I take care of my 86 year old mother during the week. Goes to brother and SIL weekends. I wanted to take a bit more time at home, so I researched medical alert devices and in home caregivers. A friend has one for her 90 something year old parents and provided a referral (no covid so far, very careful).

I mentioned this to my mom and she seemed fine with it. I sent brother and SIL an email with the details. Here's the response I received:

I talked with Mom...
The reason Mom stopped in home help was due to covid, and that hasn't changed for her. Mom is wary of being exposed. So Mom doesn't want in home help at this point.

Mom also doesn't think she needs a medical alert device, and she asked, "who pays for it?" Send me the info on what company, etc. you were considering so I can tell her about the cost, commitment, etc. I don't want cost to control over safety, so maybe I'll pay for it. The issue also is whether she'll wear it.

Mom says she doesn't want you to stick around because you think you need to double as her caretaker during the week. She gets anxious about leaving her house vacant half the time and would just rent it out and live with us. We'll see how this unfolds ... or doesn't.

My first reading I was angry and wrote an ugly retort. I decided to sleep on it.

My mother didn't say a word to me about any of this, but she has my brother do it. She also has the money - but doesn't want to pay anything. This nonsense that he doesn't know her finances is a lie. I've seen proof.

I plan to just tell him (and my mother) that I will leave and not return (in a nonconfrontational way - mostly that I understand her fear, since my own home is vacant half the week. I am put off by this and feel unappreciated. Thoughts? We don't communicate but for my mother. He and my mother are very much alike. He does not have a relationship with his adult children or nieces and nephews.

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I read this a couple of times. First time I read it I thought nice email. Then you said you really don't get along and he can be condescending. So I read again with that in mind. It can be taken really 2 ways.

So read it like he is trying to help. He is POA and will be Executor. Mom doesn't agree to any of your suggestions. So maybe its time for her to move in with brother. He has the money and seems to be willing.

So maybe your answer should be, OK just some suggestions to make things easier for Mom. Maybe at this time, it would be wise for her to live with you since she does need to leave her house on weekends. I can always be there to sit with her if u have something to do or give you time off for a vacation. We can always do a day out for lunch and run errands. Whatever you and and Mom decide is OK with me.
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Isthisrealyreal Oct 2020
Perfectly stated..

Approach it as a solution that let's you go live your life.
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There's a couple of ways to look at this. He knows mom has the money to pay, but as long as you were there all week for free - it kept her money in the bank. It probably would be better for her to live with a child, but I'd be a little interested in if he/his wife will suddenly start earning money as her 24/7 caregivers. On the other hand, maybe mom has been wanting to live with one of you and he said ok. I don't think you should feel unappreciated - trust me, whether they thanked you or not, they appreciated only being responsible for weekend service. Wait until they are doing it full time - they'll really appreciate even more what you were doing.

Another viewpoint might be that she moves to their house for M-F and it will be suggested you get her on the weekends. Heck, mom may have been waiting on this invitation for quite some time! I mean, she sure jumped on this quick. (Most of us on this site are trying to talk a parent in to leaving their home - with no luck!) Her house gets rented and no break-ins or vandalism. Try to turn your thoughts around in regard to a return letter.

Word it like: I was kind of taken back by your response because I thought mom felt stronger about remaining in her own home. I did stay with her during the week to fill in for the in home health providers. I mean, if she needed some help with that service before the virus, we all know she still needed help. I was only trying to make some arrangement that would allow me to be in my own house a little more during the week. I understand completely how she feels about leaving her house unattended while she is at your house Sat-Sun. I have those same concerns about my own house for the 5 days I'm with her. I also understand about her fear of catching covid even though I've talked to caregivers about precautions they take. I supposed she may have been waiting on this invitation from you for a while since she has decided so quickly to move in and rent her house. I'm happy that she was able to make this decision for herself. Please let me know when the tentative move will take place. If you can talk with her about what she can take to your house, I'll be more than happy to help both of you sort through the rest of the things so we can decide what to do with them (estate sale, pack/store) - whatever mom wants to do. I'll also help with getting her unpacked. arranged and settled in at your house. Walk the high ground with him - and with her. If she brings it up to you - tell her you just want her to be happy.
Offer to help with the move, the estate sale or whatever will happen to things she can't take with her, getting house ready to rent. Be as much a part of this as you can so you know what's going on - like who rents house (relative below market value, friend, etc or rental agency). I would also stay involved to give them some relief when they need it. It's one thing to take care of her on a weekend and something entirely different to have her 24/7.
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Helenn Nov 2020
great advice ....my2cents
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My first reading I thought, maybe the brother's a bit controlling??

