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I live with my mother and help take care of her. I have been doing this full-time since 2005 (14 years now) with little to no help from my older siblings who live across the country. The oldest sibling lives in Washington DC and she actually has done a lot more to help me and our mother. When I needed a vacation, she came to Ohio and stayed with my mom. That gave me peace of mind to be able to relax on my vacation. The main issue is, I make next to nothing and I am always financially struggling. My sister makes probably three times what I do. But the one that bothers me the most is my brother. He is rather financially comfortable, even though he constantly says he is not. He just bought a place in California that is 1.2 million dollars. This month, I am paying rent LATE for the first time ever. I am under so much stress and my brother does nothing to help our mom. On her birthday in August, he got her ... nothing. On Christmas... nothing. I scraped by to get her a few very small gifts to make Christmas something to enjoy. But the icing on the cake is that whenever he does call, it is like he is Jesus Christ. My brother is the golden child and does absolutely nothing for her. I get the doom and gloom from mom and her severe depression and he calls and she perks up and is happy as can be. I just feel so cheated. My sister is mad at him to, for the exact same reasons.


I know I probably need to let this all go, but I want to scream sometimes because I am single, I have NO social life or any chances of meeting anyone because I am also a gay man living in rural Ohio. I gave up ever thinking I could have someone. I battle depression daily because of all of this. I have had my stress levels skyrocket because of this.


So, I am planning another vacation later this year IF I can get caught up financially and that might not happen. But I think it is my brother's turn to take care of mom while I am gone. Issue is, he will not do it. I know my sister probably would but how can I get my brother to step up and do something to help her?


Open to any and all advice...

Find Care & Housing
Well. You can remind your brother that your sister did her bit - came and stayed with mother and gave you a break - and now it is his turn. So his options are: come and stay with his mother, who would love to see him; or if he really can't spare the time then he can pay for respite care.

It is possible - you may alas think likely - that he will brush this off, laugh it off, make excuses or even take offence at being asked. In which case, all you can really do is pack as much restrained contempt into your voice as seems appropriate. You can't force him to lift a finger.

It is, I know, almost impossible not to pick away at the issue of why some adult children do these things. Perhaps it often is the favourite child: my brother loathed my mother's adoration and writhed whenever he came into contact with her, so it's not always just a case of spoiled entitled brat. Why not acknowledge her birthday, send her a Christmas card, make a habit of calling her every third Sunday or whatever? How hard can it be? Well! - too hard, apparently.

But one thing you can be sure of: if you don't put a straightforward proposal to your brother, he definitely can't agree to it. Give him a fair chance. He might surprise you.

When he doesn't, we'll have to think of something else...

By the way. If you are the only gay man in rural Ohio I will eat my hat. I realise it's not exactly the centre of the Pride universe, of course, but just think through the statistics.
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jackinohio Feb 2, 2019
sorry for my late reply but I absolutely love your ideas. I wrote this about a week ago at the same time I was putting an email together to both siblings. I have NOT sent that email as I typically like to write something, sit on it for a while and revisit it later when maybe my emotions are not the same. I plan on reading all the replies here and then going back to that email with some good ideas. I really appreciate your very common sense approach here. Very level-headed thinking, which is at times very hard for me. Thank you!
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Unfortunately, in my experience, you can't. Either they will help or they won't. Like you my sibling that is on the other side of the country is the one that will help out. But he's on the other side of the country. Even with that he helps out more the few times a year when he's out here then my other sibling does that lives 45 minutes away. For that sibling, it's too far to drive.

Not to defend him, but a 1.2 million house in California is a fixer upper. In parts of California, making $100,000/year is considered low income. So it's all relative.
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Riverdale Jan 31, 2019
In the area where I live in SC 1.2 is a teardown. I couldn't afford to buy there now. In NY where I am trying to sell my house which is a nice 4 bedroom on an acre won't likely bring that. Sorry to have gone off topic.
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You've gotten some great suggestions, so I'll be brief and lay out steps that might prove helpful.
1. Yes, write to your brother and state that you're planning to be away from __ thru ___ and Mom would greatly benefit if he would please arrange his calendar to be with Mom during that time. Put the emphasis on your mother rather than on you.
2. Yes, please look into respite care where your mother can not only be cared for in whatever way she needs medically and physically, but it can also provide a more social situation than one gets living at home.
3. You don't mention this, but I wonder if your mother attends any day programs, as that could also give you some breaks as well.
4. Check with your church, synogogue, community centers, senior centers and neighbors who could come and "visit" with mom a couple of evenings each week or on weekends to give you regular breaks so you can go out socially and not feel trapped at home and isolated. Many people like to help, but they need to be asked.
5. IF your mother needs more help than a neighbor or volunteer could provide, then asking your siblings to pay for an aide to be with mom 1 night/ week (this would be a fairly nominal cost) and you could have your night out and this would help you recharge your batteries...

