Why sibling has isolated from the whole family? - AgingCare.com

Why sibling has isolated from the whole family?

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I have been the primary caretaker since 1995. First dad with cancer battle for 13 months then mom moved in with my husband, daughter and myself in 1998. In 2012 my mom started to decline cognitively and mobility. The generation that does not believe in doctors. I am a nurse so I sort of know what is going on inside her. Since the decline, I have asked my older sibling to help with reprieve such as 4 hours a month any day, just so my husband and dgtr could well, just be. After I asked a couple of times, they have completely disconnected. We were inseparable, and the hardest part is the cut off from my 14 year old dgtr. They were so close, he would always come over and visit and call. He did meet someone about the same time of the decline but she is very family oriented so I don't think that is it. I have called, texted and even wrote a letter that I don't care about him helping out, just want the closeness we have had for 40 years. It's the strangest situation, why has he shut off from everyone within my home? Is there anyone on the flip side of caregiving that could shed some light on this behavior? Is ignorance bliss? Meaning not knowing or seeing the decline? I get the "no time, work to much, and "it's my time to live".

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Small bit of information about mom, she is one those that doesn't go to the doctor, hasn't been since I was born. 40 plus years! We do have a couple doctors in the family, I am a Medical Assistant, and we she won't let us take her blood pressure. She struggles with severe arthritis and I am aware of other personal things going on. I have talked to numerous doctors who have shared pretty much the same opinions. Her generation were raised differently, if she was in debilitating pain, she couldn't hide it. If there is something terminal and she has no desire to start treatment then let her be. To not know will prevent her from additional struggles. I have tried many different ways to get her to see a doctor over the years and have let her be. My husband and I are going away for a few days in November, decided today. Family vaca for 4 nights in March. Mom has no interest in senior groups, she talks to a couple cousins on the phone who live out of state daily, and says she gets enough activity watching my dgtr and friends come and go. Not such a good day today for me, but tmrw will be better. I have a physician lined up in case something happens and I work at a hospital that specializes in senior care. Going to get mom to bed and try to loosen the knots in my stomach. Thanks again everyone.....
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NomoreMe,
No accounting for brother's choices....maybe he's starting to feel guilty for having gotten that much money from Mom, and has no way to pay it back?
BUT...without him stating his reasons for staying no contact, it's all speculation---which will hurt you worse than him!
Better to just "let go and let God" so to speak--and find solutions to getting things done without him, taking joy in knowing the good work you are doing--it's some of the hardest there is.
Yep--there could be a 5-year look-back if Mom needs Medicaid help, and she's been giving it away.
If she gives money to you, instead of putting it back, which might feed confusion, you could put it in a safe place, instead, for future reference.
She will think she gave you money, and might feel good about it, or, she might not later, and want it back...never know!
Or she might need it for Co-pays for medical, or medical equipment or something--then it would be available.
You don't want her giving it to strangers when she's out shopping, for instance--mine did that, and she also buried some, or packed it badly---heaven only knows where mouldering money might later be found, where my Mom has spent time.
Medicaid will question where the money went, if it disappeared within that 5-year look-back---they don't care where it went, other than it didn't go to help take care of the elder's needs.
My Mom "disappeared" over $200K in a bit over a year, to various places--THAT is something Medicaid would scrutinize, and would deny Medicaid coverage until Mom lived 5 years past the money's disappearance.
What a wonderful, rare gift to have lived such a pleasant life so long! Please don't let your brother's behaviors add stress to your days---work at finding other ways to "take a break" with your DH and child.
Might check with Area Agency on Aging to find home care workers, or hook you up with Elder day Care places, Senior Centers and those activities that your Mom might enjoy, which could serve to give you a couple or few hours to yourself or with your family.
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If I had to guesstimate about how much money? Maybe 15,000. I consider that a done deal. What I am noticing in the past month is mom trying to give her money to me or my husband throughout the day. I keep putting it back where she keeps it. Like she knows something....
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Nomoreme, its good to let Mom give her money away - to a point. There is always the risk that if she needs Medicaid later, that will be conisdered gifting and there will be a penalty period before Medicaid kicks in. Do you have any idea of how many $$ he has "borrowed" and if he even has it to pay back if the need arose?
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Nomoreme1 I used to spend a LOT of time keeping my brother informed about how mom was doing (he lives in another state and hasn't been home to visit mom in over four years). Finally it dawned on me that he never asked anything or made any follow-up comments. So I just quit spending all of that time on updates and he's never said a word about it. Do I get why he's that way? Not for a minute.

