Mom (93) will be living in a memory care unit. I live 200 miles away. Communication is hard because my brother controls everything. What can I do?

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Communication concerning my mother is difficult because my brother likes to control everything himself, the siblings only find out after the fact, and then only if we call him. I won't even get into the family dynamics with my brother's wife.

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Be supportive of your brother I am the total caregiver of my Mom who is 97 and has a lot of dementia. I do not like my brother to come and offer advice or ask questions. Contact the social worker at the facility .she can help you a lot.that is their job. To help in these situations.
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Thank you all so much for your feedback! I am optimistic that our situation will improve now that Mom is in an excellent facility with professional round the clock care. I will do more to reach out to my brother, because I know he has done the best he can for Mom.
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Until recently when my mother demanded to move back to her original hometown, my sister didn't have a clue what I was going through. Needless to say now she is working with me, and our relationship has gotten so much better. She had a dose of the reality that I was already living and just how hard it can be. Mom is back here now. It only lasted one month, with quite the wake up call for all involved to the realization that mom has Dementia. We all were in denial.
You need to talk to your brother and offer to help him anyway he needs your help. Be supportive and caring for his situation. It will go a long way to help get you involved in understanding what he is going through with all the responsibilities on his shoulders. You would be amazed how much the caregiver needs a brake and sometimes doesn't even realize it. If you are not willing to help then you need to step back and appreciate his hard work in managing the care of your mother. Good luck in healing this rift between you and your brother.
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I agree with kazzaa and countrymouse. Sometimes the non-caregiving siblings view the primary caregiver as controlling because they aren’t involved in the day to day care of their parent and make suggestions that the primary caregiver doesn’t accept because the siblings don’t actually know how those suggestions affect the situation. My siblings are clueless as to my mom’s condition because they don’t call, they don’t visit, etc. I have recently started keeping a weekly log of what is going on with my mother and I email it to them. They were a bit dumbfounded when they found out what my husband and I do daily for her and what her condition is like. Maybe you can request that your brother put together some sort of newsletter to the siblings on a consistent basis. This way there are no surprises for anyone.

Personally, I used to drive 692 miles, each way, once a month, to go check on my parents so 200 miles to me isn't that big of a deal. Maybe instead of calling, you could go visit more often and then you can see for yourself what is going on. Some folks can't drive or take the time out to visit, and I understand that. But, for me, it was more important for me to see with my own two eyes what was going on and how my mom and dad were being cared for by the caregiver we had hired. Now, mom lives with my husband and I, she has dementia.

I have been the primary caregiver, DPOA, and have taken care of finances for my parents. Recently I requested that I start being paid for her care, for a couple of reasons. One it will help to pay down her remaining income to qualify for Medicaid, and two, it’s a tough job. I have 8 siblings so of course the s*** hit the fan because of my request.

Be there to support your brother. I’m sure he is doing the best that he can. Simply ask to get updates more frequently. Not because you are questioning what he is doing, but because you care for your mother.
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I agree with pstiegman above. Also ask for your phone number to be put on her chart as a second contact if/when things happen that they generally notify family for (making sure they understand that brother will probably not call you and respectfully request that they notify you and your brother - they can put a note to this effect on her face sheet where the contact info is so everyone on all shifts will see that when they go to notify the family about something). Also, if the nurses in that facility do not carry phones on them for when a phone call comes in, be respectful of their time when you call and try not to call during meal times (they might be feeding someone), or during medication passing times (sometimes the hallways they have to go down with the med carts are extremely long). This will help you stay in the nurses' good graces. And if you would catch them at a bad time, ask if they could please call you back when they have a chance. Work in those facilities can be very stressful and if they know you are respectful of that and not a demanding type person, they are usually much happier to work with you.
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I agree with almost all the above - this can be a really toxic situation. In a nice way, keep reminding your brother that you are concerned and you would like to be kept informed; he possibly hears the opposite so often that he's grumpily content to believe it. Ditto with your mother's key staff at the Nursing Home. And regularly sending her post cards, funny pictures, little bits and pieces is a great idea: I gave my children each a book of stamps to encourage them to do this, and my mother's thrilled whenever she gets mail from them (it could happen a bit more often, hem-hem).

Realistically, is there anything practical you can do to help your brother and, groan, his wife? I say "realistically" because when my siblings are "only trying to help" I quite often wish they wouldn't! Be careful the helping doesn't in effect amount to second-guessing, challenging and contradicting the people who are there on the ground - even when it's given with the best of intentions, "helpful input" can feel the opposite of supportive to the receiver. If things have got to the stage (I really hope they haven't, but) where your motives are viewed with distrust, don't let that put you off: you and your brother are still on the same side, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes. Best of luck x
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As Jeanne said does he have POA?
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Not too much you can do if bro has not included you in the list of people the NH was given that they had permission to speak with. You could ask the NH if you are on that list. If they are allowed to talk to you call them regularily for updates. Otherwise you will just have to swallow your anger and call bro when you are concerned. How often are you able to visit? I realize it is a long drive but it can be done. Be proactive and be glad bro is taking care of Mom
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Why is your brother controlling? does he feel let down by you or other siblings? have you been there for him when he needed help with mum? Sorry but ive been accused of being controlling youre too bloody right im controlling im controlling my mums care with no help from anyone so there must be more to this than just him being controlling?
my mums docs refuse to speak to anyone other than me as they understand that im the one here and knows they do nothing to help!
Do you feel that you've helped out as much as you could? Just wondering as I seem to see this a lot that non cargiving siblings think the maincargivers are "controlling" Was he the maincargiver? does he have POA?
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Next time you visit, introduce yourself to staff and ask for a person and phone number you can call for daily updates.
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