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Elderly parents

What’s fair: between me and my brother

26 replies

CouldShouldWont · 02/04/2023 17:21

Mum is now 83 bed bound and with increasing dementia. She’d got copd and is now on continuous oxygen support. She always wanted to stay at home and asked me to move in in 2021 when she was a bit better and still moving.

My brother changed his plans and decided that he and his wife would move in and be her carers. It was a shame as I’d just left my dream job to return, but I had a job and a nearby house. My brother said that his needs were more than mine so needed to be the main carer.

I’ve made peace with it and rebuilt my life. I’m single and my son is at uni. I teach and I enjoy it but I have a fair bit of responsibility and a heavy work load and get pretty tired. My brother and his wife do have a carer for mum and I have been cleaning for my brother while his wife has been away. They also have no bills including food so although I feel they deserve it there are benefits.

the thing is that my brother wants me to take over as mums carer for 2-3 months a year. Usually a month/6 weeks spread over two periods in the winter and then 6 weeks/two months in the summer.
I agreed to 10 days in October and it became 3 and a half weeks so I was trying to balance work and care for mum. I often agree to one thing and it becomes something else.

the thing is that I work in fe and my holidays are not the two months in the summer my brother thinks they are and is trying to make me agree to July and August as dates for care. I just want to shout “what about me!!” Why can’t I have a break!

I know caring for someone so ill is difficult and depressing but I just work and care, and can’t afford holidays. I just wanted to have a moan I think and also how do I not feel bitter?

I have never minded being there in the past and have stayed and cared happily as mum hasn’t wanted to be independent since 2010. And did most of the care as I lived within an easy drive. I think just the last couple of years because I’d finally chosen to do something for myself (for 9 months) and loved it then given it up when asked for my mums greater good - I just feel trapped and huge amounts of fear obligation and guilt.
I sometimes wish I was dead and only don’t go through with it as my son would be so terribly hurt

How can I be a happy person that embraces my mother and brother (when most of the time I bitterly resent both of them) if I’m not being fair please tell me. Maybe I need to hear it and stop the self pity

OP posts:
determinedtomakethiswork · 02/04/2023 17:46

Wouldn't it be better for your mum to be in a care home? Your brother is being really really unreasonable expecting you to be able to spend months at a time looking after her when you had offered full-time care at the beginning and he had refused you. Perhaps now it is time to discuss her having full-time permanent care in a home to make sure she stay safe.

cptartapp · 02/04/2023 17:49

You're right. Caring for someone is difficult and depressing. You and your DB are in the prime of your lives.
And your DM is happy for you both to do this? Indefinitely??!!
I'm afraid I'd be thinking her wants don't trump everyone else's.
Your frustration is misplaced.

LittleOwl153 · 02/04/2023 17:55

I would give your brother a fixed period of time you are prepared to care for your mother - say 2 weeks in a block so that they can get a proper break/holiday. But I would be clear that if they don't return after that (you implied they'd extended before to your detriment) then your mother will need to go into respite or permanent care. Caring for family is hard and should not be taken for granted by anyone.

I do think however you should look to going back to what you want to do with your career otherwise you will always regret it and likely blame your brother and even your mother for not doing so. Even if this means that you are less available to them.

Nimbostratus100 · 02/04/2023 17:59

It sounds very hard

YOu need more outside care, neither of you are coping, she owns the house presumably? So it could be sold to fund her in a care home?

Number24Bus · 02/04/2023 18:00

YANBU. It's hard caring for someone, but your brother does get a break because he and his wife are both there. It's not fair for you to work and also spend 2-3 months caring for her in your own while they go on holiday.

Say no, OP.

RedToothBrush · 02/04/2023 18:05

Mum needs to go into care as between you and your brother you aren't coping.

Regardless of what you promised her.

When you agreed none of you really understood the implications and the toll it would take.

It's too much. Everything you say just back that up.

Time to admit it's too much

Quartz2208 · 02/04/2023 18:06

its ok to say no and put yourself first

and accept that she needs to move into a home

Schnooze · 02/04/2023 18:07

I think that given you offered to move in and he was the one to alter plans, then no there is no obligation on you. Offer for two weeks in the summer and perhaps another week some other time but that’s it. You need holidays too. You any work and care with no break. That’s not fair.

If that’s not enough for db, then I’m afraid he’ll have to use some of the savings he’s making by paying no rent/bills, on respite care. Or even look at putting your mum into full time care.

