My brother who is caregiving for mom has left me messages threatening to commit suicide. Any advice?


My brother's been caring for our parents for 12 years. Dad passed 6 years ago and mom has dementia. she is really getting to him now and and he really doesn't want to put her in a home because he is going to need what little money she has left for his retirement .He really not physically able to do much work anymore he is depressed and stressed out so bad. I get 1 or 2 phone calls a week from him threating to commit suicide.I tell him we have to put her in a home .but he doesn't want to because of the money. HELP. I need some answers.

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


It sounds like he is at his wit's end, but he's looking at it the wrong way. That "money" is costing him his sanity. That "money" is preventing him from living his life. That "money" is robbing him of happiness....THAT is what seems to be the problem...not your mother going into a home. I understand where he is coming from on the one hand, but I think you need to have a heart-to-heart with him and figure something out. It sounds like you need to help him out - go sit with your mom for a week or so & let your brother catch his breath...if he's been doing this 24/7, he NEEDS time away for his sanity's sake. That is the reason behind those phone calls....he is asking for help without asking you.
Helpful Answer (9)

Boy. He's between a rock and a hard place, isn't he. He has given up his earning years, and now he's screwed financially. Many of us here have done the same thing, and don't recommend it to others!

Does she own the house? There are rules about her being eligible for Medicaid and him keeping the house because he cared for him for so long and kept her out of the nursing home.

I'm assuming that you have a little more money than he does, but not a lot. If he can't get free advice from an elder law attorney, can you pay for that? Can you pay for someone to come in one day a week to give him a break? I'm sure you can't pay for the nursing home - no one can.

You and he can look for help through his local Area Council on Aging. Look on Google. Is he eligible for assistance because he is low income? Can the mother's doctor or hospital get you in touch with a social worker who can help? Someone needs to look carefully at his needs, her needs, and the assets available to figure out the way to go. With some practical help, maybe he won't feel so hopeless.
Helpful Answer (7)

Playing Devil's Advocate here, but WHY has your brother been doing this alone for 12 years? Where have the other siblings/family members been? What has their contribution to the parent's care been? Hopefully I am misreading the post and the siblings and family members have been paying the brother to care for their parents, have been going at least once a month to give him a weekend off, and providing him with at least a couple week long vacations a year.

Normal burn-out for 24/7 care is less than 3 years when caring FOR ONE PARENT so your brother is Superman and his Kryptonite is worrying what's going to happen to him now that he's dedicated his life to caring for them and can no longer do it. He feels trapped, desperate and alone with no way out. Keep in mind what this man has done for the other siblings and family members. He sacrificed everything to care for parents and now has no money to support himself since he's burned-out. And all this time, the siblings and other family members LIVED THEIR LIVES knowing their parents were cared for. What a burden this selfless man shouldered so his other family members could enjoy their lives.

Few people realize just what a care giver provides and how detrimental it is to one's health to take on such a monumental task. But it destroys: one's family life, social life, love life, job, and leaves no time for self, for hobbies, movies, friends, a chance to breathe without someone needing you. You can't watch a ballgame, or a TV program all the way through, you don't sleep through the night, in fact, you never get REM sleep, that deep sleep a body has to have, because you have to have one eye open and one ear tuned in case the person you're caring for needs you. You can't go to a movie with a friend because there's no one to leave the parent with. YOU HAVE NO LIFE, PERIOD, OTHER THAN SERVITUDE TO THE PARENT!

That's why Nursing Homes are so expensive, they provide round the clock care, feeding, bathing, dressing, walking, cleaning up accidents, making sure medications is taken properly, etc. in a safe environment and it takes a large staff to do it. Now, in a low economic state, nursing home costs are $4,000 a month per person and can go up to $15,000.00 for a higher economic state like California, so let's do some math here and figure $5,000.00 per month for a decent Nursing Home:

