I am in my early 50s, divorced and live across the country from my dad and older brother because of parenting custody laws in the state that I moved to when I was still married.
My older brother who is divorced too, cared for my mom before she passed 6 years ago and then moved into my dad's house and has cared for him 24/7 for the last 3 years.
During this time, my brother gave up a career that he enjoyed and has been absorbed further and further into dad's controlling and narcissistic ways.
Dad is 87 and has begun to fall at least once a week and become increasing confused. He is incontinent and absolutely will not agree to anyone coming into his home or going into any group type care. He could afford help and probably ALF but is bound and determined to stay in his home until they haul him out on a stretcher. Brother fully believes that if he set a deadline and left dad- he would be prosecuted by the law when Dad passes alone in the house.
Two years ago I had our family minister take dad to tour some assisted living homes nearby and dad completely refused to move. I've urged brother to hire a PT caregiver- he checked into this and then said, Dad's so difficult, no one would put up with him.
Recently, dad has had hernia surgery, recurring staph infections and fell in church and hit his head on the pew and paramedics had to take him to the ER where he needed 7 staples in the back of his head.
My brother believes he is in prison- counts the nights he sleeps on dad's couch and cries. Normally he is stoic, capable and very independent and now he appears to be in a severe depression. He did see a psychiatrist a few years ago but refuses to take any depression meds or get counseling for himself.
I told him I can fly out to visit next week and his response to me was "Absolutely not! I can't handle company at this time."
I am SO HURT that he now classifies me at COMPANY instead of his SISTER!
I am so hurt that he completely rebuffs any efforts I make to try to get them help, resources or set boundaries. I also feel guilty that I live so far away- I've been raising 3 kids the last 10 years on my own and work quite a bit to try to make ends meet since I am not getting child support any more and have not remarried.
Would appreciate your thoughts about what we are going through...

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MaggieMarshall makes some very good points but so do the others. It's not easy to put it all together from a distance, but I'd advise you to read through all of the terrific responses on this thread and see what seems to fit the situation the best at this time.

It's possible that your brother is where he wants to be, but it's also possible that he is too depressed to move forward and make changes. If you believe the second is what is going on, the adult protective services may be a good idea.

Your dad deserves care and your brother's emotional health is shaky. That leads me to lean toward an intervention by social workers to check things out.

Whatever you decide, please keep us updated on your situation. We can lend support even if we can't fix the issue.
Take care of yourself,
Helpful Answer (0)

It's very apparent to me that you and your brother are on different wave lengths. You two talk with completely dufferent purposes in mind. He talks to you so you'll listen and sympathize. You LISTEN with a mindset trying to fix what's wrong.

If I had to guess, your brother is a Yes But kind of guy. He tells you he cries himself to sleep at night. You suggest it may be time to think about getting dad into assisted living. HE SAYS, "Yes, but nobody will be able to put up with him." Or in response to your suggestion he get some help a few days a week, "Yes, but dad just gets furious." Got the picture?

Assuming your brother is a grown man and isn't mentally ill, he's exactly where he wants to be. Oh, sometimes the shoes he's wearing feel a little snug, but for the most part? He's content.

See, we outlawed slavery in the country decades ago. There is nothing keeping your brother from shedding this responsibility except your brother. You need to turn yourself into a duck so that his complaints roll off your back.

Let brother know that when he's ready to solve his "problems," you'll be at his side in a New York Minute. And if you become too upset listening to his complaints, your next words are, "Brother, you know I love you and dad to bits and pieces. BUT I just can't listen to your complaints all the time. I'm absolutely HERE for you, though. And when you want to talk about SOLUTIONS instead of problems? I'm your gal. I love you both."

Can you tell I have "the T-shirt" in my closet? I wish you peace.
Helpful Answer (18)

Okay... I think we are being a bit hard on the brother. Something that many, many people face is that the parent doesn't want to leave the home and won't allow anyone to come in. This is a very common scenario. We can say that the brother should make it happen, but caregivers are not superhumans that can make other people do things they refuse to do. The most they can do when caring for someone with a strong personality is to decide what they themselves will do.

After caregiving a strong personality for many years, a person can get lost. It does not mean that they are weak, but it does indicate they need some good input in their lives. Maybe instead of saying you are coming to visit, tell him you are going to come take care of your dad for a week, so your brother can have some respite time. For a caregiver, family coming in to visit often just means extra work.

From your brother's prospective, he is stuck. His father won't let anyone in, won't leave his home, and there's no family to help. His sibling has a family, so is not able to contribute much. And there's the criticism, probably from his father and from the sound of this message, from the sibling who is far away. He probably feels he is doing the best he can under bad circumstances and can't find the resources to pull himself up. I don't know why parents do this to their children, but many will do it.

So get in there and help your brother in a positive way. He needs hope and respite. He needs understanding that he is doing a good job with a difficult person. Maybe you can talk your father into coming out to stay with you for a while so your brother can have some time for himself. I don't know what would work in your instance, but you may be able to come up with some ideas if your father won't go into assisted living.
Helpful Answer (14)

Frustratedsis....I was going to stay out of this but, well, I am your brother. Not literally, of course, but I fully understand what he's going through & where he's coming from.

