Am I a horrible person and am I asking my brother for too much?

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I am 62 live in Missouri and just laid off from my job. Mom lives in Michigan and is mid stage of Alzheimers. I was considering moving to MI to take care of her, but asked my brother (lives close to mom) to get rid of her dog that she can no longer take care of. Dog has diarrehia most of the time due to what mom feeds him and he tracks poop in the house and in her bed, plus she lets him in and out every 5 mins, plus he pees in the house and mom doesn't care. Mom gets upset when you tell her not to feed this or that and that he doesn't need to go out, she says it is my dog I will do what I want. When it rains she has lets him pee in the garage because he doesn't like to get wet. Her dog is also toy aggressive and for me to move up to take care of her, I will be bringing my dog who is housebroken and sweet but will stand up for herself if she is being attack. I know it will be a matter of time before her little dog and my big dog end up in a fight over toys. Earlier this year, I brought my mother to MO to visit me with her dog but everytime my dog reached for her toys my mother's dog would run over and take it away. My dog did nothing until one time my mom's dog snapped and growled at my dog and my dog snapped back and bit my mom's dog ear. If it continued into a worse fight her dog would have come out on the losing end of the fight.

I don't know if I can do all that I am supposed to do and watch the dogs all the time too and worry when the next fight might happen and what do when it does. If her dog is badly hurt, I can't just hop in the car and rush to vet, can't leave my mom all lone. Now it is like a 30 min to hour process to get mom to leave the house for anything.

Too me this is just another layer of added stress of trying to take care of mom, her house and yard, plus her dog too? My brother is willing to have a contract drawn up and pay me, but I don't know if it is worth it just because of the added stress and really don't know if I can handle it.

When I mentioned to my brother about ridding of the dog he becomes belligerent and once told me that "he knows best what mom needs". Plus he told me that "he is sick and tired of me telling him what to do and diagnosing from down here". When I gave some suggestions of things that the caregiver that comes in a couple days of week could do with mom. My brother and I used to be close but I am seeing an ugly side of my brother that I never knew existed and this is crumbing our what I thought was a close brother and sister relationship. He has already said some things that I don't know if I can forgive him for and the sad part is I don't think he really cares or how I feel. I really don't think he has any respect for me because every time I mention something about mom he cuts me down and now there is no discussion it is his way or no way. Plus he manages all of mom affairs and finances. The last time I went up for 3 weeks to give him a break, I took mom grocery shopping and she spent $160 for 3 weeks for both us and my brother made a comment that was a way too much money to spend for groceries.

My brother stays with my mother every Friday, Sat and Sun day and rest of the week has different people to stay with mom, none are contracted and atty says we have to stop that. My brother lives close he can see his family whenever he wants, I would have to drive 650 miles to go and visit my family, which I can't afford to make that kind of trip very often. With the way my brother is now talking to me and the control he has I am thinking about not moving up. Am I a horrible person to reconsider not wanting to move and take care of mom until the time she has to go into a memory care center which could be years. I am afraid he will make my like a living hell and I will be miserable, I'll be homesick and worse I will end up hating my only brother.

My daughter has advised me not to move. She says I will end up being miserable and hating my brother and she is afraid he will screw me in pay or some other way. My daughter who has always looked up to her uncle now says she is shocked at some of things that he has said to me and how he has said them and she has lost a lot of respect for him.

Don't say call and have a reasonable talk with him. I have tried that and it ends up with him saying nothing or he says this is the way it is take it or leave it or he won't call me back. I just need to know should I bury my resentment and move up and take care of mom or since he claims he know best of what mom needs let him continue taking care of her and be the martyr. Will this added stress and eat me up in the end and I end up in ill health. I do already have heart issues. I may so confused and riddle with guilt.

I would love some feed back and suggestions on how to handle this.

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I agree 100% with your daughter, she is right, you would end up being miserable, and you would be exhausted. Both you and your brother are under a lot of stress because of your Mom, and it's better having that stress from a distance than be face to face with it. Plus there is the major issue with the two dogs getting along, if at all, if you decide to live with Mom, which someone will need to do eventually.

At this point in time, since your brother rather be the main Caregiver, let him be. Agree with everything he says or wants to do, unless he ask directly for your advice or help with a matter. That way there will be less resentment on both sides. Also, it sounds like your brother is starting to become burnt out spending his weekends with Mom. It will only get worse.

But whatever you do, please don't move.
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Woah.

Sandy, you headlined this with are you horrible (no of course you're not) and are you asking your brother for too much (eh? Why, what are you asking him for?).

But what a can of worms, eh?

Look. You, your brother and your mother (and the li'l dog) lost your father less than a year ago. That's not long. Everybody is still sore, yes?

So sit still and mull over what has been going on for the last ten months. Your brother hasn't changed fundamentally. But his year has been very different from yours. If you hear the dialogue through his ear, it goes: you ring him up, give him orders, criticise, and tell him he needs to get rid of the dog. Meanwhile, he (and don't forget your SIL will have her own opinions about how much space your mother is taking up in his life) probably feels that he's busting a gut trying to keep your mother's show on the road. They, brother and SIL, will not have been happy bunnies when you arrived demanding coffee and loo paper (!!!).

