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I am tired of smoothing things over w/dad because of son who wants no part of his day to day care. Since mom's death, I have looked after dad. We only live 1 mile apart, I am oldest (58) & only daughter. Brother “A” comes with his wife regularly on weekends to assist with household repairs while Brother “B” and his wife are too busy living their lives, traveling, entertaining friends at their cottage, and partying every chance they get. I take dad to all his appointments, pay his bills, manage his pills, do his laundry, drive him anywhere he needs to go since he lost his license, take him grocery shopping, prepare special low sodium meals for him. When asked to help, sister in law says it is impossible for my brother “B” & he has “shut down” NOW on dad to make it easier on himself when dad is gone! WTF? He’s made it clear, dad is a burden ...... How do dad and I reconcile with this? Help please.


Also, I have MS (relapsing remitting) and life is getting harder for me. Could really use some assistance after going it alone for almost nine years. Is it right for two children to do everything, while one (“B”) does nothing? Please help me understand. Thank you

I was you! This is so common being the only daughter. I did it for 15 years in my home and decades before that for both of my parents.

I hear you, loud and clear. I empathize with you. I am not going to criticize you. I got enough criticism from my family to last me ten billion lifetimes!

I will tell you what happened to me. You have to make your own choices. Simply put, I burned out! My brothers never helped me.

We do get upset, angry about doing it all ourselves! It is too much for one person. It just is. The fact that you have MS makes it even worse. So much worse!

Guess what, after lots of therapy, help from this forum and me just getting fed up, I QUIT! I just quit! I told mom if she wasn’t happy with all that I did for her then she could let my ‘know it all’ brother take over.

Mom is living with my brother and SIL now and hired help for them! She didn’t pay a penny to get for help for me. I was the daughter who was expected to do it all for free.

I sacrificed everything for mom, my home, privacy with hubby and kids, my job, going out with friends, etc. I loved my parents and was always the kid closest to them. My brothers, eh...they came around for money and a free meal.

Mom stirred things up. When I learned to set boundaries she couldn’t handle it. She complained to my brothers. They marched in like heroes so I surrendered my responsibility to them. I’d say it backfired big time in their faces!

My brother even tried to threaten me with elder abuse because mom did not get her every wish. Isn’t it interesting though, her doctors praised me for my good care of mom.

For my own sanity I had to go no contact with my brothers. I have only spoken to mom a couple of times on the phone. I refuse to have a relationship with my toxic brothers. I grieve for the brothers I wanted them to be. I am not missing out on not being involved in their craziness.

Only you can decide what is best for you and your family. Sure, they have a right not to be involved but to criticize those who are involved is out of line. The criticism became too unsettling for me to continue to deal with.

Being a caregiver was the toughest job I ever had. I took my mother in after she lost her home in Hurricane Katrina. It was an emotionally heart wrenching time and I wasn’t thinking clearly about the ramifications of being a full time caregiver. I wish that I had made it a temporary solution and then placed her into a facility.

All I can say is that if you are no longer the primary caregiver for your dad you will feel the weight of the world off of your shoulders. My life is so much better. Perfect? Absolutely not! No one has a perfect life.

I deal with depression from the after effects but I am seeing a therapist. It helps. Life is a journey. We are all works in progress.

I sincerely wish you the very best in life and hope you find the right solution for you and your father.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Whether it is right or wrong is beside the point. There's nothing to reconcile or smooth over. You cannot force someone to care in the same way you do. Everyone is different. And, how you respond to a situation is entirely up to you. I bet your dad knows this too.
It sounds like it's time to hire help or put dad into assisted living, where someone else takes care of the day to day and you (and Brother A) can visit dad as your health and energy allows. If the idea of this makes you feel guilty, find a therapist and work through it. Your health and happiness is important. best wishes.
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CarolAlt Feb 6, 2020
Well said. Thank you so much.
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"I take dad to all his appointments, pay his bills, manage his pills, do his laundry, drive him anywhere he needs to go since he lost his license, take him grocery shopping, prepare special low sodium meals for him."

"I have MS (relapsing remitting) and life is getting harder for me."

You do a lot for your father. About how many hours/day to you spend meeting his needs?

We often see posters on this site wanting to know how to make their non-participatory siblings (or other family members) take part in caregiving. And the short answer is you can't. No, it isn't right, but there's a lot in life that isn't right or fair. You simply can't change someone else's behavior.

You have to accept that this brother won't do anything for your father.

You can step back, too, though. Your health is now being affected.

Your father could hire someone to do at least some of the things you do for him.

