they should no longer acknowledge that their siblings called to "tell" them what to do and did nothing to offer assistance.
This too shall pass, i will not be in this sitution forever. But the health risk, the depression, the loss of income, no job, no bonuses, no 401k, the loss of social life (especially for those of us not yet married), the shear sacrifice of everything in your life. Even when i do go out, I am met with well who is going to watch mom?
We know why we do it, we do it for our parents. They took care of me so I will follow the commandments and I will honor my mother and my father. But it is NO EXCUSE for siblings to not participate and put the weight on one person and not EXPECT the caregiver to be fired up. I have stayed awake for 3 days in a row several times, still driving to doctors appointments and grocery stores. How dangerous is that? Dealing with everything under the sun. When they do show up they feel the need to tell me what i am not doing or describe to me what gets on their nerves about the situation, or my mother, or what it is she said to them to upset them that day. I go through it 24 hours a day. They do not offer monitary assistance and once the "valuable" assets are split (that they keep begging for currently), I may not see them come to house ever again.
So my opinion stands with the others, your brother needs time off. Not just one day, (with someone calling you every 10 minutes to ask you when you are going to be back). Siblings DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON because THEY ARE NOT THERE. I have figured out it is only so much you can tell them because they don't even know what you have to deal with, so they do not understand. Your wasting your breath. The support is what they need. DO NOT tell them how to do what they do everyday. Especially if your not doing it or offering any type of assistance. He needs help with all chores. I hope that my sheer disappointment for my siblings leaves in the years to come. Even though I'm doing with for my parents, my siblings ABUSED the situation for all it is/was worth. Other caregivers in my situation understand. My FAMILY and FRIENDS DO NOT. And nothing but continuing to live LIFE will heal my broken heart. It should not have to be this way.
To the people who think that the caregiving g of elderly parents or in-laws should fall on the daughter, I say...well, I can't use that language here. People, it's the 21st Century! We are smart enought to realize that some of those old beliefs are just BUNK! I am a woman and I am NOT a natural-born caretaker. I realized this a long time ago and knew I should never have children. I don't have any and I don't regret it. My plan was to be able to enjoy my 50's without the obligation of taking care of elderly parents. They were older when they had me and they would have had to live to be over 100 by the time I was 48. My half-brother cared for my father ( not so much out of a sense of duty but because he couldn't afford to live I the high-priced city he had lived in for decades now that he was on disability). That was fine. I appreciated ANY help because our mother had ALzheimer's and was a real handful. I was running my own business at the time and placed my mother in a wonderful assisted living facility that was pra rically in my own backyard! I saw her every day, my brother would come up on a 2 and a half hour drive to see her on holidays but my father just refused to come. That's another story.
The point is: We lived through it. I miss my parents every day. I am now a main caretaker to my wife's elderly parents. How did THAT happen? Well, when you run your own business you have all kinds of time to drop what you're doing and run over and take care of them, right? Wrong! You are already doing a 40 + hour workweek and already have to be in 2-3 places at a time. Oh,......it's probably because I'm a woman. If I were my wife's HUSBAND I would have never even been considered to do this. My in-laws are liberal Democrats and retired university professors but that doesn't necessarily make them open-minded or progressive in certain areas.
I have gone through a LOT of resentment and hatred over the past few years I have been doing this. I DID agree to do some things for them and they agreed to pay me. But, as they grow older their needs become greater and, before I knew it I was having to let clients go because there just wasn't enough time in the day for everyone. It has put a HUGE strain on my relationship with my wife who gave virtually no help with MY aging parents.
Just because I am a woman does NOT mean I was born to nurture. I LOVE my own time...I NEED my own time. I get NO satisfaction out of care taking. I AM the kind of person who steps up when things need doing and no one is doing them. No one in this family has EVER had to deal with eldercare - they are clueless. This is not my first rodeo. Throughout my life I have found myself in the position of a caretaker to the elderly. I would love to have a life before I become elderly myself.
I see MY future in my in-laws' home. She is 10 years older than he is and he expects her to still wait on him like a good little wife. Like many men his age he has just given and sits and watches television all day and well into the night. She has taken far better care of herself than he has but they both have a series of illnesses. My wife can be SO much like her father. Taking care of I -laws and then going home to deal with those behaviors in your own spouse is very resentful- making and tiring and forget about a sex life! I am SO afraid that I will become my mother-in-law and she will become her father and I am going to spend the rest of my life in this situation. I would rather die. yes, I am depressed. Yes, I am in therapy. No, I HATE support groups. I don't like to be around people and it does NOT make me feel better that other people are going through this...it just makes me MORE depressed that so many people ARE going through this.
At any rate, the gist of this whole thing is: just because someone is female does NOT make them a good caretaker. It is what is INSIDE a person that. Ames for a good caretaker. Please, keep this in mind.
I know my rant was out of the original thread, but there was mention of caretaking traditionally falling to the daughter. I DO know why the brother acts this way and I DO know that NOW is the time to have a difficult, awkward and ADULT conversation about what you can BOTH do to even the load and make sure that your mother's well- being is not 'collateral damage' because of you and your brother's relationship. There WILL be guilt when she's gone about all the wasted time because of all the negativity you all are currently going through. It is SO hard watching the people who used to keep YOU safe slowly fade into someone you barely even recognize as your mother or father. Your brother sees that 24/7/365 . It destroys you. TALK. Learn how you can share the load TOGETHER. Talk about your parents in the good times so that you don't lose those memories and all you are left with is the memory of a detereroating old stranger.
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