My husband has two brothers. They love their parents and, when asked, would do anything to help them. However, they refuse to talk to each other about what their parents need or to plan ahead in any way about this. Sometimes, my mother-in-law mentions things to me (e.g., she's not happy with her current Medicare coverage, which was set up by one son who isn't really doing anything to help her change it). I tell my husband about it and suggest that he and his brothers talk, but they never do - about this or any issue, ranging from minor to very major. My sister-in-law tries, as well, but her husband resents her bringing these things up to him. Anyone have this issue? and advice on how to improve the situation?

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Men are quick fix or forget it types. I find most men to be very self absorbed and expect the women to take care of all special needs situations.

My brother use to be that way, until I backed out of my mothers world and care, he was forced to step up, lots of confusion and lack of knowledge prevailed, but he has learned a hard lesson and has stepped up to the plate...although, I do consul him behind the scenes. He still hates confrontation, he likes to avoid that venue.

I have met very few men who are long term thinkers, they kind of float through the day and hope that the tooth fairy will drop foo foo dust and that the problem will go away.

Just my observations.
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I will surely be accused of "sexism" in my answer, but given I am 77 I don't much care. I think men's brains are different. They don't much like to sit and discuss endlessly what may or may not work and what may or may not. They are more of a fix it now mentality. If it cannot be fixed right now, then "why discuss it" on and on. I think women like to discuss and trouble shoot and visit and revisit options and ideas. I just think that the "men from Mars and Women from Venus thing is really an almost hormonal-chemical think in how our minds work. When I try to discuss a lot of "financial" or "numbers" thing I kind of get the "It's only numbers" attitude.
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rovana Dec 2019
When it is  a convenient "out" to dump all the scut work on women? No excuse in IMO.
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I am groaning for you. Speak! Use words! Talk to one another! - you certainly won't be the first ladies to wonder how your menfolk get through life if they never say what's on their minds.

Are the brothers ever in the same room? I'm wondering if your and your parents-in-law and SIL could collate some kind of agenda which, going forward, the family as a whole could be updated on. It's just that it's easier to have a proper conversation if you're face to face and in comfortable surroundings, and of course this is the right time of year for it.

I do have one antenna-twitch to mention. The one son set up the Medicare coverage, MIL is not confident it's right for her - then her next step should be to say so to the son who set it up, and either change it or have it explained to her why she needn't worry. It shouldn't be to wring her hands about it to somebody else behind that son's back. I won't accuse her of triangulation (not yet, bit premature!) but this is exactly the kind of thing that causes horrible gremlins to infest the family grapevine and it wants cutting out. I hope she doesn't make a habit of it?
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Men aren't usually taught to have developed emotionally skills. We're sorely raising young males to be ill-equipped for this real-life stuff.
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Well, I have a different experience. My brothers were not involved much in my parents caregiving. Never missed a meal though and thought nothing of asking for money.

They were always quick to criticize me even though I did the most and was always the child closet to my parents and grandparents.

I cared for both of my parents. Daddy died in the hospital several years back. Mom eventually moved into my home and lived with us for just about 15 years. It wasn’t bad initially because she was far more independent and we could leave her alone while we were on an outing.

Then as her Parkinson’s disease progressed she needed more and more care, she started falling down, and we started to feel the impact of caregiving. She grew very dependent on me. Even though it wasn’t her fault it got to be too much. I felt my life slipping away from me.

Caregivers often lose their own identity. I knew that I wasn’t happy with my situation. I realize now I was burning out. I had denied that for a long time.

Too much togetherness caused friction for both of us. I needed to start setting boundaries but she wasn’t very accepting of them.

Mom pitted my brothers and I against each other by complaining about me to them and it pretty much started world war three. I became fed up with all of their criticisms and told my mom and brothers that if they felt like I was doing it all wrong that she could let them take over her care.

So my brother’s criticism backfired on him and now he has mom to deal with. I don’t want anything to do with him after he threatened to report me for elder abuse since mom didn’t get her way with everything. My younger brother isn’t any better than the older one that she lives with now. I don’t have contact with either of them.

Unfortunately, that leaves me out in the cold as far as an attempt to have a relationship with my mother. I’m sad about that. I never wanted an unhappy ending. It is what it is. It’s hard. It’s difficult to absorb.

I realize that I don’t have the power to change the situation. I am doing the best that I can to heal and move forward in my life. I don’t miss the turmoil.

