My stupid brother that never helps had the nerve to say "I'm living the life of Reilly." Can you piss me off even more?

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"No one else will take care of her" ? Actually, raisin2012, that is what they do in group homes, nursing homes, and assisted living places. There are lots of ways an elder can be taken care of. Family can continue to participate in the care to the extent that they can and want to, no matter where the elder lives.

You made a decision. You would rather take care of your mother yourself, than have professionals do it. And you went about arranging that, because it was what you wanted (even though it apparently wasn't exactly what your husband wanted.)

Your "idiot siblings" also made decisions. None of them wanted to personally take care of Mother. All of them apparently thought she could be well taken care of in a care center. I have no idea whether they made these decisions sincerely with Mother's best interest in mind, or out of selfishness, or because they don't particularly care about your mother's welfare. But they did what you did -- they made decisions about what they were willing to contribute to Mother's care.

You want them to support you in your decision. You want help from them. You want at least their good wishes. I don't blame you a bit. But you have no authority over their lives. You made the decision that this was how mother had to be cared for. They did not.

What if one of them had taken over the decision-making, and said, "I picked out a care center for Mother. It is awesome and she loved it when we visited. It is too expensive for her income so we will each have to contribute $565 per month. It is due on the second of each month." Would you be outraged? Would you meekly turn over the money even though you didn't agree with the decision and were not consulted?

If your sibling didn't agree with the decision of you moving into Mother's house and did not promise to help you implement the decision to care for her at home, it seems a little extreme to me that you would hate them over it. Yes, it would be nice if they did help, and it would certainly be nice if they respected your decision and didn't insult you. That you are calling them stupid and idiots makes me wonder if the insults are going both ways.

How do you keep your hating your siblings? Respect their right to make their own decisions. And, by the way, if you "so regret" the decision you made (and are trying to impose on them), you can make new decisions.
Helpful Answer (15)

We go through so many emotions regarding siblings who are not helpful or understanding of the new dynamics of caregiving. It is a shock and really unfair, as we discover that life truly is unfair. Once you "feel the feelings" you can choose to hang onto the frustration or hate for as long as you want to. Most people don't change. They are honest or in denial, selfish or sharing, present or in hiding. You know your siblings, and the old saying about "you find out who your friends are" -- and that includes siblings-- when you enter the world of caregiving. All the years we hoped or wanted our family members to magically "change" we finally get the short lesson. My advice: save yourself a lot of stress. Accept it, move on ASAP. But that is up to YOU! I stewed for a couple of years after 50 some years of all the other family crappola. Take care:) xo
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He probably means that you've got it made b/c you're living in Mom's house and apparently don't have any personal expenses. Put simply, he thinks you're mooching and shouldn't be complaining about anything. Caring for Mom is, then, your job. So why should he help?

Without calling him names he wasn't born with, have a heart-to-heart with the guy and explain why help with caregiving is needed. You probably resent him for pushing your buttons, but I don't think you're capable of hating anyone; no matter how hard you try.
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i think eddie said what i was thinking. i would only add that family illness stresses entire families and misconceptions and misunderstandings run rampant. when a little time passes i think you will all realize the reasons for the blow-ups and likely reconcile with a bit of aquired wisdom and maturity. my sister and i have had some on the spot disagreements too but after a few months weve found out we have much in common and might even be a little closer. weve certainly learned a few things
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I'm the youngest of four siblings and was drawn to this site by the article or question about what to do when siblings who don't help with caregiving. One of the many helpful comments in the article stated (I'm paraphrasing) you can't really complain that you're not getting help from your siblings if you haven't asked them. So I asked them yesterday via an email to the entire family so I didn't have to have the conversation over and over and...and the response was what was predicted in the article. One of my brothers responded by talking about how he tolerated all of my failures in life and never criticized me, then went on to talk about how "resilient" our parents are and they don't need to be "patronized". He even asked me if I knew what our father did the day after he graduated from high school and reminded me of all the times he went fishing and golfing with our father. He mentioned all of his medical issues and described the recent draining of a boil on his ass (I'm not making this up) as a minor surgical procedure that had some complications. He ended his reply by asking me "why do you lash out so???"

