Follow
Share

For years before my dad passed, my brother had been routinely asking for financial "help" from my parents. They would give him quite a bit, but my dad seemed to have his limits and would usually stop it before things went too far. Both of my parents were very vocal about all the handouts and although everyone in the family knew, we stayed out of it, understanding it was their money to do with what they wish. We all knew it was my dad who set the boundaries... Mom was the softie whenever my brother came in with his latest sob story. For the 15-20 years before my dad died, I was the "go to son". When the gutters needed cleaning... they called me. When Mom needed to go to the store (she didn't drive)... they called me. When one of them wasn't feeling well... they called me. When my mother suffered a heart attack and needed emergency bypass surgery... the doctor called me. When Dad passed a few years ago... my mom called me. My brother was always busy. I didn't mind. I never judged him about that. I just had that kind of relationship with my parents. My brother didn't, plus he lived a little further away than I did. It's just the situation that's developed since my dad died that concerns me. My brother insisted that Mom come and live with him and his wife. My wife and I offered the same to Mom, but left it up to her. She decided she should go with my brother because "he's the oldest". I live over 3 hours away from my brother and offer to go up and see her almost every weekend... for almost 3 years. I've only been allowed to see her once, while she's living with them. A couple of times, she's been admitted to the hospital or medical rehab center, so my wife and I have gone up to see her 2-3 times a week while she's there, and she seems to love it. My brother's wife is overtly hostile to me and everyone else in our family. My mom spends her time exclusively with this woman who isn't shy about spewing hate about me, my kids, my cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. Basically, my mom's been cut off from her entire social network and all the family she's known (except my brother) for 95 years. When I call to talk to her, they make her use a speakerphone, so we have no privacy. As a result, I'm the only one who calls her anymore. She doesn't reach out to anyone and she seems very depressed... except when she's been at the rehab. Then, she seems more like her old self. The last time she was hospitalized, I asked how she was doing financially. She said she thinks things are okay, but my brother's wife handles everything. When I asked how much money she spends toward my brother's household expenses, she didn't know. She did, however, make a point to tell me that she "helps" them, because they need a lot of help. It scared me a lot. I asked my brother and he flatly denies any "help" of any kind. Then, he attacked me about not doing anything to help him care for her. When I asked what he wanted me to do, as I am over 3 hours away, he didn't have an answer. I offered again to give them a break and bring her to my home for a while, and he grew even more angry. Now he won't even speak to me. I wasn't being confrontational, but I would like to understand what the financial arrangement is for this living situation. I know that Mom's care is a giant undertaking, and they certainly need to be compensated, but why all the secrecy? Does anyone know of anything I can do to advocate for my mom? I know my dad would be disgusted by all of this. I just want to make sure my mom has enough money reserved in case she ever needs expensive full time medical care.... or if I should start setting money aside. My brother and his wife are notorious for living beyond their means and spend everything they have the minute they get it. A little advice would be most welcome.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I am impressed that you were able to hold back on legal recourse for the sake of your Mom. That was wise. These things get REALLY ugly when you involve lawyers and the court.

It's so hard to watch a sibling bully the family and seize control of an elder parent. Especially if the parent has a history of excusing their bad behavior. Been there, still living with it regarding my sister.

My sister is abusive and has alienated every one in her path from my parents doctors to the elder lawyer she was working with. She is a bully and obsessed with control. I've learned to have as little contact with her as possible and to just focus on staying supportive and loving to my Mom and Dad.

You have a much harder situation because your Mom lives with your brother and it appears he has a history of taking advantage of her financially. I'm sorry your brother and SIL are acting this way and I'm sorry your Mom buckles under to them.

On a second note it astonishes me when a sibling swoops in and pushes everyone away then complains that they are doing all the work. There is something really perverse about that.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks for the update. It's always helpful to know what decisions someone has made after reading suggestions.

You show a lot of insight in attempting to resolve things with your brother to avoid more difficulty for your mother.

Good luck; I do hope you can make progress with your brother and sway him to be more cooperative.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you all for your input and kind words. My wife and I have had a long conversation based on some of these new suggestions. We've decided to put off any sort of legal intervention at this point, since this is the only brother I've got and I fear any more tension would only hurt my mom and create a bigger rift between me and my brother. I'm going to try to appeal directly to my brother one more time... just he and I. Hopefully, he'll remember I'm the only brother he has as well. This may sound silly, but we're praying that a little spiritual intervention my come from my dad at this point. He was a force of nature when he was alive and his strong belief in family still guides me... perhaps my brother will feel the same.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am so sorry that you have not been able to visit your Mother. That must hurt.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Look up Conciliation services on the internet. These are negotiators extraordinaire who can assist you and your brother to come to some common ground. Or, taking a cue from his hostile wife, leave her out of it and meet the brother at work, for lunch, in a public place. (Leave your wife out of it too, for now).
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

It is your Mother. Go there, brave the guardian at the door and show up, or, show up at rehab. Hard to help someone from a distance if you can't keep up the relationship through personal contact. Be brave, don't confront brother or his wife. Re-establish contact with Mom. Be aware that many illnesses such as dementia are characterized by the patient complaining about others who cheat them, steal from them, or "I am helping them" issues. You all should be together on this caregiving, instead of starting out suspicious.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You do have a dilemma. It seems as if your suspicions are right, but your mother has made a choice. I see the issue as (a) how could you get your mother to move (b) how can you have any oversight over their management of her life?

And honestly, the only answer I can think of is to arrange for her to be in an independent or assisted living facility closer to you, or move her in with you, and take her to an attorney and get power of attorney for her finances, but then it would appear as if you're pursuing a course of action similar to that of your brother and SIL.

Hopefully others will have better recommendations.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.