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How do you handle it?


My younger brother does not want my older brother's input. My older brother is not bothered by that. I live in another part of the country. I think my brother resents the fact that I never moved to live with Dad, but he never will talk about it. I was there this past summer and my brother was angry and critical. He ordered me around and told me off. I could not do anything right. He seemed mad at me although he would do nice things for me.


After this summer, after one short, okay chat, he does not answer my phone calls anymore. He was mad at me yesterday, by email, and said, that I should stop asking how he (my brother is) as it causes Dad to worry about where he is. He is usually upstairs when I call. I do not ask my Dad how my brother is, my Dad as of late will always mention my brother, he wonders where my brother is, and he keeps bringing up the subject of my brother. I always try to change the subject but he brings it up again. My brother did not reply, on email, when I told him this. I don't think he believes me. My Dad has dementia and gets worried when he does not see my brother, and of course when I call my brother is usually up stairs.


I now have decided to call my Dad less (he has a land line). It's hard that my brother no longer wants to talk with me on the phone. We had nice calls for the last 2 years, and now, with no explanation he does not answer my calls (he has a cell phone). Yes, I asked, he will not answer me, We would only talk 2 to 3 times a month, so I did not inundate him with calls. I hear from him on email once in a blue moon like letting me know Dad had an eye operation.

Yes, he is probably resentful. He is exhausted with the care he provides. He is overwhelmed, what about supporting him by providing time away for him say, two weeks a year? Pay for outside care once a week? So much you can do.
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meima1955 Nov 23, 2018
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He is burned out. Sounds like Dad is getting needy. Maybe its time for an AL or NH for Dad. His care maybe getting too much.
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polarbear123 Nov 21, 2018
Thank you for your reply. Yes, he probably is getting burned out. I wish my brother would let others help him care for Dad, even just to give him a few hours break a number of times during the week. When I was there one summer, and alone with Mom and Dad for a few weeks, a home care worker would come for a bit and that would give me a half hour to go for a walk. (PS Mom passed away last summer, and that made this summer, a few weeks when I cared for Dad, hard in some ways, not to have Mom there. It is hard on Dad too. Mom had Alzheimer's)
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Hi. I don’t have siblings. But my mother who lives with me does. My mom has moderate dementia. The person who is the full time caregiver goes through an enormous life changing event. It’s extremely hard. My mother is like your dad. She needs to see me , know where I am all the time. She writes down where and when I go out. It’s being spied on. The caregiver rationalizes that this is the dementia. Not the person. None the less, A feeling of entrapment happens. It can’t not. What I suggest to you , is to know that you can’t know what it’s like for him. It’s mostly all on him every day all day. Do what you can to give him a break. Don’t criticize. He’ll resent that. Not saying that you do. But for me. , when her siblings chirp in, I want to hang up the phone. They are not walking my walk.
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polarbear123 Nov 21, 2018
Thank you so much for your input, it was very helpful and kind.
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Hi, being in a similar situation as your brother, I would also guess he is burnt out. What once worked may now just be getting too much for him, and it comes across in his behavior towards you. Sometimes I get so upset with my siblings I don’t want to talk to them or pick up the phone because I don’t think they can ever understand totally what a daily impact taking care of mom has on my life. Then I rationalize it realizing that they live far away and can’t help much. But one thing that does help..... I have a couple of siblings that often say “thank you”, or something like, “we don’t know what we would do without you there”, etc. VS a sister who never says a word of appreciation of any kind. It sounds trite, but just a little bit of acknowledgement goes a long way and can recharge my mental battery and soften my heart enough to keep pushing on. Good luck to you. This elder can is tough stuff!!
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Polar, after all you've read on AC you can't see the situation your brother is in?

Think back to the 'for God's sake don't ask him about me' phase. You must be able to guess what was happening. Your courteous and thoughtful enquiry, for example - to your brother that meant an hour and a half of being searched for and intruded on - in the kitchen, in his office, in the bathroom...

My best guess is that he daren't speak to you for fear he screams at you. And it's not *you* - it's the strain he's probably under, and that he's doing it alone. Can you get over there and see him face to face, any time soon?
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I think you are probably right that he resents you living so far away. He has a lot of responsibilities taking care of your father. It can be overwhelming and when other family members can’t (in your case) or won’t (in mine), it gets very frustrating.

