Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
So annoyed with my BIL- would you contact?(22 Posts)
Just venting but also wondering what to do.
My BIL and family live overseas-not Europe, so a good distance away. My MIL has been in and out of hospital for many years when he lived in UK at the time, and since he relocated. He used to come to see her with his family roughly once every 2 years, but it's now over 2 years and she is increasingly frail- in hospital again now. He has a well paid job and we assume that finances are not the reason why he doesn't come to see her.
Meanwhile my DH is the one who has to do everything, despite having a very pressurised job which includes overseas and UK travel.
We live a long way from her too but we are in the UK. DH is the one making daily calls to carers, drs, hospital etc and handling the money side for her.
He also goes to see her - 4 hr drive- whenever he can.
He recently emailed my BIL ( about 10 days ago) to tell him she was in hospital again- and he hasn't even had a reply.
I am tempted to email him myself asking if he got the other email, and maybe saying something, tactfully, about his lack of contact and apparent concern- and the pressure it's putting DH under to do everything. We are the ones who get calls day and night when she's had a fall etc ( and I take the calls if DH is away so it impacts on me too) and is taken into hospital- and BIL cannot even pick up a phone to ask us how she is.
All our DCs are adults now so there is no reason I can think of that BIL doesn't pop over more often. I don't think it's my place to interfere, but at the same time I am the one supporting DH through the practical and emotional side of this- and of course when she does die, we are going to be the ones left to sort out everything.
What do you think?
If anyone takes it further then it has to be your DH and not your good self. He has already tried and his brother does not want to know for his own reasons. He has not really made an effort to date and any e-mail from yourself would likely be disregarded.
It is not fair that your DH has been the one left to do everything with regards to the ongoing situation re his elderly mother but unfortunately this situation does happen a lot with one relative left to carry the can. I would certainly try to arrange more care for her; is residential care now the only realistic long term option?.
Thanks. Unfortunately, if that's the right word!- DH is very tolerant of all kinds of things in life, but as a by-stander it really angers me that BIL is behaving this way. He's just opted out of any responsibility and I can't understand why he is so thoughtless.
Residential care is not something we want to consider- it's been discussed but MIL is managing at the moment with 4 x daily visits from carers, and once a week from a nurse. She doesn't want to go into a home, and as long as she is able to manage at home with care then that is her wish and should be supported.
"I can't understand why he is so thoughtless."
Because he's selfish and lazy. If he shows an interest he might have to ... <horror>.... do something or put himself out.
Yes- like book a plane ticket and get himself over for a weekend.
Got it in one. He's keeping his head down and being out of contact because it suits him to do nothing and let everyone else do the running and the worrying. Bet he turns up when the old girl finally croaks and there's a few quid to be had in a will, though... Agree that it's your DH's job to tackle the brother.
Even a phone call to us would go some of the way.
Oh yes, there'll be 50-50 in the will.
The only reason I thought of making contact was that sometimes in the past DH's email and BIL's didn't 'connect' - and DH was sending to an old email address or one that BIL didn't look at very much- and when I emailed him through another source , I got an instant reply! But make of that what you will......
so I was wondering about a 'did you get DH's email, btw?' type of thing.
An aside but this is important to bear in mind as well:-
I would seriously now consider residential care, at the very least look into what is available locally because there is high demand for these places and you may need to find her something quickly. No advance preparation as well puts you in a problematic situation. You've done your best and through no fault of your own you are both finding things very difficult now.
My nan (my Dad's mother) also had 4 daily visits from carers and she was not managing at all really and truly. The carers have many people to see and they are rushed off their feet. It took an intervention from my Dad and his late brother's wife to get her into a nursing home (my Nan was in a right old state) and that was all done in a rush. I would not want you to go through the same hence be prepared. BTW my nan was adamant about not wanting to go into a nursing home either (she was determined to leave her home feet first but even she realised in the end she was not managing even with carers) but she has settled in well and is happy there.
Getting back to the original point of your thread, it is really down to your DH re his brother. For all you know as well this man may not have got on very well with his mother anyway so is also not all that concerned about her day to day welfare nowadays; also he is too far away (perhaps by both choice and design) to be of any real use, this is also perhaps what he would cite. How far is he away from you all in terms of distance exactly?. You write not Europe so are we talking the Americas, Asia or Australia here?.
I once heard someone I respected talking about his family getting older.
He said he was thinking of moving away from them in a couple of years' time so that he didn't end up being the one doing all the running about after them in their older years.
It is something that people think about and engineer, I had no idea.
That said, if there have been email problems before, and there are several email addresses, maybe it is as simple as that. I'd scrap email and just get your dh to ring him.