It's important that you stay focused on what it is you want rather than on the emotional turmoil your siblings (brother in particular) cause because that just creates more turmoil in your head and heart...
Be clear, be direct and be focused... you will get what you need and want, it just may happen in ways you haven't yet expected... and we breathe...
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DizzyBritches Feb 3, 2019
I agree. GC may be clueless about what mom needs. Be direct and specific, without being accusatory. Know exactly what you would like to get from him and make it clear.
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Look into respite care for Mom while you are on vacation. You can’t change your brother so try to focus your energy elsewhere. If you don’t want to ask your sister to come stay with mom, then respite care is an option. I hope you get to take that vacation soon! You deserve it!
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jackinohio Feb 2, 2019
thank you, and I will look into that if it comes to it. When I took that vacation last year, it was so liberating. I went back to Northern California and for half of the trip, I rented a small RV and went up the coast, all alone. It was perfect. I honestly think it was the best vacation I ever took. A great deal of that had a lot to do with being able to relax and not worry about mom, because my sister was there looking after her. I am planning a similar one for later this year. I like to go when tourists are gone, very late in the season and just enjoy being alone and in nature.
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My dad has dementia. My mother is depressed. I'm single and straight and my siblings don't help at all.

I got that off my chest. So, they won't help you. Don't expect it. If they're married with kids, they have their own issues. Be ready to get the blame for everything and the left over praise for what they attempt to do.

I wish there were a better answer, but there isn't.

Make sure they have a nice seat for the funeral.
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disgustedtoo Feb 3, 2019
...a seat with tacks on it...
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Expect no help from your brother. You are choosing to help your mother. If this is not the life you want don't do it. If you choose to stay, do it only with a written agreement of financial support from your siblings and mother that is adequate for your situation. There are no medals for martyrs.
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gdaughter Feb 3, 2019
There are medals for martyrs, but they are invisible and we must pin them on ourselves!
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In my experience, a kind but honest email brings some response from couple of the MIA sibs.

We assume they know all we know, and they DO NOT.

My OS would happily write a check for any amount if it meant she didn't have to actually lay hands on mother or "do" anything. Perhaps this is the situation with your family. My younger brother is the same way. His wife does not want him "helping out" but she isn't the one working and if he opts to throw a couple hundred bucks a month at mom, he should be able to do it! SIL will get something from the $1 store for mom for birthdays, and frankly it's just offensive.

You may have to swallow your pride and simply ASK. Worst thing they can say is no.

She's not just a mom to "YOU" she is the mother of all of you, and there;s no reason why they can't pitch in monthly.

If you had a few extra bucks maybe you could get out and meet some new friends....it's a lonely life, caregiving.

BTW, I think all families have the "Golden Boy". Mom's first one died a few years ago, but the 2nd place just stepped up. He is rich beyond measure and travels and plays to a fare thee well. It bothers me to no end that he doesn't go see mom. His wife has allergies, mother has cats..he isn't allowed to go without her...but he could certainly mail a check.

Mother lives with YB who is barely getting by. I'll kick in for groceries or do gift cards, etc., but brother should be recompensed some. With cash.

Try the email approach, lay it out there--add that you're struggling to make rent and maybe that will touch their hearts.
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jackinohio Feb 2, 2019
Thank you. I am new to this site but I can say that it is therapeutic just hearing others experiencing similar issues. The funny thing is, I was always momma's boy but in adult life, my brother retains this perfection status that I nor my sister will ever reach. I know my mom loves us, but if you mention once ounce of criticism of my brother, she gets very, very upset. It would be like speaking ill of Jesus. My sister did offer me money the other day to help with rent, and when she did, she copied our brother on those messages. He has said nothing. No surprise there.
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Not sure what's going on here with some angry comments. But anyway, I'll leave that alone. Just try to find a way to take care of yourself and make the best decisions you can for your mom. You can't control your brother's decisions, so maybe just work around that.  And I'm just guessing? There are gay people in every state. I've heard they're even in rural areas? Lol. And sometimes long distance situations can work too? Don't give up on you being happy!!!
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My sister was my was my best friend until the day I asked her to take our disabled Mom, who lives with me, for a weekend or two each month. Yadda yadda yadda, my sister and I are now estranged. Her life is so busy, and stressful, and so much more important than mine!

Sad, the things you learn about your family when your parents get old and sick.
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Reply to Jenelle83
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You need to adjust your expectations.
You also start getting things in order so you can apply for Medicaid.
Would your mom be eligible for Senior housing? Good possibility that you could also reside there if you are a caregiver.
There are resources available that can help out, there is help with gas bills, electric bills and resources for food.
Is your mom eligible for Hospice? If so they can help with supplies, equipment as well as volunteers that can come in and help you and your mom.And you would have a Social Worker that could find more resources for you.
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jackinohio Feb 2, 2019
I agree about the expectations. I am working on an email that I will send to both siblings and see what happens from there. I agree with one poster from above who said that I do need to at least give him a chance. From there, I can make a decision on how to proceed. My mom is not 'hospice' ready yet. Her health goes up and down on an almost daily basis though. Sometimes she is good and sometimes she is terrible. All I do is worry about her. I think this road is going to get much, much harder and I know I will obviously need to reach out and ask for more help at some point. The social worker idea... that is something I totally forgot about. I work in health care and we have an amazing social worker there that I might go to and ask what she knows. She would at least know all the local resources that could help.

Thanks for your insightful reply, much appreciated.
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