My father became hospitalized this summer- it had happened before, but usually for only a few days, and, like before, it fell to me to stay with my mother who is in her 80's and has dementia. Dad got worse and I had to take off work for several weeks. My brother is in another state and self-employed, and though I kept him in the loop, he did not come home. I found someone to care for Mom after using most of my leave, and was able to go back to work. My brother, meanwhile, did not come home until just before my father was sent home with hospice. So, even though there wasn't much he could have done by being here, it was up to me to deal with Dr.'s, Mom's home care and my own home (I am single), before and after I went back to work. My brother did handle paperwork in the week or two after Dad's passing, since we're trying to locate enough assets to cover long-term care for my mother. I thought all was going well until he came in this week & decided he wants our mother to take a supplement that is derived from hemp for her RA. I questioned the legality of it and it escalated into a full-blown argument. He accused me of not caring for our mother's pain, of causing problems because I work nights & have to sleep during the day (of course I WAS up during the weeks I was using up my leave taking care of Mom), of wanting everything my way- during the time he was on the west coast of the country with his girlfriend. We were not in a good place when we got off the phone. We are both in our 50's (I'm the eldest), and he reduced me to a crying mess. I've been beating up on myself because I feel I could have handled things better with my father. He was controlling and no matter what I suggested, like changing doctors since I did not think his gp was good or asking him to downsize to a smaller house so I could check on them daily, he refused. Now I have my brother sticking the knife in. I've felt really alone except for my friends who tell me I did the best I could. We have few close relatives and none in town. I think I must not be the only person experiencing this. I just don't understand why he just unloaded on me for questioning his wanting to give her a supplement. Mom has dementia & can't decide these things for herself. I told him he wouldn't like it if I made decisions regarding her care without consulting him. Any input would be appreciated- I'm at a loss.

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You mentioned that your brother is on the West Coast. In general there is a very different perception of Marijuana products in CA, OR, WA, and BC. This is coming from a BC West Coaster, who does not use any THC or CBD products.

Dispensaries have been around for decades, even prior to legalization. People, even non users like me, are comfortable talking about the products and know many people who use them for medical reasons. It is not shameful, hidden or extraordinary. People freely talk to their doctors about the products (not all physicians are onboard), about the products they use.

I would expect that your bother has had discussions back on the Coast with people who feel they have gotten relief from either CBD or THC products. My guess is that he thought he was helping you and Mum by suggesting a product that may relieve some of her symptoms.

My brother and I are having a challenge working through a situation with my Dad. We both want the same result, but our perspectives on how best to achieve it are very different.

You both want pain/symptom relief for Mum.

You both want AL or other care for Mum.

You have both lost your father, who from your description was not the easiest person. I can understand your brother not wanting to be around Dad. I choose to have very limited contact with my Dad too.

Your brother did step up the plate when Dad went into hospice and died. Doing what he could regarding paperwork.

When your brother saw Mum and the state of her RA, he came up with a suggestion that was reasonable to him, based on the environment where he lives. In my case, my brother who sees Dad almost daily did not notice that Dad's teeth were breaking off, when I saw Dad and yes, I admit attacked my brother for not noticing the state of his teeth, I got him to go to the dentist to discover he had multiple abscesses. I am not suggesting you have in any way been negligent in your care, but sometimes change is slow and not noticeable unless you have been away and come back.

When he saw the challenges you were having with working nights and caring for Mum he commented on it not being ideal.

For both your sakes and your mother's, write out a list of points of agreement. Then each of you can write out a list of things of concern as they pertain to Mum. Next work through the list of concerns item by item and without attaching blame (you work nights, he lives on the West Coast), talk about how best to resolve them.

Lay the ground via email. Do not use I or you statements, use Mum statements. 'Mum needs someone to look in on her during the day', not 'your work schedule is no good for Mum'. 'Mum needs pain relief', not 'I think Mum should use CBD oil'. Then each of you offer several solutions for each issue. Once the ground work has happened, meet with a mediator and work out the sticking issues.

This is the process my brother and I have used. It took time, but by doing most the ground work via email, we were able to remove most of the emotion and drill down to 4 points that need to be addressed. We meet next week with a professional to iron out the details.
Helpful Answer (4)

SuzyQ, you wrote that your father is controlling. Like father, like son. Learned behavior. Your brother may be controlling you as he observed and learned from your father's behavior.

Is this the first time this kind of episode has happened? If not, then I think you are dealing with an issue of son observing father's behavior and imitating it, w/o necessarily knowing that he is.

I wouldn't fault myself, though; your instincts were right and your brother was completely in error to suggest something like medicinal hemp. He's NOT a doctor. If he asked, or suggested, or initiated a discussion, that's different.