But if I let it bother me (which it did for a long time) it hurts me and not him. He simply isn't involved or very concerned about our mom. He calls her once a week (for probably a three minute call) at my insistence. He never asks me for things to ask her about or to get her to talk about. So I just let the two of them figure it out. I can't control everything and I can't make my brother a better son for our mom. That's "their" deal, not mine. And I'm much happier as a result!
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You won't believe this, but none of that has happened. We grew up in very loving family oriented home. Have been through many deaths, nothing due to trauma, just peaceful end of life partings. No abuse, we lived within our means but always seemed to get what we wanted. Dad worked, mom stayed home and had dinner ready every day, house always clean and cozy. Yearly family vacations. He works in tool and dye shop (corporation). Stable job for many years,his girlfriend is an RN that works in a nursing home and they are always with her family. To me she seems very nice, but hasn't been over since Easter. I wonder if she wonders why. I rarely call him, and if I do it's because I want to keep him in the loop of moms health. So maybe you can feel a bit of my frustration and confusion. I know I can't make him want to be part of my life or moms and dgtr. I have started to let go of the huge "why?" I am very grateful I have a supportive husband who has taken over the little errands my brother used to help with. My husband doesn't say a word....just goes with the flow. I have started to plan a weekend away with him, lord knows I have neglected that part of my life and I expressed to him recently that I am very aware of it and will put more of any focus/energy I have left, on us. Bless my daughter for her patience at 13 years old. She did ask if she could call her uncle in case he missed her call, I told her when I talk to him I will ask. (Wink wink). I am thankful my husbands family is involved in her life. Took mom to get her hair done today and then for coney and fries. Going to give bingo a shot this weekend. It will be good for her and I and for hubby and dgtr to have home alone time.
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Nomoreme, there are probably as many reasons for siblings to disconnect as there are people!

Kids [even as adults] have a hard time watching Mom decline, unless they were brought up being close to relatives aging and dying as part of normal family life. The modern world, that's gotten more rare.
OR.....The person he met at that juncture, could be far less family oriented than you think; could even be one of those sick weirdos--it happens--they twist their target person away from family connections, before the targeted person realizes what's going on.
OR.....they could be just wanting to keep to themselves as a new relationship--not wanting it to be stressed by family stresses of declining relatives.
OR..... he could be declining himself---how old is he?
Has he had any head injuries in his life? or, PTSD from military service? Those could cause rifts.
OR......maybe he has lots of business with his work, and can't get away---except, that would make NO excuse why he doesn't answer any messages, letters, etc.

OR.....Commonly, kids who separate from the flock walk away, because they have experienced some levels of abuse--by a parent and/or other siblings, which they finally refuse to tolerate any more....it might not even be abuse you are aware of.
It's very common for one or 2 kids in a family, to become targets for inappropriate behaviors of one or both parents--the kid[s] might go through a whole life, putting up with it, trying to make things better---then one more thing happens, and they choose to walk away. It's very common, also, for the other siblings to perpetrate more of that similar abuse upon the one or 2 kids targeted by the parent.

OR......Sometimes the parent and the other siblings choose to walk away from the single kid, and make it look like the single kid is the one who chose to leave the flock--because it makes them all feel better to point a finger at the one who walked.

KEY CONCEPT: When someone refuses to even answer any attempts at your contacting, at all, that makes it pretty clear: there's some strong reason he is keeping distant; that USUALLY means: He's felt too hurt, too long, too often, related to something that someone says or does to him, and wants no more hurt from Mom's or your direction;
OR.....he's got problems or illness of his own to deal with---maybe he doesn't want to burden you or Mom with it.

It's sad that family members allow things to get so terribly broken. It hurts both sides. But unless someone starts talking openly about that "elephant in the living room", and try to resolve it, there it will stay, blocking passage through the room.
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My brother has always been a poor communicator, but as our mom has continued to need more help, he has gotten worse. He has a history of depression and he says being around her is too overwhelming. I try to accept what he can give and then work around the rest. I know that if I push him, or accuse him, he will disappear for good and that will break my mom's heart. So we do what we can and seek help from other sources. It would be better for my mom if he would step up and do more, but apparently he can't. Of course, he's her favorite and can do no wrong in her eyes!
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While your situation is frustrating, a similar situation in my life taught me that there is only so much I can control. What's harder for you to deal with is your daughter's mourning the loss of contact but it may be good for her to see that we can't control anyone but ourselves. The earlier we learn that in life, the better. Rather than read into the "why" of it all, try to find peace with it. Tell him that you are there when he's ready and just leave it at that.
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Nomoreme1, with that conversation with your niece you did the rightest thing ever - you set your brother a good example. This is normal life! Where we can have a conversation between two people who love each other without an agenda to it! You've shown him, through her, that all you want from him is that he treats his family like his family, not like a bunch of debt collectors starting to get heavy over what he owes his mother. So how is she? Did she ask about you, and how you're doing? I really hope this will start turning things around a little bit - and if not, it certainly won't be your fault.

Well done you! And well done for the walking therapy, too - hope it isn't long before you're enjoying the fresh air again. Big hug.
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