Burned out sister needing to vent.

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Hey, everyone. I was here briefly last year seeking support for care taking my now 91 year old mother. Everyone was so sweet, and I find myself needing to ask for support again. I had to give up my place and move in to my mom's house in order to help her. She needs someone here with her to handle a lot of things. Her dementia is mild, and manifests mostly through memory loss. She is able to do light cooking, take a bath, visit with friends, be taken to run errands, do basic tasks, etc, for which I'm grateful. But she is very hard of hearing, does things like leaves a faucet running or a pot of water boiling, opens the door to strangers, and doesn't remember to pay her bills. I take care of all of that now (including paying bills online for her), and pay for regular maid service and someone to take her out 2 or 3 times a month to go to the store, get her hair done and run basic errands. I work from home, so this gives her a chance to get things done and get out and about, while allowing me a break from running all the errands, and have a few hours to myself.

My main problem is my brother. He lives out of town and is an angry narcissist who doesn't have a real interest in a relationship with my mom. He was emotionally abusive and sometimes violent as a child, and became an adult I have tried to cut out of my life, but at this point am forced to deal with due to my mom. Even before she developed dementia, he was allowed to get away with being a jerk. My parents didn't know how to handle him (this was the 70's and early 80's), and he is now an angry, adult jerk. He hasn't been to visit in 2 years, almost only calls for selfish reasons (to brag) or to order me around (I don't set the sprinkler system the way he wants it or whatever the complaint du jour is). I believe he keeps up with my mom mainly in the interest of being in her will, but she doesn't see this. She forgives him for false claims he filed against me (and I was fully cleared of), and at this point there is no hope she will see him for who he is, and she cannot remember what he's done.

I'm trying to make this as short as possible, but he's a long story, so please forgive the length. Bottom line is I want very much to get him out of my life. I can take the stress of care taking my mom, but the stress of dealing with him is overwhelming. I talked to an attorney who said I "owe" him information about our mom, since I'm her caretaker, and despite his violent past and how he's treated me, my only legal hope is to file for custody of my mom, which would allow me the right to keep him away. I don't think that's the right step, and it's possible I would be denied it anyway, HE could get custody or the state could get it. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to keep a sibling out of an elderly parent's life and the caretaker's life as much as possible without breaking the law?


p.s. He got her to send him a large sum of money very recently (my lawyer said I had no legal right to stop her, even if I know it's wrong, and I can try to get financial POA, but she may be considered past the point of being able to sign it), and then immediately said he wants her to stop calling him. If only he were serious about cutting off contact, that would be great, but I know it's temporary. I wrote signs telling her not to call him and taped them to all her telephones, but she still called tonight, claiming she didn't see the sign (either she didn't or she didn't understand it - neither is good). So I confiscated all the handsets, and now she's in tears and angry. And I'm in tears and angry.
Many of us grew up with a brother from hell. I had one of those who spent his entire life making life miserable for everyone around. When he grew older he saw my mother as a cash cow. He was an alcoholic and always needing money. For many years we would tell her to stop "helping" him because she was actually hurting him. She wouldn't stop. Sad thing is that he died when he was only 57 and nobody much cared. Everyone had burned out on him.

About your brother -- there's little you can do except to tell your mother to say no. However, you can't force her to say no unless you are willing to go down a very hard road. You don't have to deal with your brother. If he calls, give the phone to your mother so they can visit. If he complains about your mother calling him, just tell him to get over it or use call screening. He is a big boy and you are no more responsible for the calls than he is. You don't need to confiscate handsets to protect your brother. He is old enough to protect himself from his own mother. Goodness! Hang in there, gf.
Thank you so much for your reply! I'm sorry you are a member of the Bros. From Hell group, too, although you are retired from it now, I suppose.

My brother has a habit of not calling for weeks, then he calls 4 or 5 times a day over something stupid. I have a separate phone line from my mom's (he doesn't even know it exists - ha!), so he only calls on her line. Unfortunately, she can't hear most of what he says, so he feels I "have" to talk to him. This is where the lawyer says it's tricky, as I can tell him that I won't talk to him unless it's about our mom, but to him *everything* has to go to me, since it all somehow involves her. I don't want to go down tricky roads that may make things worse. I fantasize about having an assistant whose sole job is to take his calls and only relay relevant info to me.

What you said about telling him to protect himself makes so much sense. I think you're right. If I confiscate the phones (I have 4 handsets in my drawer right now - when a sales call came in, I almost hit the ceiling from all the noise!), and I'm going to return them. I'll tell him that I contacted the phone company and they cannot block my mom from calling him, but he can block her number from calling him. If he doesn't want to turn off his ringer or screen phone calls, he is free to come up with some other answer that doesn't involve me. My only concern is he says she constantly calls him (not true, but I can't prove it), and this is "proof" she has to be monitored 24/7. I don't want to be scared of him having "proof" of something that he will use to hurt her (have her removed from her home, for example), but after he falsely reported me twice, well it makes a gal nervous. Still, I am the one here taking care of her day in and day out. I will not deprive her of her ability to call a friend or dial for emergency help, god forbid, all because he got his panties in a wad over something that's not the fault of anyone under this roof. Again - thank you! It's amazing how a stranger online who gets my situation can just say "ya know what? here's what I think", and it all makes complete sense.
Amazing, too, that you thought the same thing I did about him having his panties in a wad, except that I thought tidy whities in a wad. :) Guess he'll have to put on some big boy boxers.
I think you could and should still get a valid POA from Mom now. If she gives one to brother, you are sunk until he fails in his duties and can be removed by court action. There is no reason at all he can't block or refuse to accept her calls, or get a second phone number and leave the one she calls with a pleasant and appropriate reassuring answering machine message, since her anxiety over this is turning it into a vicious cycle.

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