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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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Nomoreme, look at that name you gave yourself here! Get yourself into your doc for a physical and a heart to heart. Take care of yourself.
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Wow! You are all making so much sense...there is obviously something going on and even though we used to share all our secrets, I can't hold it against him. Funny thing happened today, my niece who never really calls cause she is I'm college and doing her thing, I am so proud of her. Well, she called me today. She kept mentioning that she talked to her dad earlier, as if he had her call to get a feel for things. I didn't say a word because this has nothing to do with her. I made the call all about her. After 2 years of him being able to disconnect, you would think I am over it. With the help from all of you, I am getting there. Just went for a long walk, forced myself to. I was headed down a dark and dreary road but I have to fight it. I believe I am having panic attacks where I have to take deep breaths at times. I don't know what made me join this group but as soon as I can get myself together a bit more I hope I can contribute some positive happenings.
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This refusal to acknowledge anything or communicate is pure guilt, or avoidance of guilt. He knows he has done wrong. Not that it gives you any kind of answer that helps you deal with him if he would rather not deal...
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Your brother is very manipulative. He would take money from his mother but not care for her. He knows you are begging for his attention. Take a really hard look at this "loving" man. Get some professional advice about your relationship. He sounds as if he is manipulating your entire family. Is he worth it?
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I think part of the answer is in your statement about him having done his duty caring for your niece/his daughter. And now "it's his time to live". Sounds like he feels he's done his familial caregiving, raising his child, and is done.

And I too, think the new girlfriend comes into play here - I've seen a couple cousins pull away from family because of the new lady in their lives.
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Maybe your brother is just selfish. As long as everything is going his way and nothing is required of him, he is fine. I don't know him but his behavior is very strange and you seem to be very much in need for his companionship and/or approval. You just don't treat those you love the way your brother is treating you and you family. If he has issues with being around your mother in her declining years, man it up and discuss the problem with you.

I agree with Jeanne about moving forward as if you are an only child. I know many kind men who cared for their parent/parents and I know many who ran. The runners always had a history of selfishness. Take a good hard look at your brother. Let me know if I have been too harsh. I don't mean to be. :)
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The other two agreements are: 1. Be impeccable with your word and 4. Always do your best.

The inside flap on the book has the four agreements listed with a paragraph about each. I think they're really valuable when you think about it. What would the world be like if we made no assumptions and took nothing personally?

When I think about my life, it would ease a lot of the stress and burden because I'm always getting upset about how others do things. Do I manage to live this way most of the time? No, LOL, but it's a good reminder!

I set up a badminton event last night and there were two no-shows (grrrrr) and one woman was super competitive in her play, which upset me because two women were total beginners. If I didn't take it personally and knew it was about them and not me, I wouldn't have gotten so cranky about it. :)
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I'm not sure I get what you're saying about his borrowing all her money.
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After reading everyone's posts, I am pretty convinced I hit "burn out". I have never felt like this and need to come to an understanding of everything. Everything just progressed so quickly and I have been doubting myself with having to make decisions on my own. I want to thank everyone for all their input, it's taken and accepted much easier coming a caregiver. I was grasping at anything or anyone for help. Time to slow it all down and take a deep breath.
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Cool! What are the other two, Blannie? - are they as useful?
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Boy you guys are all far kinder than me. After asking once or twice, I'd just take him off my radar. He clearly wants nothing to do with you now for whatever reason - but that may change in the future. The more you pressure him, the harder it will be for him to show up down the road if/when he wants to reestablish contact. It sounds like you've been barraging him with pleas for contact. I'd say stop that immediately!

I love the book, "The Four Agreements." One of the agreements is, "Don't take anything personally." He goes on to say, "Nothing others do is because of you. What others do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream." Another agreement is: "Don't make assumptions." Everyone here is assuming/imagining what is going on with your brother. No one knows but your brother. So let him live his life as he wants and you go about your own life doing what you need to do to stay healthy and happy. As JeanneGibbs says, get some respite care for yourself.

