I am the primary caretaker of my parents. My Dad is 65, my Mom is 63. I know they are not old by any means, but their health is not good.
My Dad is a recent cancer survivor, and I have learned Cancer is not done when the Doc says " Your cancer is in readmission". My Dad had extensive stomach and esophagus surgery and needed a feeding tube for 6 months as well, there are appointments to make sure it is still in readmission. As well, along with being a Cancer survivor, he also suffers from Macular Degeneration and Hearing loss.

Mom is suffering from an H. Pylori stricture and is now on a feeding tube as well. She has had a 70 lb weight loss in 6 months before the doctors found the stricture. The doctors can not seem to keep the stricture stretched. So, hence, the feeding tube. She is also depressed. I think she may be getting dementia as well.
Both my parents also have COPD.
My brother, who is older then me, lives with my parents. But he doesn't do much to take care of them. I come over every morning and make sure they take their medicine. Either I or my husband or my cousins drive them to all of their appointments, I, my daughter, or my boys clean their house and do their dishes. Dad does the yard work with our help. I balance their checkbook and pay their bills. I or my Dad make all the meals. When my Dad was on a feeding tube I came over every evening and hooked him up to the machine and I am sure when my Mom gets out of the hospital I will be hooking up her machine as well.
My brother doesn't have a drivers license, so I used to drive him around all the time too, but I told him I wouldn't do it any more. Especially for free. He does work about 20-30 hours a week.
How can I get him to help out more? Or any?
I love my parents and I want to help, but I work 50 hours a week at my job and I have 4 children, a husband and a separate house. Between work and my parents I am gone 60-80 hours a week. After sleeping that only gives me like 11-15 hours a week with my kids and husband. We never can commit to plans anymore cause I am not sure if their will be an emergency or my parents will need me for something else and I might have to leave.
My brother actually had the nerve to tell me I don't spend enough time with my parents and gave me a guilt trip. But I clean HIS messes after HE cooks himself dinner and I do HIS dishes as well.
How do I get him to stop being lazy, taking advantage of my parents, my kids, and me and get him to help me?? Oh yeah, he doesn't pay rent and my parents buy his food and all of his bills except his cell phone, and sometimes they pay that.
My brother is upset over the will my parents wrote because it gives me $95,000 more, but they left the house to him, free and clear.
I know I sound bitter and resentful with my brother and I will admit I am. But he is selfish and I am tired of it. I want him to help. I don't want to feel trapped anymore.

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You are a real angel to care for your parents. You may not get much out of others in the family, it doesn't help to fret but you can ask and don't feel guilt if you have to hire someone to get a day off to alleviate anxiety or care for yourself and children/spouse.
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Good for you! It's comforting to know that you're taking strong actions to address the situations. I hope you already feel a sense of relief just knowing that these issues will be addressed.

Good luck with the changes!
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Country Mouse,
I don't really bring it up to him that much to tell the truth. But Dad informs me that he doesn't pay rent, he only cooks his meals. I know my parents buy his groceries, cause I go shopping with Dad. As well, I know either my Dad or I clean up after him. I did talk to Dad seriously that this can not continue. I told my Dad that my brother needs to start contributing, or he needs to find his own place. I only live 3 blocks away, so they really wouldn't be "alone" with out him. My Dad agrees, and we are actually going to talk to my brother about it on my day off of work tomorrow.
As for my mother, this is also one of the reason I think she might be getting a touch of dementia. On Tuesday Dad and I are going to call her doctor and talk to the doctor about some of the mental problems that might be wrong with my mother.
As suggested, my Dad is hiring a housekeeper. And having a nurse come in to help with my mother's care.
I have also talked to my Dad about the stress I am under doing so much. He is going to have me help him make his appointments, so I can schedule them together and on a good day for me.
As well, store trips are going down to 2 times a week, and Ill call him if I need to go to the store and grab him little things.
Thank you all for your suggestions. Sometimes it gets so frustrating. My husband is a good person to vent to, but sometimes it helps from an outsiders perspective.
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Countrymouse, well said! In fact, very, very well said!
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I don't know any parent who would think it a good, healthy thing that her nearly 40 year old son were still living at home, rent-free, having his meals cooked for him and his laundry done and the kitchen cleared up after him… I don't know any parent who doesn't hope to see their children take off to a successful, independent adult life. When your mother praises your brother to the heavens, does she remind you at all of Dumbo's mother, fiercely defending her darling babe against all comers? There is a big difference between refusing to let anyone else criticise your own offspring, and knowing in your own mind that everything is going well. In short, I wouldn't be surprised if your mother - as well as loving your brother - worries about him constantly.

I also don't know many men who would want it known in public that they live rent free not with, but off, their parents. Not exactly shameful, especially not if their parents are benefiting from the company, but certainly something that provokes sideways glances. Something that tends to prompt requests for explanation.

So… What has he got to say for himself??!

Does he think that by living with his parents throughout their (very serious) illnesses he is contributing enough? A sort of "Being There" role that occupies all his energy? Is that possible?
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None of you are hurting my feelings. And I am thankful for so many answers. I do enjoy taking care of other people. But as well, I don't enjoy taking care of someone who takes advantage of me. The reason I clean up after my brother is because if I don't, my father will. I do not think it is my father's responsibility, who has enough on his shoulders to take care of my brother, who is in his late 30s. No, my brother has never been diagnosed with anything that ails him. He is in good physical/mental health. Just lazy. I do mean to talk to my Dad about hiring a housecleaner a few days a week, and they can afford it. My fear is that the house cleaner will be so busy cleaning up after my brother she wont have time to clean after my parents. As well, I have spoken to my Dad about my brother, but neither of us want to hurt my mother, who thinks her boy walks on water.
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You wrote:

" But I clean HIS messes after HE cooks himself dinner and I do HIS dishes as well."