My only sister hasn't said a word even though the night before she said she would call me or our mother to let us know if she'll be joining us for Mother's Day. When I asked her that the night before the email, she said she'd call me or mom but didn't think she could make the two hour trip because she pulled her hamstring and it hurts to sit for too long plus her husband feels like shit. She told me all of this, via text message, while she was in a restaurant (where I'm assuming she sat on a somewhat hard chair for at least an hour of so).

Here's the text of my email that started it all:

"I don't have Tim's email, so if someone could forward this to him I'd be greatly appreciative.

Here's what I have to say.

I take unpaid FMLA leave to help out mom and dad. That’s right: some of the time I take off to help them out is unpaid. That causes me financial headaches. I don’t take vacation leave because that is set aside for mom and dad. I burned up almost all of my sick leave when I hurt my back shoveling snow at mom and dad’s.

I drive to and from Pueblo sometimes every week. That’s miles on my car, gas I have to pay for, and four hours on the road, usually during rush hour. My knees hurt a lot during that two hour drive.

I almost always develop an ache or a pain or even an injury doing work in and around their house. The house and yard are pretty big and mom can’t do it all by herself; dad can’t help with anything anymore.

I call mom and dad every day. I know who mom and dad’s doctors are, and I know who their hospice workers are.

I love being with mom and dad and want to help them as much as I can, I’ve already stated that very clearly and demonstrated as much. It’s the least I can do after all they’ve done for me. I've also clearly stated I would be the primary caretaker "when the time comes", and that time is upon us. But that doesn’t excuse you guys from helping out as well, even if that help comes in the form of a phone call to see how they’re doing or running an errand for them or doing a chore or something like that. I can’t shoulder this by myself. I’m going through my own loss and grief and sometimes mom and dad need to talk about what’s going on with them—with someone other than me. For god's sake, at least go to their house and visit with them. Not to tell them all about your crappy day, but to listen to them and share memories.

Larry and Rose are unable to help other than to call and talk. They live far away, don’t have the money to travel and Larry has his own significant health problems.

Aaron and Jenny and their kids drove down the weekend they found out dad entered hospice care, and they brought them a meal. Gary F visited them the same weekend. Amy came down the following weekend towing food and two kids. Chris flew out the same weekend Amy came down, even though he has a new job, limited days off and didn’t budget for this trip. His sister is graduating next month and his trip to Colorado was important enough to scale back on his trip to see Colleen graduate. Ask yourselves what you’ve done to reach out and make a connection with mom and dad/grandpa and grandma in the past five-six weeks.

Gary, I’m really glad you mow the lawn for mom and dad. But when you come over to visit could you remember to ask them how they’re doing and really listen instead of going on and on about all of your problems? Mom and dad are no longer in a place where they can handle dealing with our problems unless it’s absolutely necessary to tell them what’s going on, as it was recently with Larry. Mom and dad have been my best friends and confidantes for years, and I’ve lost that. Who do I talk to about my fears and frustration and sadness? I’ve got my own shit going on but I don’t tell them about it because I don’t want them to worry about me.

Gary and Heather, have you ever thought about vacuuming for them, changing bedding, making them a meal? I don't know how many times during the past several years I've fed your asses. Thus far you haven't offered to return the favor and you never even offer to help clean up after a family meal.

I know this will cause anger and hurt feelings, but at this point I don’t care. Better to get this shit on the table now. Be there for mom and dad, if not in person then by phone. You will be the ones regretting it when they're gone if you don't, not me. I don't care if you get mad at me and never talk to me again. But BE THERE FOR MOM AND DAD.

Think of something special you could do for them. I'm working on getting recent photos of everyone so they can put them on their bookshelves. Just a simple project like that means a lot to them and it will make you feel good inside, I guarantee."

I really held back in that letter. My son said he thought it was appropriate (and believe me, my son is the first person to criticize me about anything!), and one of my nephews said the same. That nephew plans to spend some time with his grandparents later this month--at least that's what he says now. I'm hoping he'll follow through.