It's a tough lesson for your daughter to learn, but she'll be OK. People in life disappoint us, it's just a part of life. And sometimes family really let us down. But we just pull those who stay even closer into our sphere of love.
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I wish he felt the torture borrowing all her money. Just saying...he makes a very good living but figures, why spend mine when mom will mail me hers. I don't say a word, it's hers to do whatever makes her happy. Just venting Eddie, thanks for your input.
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Send him one of those "I Love You" cards saying you understand how painful it'd be to care for Mom. Those 4 hours would be sheer torture for someone like me, and my mother and I have never seen eye to eye.

Don't bother calling for help anymore, and take Jeanne's suggestion to hire a temp caregiver.
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FF, you make a good point. I think that siblings disagreeing about what the best situation is causes a great deal of conflict. In my case it is mostly silent. In fact sibs paid a deposit with Mom's money at a facility for her to share with her husband. They thought that he would/should take care of her. He needs help as well and my Mom has become very difficult with any sort of change. He is competent and sibs did not even mention to him about the facility. And they had never visited it either. It is fairly new and they are struggling with staffing, residents and families complaining. And in this area there are five new facilities that have opened in the past six months. Where are they getting/finding qualified staff for these facilities? Where are all the residents coming from? Are they waiting to fully staff when us baby boomers start needing these places?
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There are times I wonder if a sibling isolates him/herself is when one sibling would prefer that the parent be placed in assistant living/nursing home because they understand all the exhausting work involved.... and the other sibling says no and has the parent living with them. There would be a lot of conflict, be it vocal or silent.

I wonder if the parent is placed in a continuing care facility if the isolated sibling would start becoming part of the family again?
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Nomoreme, I think it's time for you to have a chat with YOUR doctor about the toll that caregiving is taking on you. I mean that in the kindest, most loving way possible. But really, get yourself to your doctor THIS WEEK no matter what it takes and talk to him/her about how you're really feeling.
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Well, neither did he show up or call his niece's game. To see her constantly looking over at me to see if he was there was sickening..
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Maggie, I do agree with be careful what you wish for. I will continue to extend the olive branches unconditionally. Force myself to eliminate the word "why" from my mind. These past few weeks I have allowed all of this to consume me entirely. I don't know why, but it has to stop. I am losing sight of everything good in my life.
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I'd imagine he feels guilty.

May I put a little different spin on this? Even if he did "help," his idea (and his new gal's) might be very different from what you imagine. You're thinking, "If he'd only...." If he were in with both feet, he STILL might not "if only he'd..."

From what I read on here, siblings can make caregiving even more of a nightmare than it is. Making decisions by committee is very difficult, in my opinion. I cared for mom as an only child. No recriminations from siblings, no committee disagreements, no help. But SHE had saved for a rainy day. So I got my respite with the money she'd saved.

I understand it's not ALL about his not helping, but more about: "What the HELL is wrong with you???" Accept that you can't know that until and unless he's ready to tell you. "Mom, he must have something going on in his life right now. He loves you...just can't deal right now." That's what I'd tell my mom, I think.

And in the meantime? I'd invite him and his girl to every 'doings' and ignore that he doesn't respond or show up. Olive branches often build into powerful trees. "We hope you and Missy will come to Thanksgiving dinner with us. 2:00. We love you and miss you in our lives." Period. Then Christmas. Then birthdays, Then...whatever.

In the meantime, appreciate the autonomy you DO have taking care of mom. It could be, believe me, much worse.
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Thanks Countrymouse, today is her day. Mom just walked out of room and first thing....."well, no call from your brother, eh?" As she struggles to breath while speaking...I have tl learn how to internalize this constant reminder from her. If it were a constant reminder of "it's starting to get cold outside" that would be a bit easier on my emotions. Geesh I sound selfish not selfless.
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