RA is a complex condition; it's not for amateurs to make suggestions on meds or non meds such as hemp derived products.

However, there is a little glimpse of hope - he was concerned for your mother's pain, or apparently so.

Console yourself with the fact that you did the right thing for your mother, but I wouldn't be surprised to see more of this kind of domineering behavior from your brother. Steel yourself.
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suzyq7936, we each mourn in our own way. Your bother may be feeling regretful that he wasn't more present for your father at the end of his life. He may be full of guilt. Perhaps he is determined to participate more with Mom. And then he suggests something and he gets rejected (in his view) and he's pissing and moaning about not being allowed to help. It is not his fault. He is not neglectful. It is your fault because you want to be the boss. Or at least that is entirely possible how he is reacting out of guilt feelings.

Of course I have never met your brother and I am not a long-distance mind-reader. But I do know that mourning can take many forms -- not all of them healthy. Both of you have recently lost your father. It isn't so surprising if one or both of you is not behaving normally.

I'm just suggesting that it would be very sad to severe a relationship over this kind of overreaction on your brother's part. Maybe he is emotionally distraught. Or maybe he is a certifiable jerk. But if you were getting along until this blowup, I think it might be worth some patience with him and an attempt to reestablish your relationship.

Mom is probably not competent to appoint a POA if she hasn't done so by now. So it would be really best if you can come to some working arrangement with your brother.

What if you emailed your brother? "I've been thinking about what you suggested. Why shouldn't we try anything legal and not dangerous to help mom? So I am going to research that supplement you suggested. Mom has a doctor appointment in two weeks. I'll ask their opinion of the supplement. Thanks for your suggestions."
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Any supplementals should be approved by your mom's doctor first. Just because it comes from GNC doesn't mean it's safe. It could also interfere with her other medications or her dementia.

I am also wondering who, if anyone, has POA over your mom.

With an elderly parent with dementia in the picture you don't want to be estranged from your brother. You may not agree on something but you need his support and what little help he has to give. So many times families just fracture when the parents become elderly and sick. Don't let that happen to your family.
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I'm so sorry, Suzy. I completely sympathise.

My brother once called me about arranging respite care near him and his wife. I don't want to recall the whole ghastly depressing wrangle, but the outcome was him yelling his head off down the phone at me and then hanging up.

He was "only trying to help."

You and your brother are both under the most insane pressure. So as not to end up like me, no longer in contact at all with any of my siblings, think through any conversations you have during this period and mentally Delete all unkind, irrational, angry or hurt comments as being expressions of emotion, completely unrelated to facts or decisions.

You're entitled to an opinion, of course you are. So let's look at how that conversation went...


Him: There's this brilliant natural pain relief, from hemp, isn't that amazing?

You: Er, is that actually legal?

Him: Don't you CARE??? Why are you making EVERYTHING so DIFFICULT???


H'mmmmm, seems reasonable...🤔

I think you have to handle all conversations on any subject on the assumption that they are incredibly volatile and likely to blow up at the slightest jolt. So, for that particular example, agree agree agree, yes how interesting, of course we'll need to run it by her GP to check for contraindications... And then see. Maybe it'll work. Or maybe it would get him jail time...🙄

What your brother needs to understand is that while he is under pressure and feeling pain from it, So Are You. And there aren't any simple solutions. And you both want the same thing - the best care achievable for your mother, without either of you being driven to drink or a breakdown.

If you can't get a complete sentence out without him going off on one at you, try writing an email setting out how you would like to reboot communications, and make sure the subject heading is attractive and conciliatory* otherwise he won't read it. Finish by asking him to call you so that you can both start again.

You Are On The Same Team.

Please don't mess this up like we did!

*by conciliatory, I don't mean you have anything to apologise for. I mean forget what was said and move rapidly on to what happens next.
Helpful Answer (3)

It sounds to me like you are both stressed, both with grief from your dad's passing and with trying to locate both the funds for mom's care and the "right" place for her.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this turmoil and pain; I think there are a LOT of folks here who can identify. I wondered who has POA for mom because in some situations, family gives all the "power" to the far away, non-hands-on sibling who flies in infrequently and tries to run the show.

If possible, chalk this all up to stress and be the peacemaker. Has your relationship with your brother been good up until this point? Try to get back to the even keel that you've both had before.
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I feel for you Suzy. I could have practically written most of your post as i care for both my parents, have had multiple situations where i had to care for one while the other was in the hospital (alone). It is a brutal situation to be in....especially working and with no family support.

For what it is worth i think you did the right thing questioning these supplements being given to your mother. You sound like you are doing the best you can under very trying circumstances.

Dont let them get you down.

Helpful Answer (3)

Who has PoA for health and finances?
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