Why, why in the world would you clean up after this lazy brother?

Your parents and even you are enbabling him to be a sloth by compensating for him. He'll never lift a finger as long as he doesn't haveto and as long as there's someone to take care of him.

I don't mean to be cruel, but that's the reality. Sometimes it takes an outsider to address these harsh situations bluntly and frankly.

And unfortunately I honestly don't know what will make him get off his lazy butt and contribute - maybe nothing.

Has he ever been self-supporting, ever lived alone? I kind of suspect not. As long as he's got someone to sponge off of, he'll continue to do so.

You have your own family and your parents. Get help in for them if you can but leave the brother to his own messes. It would be ideal if some of the rooms could be reallocated for caregivers, possibly live-in, and your brother would be forced to grow up and fend for himself.

Again, I don't intend to hurt your feelings by being blunt but rather to emphasize that your brother has no need or impetus to change.
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Stop what you're doing. Don't go. As you say, you have a full-time job, husband and children to concern yourself with, and presumably your own substantial list of household chores. You don't need to moonlight as your parents' housekeeper too, let alone your brother's nursemaid.

Does your brother have some kind of identified physical or mental health issue that would explain his attitude? Presumably he's in his 30s, give or take, and if he has no driver's licence, has only a part-time job and is content to live rent-free off his parents then there is something not quite right - I'm not criticising him, just wondering what's going on?

Your parents have had very bad luck with their health, and I'm sorry for their trouble. If there is a silver lining, though, it's that their difficulties are substantial enough for them to look to professionals for assistance - and that gets you off the hook.

By all means take them to appointments. Collect their groceries, once or twice a week, if it fits your own busy routine. Do whatever is compatible with making your husband, children, home and career your first priorities, with loving care for your parents fitting in around them. I would say find some time for you, too; but I'm guessing what makes you happy is other people? That is a lovely thing, I just don't like to see it taken for granted.

What is NOT appropriate is taking responsibility for supervising your parents' daily medications. If they really cannot be trusted to manage those independently, then their healthcare professionals need to set up support systems for them. It shouldn't be left to a frazzled family member (I'm assuming you're not a doctor, nurse or similar) who already has too much on her plate. What happens if you get ill? What happens if you sprain an ankle? It is not good for your parents to be so heavily reliant on one amateur, informal helper, not even with back-up from other family members.

I don't doubt that you take fantastic care of them, n.b., I'm not saying that you're not more than capable. What I'm saying is that a system that rests on one person is a risk, and if you take yourself off the team the healthcare providers will be obliged to cover it.

Longer term, I would recommend that you research ALF for your parents together and see if it would be feasible to sell the house from underneath your brother (that is, assuming he doesn't have his own disabilities which make him, in fact, dependent on your parents). That is one incontestable way of getting him out of the nest. I doubt if your parents would like it, though.

(Don't worry about the will. Your parents can change their wills any time they please; they cannot be held to any undertaking they may have made to their family; and if the house is sold they could always, if they chose, make alternative provision for their son).
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I don't see your brother helping out or he would have already done so. He sounds like a lazy, insolent slob who expects people to clean up after him.

Have you ever asked for his help? Specifically asked him to do something? If not, try this. If he doesn't agree then you know for sure that he'll never be helpful and that you're in this all by yourself.

Is there a way to not clean up after him when you go to your parents house? Do what you have to do for your parents but stop short of helping your brother. If he has items on the grocery list ask him what they are and then cross them out. In cleaning up dishes bypass his scummy dishes that are sitting around waiting for you to come along and just clean up after your parents. Is this a little petty? Sure it is. But what fun!
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Thanks, shakingdustoff, My brother does the same thing. Whenever I talk to him or ask him for help or anything. He tells me what I am doing wrong, tells me he is busy working or such and then tells my Mom how horrible I am, and she gets upset at me.
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blannie, thanks for your answer. I agree, my parents aren't old by any means. My mother still has her father around, but unfortanlatly, sickness knows no age. I wish it was different, I remember, just 4 0r 5 years ago my Dad was running with the grandkids and my Mom was sitting on the deck watching it. Clear up until last year my father was gardening with little help, but that was before cancer and depression set in. My father is getting better and I can see him doing more and more, but he will always still need me to do a lot because of the limited vision. However, at this point, I don't know if my Mom will get better.
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You're fighting a losing battle with your brother. Your parents don't hold him accountable, so he's not going to listen to you. Give up that avenue of approach, it will only result in frustration for you. Look to getting in outside help for your mom and dad.

I'm 63 taking care of my 94-year old mom. I just can't fathom people your parents age being so incapacitated. But they're totally enabling your brother, so their decision-making capabilities aren't the best, as they've raised a slacker son. He's not going to change, so you need to change your attitude. You can look through scores of threads on here about do-nothing siblings. There's no magic bullet to get them to care and participate. So you need to look for other solutions. Also consider getting your folks into assisted living now, while they can easily adjust. Then your brother will have to figure out his life on his own.
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