I’m the primary caretaker of both elderly parents but while I’ve have stress filled days to say the least, I get through. My parents’ health issues (mom had a stroke so she's very cognitively different) has worsened my 40 year old brother’s depression as he was extremely close to my mom. I can see how hurt he is when he now tries to have a conversation with her like he used to. Long story short, when my brother asked me to lend him money, AGAIN, (after not repaying loans to me in the past), he confessed that he’s spending ALL his extra money in bars, gambling, food etc. He claims it keeps him sane, he’s depressed about my parents, thinks about hurting himself, in a dark place, hates himself since he has Tourette’s, wonders why this all happened to him, etc - a “woe is me” story. He says I would never understand his condition since I’ve never hit rock bottom or been deeply depressed. It’s correct that I haven’t and have worked hard and been blessed to be able to help my parents but when do you take control and get help for yourself? The argument went on for an hour - in short - I say to him “how are you going to help yourself stop this damaging behavior and how can I help”. He replies with more or less, that I would never understand, I’m simplifying an emotional problem, he can’t control his behavior, He knows it’s not right but it keeps him from hurting himself but he’s stuck and can’t seem to do anything”. Perhaps I will never understand but is there a point where one just has to get a grip and get it together? Does clinical depression just debilitates one from finding help? He says he has no control of his spending but he won’t let the payments for his beloved car or apt lapse! I was left with sympathy for what he’s going through; anger because his behavior seemed selfish and not trying to help himself and I’m always his lifesaver with money; scared - thinking he could hurt himself, and exhausted - feeling I have to help him now too. I also don’t want to sound like a unsympathetic robot and throw out simple fixes - see a psychiatrist, get on meds, etc since this seems to run much deeper. He’s my youngest brother and have a close bond. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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Hi. Thanks for the responses. I’ll clarify where there is confusion. When my mom had her stroke, my brother could barely handle it. His job put him on unpaid leave as they thought he was a security issue (he went from
jokey to silence, missed work, did go to therapy, but I guess military jobs which need security clearance are strict) and was out of work for about 8 months. We sued and won. He got his job back promised to pay me back as I supplemented his income for all that time as he is living in a small town, with no other jobs available. However, once he got the job back, we started a payback plan - and nothing yet!

I am the primary caretaker for both parents about three quarters of the year. My dad takes care of my mom for the rest of the time as I’m out of state so we FaceTime about 5 times a day - he’s mostly cognitively there - just a bit more forgetful - so I have to make sure daily that both he and my mom are taking their medications. I do all their finances and am
their POA.

So even if you take the money out of this, I’m hearing that HE has to make the first move to get help. I’m trying to find out why one doesn’t get the help they need when the resources are there? I’m not good at letting things go that seem fixable - even if temporary like some meds, a therapist etc.

I am female and do all the caretaking. He does not get money from my other siblings - but I do think he gets some money from my dad. I think my dad likes helping him because it tears my dad up that my bro has Tourette’s. It’s like he feels guilty as something genetic or hereditary caused this and it weighs on my dad to see him struggling with his ticks.

So I don’t periodically loan him money here or there, just got him through a bad patch, helped him set up a repayment plan, helped him with a budget - and still - no progress and he’s 40.

maybe the wrong question why one doesn’t get help. I think if I understood that, it would make me more compassionate (no money) and less angry.

hope this clear things up some.
Helpful Answer (1)

Your brother needs treatment, not money to spend on alcohol.

Is he getting psychiatric care? It's his doctors who will understnd the self medication, the helplessness and hopelessness. Your job is to protect your parents' assets so that they have money for THEIR care.
Helpful Answer (2)

Giving brother money is simply lengthening his stay in the pit of depression.

He needs help, he seems to notice it, but he alone has to seek the help and follow through. DON'T give him money. My mom tried to 'buy' my OB's wellness by throwing thousands of dollars at him.

Nothing helped as he wasn't ever ready to make the steps towards wellness. Sadly, he died, due to simple lack of care for his basic health problems. Mother's guilt over her enabling him to do nothing has been awful. I don't think she'll ever get over it.

Giving money to someone so sick is like PAYING them to be ill.

Sorry to sound harsh, but it broke my heart to watch my brother soak up as much money from my parents as he possibly could. They had to sell their home in the end and move in with another brother--all b/c they could not say "no" to this older brother.
Helpful Answer (2)

Sit down with him and calmly tell him that you cannot give him any more money. No matter what he threatens to do, give him no more money. Someone here said he needs to grow up. Well he never will if you (or someone else) continues to keep bailing him out. Don't fall for his guilt tripping you anymore. Sometimes you just have to cut a person loose and hope that they find their way on their own. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (1)

How old are your parents? When I think elderly I am thinking at least 80.

You are going to have to make a big decision concerning your brother. Do you want to care for him for the rest of your life? There was a reply to a post the other day where the person asked if they were enabling someone. A member came back and said no, it was disabling someone.

If you were giving money to your brother for food and necessities, I would say OK. But for drinking and gambling, no he wouldn't get my hard earned money for that. Your brother should have a job. There is medication for his problems. There are resources out there. You can give him a hand up but he has to do it for himself. Someday your parents won't be here. And you are going to start being resentful. And by that time, brother may be too old to find that job.

Its time brother grows up.
Helpful Answer (3)

It sounds like your brother is self medicating.
YOU can do nothing for his depression,
YOU can do nothing to help him if he will not help himself.
If YOU "loan" him money again YOU are enabling him.
I am guessing your brother is over the age of 18. He is an adult. He makes the choices he makes. YOU can do nothing that will change his choices.
He needs to accept the fact that his mother/your mother is not going to be able to converse with him as she did previously but he can still have contact with her, something that he would not be able to do had the stroke been fatal.

If the caregiving is getting to be more than you can handle it might be time to look for a facility that will be a good fit for both of them so they can remain together.

As for your brother, sometimes you have to hit bottom before you can climb out of a hole.
Sorry if this sounds harsh, I do not intend it to be so but you need to care for yourself before you can care for others.
Helpful Answer (5)

From another post: "Watching my elderly father take care of my mom, it’s clear he barely hears her when she calls for him."

What kind of caregiving do you do for the two of them, since you identify yourself as the primary caretaker? Do you live with them? Do they live with you?

How many siblings do you have? You mention brothers...are you female?

I have to ask what is the plan going forward for the care of your parents. Are you going to be stuck doing it all (or are you already?).

I have to confess to having little sympathy for someone whose excuse for things is your parents' increasing infirmity, while YOU are doing it all.

Are you in charge of your parents' money? Is this brother by any chance also getting money from your parents?

Does he beg money from your other siblings?
Helpful Answer (0)

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