Disagreement about caregiving for mom with dementia - Why is it assumed it's my job?

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My spouse and me are both retired and don't live close to my mother (we are 1500 miles away). My brother and his wife both work, have a son in middle school and also don't live close to her (they are 300 miles away). Late Nov it became evident that our mother needed assisted living. I flew to where she lives and spent 3 weeks taking care of her (doctor's appointments, researching and setting up assisted living, buying furniture for the assisted living location, etc). I asked my husband to come help me and he flew into town. She spent one night in the assisted living place and got very aggressive with staff. They recommended Elder Care unit at a hospital to be diagnosed. Long story short, dementia. My brother came to "visit" for 2 nights (he drove). While at the elder care unit, she had a stroke...then went back to the elder care unit. I flew back to where I live for a week and my husband and I drove across country the week before Christmas to get her into a place for in-house-stay physical therapy (where she is now). My brother went on vacation for 3 weeks (out of the country) because they had already paid and planned for this trip (blah, blah, blah). Every day I sent texts updating him about everything going on (yes at times I felt his responses were questioning my actions...I choose to ignore them). My brother has primary medical POA with me as the secondary if they can't reach him. I have the durable POA in which I have already taken over finances, paid bills, sent POA copies to places, etc. My husband and I have also been cleaning out her house at the same time (it's in horrible condition...). We have not been sitting around waiting for brother to return from vacation. Now he's back from his vacation and says "we need a plan." I've been here working on the agreed upon plan that we discussed when he was here for his 2 day "visit." He dropped some hints that I need to research nursing homes with memory care facilities and implying that my retirement status allows me all the time in the world to do it. I put my foot down this morning and told him he needed to take charge of that as I am 6 weeks into helping compared to his 2 days of "being on the ground." He said he would come back this Friday for a week but really couldn't afford to be gone more than that. Just because I am retired doesn't mean I have all the free time in the world; I have earned my retirement and we have our own plans in place for some home construction and some travels - I'm willing to share my time 50/50, but it's not looking that way. My spouse has done more for my mom than my brother at this point. Am I wrong here? How do I tell my brother he needs to step up. I know his employer has Family Friendly Medical Leave that he can use towards helping out. One last thing, neither one of us has been close to my mom in the last several years as she's always been some what of an unpleasant person to be around and next near to impossible to be around since our father passed away 7 years ago. We just want to make sure she's being taken care of. Both my brother and I have agreed that we will visit every other month to check up on her as well as keep in daily/weekly contact where ever she is staying. It's just this initial placement that needs to be done by both of us - just not me by myself.


I can’t say who’s right or wrong but I can say this is not unusual for there to be conflict between family members over how to create a ‘fair’ plan. Men think caregiving is for women; the working people think if someone is retired they should do it.

I will say, very few people WANT to caregive an elderly parent especially one with dementia. All that bickering about how far away someone lives or that mom always liked you best don’t matter. You want your mom cared for and someone has to do it! So work something out if you can and don’t be one of the families torn apart by caregiving every day.

If your mom’s a horrible person then what do either of you care? But then there’s always the money. Can mom pay for care from her own funds or will the kids have to pay? So your brother and you have to be truthful with each other and make a long term agreement but be willing to tweak it regularly.
Jo, you are not wrong, just because you are retired it doesn't mean your brother can stand on the sidelines and watch. How many years before your brother retires? If it is quite awhile, does that mean he gets off scott free for not taking care of a parent?

Is the situation now finding a place for Mom? Brother can let his fingers do the walking by going on the internet and making some calls. Would it be better if Mom was closer to your brother, so he could have some boot on the ground. Transferring Mom 300 miles would be much easier than transferring her 1500 miles.

Or is Mom insisting she stays in her own community? I can understand if she does. But I would think twice about traveling to see Mom every other month. That's quite a hike.

Why is it assumed all of this is your job? That is how society had branded it from long ago. The daughter is the main caregiver, unless there is a son who is the only child, then usually a grand-daughter is traded off. Hopefully as time marches on, caregiving will be equal work for both sons and daughters.  Try to see if you and your brother can work as a team.
I'd take a copy of the Durable POA and have it reviewed by an Elder Law attorney in her jurisdiction in order to determine what the legal requirements are for this position. I'd try to avoid fighting with brother about it. When a parent has dementia, to me, it's past the point of trying to tippy toe around things. I'd just be to the point and clear with brother about what is needed and when.  I'd be sure of my legal footing first.
He is primary on POA. She only steps in if he is not able to. I see no problem in researching places for him. He is the one who lives closer and will be called on. You can go with him to look at the places. From what I understand about family leave, all ur vacation and personal time has to be used first. And, don't think the compensation is as much as your regular pay if any at all. This wouldn't leave him days for emergencies. I understand that you live really far away but it's not fair to leave him with all the responsibility. Facility offices work just 40hrs a week same as he does. I see where u r coming from I have spent most of my retirement caring for others. Taking friend and her Mom to appts and my Mom too. Babysitting an infant going right into carrying for my Mom. And what does my daughter say...some people do work. It's her infant I watched for 18months and her other son who because of epilepsy can't drive. So we pick him up from work and take him to appts. He rides his bike for local stuff. I am so glad I wasn't working when Mom got worse with her Dementia. I couldn't have handled it all and I had no help.
You don't mention your mom's financial picture, but if she has some funds there are lots of resources to help! A local geriatric care manager would know a lot about the memory care/assisted living options in town and could help you find the right one, and could also plug you into other local support options for families dealing with dementia. There are also people called Senior Move Managers (try CaringTransitions.com) that specialize in helping older people downsize/relocate. There are also local agencies who can provide home care, including things like helping sort through "stuff" in advance of a move, or providing companionship for your mom when you and your brother are not available - AgingCare can help you find the right one if you don't know any in your mom's town. Any of these resources could help you and your brother put together a roadmap for how to get your mom the care she needs without you having to figure everything out on your own.

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