Dad 6 years is $5,000 times 12 months times 6 years comes to: $360,000.00
Mom 12 years is $5,000 times 12 months times 12 years comes to: $720,000.00
So, your brother has saved the family over ONE MILLION DOLLARS! SO FAR
And this only includes what the NH would have charged for their care, not the added expenses of medicines, doctor's fees, medical tests, laundry fees, clothing, toiletries, if parents had a personal phone and TV there would be phone and cable fees since the NH doesn't provide these and the list goes on and on. In other words, your brother has saved your family over 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS! Now, divide that by the total number of siblings (including him), this is the amount each sibling OWES the brother in the truest sense of the word. Of course, that's unfeasible. However, as I've just pointed out, HE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHERE HE'S GOING TO LIVE OR HOW! That is for his siblings who have left him alone in this burden to come up with. Supplement his income so he can move into a small apartment. If your family can't afford to do this, clean out a bedroom and move him in. If possible, he deserves a month long vacation RIGHT NOW at the other siblings expense and his choice of where! Get all this done now, before he totally burns out or does himself bodily harm. He's given his life to his parents and to his siblings, now it's the siblings turn to show how much they appreciate what his sacrifice has done. The siblings got to live their life the way they wanted, now return the favor and save this man who's done so much for others!
Helpful Answer (6)

The first piece of advice I'd give is .. read through this site, just to get a glimmer of what he's been facing and dealing with for the last 12 years. TWELVE years? Almost all the experts agree that fulltime caregivers usually burn out at three. He's a saint, at this point, for surviving this long. If you really care, when he says something about it, don't doubt for a second that everything behind what he's saying is his absolute truth. Did you ask him, "How can I help? I'm here .. what can I do for you?" and put action and compassion behind your questions. He has to know that you really mean it.
Helpful Answer (5)

When someone threatens to commit suicide...believe them. Call 911. Get him help. You will never forgive yourself if he goes through with what you are considering idle the police, call a suicide hotline NOW and get him into treatment. This is no joke.
Helpful Answer (4)

Rock and a hard place indeed...

Yes, I would first look into getting him some in home care. Even a couple hours break can make all the difference in his mentality, and give him time to take care of himself and relax. He needs time to do some things he enjoys. That is a MUST for caregivers and this man has gone above and beyond the call of duty for your parents.

Are you close by, or in another state? I'm assuming you're elsewhere and can't help him by watching mom yourself... If the time comes that your mom's assets have to be used for her care, it would be a kindness to give your brother a financial helping hand if that's possible, or even allow him to move in with you. I do not think this man deserves the streets after all he's done and sacrificed, period. To do all he's done, which is HUGE, and end up homeless? Oh, God no. Do what you can to help your brother, please, when all of this is over...
Helpful Answer (3)

I get the feeling that your brother has been toting a heavy load all by himself. Has he received any pay for his time? Is there any way that the family could consider your mother's money and pay him for a bit of what the last 12 years are worth? It sounds to me like he has been used up and doesn't know where to go or what to do. It is time to give some care to your brother to make sure that he is well supported. Get together with the siblings and see what can be done to give him some financial and time support. He needs scheduled respite care. For what he does, he has earned a trip to Hawaii every year. God bless him.
Helpful Answer (3)

If I were the original poster I'd be heading for the hills after reading some of these replies - all that blame and the anger. We do not know from this original question the details AT ALL of why the brother has done the caregiving for 12 years, what the OP's contribution has been or the surrounding circumstances.

Taiwanda, my advice would be to make clear to your brother that you are there for him and will help him to find a way to a manageable life and get help for his depression and follow through. The thing that drives people to the edge is believing that they have no options and no one will help them, so even if you don't have the answers work to get it through to him that those things aren't true. He may need to get on disability, he may need a place to live while retraining to get a new kind of work or maybe he needs treatment for depression, some respite care for your mother and will be able to continue as caregiver. Explore it can do this.
Helpful Answer (3)

I've been following this post and yes, it seems Taiwanda has gon MIA on us. Let us all hope and pray that the reason is that she is taking proactive measures to help her brother, and that her brother is OK. Everyone has given her so much wonderful advice and support, and maybe she is acting on it. This is reminiscent of the lady that "ran away" from her husband and MIL awhile back, and we were all so worried about her well-being. She eventually came back to us with good news, so hopefully we will get a Good News progress report from Taiwanda in due course.
Helpful Answer (3)

Know your limits and ask for help. Nearly everyone who is trying to care for a person with dementia is eventually going to need some help and it's vital to keep in mind that caregiving needs to be a team effort. Whether help comes from respite care provided by friends or family, hired in-home caregivers, adult day care, assisted living or a nursing home, dementia caregivers need assistance. Without at least occasional breaks, neither the caregiver nor the care receiver is likely to have the best quality of life that can be realistically expected.,%202013
Helpful Answer (2)

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