But I re-read & it seems he is quite methodical & factual.

Covid still here. Mom concerned with Aides.
So he dismissed that first idea.

The Medi alert - he has concerns about cost & if she would wear it. OK, fair enough. Sounds like this idea is on the table for future discussion.

Mom concerned with her empty house. He is open to the idea Mom could move in with him instead.

Seems like he did hear you - that you have reached a stage where you need to change things. And that's fine!

He didn't like all your suggestions but he didn't insist you never change, you continue forever.

I met with understanding words when I decided to step back from caregiving. But I also met dismissal of my suggestions & assumptions I was still at beck & call. It took many many falls before a Medi alert was agreed to. It took a battle of wills to get a lock box for EMS to get in. These will be your brother's battles if he chooses (although if his house - his rules).

I think overall, even if you are not be the closest siblings, your communication is quite good.

If he is willing to take Mom full-time (until he needs to reassess) it is up to him. Stay on good terms so you can visit Mom without awkwardness if possible.
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Bootsiesmom Oct 2020
Thank you for your reply. We did agree to communicate where mom is concerned, and we have done so. At this point, though, I think stepping back and letting them sort out future arrangements for her is best.
If your brother is willing to take over the responsibility. I highly recommend it since the bulk of caregiving is on you. You want free time. So, it’s a win win in my book!

By the way, I have had a very similar path to you. When I started setting boundaries, my brother constantly criticized me.

My mom stirred things up if she didn’t get her way on some things and would blab to my brother.

Of course mom embellished the facts when relaying information to my brother.

My mom looked to my brother as the voice of authority. She feels that a man has authority over women. So I don’t rate as high as a daughter.

My place was to serve in mom’s opinion. She couldn’t see how much caregiving suffocated me. I devoted so much time and energy into her caregiving.

After realizing that I was banging my head against their brick wall I decided to let my mom and brother figure things out.

My brother isn’t a person that can be easily reasoned with. He was never interested in hearing my side.

If you ask his three ex-wives they could tell you exactly how he is. All three of them have said to me that they were divorcing him, not me.

My ex sister in laws are still friendly with me and they remained being aunts to my children. I told them that I didn’t blame them for leaving my brother.

The current wife is younger than his sons so she is most likely holding out for his pension. I have noticed that he has her trained to obey him. He treats her like his child instead of a wife. She was young, confused and in a bad marriage when she met him. He has cheated on all of his wives. I honestly don’t know what they saw in my brother and he isn’t rich!

Mom is now living with brother and sister in law. She is receiving hospice care.

My brother is approaching 70. Mom will be 95 next month. My sister in law works full time. She has a rotating shift. So she is too busy to help. Due to her shift work she often has to sleep when mom is up, then at work when mom is sleeping.

So now my brother is seeing first hand what I went through. He complains to his sons. They tell him, “Dad now you see what your sister went through.”

After 15 years of being mom’s primary caregiver in my home I finally got my break. How sweet it is!

I care about mom but it’s nice to have my life back. I did more than my share.

If you can have a civil and productive conversation with your family I am happy for all of you. It wasn’t possible in my situation. I hope it is for you.

I speak to my mom but like you, I avoid my brother because he and I see things far too differently.

Mom hates that I don’t cave in to my brother and am not friendly with either of my brothers. I told her that I would have loved being close to them had they been kind and respectful to me. I tried for way too many years without seeing any positive change. So it was time to call it quits for my own sanity.

My brother is the type that if you don’t think as he does he will chew you up and spit you out.

I refuse to be the target for his emotional abuse. He is on wife number 4! Three women leaving him is very telling of his personality.

I am not naive. I don’t feel like every marriage will have a fairytale ending.

In fact most if not all marriages have their ups and downs.

Some marriages should end. If I had been one of my sister in laws I would have left my brother too! My brother’s life reads like a soap opera.

He doesn’t treat my mom poorly though because she has given him money throughout his life.

Whatever...Not my problem anymore.
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Bootsiesmom Oct 2020
Thank you for your reply. You are so right - a win/win for me. Your story is similar. I care about my mom but I have had enough.

She had a short hospitalization earlier in the summer and was prescribed HHC - PT, OT, nurse visits, aide (8 weeks). I navigated all those appointments and was here (her home) to greet, schedule future. I made her breakfast, lunch, dinner, and did household chores and shopping. It was a lot of work and exhausting. After that concluded recently, I waited to see what she would do for herself as she seemed lots better. She's ambulatory with a walker, can shower and toilet alone, make a simple meal. Cognitively she is fine. She started making her own breakfast. She didn't like it, but did it. To me she likes being "served." She thinks she's earned it because she's old. Maybe my brother and SIL are better servants.

