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They come over everyother weekend and Mom ends up paying for the meal. My Brother and his wife live only two blocks away from us andI guess he figures calling her three times a week he is fullfilling his obligation. Mom wants all of us to get together to have a "Family Meeting" but is afraid that my brother will become angry at her or me . I am willing to keep my mouth closed because I will get aggrivated with him,he should know that we need him and he just doesn't get it. He always says if you need me call, but Mom or I should not have to call it should be an automatic thought. Can anyone give me advice as to how to get a Family Meeting started?

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Mom might really enjoy the idea of a nice family meal..would it be possible for brother to help financially or in kind with the groceries? in a way that let's Mom think she is feeding him like she used to do?
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Topical breeze:
I disagree with all the folks who want you to go easy on your brother. The telling part of your question was he came over and had his mother pay for the meal. Really??
I would let your mother talk turkey to him if she has the ability to do it. A mother can extract a commitment from a child better than a sibling can.
If someone says call me if you need something to a sole caregiver, they are actually saying don't bother me.
This may see harsh but really lives nearby and thinks a bit of phone does his bit. Give me a break.
He knows he isn't doing enough if he has a normal or above average IQ.

Elizabeth
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tropicalbreeze, your mom is dealing with a daughter-in-law too you know. Who knows what your brother is hearing in his ear from her. And she's the one that he has to sleep with, so....
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Burnout10 and I share the same kind of siblings. I've tried family meetings with a social worker and usually have to resort to communication by email. Face face results in lots of tears and irrational behavior on their part. Finally figured out to them Mother is still their Mommy and not an elderly woman needing to be cared for by her adult children. There is a bit of emotional detachment that has to occur to care properly for your elderly loved one. Some siblings never get past the feelings they have for each other (childish jealously revisted) and the parent/child relationship they had many years ago. It is a realy study in family dynamics at this point in our life....truly amazing and sad! Good luck and God bless!
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I asked for family meetings, did a schedule for my sisters and it still did not help. They too say were not mind readers. I think of it this way. What they do everyday like shower, eat, cook, clean, laundry, listen, talk ect is what I have to do for me and my mom 24 hours a day as the live in daughter. I have to always tell them if you see trash or something that needs to be done just do it. Don't ask me. Believe me it's OK..... I have two sisters and one has chosen to stay away and not do anything as she lives ten minutes away. I used to get mad but now I just tell myself I am doing the best I can and mom did the best she could for me. Charts or chores doesn't matter we as caregivers have to ask for some weird reason. If I was told I had to shower mom mon, wed, fri, then thats what I would do or hey you do the shopping this day and the money and list is where it always is. So hang in there. Try to look at things different and know your doing the best you can and ask for help as much as it seems people should know what help is needed. I know it's hard. I find accepting no one else is gonna help that makes it eaiser for me. I am blessed to have given my sister the bills, banking and food shopping. If I had to do that on top of everything else I'm not sure I would be doing this either. Hugs. Oh I have to ask for hugs too for myself from my sisters really : )
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Announcing a family meeting to a man is like saying "we need to talk." Just one day on the phone say, could you..XXXXXXX?
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I agree with Linda - NO FAMILY MTG; this will only allienate your brother. Do the coffee thing; tell him directly that you need more help and list 3-4 things you need him to do to help YOU (inadvertantly he will be helping your mother -- but you are the caregiver and need the help). As he does these things, be mindful of Thanking him (and his wife) and then add more to the plate in time. Don't overwhelm him with a list all at once. One comment was that parent can pin one sibling against another. I agree with that and it happened in my family -- but my brother and I talked about what was happening and agreed on a united front. We share what is going on with mom as well as decision making. He is an enormous support even though he isn't able to help out physically because of long distance.
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I think having a family meeting is going to make your brother feel attacked. Men are just wired differently some have no problem attending to the needs of a parent but others are just lost. When my father was living and had Alz, I asked my brother if he could take dad out on a Sat/Sun for a few hours to give mom a break and my sister and I would do the same on alternating weekends. He couldn't do it. It was too difficult for him to relate to dad outside dad's home. It really was tearing my brother up watching dad decline. He would go over to my parents house to visit him when my mother was not there because she has a personality disorder and everything has to be about her. When dad went to a NH, my brother visited him all the time, when mom wasn't there, and I went too when mom wasn't there. Now nines years after my dad's passing my mother has Alz. My brother is very supportive of my sis and I but he won't do hands on assisting in her care. He has is own health issues too and even before his health issues, he has back problems which prevented him from doing any handyman chores for her. He is a great source of emotional support and I accept that and love him dearly for it. My sister feels differently. Many men feel helpless in the nurturing department and getting to help very difficult. There are the traditional roles with men and woman and getting men to cross over is a whole other thread.

