I wanted to send a fierce but truthful letter to my brother and sister-in-law to open their hearts. But I thought I'd post for insight first

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Initially there was complete family DENIAL of Mum’s dementia! Now your strategy is DENIAL of the caregiving requirements of dementia. This makes complete sense - why would there not be?

I have given you a detailed spreadsheet of the costs of this home and caring for Mum many months ago - this was the same spreadsheet that was given to Revenue Canada. Also a couple of times I’ve sent you what it costs for full time care at home in Ontario. I have even contacted the author and suggest she does an assessment so you can accurately know what’s being provided and what might be needed in the near future.

This you did not feel necessary. Why? Because you don’t want to know - because denial serves you.

Not acknowledging a fraction of these costs is at the heart of what is causing so much stress - and tearing a rift in the family. I have been shouldering a constantly escalating level of care of Mum for 5 years now. You believe that as you did not care for Mum at [brothers house] that anything that I give Mum is without value - as it is not cash (before or after tax).

[Sister in law], I have to keep giving Mum care otherwise she feels abandoned and her mental health and well-being spirals downwards quickly. Otherwise what if I did not care and let you and [my brother] pay for full time care and not worked hard to ensure great caregivers at less LESS than MINIMUM wage - because that’s what I’m managing. $40 for five hours. $1500 a month for 2. 5 days a week of live in care. I did 15 phone interviews and 5 in person interviews for caregivers in the last two months. I handle the training the scheduling the shopping and all the logistics. Your strategy is to devalue what I offer and only place value on the your “after tax” money.

[My Brother], you well know that [our sister] is not capable of consistent care for MUM. However, its very convenient that you constantly offer Playter and Caro. First you denied Mum had dementia - and the care needs that go with it - now you deny the level of care.

[Our sister] has only able to get here for about six hours in three weeks. If [our sister] could do more she WOULD. She has heart and is very well meaning. However she is overwhelmed by the ongoing circumstances of her life and has been so for some time. She, as I’ve said long ago, has needed real help to correct childhood patterns. Hopefully through this business training and opportunity she will get more insight and we can be of more real empowerment and support to her. But MENTAL health has been OFF your radar for as long as I’ve known you - why? The first time I heard you use the word was two weeks ago - in reference to what your students needed. It was good to hear, but a bit overdue. Time to do some reflecting back on how you behaved relative to Mum due to this blindness.

I’ve have over and over made sacrifices, both personal and in terms of Mum’s care and wellbeing, so you'd wake up to Mum’s care needs. I will NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. You are too busy and so you are blind to most of them. Mum is too fragile to leave her in your hands - your ideas of dementia are too simplistic and I will not let you discover through accident her real needs.

Your solution during the past six years was bring Mum back to [your house] over and over as a reason not to offer support - we did this many times - each time Mum was back in the same situation where her care needs were not acknowledged - and no pattern of care was acknowledged or provided. You made an offer that was impossible to accept as you were in denial of her care needs. Now you offer more or less the same thing - and as usual offering [my sister] - who has not been capable of consistent care for many years.

YES, it is a huge undertaking to keep an elder out of institutional subsidized care with advanced DEMENTIA!

Wishing it were otherwise is not going to change the fact that it TOTALLY changes peoples lives to offer LIVE AT HOME CARE at this Stage - or any stage really.

It is a sad fact that Dad left no provisions for Mum. But that is the reality that we must deal with.

Just say it - you are OK with institutional care for MUM. Don’t try to make it cheap. I’ve compensated for years - and I’m still doing it as I take another shot at getting my business off the ground.

These are strong words - but generosity and kindness seem to be of little value relative to money in this family. Why is this so?

I simply want fairness in caring for our Mother. And I am willing to be fierce in our Mothers interest - as she would be in ours. And I will no longer just ignore both fairness and my own needs to keep peace in this family. [brother] you have long wanted power and in this world you have some - but do not throw it around in the family. Family is built on love - Mum has mostly kept to this - even through the hell of dementia. And I am doing everything in my power to help her keep on this path. Except for brief moments you are not helping me serve Mum...


MarkJohn, if someone sent me your letter, after the first sentence I would stop reading.... I suggest you don't start out saying they are in denial, and delete any complaints against the person you are trying to reach. You want them to continue to read. Just be matter in fact that Mum has been diagnosed with dementia and that it will only get worse.... and as it gets worse, more help is needed thus more expense. What do they suggest? Can we work together for the greater cause?

I would cut that letter by 3/4th, but I understand your need to want to make sure your brother and sister-in-law understand, but too much verbiage will cause the reader to tire out and not finish. And to become more angry.