The thing is, I think you got a bit ambushed during that visit, don't you? And I think you might have estimated quite how angry and upset and unreasonable they already were at heart, which is not your fault because, as many people do, they probably hadn't communicated their feelings clearly - so you never got a chance to nip problems in the bud.

What I'm saying is, it isn't your fault but things had got much worse than you realised before you started to pick up on weird behaviours from your brother. They felt aggrieved. They need you to realise what it's like to be caring for your mother at the sticky end, and appreciate much more all they've been doing for her. I'm sure you have said nice things to them, and you have tried to help, but without being there on the ground you didn't really have a chance of getting it right. How could you?

So now there are wounds to lick and feathers to unruffle. I agree with the consensus: this is not the time to consider moving in. Are you looking for a new job locally? In your place, I'd get myself comfortable and secure, enjoy my nice dog's company :) and just let the dust settle. Your brother is doing the heavy lifting: listen to him more, advise him less, and start the whole "looking after mother" project again - maybe once the holidays are out of the way.

Big hug, you must feel very upset and rejected. Harsh.
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Sounds like your mom IS being taken care of. Sounds like your services aren't wanted by your brother who's been doing the heavy lifting for some time now. Back off.

Sorry, but it's way too easy for out-of-town family to criticize. If your brother wants your help, be available. If not, and you don't think mom is being neglected? Let it go.

This has nothing to do with the dog and everything to do with a power struggle. If it was all about the dog? You'd make your decision, go there and take care of the dog yourself.

Call her every day . . . visit when you can.
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MaggieMarshall...I disagree. I orginially was going to go straight to my mom's house, but I was asked to stay with them for 2 days and they knew 1 week in advance that I was coming. If you invite someone to stay with you, would you expect them to pay for your tiolet paper that you didn't buy in advance before they visited. Also, I would awsume that someone who is drawing and living on $280.00 per wk unemployment and husbands part-time job can afford to go out to eat let alone pay for 2 more people. If it was reversed than I would have gladly paid. When they have visited me in MO, I have paid many times when we went out to eat not only for them but my parents too, plus offered to buy their gas if they were doing the driving around here for sight seeing.
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I agree with freqflyer. Your brother sounds like he has a pretty good grasp on the caregiving except the dog issue. He may feel that things you say are criticizing the way he is scotch-taping things together. I would recommend that you follow his lead and help him where he needs help. The dog issue is a major one that will lead to nothing but trouble. I feel bad for the dog, who needs his own caregiver to feed him right, walk him, and take him out to poo. Dogs don't want to live the way he is living. He isn't being given better option. Poor fellow.
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Sandy, don't do it. Don't move. Being a caregiver means that you need to be the kind of person who can lots roll off your back. You don't sound like that's you. Your brother sounds overwhelmed. Work on ways of supporting him from afar and find a new job! Good luck.
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I'm sorry to just so blatantly takes sides with the poster as I have when there is another defensible point of view. I do think the inability to talk openly and realistically about the financial situation or about the emotions around losing Dad and the hard work of caring for Mom is a barrier, and I do judge the brother to be a serious cheapskate, to the detriment of family relations. But the poster did provide relief for 3 weeks and did see the situation, and what I really wish and pray for them is to find some way to air each other's points of view, e.g. with a counselor or pastor or more objective party. It would really be tragic if a family has to come apart at the seams at a time like this over toilet paper and the housing situation of a canine companion.
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You need to stay right where you are and find a job. There isn't enough money in this family, from what you say, for any other option to work out.

Your brother sounds exhausted and you need to stay at home.
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You have no clue what caregiving entails. Even when you love the parent very much . your brother is worn out , physically, mentally and emotionally. Remember, you were not there on vacation -- you were there to check things out and maybe be of help to your brother and his wife. Considering everything they have been doing for your Mom, you wanted to make a big deal of coffee and toilet paper ? I think you should reread everything you have written, on this site. I don't think you are evil, but you are clueless and pretty self absorbed. Some of your requests might be legitimate, but most of them are all about YOU . I am not trying to be mean, but my Dear, you need a wakeup call.
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I'll take the middle road. I believe your brother probably is worn out and worried about money and what will happen down the road with your mom.

I think your intentions are good, but I agree with others that you shouldn't move there to take care of your mom. I think you should offer whatever support (not ideas or criticisms) you can to your brother. Certificates for meals out or some kind of treat for your mom. Offer to pay for extra help - a dog walker or sitter on occasion. Help him from a distance. Listen to him, if he wants to talk. He's juggling a lot of things to try and keep your mom going in her own home. I have a lot of respect him for that. He may be tight-fisted, but unless you think he's taking her money, I'd assume he's operating in her best interests. Managing all of the care for your mom has to take a lot of his time and energy, whether you agree with his choices or not.

Believe me, not a lot of brothers (mine included) want to take on that task. Most just pass it off to their sisters and walk away (from my experience and what I read on these boards).
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