It's not really about residential care. That has to come from her and the medics. The thinking nowadays is that the elderly should stay in their own homes if they possibly can, with support, and that's what MIL wants- it's her call unless her life is in danger. It's been suggested before by the medics and she has refused. TBH the only advantage of residential care is 24 hr support if she needs it during the night, and at the moment with carers coming in 4 x a day, and MIL is almost bedbound, there isn't a lot of gain by going into a home- and it would simply give us more to do in terms of having to sell her home, organise care home, and so on.
The BIL is in Asia. There is no history to them not getting on.
DH and BIl are not what I'd call 'close'. They don't not get on IYSWIM, but they only speak on phone about twice a year.
Recently the drs told DH that MIl may have only months left, or she might go on for a few more years ( though with very poor quality of life.) BIL was told all of this- and still doesn't either come over or respond to emails.
I am truly disgusted with him.
Terrible but if I was you I wouldn't get involved. I've had similar with certain brothers re my mum dying, it's up to them and their conscience, just as long as you are making sure you and your OH are doing what you feel you should then forget him, it's his morality and lack of consideration he needs to live with, not you and yours.
Doesn't matter where they live - my sis lives 2 streets away from my mum, I live 700 miles away - it is still me who has to get on with the stuff of life for mum - arranging hospital visits, lifts etc all by long distance - my sis could not give a monkey's.
I'm sorry you are going through this.
I'm afraid I think it probably is time to think about residential or nursing care. If not now, for the future.vas that time can come very suddenly and maybe sooner than you think. If she is almost bed bound already and needing carers x4 a day and you are some distance away it is bound to cause problems.
I mean this kindly and I know that it is not what you asked.
However, I have been there. My brother lives abroad, he has no wife or DCs and is only in Europe. Even he does not manage more than one visit a year. My mums DP died suddenly last year. He was her sole carer. They lived 3 hours away. Mum could have stayed in her home, with carers but it would have been fraught with problems and we just could not manage dealing with it from a distance. We moved her into a home in our home town. It is not perfect and mum has taken some settling but she has company, we know she is safe 24 hours and if anything goes wrong ie she had a fall, and she broke her foot, someone is there. As for sorting everything out, yes it's a pain, but you will have that to do sooner or later.
What I'm trying to say is don't write it off and consider that if she did need to go into care suddenly it would be better to have plans in place for her to be nearby.
As for your BIL. I went through a period of huge resentment towards my DB and DS who have left everything to me. Now I accept it is their lives, I cannot make them. My conscience would not allow me to be that way, but that's just me.
At the very least, make sure that you DH has sorted out power of attorney, carer's allowance (for your DH as her carer) and got your MIL's will sorted. IME it is usually the absent children who kick up the biggest fuss when these things need to be put in place/activated.
DH already has power of attorney got it years ago as she had MH issues.
We aren't being blinkered about residential care, but it's not what she wants, and so far it's working by having carers, living/ sleeping downstairs, etc etc. DH did start to look into the regulations etc about it all some time ago but it's all very vague re. what type of care she'd need, whether she would pay, how her needs would be assessed etc.
It's not us who is refusing the care home idea- it's MIL. I feel we have to respect that. As I say the only difference between what she has now and a home would be someone on call during the night, and she has a panic button to summon help. Even in a home no one would sit with her 24/7, so I can't see the benefits.
She has been found in the mornings by her carers after she's fallen in the night, but after a check up in hospital she comes home- and that's what she wants.
But that's not really the point- DH is phoning the hospital ( yet) again today for an update and it would be so nice is BIL could get off his arse to ask for an update.
What DowntonTrout and 3littlefrogs wrote earlier.
Your DH and yourself have nothing to reproach yourself for re his mother and you've done your very best. You live 4 hours away and have your own lives. I can only reiterate that the situation re your MIL can deteriorate rapidly (as it did with my Nan, she became bedbound as well) and although my Dad was prepared for his mother to be moved into residential care, it had to be done very quickly and within a matter of days. The first home my Dad visited had no vacancies. It is a pain as Downton Trout rightly points out but it will have to be done sooner rather than later.
My Nan had private carers four times a day and some of them were far better than others.
Re your BIL I would let it go and if anyone makes any further contact it will need to be your DH rather than your good self. You cannot force someone to act if they at heart do not want to.
At the very least do put measures in place as 3littlefrogs suggests so you are not completely on the back foot when the time comes for her to be placed into residential care. Her last sentence re absent offspring is particularly pertinent.
However what she wants and what she now needs are perhaps two very polarised things. I can sympathise; my Nan was absolutely determined not to go into a residential home and in her case the doctors would not commit themselves into actually making any sort of decision re her care. It was left very much up to us and my Nan. She is now very old indeed (over 100) and is still in residential care. She has put on weight since being in the home and receives personal care as and when required. Care in that home is 24/7.