What is the plan for if/when he needs more help? It sounds like he would be a good candidate for Assisted Living now.
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CarolAlt Feb 6, 2020
Thank you. I am new to site but everyone that replied gave me insightful advice. For all these years I have managed, but now I’m slowing up a bit and thought additional family help would be forthcoming.
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Look into hiring aides 2-3 times a week to take over this burden.

You cannot change another person's decision to step away--you can be angry and feel shortchanged, but there is probably a reason brother stepped away---you want to, he did. Are you feeling jealous b/c he set boundaries and you don't feel you can?

Talk to dad and explain that you are burned out, You love him, but cannot continue with this level of CG. TELL him, don't ask, about PT aides. I worked as one for years and I KNOW the blessing I was to the families. I did ALL the 'grunt work', but it was my JOB and I could go home and not live it 24/7.

As you yourself have health issues, you need to step back.

Let the other brother continue on weekends as they see fit. You do not need to see your dad everyday, you need to set some boundaries.

I often think, as women/moms/daughters, we feel the pull to make everything be OK and in honesty, we rarely can.

Call and agency TODAY and get dad evaluated as to what he needs to help lift your burden.
Let uninvolved brother just be uninvolved. Thinking about it will just make you mad.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Your father should pay for the hired help, not you.
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Sorry for your health problems. You can NOT make your brother do anything. If he doesn't want to be involved, then it's probably better off for everyone that he continues to keep his distance.

You need more help, but he's not going to be your source. Is there money for hiring help? If he has no money and needs a lot of care, he might be ready to go in a nursing home. There is only so much that YOU can do and you do need to take care of yourself FIRST.
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CarolAlt Feb 7, 2020
Thanx for your reply. 😃
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The understanding bit.

You are free to make your choices. You choose to support your father as you are doing. As this becomes increasingly difficult for you, you will need to look for other services and resources which can gradually take the load off you; but it's no good wishing for that help from someone who you know is not prepared to give it.

Your one brother makes his choices. It is important to him that he sees your father regularly and he does what he can to help.

Your other brother makes his choices. He finds it difficult to manage his relationship with his father as part of his life and finds it easier to write him off. This upsets you, I myself think it's a pity, I'd even go so far as to say that your brother may come to regret it; but the point is that only your brother can decide what he is prepared to do.

I can't see any way for you to explain second brother's attitude to your father without either lying about it or hurting your father's feelings. So I think I would just say that I can't explain, and leave it there. Not every question has an answer, after all.

Don't leave your SIL to be the intercessor, though. Talk to your brother, if you want to, but gently. There's nothing wrong with wanting to understand what he's thinking, but there would be a lot wrong with trying to force him to act differently.
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rovana Feb 7, 2020
Perhaps brother would be willing to contribute financially? I have the impression that this is partly about the refusal to be personally involved and brother's relationship with dad is simply not something the OP should be trying to control.
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Its not so much burn out you have MS. I realize medications have gotten better in last 10 years. I also know they were/are expensive. My cousin was diagnosed at 50 and passed at 70. I think she lived as long as she did because she had a great husband who did everything. Stress was her enemy. I think decisions will need to be made. Maybe its time to place Dad in an AL. Explaining that with ur MS u no longer can do it. You could end up in a wheelchair. Then how ru going to help Dad.
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Keep in mind that deciding a situation is unfair (and it sounds like it is) and being able to actually do anything about it are two different things.  I don't see how you can make brother B do anything he doesn't want to.  If he removes himself from the situation, are he and his wife willing to provide money to pay for services for Dad?

Frankly, I would not "cover" for brother - he is what he is, and there is no reason for Dad to think otherwise.  Can I suggest you hire help with Dad's money  and also work out a caregiver contract so you are paid fairly for what you do?
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Hi! My take may be unpopular but....
you will never change someone who does not want to change. Your brother is obviously not as resilient, strong or as capable as you. Adults make crappy choices and decisions. Trying to get them to think differently only wastes our precious mental energy and raises our stress levels. You have an illness that needs attention and care. At least they are honest about their lack of support. So now you can make decisions with that information.
The question is now what? You get to choose.
Do you want to still care for your parent? You don’t have to, like your brother, but I am guessing you do. What can you give and what can’t you give to maintain your health. No one else will ask this question to you. I am. What do you need to do to be well and then what can you give. The rest will have to be organized and figured out with creative planning. You cannot wear your self down with your illness. What will they all do if you are sick.
Get groceries delivered, medicine on auto refill and find a delivery service, hire a caregiver for two hours twice a week or a cleaning lady. Look for volunteers to help with doctors appointments.

Whatever you do you must consider yourself first, if you don’t, you will leave no one to care for your parent.

from one caregiver to another HUGS!
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Davenport Feb 10, 2020
Actually, Mort, I completely agree with you.
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