Mom wants to care for dad at home, but my brother who lives with them is overwhelmed.
Dad is nearing the end of his life. He's totally conscious and mentally health but has almost no mobility. Mom is healthy but having memory problems-starting senile dementia. They are both 81. My brother lives with them and caretakes dad full time with my mom. I'm here during the summer and at xmas because I live and work in NC while they are in FL. My question/dilemma/worry is that my brother is totally overwhelmed because when he first moved in with them it was a symbiotic relationship. He'd fallen down on luck and they helped him while he helped them. Now the personal care my dad requires is the type that every 30 minutes he is demanding minor things, but also they have to do all his toiletting and bedridden person needs all day long. My mom insists that they can do it and won't pay for extra help. They just went on hospice but that covers only a visit 3 x per week for a bath, and a nurse once a week. I had thought they did more often, round the clock stuff but that must be when the patient is closer to end of life. I, personally, am mortified by how much they are having to do now. Each time it's more, and I'll be honest: I am not emotionally prepared to do any personal care that involves bodily fluids and stuff like putting on butt cream twice a day all over, etc... Again, my mom acts like all is well and they are handling it, but even though I'm here the least, I'm already freaked out. I didn't realize it, but dad is a very demanding, needy patient. My brother is overwhelmed but he won't set boundaries or insist on any thing with mom, I think because he feels indebted because he's had past issues where he lost his job and they let him move back in, etc.. However, I think he's paid his dues and he never gets a holiday. In the past I've suggested things, and only last year was I finally able to convince my parents to let me take him on a 3 day vacation. If my brother were a professional caretaker, he'd have legal rights to more time off every year, but I'm not sure why a) mom and dad can't see past their needs and b) he won't/can't insist. We're all adults so maybe I'm projecting what I would feel onto my brother, but I see how frustrated he and all of them are. I am 51 but I feel like a child of 14 with all of this. I think my mom may have more dementia than is obvious in the sense that she is not perceiving the global situation. Honestly, if my brother hadn't taken over and I'd had to decide, I would have said that I thought they both -mom an dad-should have moved into an assisted living situation together. They have enough money but mom and dad won't spend it. Dad's reasons are somewhat noble re: mom, since he says he's worried about after hes gone that she have enough to live on without him and I get that, but what about now? What about my brother who's given up 10 years of his life for them? I can't offer to take over bc I don't have the mental constitution for the constant routine day in and day out, with poop and pee and butt stuff and whatnot. I know my limitations. Besides I don't live here and cant quit my job. At 51 it would be tough with age discrimination to get another job, in another state. I am sorry I've presented too many issues. I guess my question is: when both parents are still fully conscious, mentally functioning adults who want one thing that a) I can't give and b) my brother is giving but it's wearing him out, what can be done? I had compassion for my dad for dying and for having been increasingly less able to move bc of polymyositis, but now I just feel like they -mom and dad-are being selfish in different ways: dad because he expects a slave level of care from his loved ones and mom because she's dragged my brother, and now trying to drag me, into her promise, I guess, of caring for dad at home with minimal professional help.