I agree with you re the regulations; it was enough to tie my Dad almost up in knots and he is quite savvy when it comes to dealing with council departments and the like.
I will leave BIL alone .
Re. care homes. I just don't know. MIL sleeps a lot, has her house adapted to an extent, so it is possible that she could simply die sitting at home. I don't think a care home is inevitable- many old people still die peacefully in their own homes. She has already had one stroke.
Her carers attend to her personal needs, she eats practically nothing so no cooking is involved, and she has one friend who comes in when they can- sometimes daily, sometimes not.
If her health deteriorated further than I assume she'd be hospitalised- which she is now while they do tests.
We have had many, many 'false alarms' when we thought a care home was the answer, but she is happiest in her own home (as would we all be I assume) with someone calling every 2 hours. DH has said that rather than put her into a home, he'd rather try to find a private carer who would live in overnight if that was what she needed.
Without you knowing her and her medical conditions, it's hard for me to convey here how a home wouldn't offer anything other than what she has now- if she needs nursing care then the NHS would admit her, if she needs more care than the idea is to up the care at home.
Does that make sense?
It is the ideal to stay in your home and my Nan only moved into residential care a few months back. She was completely adamant she was not going into a home originally but being at home for my Nan simply was not working out for her any longer. Even she saw that and she is one of the most stubborn people I've ever come across. My Dad and his late brother's wife (my uncle had died some years back) made a joint decision for her to go into residential care.
My Nan had 4 daily carer visits from a private carer company who visited her every three hours for a set amount of time. Her only real problem was and remains frailty due to her sheer old age. She did not initially require any overnight care because she could still do personal self care. The carers system in place worked up to a point (she had carers come in when she was 101 years of age and she is now a couple of years older, you can do the math, but it got to the stage where it was not and she deteriorated very quickly when things became unstuck (it was not all that long ago).
Does your DH actually know how much a private based 24/7 carer would cost?. He could be in for a nasty shock. It would cost a small fortune literally, my aunt and dad vetoed it due to the sheer cost. It was felt that the money spent out on such would have been better spent on residential care.
She also had a couple of hospital stays (due to a chest infection) and absolutely nothing was said about longer term care whilst she was in hospital; it was very much left up to us. No NHS staffer or cons would commit themselves into making such a decision. I knew she was going to be ok because she started to moan at the staff when she was in there (I felt most sorry for the staff).
Do not assume anything at all re your MIL being admitted for NHS nursing care. She could be placed on a ward but the NHS would want to discharge her back into the community asap.
I will stand corrected on this but in our experience the NHS also won't do anything because they see her house as her asset and will expect us to fund her care longer term from the house sale.
I wish you the very best of luck, it is a hard road to travel re elderly relatives and it has been at times very stressful.
BTW since she has been in the care home, she has actually put on weight and looks far healthier. The staff there wheel her to the table and give her three square meals a day. The staff in this home (unlike the carers) call her Mrs X rather than by her first name and importantly do not infantalise her, the carers used to spoon feed my Nan fgs!. She as a result ate very little.
I really appreciate your experience and advice Attila. It's all a real worry isn't it.
Maybe if you'd like to you could tell me how your Nan was better off in a home?
You see my MIL has MH issues ( was in a psychiatric hospital for months some time back). She eats practically nothing and nothing cooked. This has been discussed ad nauseum with drs and care staff but the drs have decided that the only option would be to force feed her through a drip etc, and can't do that, so they have agreed with DH that although her diet is very limited, it would cause her more distress to try to change her behaviour. So the same situation would pertain in a care home- she was in one for 2 weeks to rehabilitate her and hated every minute and still didn't eat.
Her personal care is, and has been, managed by carers and the community nurse for years.
As long as she can lift a cup to drink from, and eat a little food, then her needs are being met at home. She sits in a chair or lies on the bed and watches TV all day.
The 'danger time' is from 8pm-8am when she is in bed. She has an alarm to call for help. Even in her own room in a home, I can't see how she would be looked after through the night unless she called for help.
My DH was not thinking of round the clock live in help but someone to cover the nights if that was what she wanted or needed. That would he assumed be better in many respects than a home.
I could see her needing a care home if she had another stroke and was totally unable to do anything for herself.
As an expat myself, I would get your do to call his brother just in case he hasn't received the email or hasn't registered the situation. From a practical point of view there isn't much he can do from Asia except contribute financially and of course visit. This is a long and expensive journey and if you feel it is time he made it, then I would ask your dh to gently suggest it.
It is possible he feels a bit excluded and cut off from family. i know he is the one who moved but it is easy to feel that people at home have forgotten or are uninterested. People can be sensitive to perceived slights. Two phone calls a year leaves plenty of time for misunderstanding to stew!
Join the discussion
Please login first.