I don’t know how mom is doing because I have only spoken to her briefly on the phone since she left. The conversations weren’t all that pleasant and I don’t want to continue being hurt.

I don’t know if mom will be placed in a facility or go on hospice at his home. I may not even know when she dies. That’s tough for me. As I said, it is what it is.

I will try to remember the times that we were close and had special moments together. She’s 94. I hope she is happy. It’s all I ever truly wanted all my life. I just wanted a happy and harmonious home. Parts of it were joyful and other parts were not.

My grandpa used to say that heaven and hell were right here on earth. There’s a lot of truth to what grandpa said, isn’t there?
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Jada824 Dec 2019
You’re such a strong person to be able to let go of the negativity with your brothers even though it means not seeing your mom. I wish you all the best. Hugs to you .
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I agree with are, for the most part, wired differently, especially when it comes to caring for anyone but themselves. My husband more or less just leaves his 92 year old recently widowed mother to herself and responds only when there is a crisis at hand despite the fact that she lived beyond her means for many years and her funds are limited, still drives, is easily and often scammed, and is a persistent liar and narcissist. He is the only person left in his family to watch over her. To save myself from a lot of angst, I have stepped out of the situation completely. Let the chips fall where they may. I know that it hard but we are only the DIL and are not responsible for our MIL.
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Davenport Dec 2019
Right about males. And I agree about your stance with your MIL. I HATE sounding cold, and I never thought I'd be capable of feeling this way (much less saying/admitting it). Our western culture needs to take the way-forward machine about aging and dying.
I've shared a few of my thoughts already, but ... I know a single (divorced), straight, straight-up 65 y/o man who devotes himself to full-time care for his 95 y/o mom (involving even diapering, personal hygeine, feeding). He's amazing with her: talks about her openly and respectfully to all of his friends and acquaintences. He's taken her to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and many more places. She had Funds(capital F intended), but over the years they became exhausted tending to and caring for her--just to eliminate any question that he's got Great Expectations.

I really think he simply loves her in a healthy way. He has 2 evil sisters that (classically, as we know) criticize him about everything he does for her, every decision he has to make on mom's behalf--and he's philosophical about it. He's my hero and role model (in my dreams).
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Oh my gosh!!! My brother is totally unable to see my mom as an aging person. He yells and is short tempered. My mom is so hurt by this. And I am left to pick up the pieces. Then, if my brother does call ( not Actively doing anything !) she is so happy and bubbles over, telling me all about it!
i have a lot of resentment over this! Suggestions?
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Your mother is of the "He's A Boy" mindset, they adore their Golden Boy, and use the girl as a Scapegoat. My mother is the same way, I finally had enough, I no longer talk to her, now he is what I call the "Golden Goat". This so prevalent with women, they must have the attention of a man... when any man pays attention to them they swoon and all else is forgotten.
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My ex-husband was his parents' full-time, 24/7 caregiver for several years, until his parents' deaths (about 7 weeks apart) this fall. He was very devoted to them, but he and his siblings (one sister, two brothers) were, as far as I can tell, terrible as far as communicating with one another about the parents. One brother seemed to want to help but the communication difficulties got in the way. The sister helped occasionally but also didn't like talking about the parents and their issues. The other brother rarely visited (e.g., at the time of his parents' deaths, he hadn't seen either in at least five years). I'm not surprised about the communication difficulties; the parents were like that, too.

In my family, I and my siblings talk regularly. My sister and one brother visit our mother (still lives at home by herself at age 91) a lot. I visit occasionally. My brother who lives out of state visits a few times per year and participates in our discussions about mom.
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janismkl5758, I've experienced a similar lack of communication, but I'm not sure that gender had much to do with it. I'm one of 5 brothers among my dad's 8 children and was his primary caregiver during his last 5 years. For the four years before my wife and I moved Dad from another state into our home, two of my older sisters were his primary caregivers and we provided just 1/8th of his care (1 week every 2 months). During those four years I was sometimes asked my opinion about care, medication or financial options, but my researched opinions about such things were routinely ignored unless I was in complete agreement with whatever they wanted to do. Meanwhile, many important things were done that should have been communicated to me but were not.

My only advice is for your husband to ask his brothers (and wives if they agree) for a family meeting to discuss the situation and to explore options to ensure the safety and comfort of their parents. That might work, although it didn't for me. A couple of years after my wife and I moved my dad to our home, I asked for a family meeting, but this request was ignored by two brothers and the two older sisters. Best wishes and good luck.
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