Can you try try to plan another visit and offer to give him a few days off? Let him get away - even if it’s only a night out.
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When you are a caregiver like your brother, you have no other life. All your thoughts, energy, and time are spent on the dependent one. The reason your brother doesn't take any time for himself, even when you're there, is probably because he has nothing left of "his" life and therefore nothing TO do. It seems to me from what you've said that the task has become too much for him. If you express concern for his well being, maybe he would consider Memory Care for your father.
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It is not You Polarbear Who Your younger Brother is mad with it's the circumstances He finds Himself in.
Caring 24/7 for a loved one with dementia is a very tough cross to carry especially for a Man yet Your Brother does it because He is aware there is no one else and He feels trapped in a situation which must seem endless to Him, but
it will end and all too soon because death will come like a thief in the night. Dementia is a lousey diagnosis similar to alzheimer's and I pray a cure can be found some day soon. It is a real pity though Your Brother does not take time out when You do offer as He's running the risk of burn out. And finally the reason Your Dad feels anxious when He can not see Your Brother is because He is totally dependant on Him. and probably fears His Son may have wandered off and left. My own Mother Who had been diagnosed with alzheimer's used say to me "If any thing happened to you God forbid I would have no one to take Care of me" and I would reassure Mom that I would always there by Her side, and I was to the
end. Being a Carer to a love one and seeing them fail and fade as their condition worsens due to this awful disease of the brain is the most difficult of tasks and it breaks Your Heart yet it is so rewarding because One is left with so many beautiful memories of the many happy memories We shared.
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polarbear123 Nov 23, 2018
Thank you for your kind and understanding answer. I am sorry for what you went through, and am glad you had so many happy memories with your Mother.
. I am very thankful for my brother being there for Dad and you helped me understand more what he is going through. I have thanked my brother often for being there for Dad. It's been just over a year now.
I could talk a long time about this.... but it's hard.
Thanks again!
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I am 45 yrs old & the sole caregiver for my dad. He was diagnosed with dementia 6 years ago. We lost my momma just 2 & half years ago. I've been here in the home with them for 14 years, first it was my momma and now my dad. I have a sister and 2 brothers that are capable of sharing responsibility but they choose not to. They all live within 10 minutes of our home. Only 1 of those 3 even work. It has been over 2 weeks since anyone has even called to check on him. My amazing fiance who is the most selfless person I know is the sole assistance that I get. Resentful would be an understatement!!! The only thing that keeps me moving forward is the fact that he would have no one If not for me & I made a vow to him that I would make sure he was well taken care of.
One year ago I lost my right kidney to cancer, I just received a call from my Dr on Wednesday that my chest xrays & body scan have revealed "a spot of concern" on my lungs not to mentioned the 2 "spots" they will be addressing on my left kidney. I don't want to be a letdown to my dad; so I pray to God that He will carry me through the health issues I may be facing so that I carry out my promise to my dad. I must find the inner strength to keep moving. Even when I am scared to death and the uncertainties are definitely adding more stress to my life.
Your brother may feel as I do regarding calls. When they do call they will say they are available to help, or that they are coming by...... But those are only words. I want them to come cook 3 meals a day for him, do all of his laundry which can really add up or be here so he can argue with them when he don't want to take his meds or shower. Actions are what I want to see. So if I were you, I would pack up for a few days and just show up on the door step announcing that you are there to help and he can either use the time to renew himself or he will be having to look at you for a few days because you aren't going anywhere.

It is so disheartening to watch my dad & his entire demeanor change when he is expecting a visit from them & they are no shows; so now I never mention to him that they "are coming by".
Also I know when they do call its because they feel that they need to instruct me on something that needs to be done or maybe something they feel should be done differently and I know If I answer that call that I will explode with years of pent up resentments and frustrations which is something I will not subject my dad to hearing. So just show up, that will let him know that you are serious, you are committed and that you care. (& if by chance something unwanted is happening then element of surprise is a great tool).
Most of all, I think it will help you as much or more than it helps your brother. And you have no idea what a positive impact it will be for your dad. Hands on caregiving for you could possibly shed some serious light on exactly what your brother has been enduring. Take those few days and multiply them by ten thousand and you could get a better understand of why he just can't seem to find the energy or the desire to pick up that phone.
I wish you all the luck in the world.
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shazzaw Nov 25, 2018
Amen Sista, Amen!
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Ach. I remember it well. I was my mother's caretaker (long distance!) and felt a similar resentment. My three brothers would show up for a dinner (that I made) and leave quickly afterwards, feeling as though they had done their duty.

All I can add here is that, no doubt, your brother is stressed to his limits. He probably has a routine that works for him and your dad. Alterations stress him more. And, your dad may very well not want changes in his routine, either. But, your brother DOES need help even if he can't admit it.

For me, I would have liked specific STATEMENTS of help (as opposed to offers). Example: "I will be in town in two weeks. I'm going to stay with Dad all day while you go to the movies and visit friends." Or, better still, "I bought you a night in a hotel (spa, casino) and will be take care of dad while you have some fun. No arguments."

Don't listen to his protests. He will be incredibly grateful that you made him take time for himself.

Good luck!!
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