When you say mom ends up paying for the meal, are you going to a restaurant or is she cooking at home? If she is cooking at home, is cooking this meal something your mother looks forward to doing since your brother and his wife are coming over? You could suggest a pot luck so everyone contributes. But if your mom looks forward to cooking a meal that includes your brother, I wouldn't take that away from her.

If there are some specific things that need to be done around the house that your brother can take care of, ask him if could do it. You may want to keep in mind is it worth a family fight if your brother is supportive emotionally but not actively participating. Family dynamics are complicated for example, my husband would not go see his grandmother when she went in a nursing home. He wanted to remember her as she was before. His family accepted that and never put pressure on him. Before she went in the NH, my husband would take our two children over to his grandmother's house every other weekend. My son mowed her lawn, my daughter would help weed. Sometimes it come down to what people value as being helpful too. My mother only values actual work, not the time you spend with her. I won't do actual work such as fixing things around her house because she complains it isn't good enough. She can afford to hire a professional to do just doesn't want to spend the money. Good luck to you and your family!!
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When I was reading what you wrote, tropicalbreeze, I was thinking what a wonderful brother. Linda and Jeanne gave wonderful advice and I can't think of anything to add to what they wrote. I thought about how hard it is to ask for help. Sometimes I hear, "Call me if you need help." I want to say, "When do you think it became possible for me to ask for help?" Asking for help can be so difficult. I don't know why it should be that way, particularly when asking a sibling to help with your parent.

It may be that your brother thinks you are doing such a good job that he's not needed. Since he calls so much, he may just be waiting for you to ask him to help. I bet he would if you let him know what he can take charge of. He may even appreciate it, knowing that he could look back and remember how he was part of Mother's caregiving team.
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What would you and Mom like brother to do? For example, household maintenance things, like clean the gutters, mow the grass, change water faucets for leaks, etc? Do you want him to spend an evening a week with her, so you can go out? Should he pick up her mail daily, sort it, return the personal stuff to her, the business stuff to you, and recycle the junk mail? What, specifically should he have as an "automatic thought"? I guarantee you if you play the "if you really loved us you wouldn't have to ask what to do" game you'll all lose.

I don't know if your brother is a clueless jerk, or just clueless. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt until proven othewise. He calls a few times a week? Great! That is when Mom can tell him what she needs. He says call me if you need anything? Wonderful, call him when you need something. And make the whole process more streamlined by providing a list of regularly recurring tasks he can take on.

Your family dynamics will determine whether it is better to do this one-on-one as the occasion presents itself, or if a meeting is better.

Oh, and he comes over for meals that Mom pays for? Is that a problem? If it is, take him aside and explain the economic facts of life to him, gently, and suggest that he bring a home-cooked meal or carry-out from a restaurant. Kids who aren't on site just really might not know the financial realities.

Good luck!
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Linda is right on target here - it is unfair to assume that anyone is a mind reader. And I've found that men (in general, there are exceptions) have no clue about many practicalities of life that women handle as part of daily living. Especially older men. You have to be specific, like, see those dishes you just used? Guess what, now you have to wash them. Piling them in the sink is not where it ends. Duh!! Also, I don't know if this applies in your case, but I've seen it before: Mom uses (victimizes?) one sibling to control other siblings. Watch out for that! If you and your brother are not a united front, you may find that since you did not hang together, you'll be hanging separately!
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do not go down the dangerous road of "he should KNOW without being told". No one is a mind reader, and that includes you. You have no way of knowing what he is thinking. Perhaps he is scared, or emotionally unable to deal with Mom's decline. Perhaps he feels inept, especially since you do such a great job with Mom. Perhaps he is feeling left out, and is in fact waiting for you to include him by asking him to take part. Men can be less intuitive than women, and often need to be told exactly what you want them to do, especially when it comes to people who are frail.

Take your brother out for coffee, and ask him how he feels about his role with Mom. Is there something specific he would like to do for her, to stay connected to her? If he indeed appears to want to stay hands off, then tell him straight out that if you are going to take on all the support of Mom, that his job is to support YOU by checking in frequently, being a sounding board, and just generally giving you the feeling he "has your back" even if he doesnt feel comfortable doing more of the actualy work involved.
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