A letter should be written to catch the attention span of a few seconds. And the reader will want to feel like they are needed, not scolded.
your letter shows a real burnout. Get mom to Assisted Living and you will all feel a lot better. Give yourself time, a good six months, to heal afterwards. Our mom is at at ALF, it costs under $3K per month, and she is much happier than she was at home.
I agree with FreqFlyer - your letter is waaaaay too long. You don't open someone's heart by beating them over the head with their failures and lack of compassion. That will only close them tighter than a drum.

I think you need to get all of that anger and frustration out before you approach them. Once all of that negative stuff is vented, you'll be able to approach them in a more loving way. You want their help and care, but I fear your letter will only send them in the opposite direction. And I'd approach them each individually, so that they can't gang up on you together if they get one letter.
MarkJohn, I would say now that you have written the letter and vented your frustration to put the letter in the fireplace and see your anger go up in smoke. I don't really see anything good coming from this letter. All I see is the potential for a greater rift in the family.
Great vent letter, now tear in little, tiny pieces and burn. Take a deep breath and breathe out to relax. Tomorrow get busy finding a place for your Mum and then start taking care of yourself.

This is too much of a job for one person and we are all here to tell you what you now know....you really can't depend on family or friends. Not all are cut out to be caregivers for whatever reason. Big news you can love and advocate for your Mum without destroying your own life.

You have done a wonderful thing and now it is time for professional care and for you to get on with your life. Wish you all the best!
Thanks, you are right - I will not send - until I find a way to say it without blame. I know its not ready to send, your right I just needed to vent. I'm going to keep looking after my Mum for as long as I can - that's between me and her - its helping me to grow up and so far I can live with that. I'd just be careful when I'd advise others to put their Mother in a home - just because it's worked for you does not mean that it's works for everyone - and of course the reverse is also true - there's a lot of factors to consider. It's been hard discovering what our family is really about when it comes down to it. I won't let myself get bitter but I do get angry from time to time.
Great vent letter. You know what it all means and pouring it out was no doubt useful to you.

But as an uninitiated reader, I can't figure out what you want your audience to do. Send money? Stop bothering you? Give you moral support? You want fairness, but what does that mean they should do? Do you need their blessing or their money or their permission, or what?

MarkJohn, you are probably right about the denial factor. There is an awful lot of that going around. But calling them out on it here probably isn't going to remedy that, especially since you have already sent hard evidence in the form of a spreadsheet about one aspect of the situation. Is that what you are trying to do -- break through denial?

I also can't figure out exactly who is the intended audience. Is this aimed at one or two individuals, with others copied in for information? Or is there something specific you need from particular individuals?

Again, great vent letter. I hope it helped you clarify your own feelings and what you want to have happen.

BTW, who has authority to make decisions on Mum's behalf? Do you have POA?

Your profile says mum has general age related decline. She is now developing dementia when the care will become even more isolating and difficult for you. You might want to consider getting a geriatric care manager to do an assessment of your Mom. By involving an expert in the field, you are removing some family dysfunction. Then you have a report to provide to interested family members. Whenever they come to visit make use of the time to get away and just do something for YOU!

After the assessment is complete then have a family meeting the geriatric care manager can facilitate. Hearing about Mom from an impartial third party will be helpful and hopefully stop the disagreement. Though when bro sees the report, be forewarned that he can still live in denia.
I can tell you from experience that hearing from the specialist that mom had dementia and that it was going to get bad. That dad and mom would need Everyone to help out because it was going to be a long hard road. Our culture's tradition is that the oldest boy takes care of the parents. Dad even gave him a large land (half of dad's) next door to him. When the chips fell, dad took bro and I to the specialist so that it was explained to us what we were facing with mom. Dad even took us to the lawyer and then the court to do Dad's Will and guardianship for mom. Despite all this, my oldest bro did not help in all the years we needed him. Dad finally stopped a few years ago. He said that his repeated asking for help sounds like begging. sigh.... I know exactly what he means.
Pam, may not be a smooth talker, but she knows from hard won experience that one person can't take care of a dementia person. Your letter is a cry for help. You are passed the burnout stage. Maybe it is time to consider a nursing home. Your Mom will still need your care and attention. In some ways, the caregiving is harder, but you will get sleep at night, and have some semblance of a life. Can you get some counseling to help you make the decision? We are here for you. Keep talking to us. If it helps, I think you are a strong, compassionate, outstanding man. Your Mom must be so proud of you.

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