Between a rock and a hard place.

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I am only a part-time caregiver. My mother lives in her own home and is in very early dementia so is still capable in terms of making decisions. However very ill with heart failure and cannot do much. Husband and I do all that we can, except we do not take her to doctors, except in an emergency.

My brother does the doctor part, always has, but lately he is bailing out. I truly don't know what to do. My mother doesn't want anyone else to take her to doctors. She is very set in her ways. She and I speak frequently and she tells me about all that ails her. She has severe heart failure and was just hospitalized again and came home. We took her to hospital ER that night. She is now home again but ill. She tells me all about it, but will not tell my brother.
Yesterday she had frightening symptoms and would not tell him as he is "busy and she doesn't want to upset or bother him" (her words). She will not go with husband or I to a doctor. Brother has POA as well, complicating things. So I emailed my brother telling him the situation and got back a curt "I am very busy and you do no one any good complaining about her. I just called her and she is fine". I wrote back that I understood and would no longer email him, but that she is telling a different story to him than to me. No reply.

I just do not know what to do. She is so set in her ways but she is also afraid to tell my brother when she is in trouble. He treats me and my other brother like we are bothering him if we call him about anything. He refuses to recognize that we are all busy, that we all work full-time ), and that we all contribute on a regular basis.


Just wanted to add that every time she is hospitalized, it is my husband and I who take her to the ER and stay there for hours on end. He calls us to go in and do that. We do the shopping, cooking, contribute financially, get someone in to clean, etc., and yet he does not understand that everyone is doing their level best. Husband is 69 has worked 40 years and goes to my Mom once or twice a week with food and other things. Brother is 50 and works half as hard at his job for 10 years to my husband's 40 ... and still thinks he has it the hardest. I only bring this up because this is what he uses when he throws what he has "done" in our faces. The truth is he has not taken her to a doctor in over five months. He also blames her for her illness, blamed her for her hospitalization. When this is done, I will probably never speak to him again.
I'm sorry to hear about your sorry brother and that he is the POA. I don't know if you have the money, but if she could be declared incompetent by a doctor the only route that I think is left for you is possibly go for Guardianship which costs $5,000. If she is still competent, then I'd see a lawyer about doing something concerning the dereliction of his duties as POA and see if it is possible to get the court to remove him as her POA. I know of one person whose brother was a deadbeat POA whose sister went to a lawyer and somehow had him removed as their mother's POA. I wish you the very best in this mess.
Sorry this is so long, but she also will not allow public services to come in. Every time I even suggest this, she gets angry. Thank you for reading this.
Is it possible that your brother is burned out from taking mom to doctors and being told that there is little to nothing that can be done for her condition? I certainly "get" that. Mom had me running to all sorts of doctors on a regular basis--gyn, mammos, derm, heart, GP every other week. She didn't need those visits. they became "visits"--her subsitutue social life. Amazingly, once she went to Indepdendent Living and got hooked up with a good Geriatrics doctor, all of her problems disappeared. She ate better, she had activities, she socialized. Unfortunately, due to increasing debility from her heart failure and a stroke, she's now in a NH. happy as a clam. Still with good food and others around. You might think about this.
I know how you feel, my grandfather who I take care of, is very stubborn and does not let certain garegivers take him to the bathroom. He also exhibits different behaviors with different people, i.e. no pain vs lots of pain. Good luck and i hope that everything works out.
Perhaps, when she does need to go to the ER, just call the paramedics, let them take her. I do not think there is a law stating you have to go along or even follow.
twocents: Of course, I want to go with her. She is my mother.
Sorry, but I found the comment shocking. Maybe it was not meant that way. In an emergency, I will always be there for my mother. My issues are with my brother no longer taking her to the doctor and generally seemingly bailing. Perhaps he is burning out. The only other option is for my mother to allow me and/or my husband or other brother to take her to doctor visits. And for her to be upfront and honest with everyone regarding her condition. She is the type who does NOT want to go to doctors very often but needs to go some times.
Thank you all for your comments. We are all coming from different experiences, and difficulties.
You are all wonderful caregivers ... a dying breed, I believe. And, I commend you because I cannot do it myself alone, as many of you do.
Just cover yourself. Most likely your brother is burning out. I just see so much here of well meaning and caring people being backstabbed by family, others, even the person they are caring for. Be careful.
It may also be that your brother is getting a totally different story from your mom than what she tells you. That puts you in the middle. Your brother believes your mother and you know the real story. I have the same thing with my mom. I get the whole scoop and my brother always says, "She sounded so upbeat on the phone." He calls her once a week for probably 3-5 minutes. I see her and do everything for her. It can be frustrating for me, as my brother thinks everything is hunky dory and has no idea what work it takes on my part to keep it "so upbeat" for my mom.

I have more problems with your mom than with your brother. He's not a saint, but your mom needs to get the picture of who is helping her and giving them the tools to handle the situation. Get your other brother (where is he in this whole thing by the way?) to work on mom to give you POA and be the one to take her to the doctor. You can only do what your mom lets you do. She's making those choices. You say she's still able to make decisions, so until she changes her behavior, you're stuck. But don't blame your brother - it's your mom's doing in my book.

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