My oldest nephew's wife responded and I can see she's already trying to make the peace. She's honestly one of the finest people I've ever known and it's not her responsibility to smooth things over because my siblings are selfish assholes. My oldest nephew is always front and center for grandpa and grandma, but his job requires him to go out of state a lot and he's currently in Iowa.

I don't know how I'm going to handle this weekend. I don't want to be anywhere near my brother or his daughter but I know my mom is expecting at least them and me for a Mother's Day dinner. I honestly don't know what to do. I mean, I know that the right thing to do is be cordial but I don't know if I can do that. I'm so angry at them right now I know I'll tear into them if I'm around them. Hopefully by Sunday some of my anger will have simmered down.
Helpful Answer (7)

I agree with last poster on tone of letter. However, with all due respect for Beth53 and to the conflict resolution professional, letters and emails to family asking for help never start out sounding like pleading from the gallows. This comes from an evolution of family dynamics. Caregivers are usually selfless, giving people, even if they have been programmed or manipulated into this position. Non-caregiving siblings or family are self-preserving, or incapable for various reasons, or thoughtless. However you want to describe it, they protect themselves and their reasons and rationalization for why they cannot, will not assist. There is history of family dynamics, patterns of behavior, and while we should be aware of these things, many of us think that in caring for parents, this will be the time those family members can be counted on.
Contrary to thinking the caregiver is the one acting like a martyr, nothing like a non-participating family member who says their life is more important than yours, that their responsibilities are mandatory and yours are elective, that they Must sleep well every night or they have issues, etc. I would be interested in the script for honest communication in this situation. Does it end up that the caregiver is convinced and must accept graciously the terms of the uncooperative sibling? What would be the best outcome, say, after the parent passes? That the ex-caregiver forgive the crying, guilty sibling because she needs understanding and compassion to move on? Something like that. Really, how would you resolve it?
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My husband and I have some of the same expenses we had when we moved in with her (including storage of our furniture). She only expense we don't have is rent/mortgage. My husband didn't think this would be a good idea moving in because I was breaking my neck getting out the door with all day visits. I got tired of her looking like a bone, threats of putting her in a nursing home from my idiots siblings. That's the only reason I gave up my happiness for her welfare. I do so regret it but no one else will take care of her.
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I have an idiot brother too....but he always has been and made it clear to me that he would not be present (until mom passes for the money). I put my mom in assisted living...I get judged a bit from her friends and such - but of course no one is willing to take care of her- so they can judge all they want. I am doing my best to keep her safe and well cared for - I don't ask my brother for anything and he doesn't 2nd guess any of my decisions. It actually works out well from that stand point. One of my Mother's friends - who is 81 told me to choose life- my life- and that is what I have done. I have 4 grown kids, a job and live 3 hours away. Good luck to you and if your brother doesn't help - seek professional help ( care facility,lawyer, cpa) and choose life.
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Yes, siblings aren't what they are cracked up to be. My siblings were elated when I told them I was moving in with mom because that got her off their backs. They didn't have to worry about calls regarding her blood sugar dropped, she fell and hurt herself, etc. I call myself moving in to make their lives easier.
Helpful Answer (3)

Oh precious Raisin 2012...BIG BIG HUGS!!!!

I've been through what you have been through. Your siblings actions not to take responsibility is just WRONG. While I hear so many saying that you made the choice to take care of Mom while your siblings did not, truly it's not a choice, it's just flat out what needs to be done, and you're the only one acting responsibly.

The only choice your siblings have made is to be irresponsible. You must forgive, meaning you have to think in the end, when it is all said and done, although it would have been better if your siblings would have carried their weight, but if you ask yourself would their decision to back-out ever change what you are now doing for your Mom..... and I know while caretaking is no bed of roses, we both know it is a labor of love, and I know your decision to take care of Mom would not change. Then release it, because your siblings are the ones in the end who won't have a second chance to step up to the plate, and will have to live with the consequences of regret for a lifetime, because in life we only have one Mom.

You remain in my prayers. When things get tough just shout out and repeat, even if just under your breath, "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phillipians 4:13)
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