She absolutely thinks he's smarter. She listens to his suggestions. If he had suggested medical alert, she would do it.

He has two ex wives, both ugly divorces. I am friends with one of the ex-wives. I also have a relationship with his sons. He doesn't. His sons don't have a relationship with my mother, their grandmother. Bad blood from many years ago. I cannot imagine having such an awful relationship or history with my grandchildren that they don't want to see me.

Just thinking it through and reading the responses is so helpful. I care about her, but all this is too much. All this to take care of one older adult Yikes. I'm sending a "nice" reply and leaving the rest to them to sort out.
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I would just send him the information, and wish them good luck. Let him do more.
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Twillie Nov 2020
I would do less than that. I would just reply to the email "sounds good - call me and let's talk about it." I have found that the less I put in email or text to my brother the stronger I stand.
I think you need to take the emotion out of your reply. They only have her on weekends and there are two of them. They do not have the full picture of her needs or the scope of her care. You are going back and forth and trying to manage her, her house, and your house. You are doing a lot. He is not even making a true commitment to letting her live there. It’s let’s see what unfolds???

I would write a very practical response outlining all of her needs at this time and why in your experience with managing this all week you wanted to hire in a caregiver and get a medical alert. It’s for her safety and her needs are becoming too much for you manage on your own all week. It sounds more like he is trying to lay some guilt on you with the “mom doesn’t want you to stick around” statement. And the “maybe I’ll pay for it.” Don’t fall for it.

Tell them that she has the money to pay for care and that should not be a factor.

Let him move your mother in with them all week and let him be the landlord for the rental. Tell him what a great idea that would be because you are becoming exhausted and your stress level is causing you issues. And her care needs are becoming too much to manage at her home so you appreciate them stepping up to take care of her. Don’t let him lay anymore guilt on you. You deserve a break and to live your life.
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Bootsiesmom, I think that you have been spared a fight. Mom wants to move in with brother and SIL, they are good with it. Woohoo! You, my friend, dodged a bullet.

Let them do whatever they feel like they need to and you just be a daughter. You have sacrificed years to accommodate your mom, you should be happy that it is coming to a close.

Edit: Bootsy was the name of my 1st cat. Solid black except for 4 white paws.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 2020

Cute name for a cat. I had one named 'Socks' because I thought he looked like he was wearing socks. It's funny when their markings are so specific like that.

I am a sucker for a dog with a 'patch' over one eye. They are so cute!
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This is perfect situation for Mom and Bro. It doesn’t work for you, being taken advantage of as unpaid servant.

I’d send Bro an email back saying as of xx date in the future, 3-5 days from now, you will no longer be caring for Mom. Give Mom a copy to read as you are packing up your stuff and leaving notes and instructions. Then do it. Turn off phone or send to VM. Take a few days to respond to email. Call adult protective services for wellness check.

In other words, walk away and do what you need to do for yourself. You can’t win with this setup and unfortunately, Mom and Bro will have to deal with consequences of their decisions. You’ve done what you could.
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Bootsiesmom Nov 2020
Thank you for your reply. I did just that - and said I would be back to help out while they are OOT (pre-planned and agreed upon). I need to take care of myself. Caring for her and all the itinerant details have taken a toll. It's time. It feels like a lose/lose situation sometimes; I like the
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This will continue between your brother and mother, putting you in the middle. I would back off and let the brother handle it for awhile and see how that goes. Seems like mom confides in brother, so let the brother handle it, wont be long before you get a message from brother asking your help.
I went through this with my mom living with me and 3 other siblings that wanted nothing to do but give advice on things that mom was talking to them about. Not one of them would help take on care, but could sure try and tell me what to do and what not to do. I had told my sister she needed to come stay for a week and see all the help mom needed being insulin diabetic and CHF. She did, and she told me she couldn't do what I do. She didn't know how I was doing it all. She stopped giving me advice. The rest of the siblings said nursing home, but I wasn't going to let that happen. Mom lived with me for 9 years, before passing. My husband was a good support for me.
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Brief: siblings need to grow up and take on a bit of the responsibility <One person cannot do it all.> Nor should she. Yes, it’s usually a she,
We’re late in arriving at the realization that women ought to have a life, too: they are worth more than their reproductive equipment & caregiving expectations!
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