My elderly mother moved into my house about 10 years ago. I have been actively assisting her with various aspects of her life for the past 5 years. Over the past 2-3 yrs, the amount of help Mom needed increased steadily & I was incredibly stressed out trying to do for her & work a full-time job. My brother is single, has no children, lived only 2.5 miles down the road & it took an act of God to get him to lift a finger to help me with Mom or even give me 2 hours of respite. Mom obviously needs AL & I knew I would benefit from it, as well, as a stress reducer. Problem is, Mom ADAMANTLY refuses to go & equally adamantly refuses in-home help while I work. She is "fine". I consulted with local aging agencies & a lawyer & I was basically told I was screwed because she was competent to refuse AL or any other service. Like your brother, I was also told that I could be prosecuted for neglect if I left her alone or moved her to her own apartment & something happened to her because I know she needs help. Talk about being put between a rock & a hard place! The more stressed I became, the more I resented the fact that my brother was living his own life, coming & going as he wished, taking vacation trips & not having any responsibilities beyond himself. I also have flashes of resentment that my mother is being so selfish about the AL or in-home care as to rob me of a normal middle-age life. No one, no agencies & no lawyers have been able to give me any solutions or any help. I have quit my job to care for her 24/7. I go nowhere that she doesn't go & my hobbies of hiking & horseback riding have all been put on hold since I can't be away from her. I know I'm at huge risk for caregiver burn-out but I have pursued all of the "angles" to get help & I've been abandoned by the system to fend for myself. I know the challenges your brother faces! I tell you all of that to say this, JessieBelle got it right. There is no bigger gift you can give a caregiver than respite...even if just for 2 hours. Maybe you can suggest to your brother that you come, not for a visit, but as a stand-in caregiver while he gets away. Even if he decides he doesn't want to go away, possibly you can still lighten his load by assisting during waking hours & then returning to a hotel at night. If he doesn't have the added "work" of hosting a live-in visitor, he might be more receptive.
Helpful Answer (12)

In home care specialists are trained to deal with these types of behaviors... and once they are there dad's reaction may surprise you. So what if he 'acts out'.... they will know how to deal with it. Please encourage your brother to at least try it. He sounds dangerously depresssd.
Helpful Answer (10)

Frustrated sis can I just add my two pennorth please.

If your brother is depressed and from some of your comments he may be in quite a deep depression then the 'yes but' state can become the norm for him because he doesn't actually recognise where HE is in the framework of things. He has possibly inculcated the victim mentality into his daily routine and the fact that he sees you as company not a relative has rung alarm bells for me.

Speaking from a personal perspective I would be flying out for a week long visit but I would also in advance arrange some interventions to take place WHILE I WAS THERE not just for your Dad but for your brother too.

I would hate for you brother to be in an anomic potentially suicidal state and no-one to recognise it....... pushing away family who care is quite typical of that feeling (and of a host of others before you start over worrying)

Something certainly has to change and someone has to have the strength to stand up to your dad and say - this is how it is ....we love you we care about you and now we are going to make sure you are cared for. You clearly cannot do it for yourself (and explain why you think that) and xxxxxx cannot be expected to do it 168 hours a week so we are going to get help - you might as well accept it because it IS GOING TO HAPPEN. The only alternative you have is to go into ALF...your choice Dad. If you tell us both to get out then we will call social services immediately to explain the situation. As it is they are her (because you will have invited them) to discuss with you and us what YOU want and what WE can and are prepared to do. This has to work for everyone and you have to accpet that ALL OF US are involved not just you.

Then take it from there. I am sending over the flak jackets and helmets! Good luck hun let us know how it goes xxxx
Helpful Answer (9)

Your brother is burned out he's a man so he understand your dad we truly speak different lauges our brains our different he is needing a brake visit them I know its no vacation for you but it will be a brake from the stress for him you will understand what a anglie he is and you and he can spend some good times with your dad before the sad god bless you both
Helpful Answer (6)

Why on earth would someone bring home an elder who falls all the time from the ER? If it were me, I would ask for admission and a full work up to find out what's going on in his head. Both neuro and psych evals are called for. There might be something that can be fixed! Plus, if doc says he needs a skilled facility, brother might actually comply.

Does brother have any money of his own, or is he staying with dad from fear/obligation/guilt AND financial woes?
Helpful Answer (6)

Your brother has convinced himself that he'd be prosecuted if he left. Would proving to him otherwise make a difference? Ask him that. If it would, arrange for a consult with an eldercare attorney who can explain the law to him.
Helpful Answer (5)

Caring for. My mom shut me down. I was like a robot but didn't realize it. When my sister who is 80s said she was coming to visit I feared the hug would shatter my constitution. Get his dr to mentally check him. I hate to send someone out of their home. Sometimes there is just no choice. At least tell him nurse moving in and will be respected or he WILL be going to assisted living because he is loved. Have paperwork from dr to show him. Must visit often to assisted living to be sure good care. Bro is in place I was it is heartbreaking. My mom passed feb 22 after 27 falls that thank god broke nothing. Missed 101 by 4 wks. I still feel guilty I could not continue but I was falling asleep on my feet started anxiety palms etc. the guilt if he lays at home bleeding to death would not go away. God bless you all. You are not alone there are thousands of us in same boat. Their stubbornness and independence are great until it's their nemesis.
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