There is no way I would sacrifice my life for my parents - no matter how much I love them. You can support her by visiting often. You shouldn’t have to live your life around her. That’s not fair. Would you want that life for your own son?

MyriadOfTravels · 02/04/2023 18:18

I think your brother is realising that caring for your mum is much harder than anticipated. Maybe because you did all the caring before ??

Having said that he is taking the piss - simply because he doesn’t respect your boundaries. Asking for a break fur 10 days whilst you are on hols and then making it 3 weeks isn’t ok.
It’s also nit ok to ask you to spend all your hols and some more caring fur your mum full time. When are YOU going to have a break whilst he has his two months off?

At the very least,

  • only agree with what you can cope with. If you can do 10 days in the year, agree to that but no more.
  • keep your boundaries. You said 10 days, it’s not becoming 20.

Fair enough to work together and you give your brother a break but they are also living rent free etc… so are getting compensation fur the work he is doing. You’re not.
Then there is whether you two can manage looking after her or not. If your dbrother doesn’t manage, he needs to say so. Your dmother will need to go in a home and he will need to find a job. (And somewhere to live?)
What isn’t a possibility is a situation where you are doing 30+% of the work whilst working full time. (3. Months extended the same way he did the 10 days will be more than 1/3 of the time…)
doodleZ1 · 02/04/2023 18:26

OP are you saying you left your dream job to move in with your mother as she asked you to and after you did that your brother said his needs were more than yours and he moved in? What needs is he talking about? He is also not paying any bills. Does he have his own house? It does sound as if money is the motivation. Was he worried if you moved back you would get the family home and he would lose out? So he's getting in first.

RandomMess · 02/04/2023 18:55

This is insane, they pay for more care not expect you to do it all for 3 months a year.

CouldShouldWont · 02/04/2023 19:13

Thanks everyone for your replies it helps to see it from a totally objective point of view. My friends say the similar but I try not to discuss it unless within the context of someone else having issues with parent care.

@Schnooze my son and I joke that when I can’t stay in a spa hotel I’m straight off a cliff (ala Midsommar) but we always reaffirm that it’s never going to be us. But I want to live my life to the full all my life and make choices that I’ll be as fit and independent as I can be.

@doodleZ1 yes my perspective was exactly that. However I’m sure he’d feel that as he does not work he has more time to care. He has money from his own property in central London but mums house is (or was) lovely but as far as I know is left equally to us.

My mums carer is an angel , a truly kind and wonderful woman and she does do most of the care, both medication and personal care. Mum has received EoL care costs as benefits but they have recently stopped funding as it went over two years, my brother told me he was planning to reduce her hours but I know he won’t be able to get those hours back or indeed find anyone as mum lives quite remotely, so I’ve begged him not to. She’d only had one day off in 10 months and I insisted she have Christmas off and then he wasn’t going to pay her!! ( She had Christmas off and got paid in the end)

I should say I think my brother is coping, mums carer picks up the slack a lot (which I pointed out when he suggested her reducing hours) and I usually am there at the weekend when needed. It’s just the holidays

Mum cries when respite care in a home was suggested, full time care would be worse and my brother wants to be there so it doesn’t seem to be the right solution - they are ok, it’s just me.

@LittleOwl153 I said that at the start. However it does not work for my brother in that he likes long haul holidays which don’t fit into a two week period. The extensions (plural) have been the day before departure so hard to book into a nursing home at such late notice and I cannot put upon my mums lovely carer. He even talked my son into it once without telling him what the situation would actually be, and I put my foot down then.

OP posts:
CouldShouldWont · 02/04/2023 19:24

I know I need to face this and set boundaries down again.

the problem is my brother tells me what he wants to happen, I say that there may be issues with this and he tells me that he is pleased that it’s now agreed.

I think I’m going to research live in respite care. He has said previously it’s too expensive but I think if I suggest we audit the accounts and see what can be done (I have never done this before) he might reconsider. I might call a couple of local nursing homes. He’s said that they have no space but I’m happy to have a bit of a chat and hear their advice. If anyone has suggestions they’d be welcomed.

I do love ,my mum and want her to be happy. I’m sorry that she’s so ill, and she has been for so so long but I’ve watched my thirties and forties vanish and I’m not as good at being bright, smiley and happy anymore.

OP posts:
RandomMess · 02/04/2023 19:40

Instead of "there may be issues" you need to say "No that's not possible"

Sounds like your DB is living with your Mum for financial gain and if he refuses a joint audit of her finances then you will know that is the case for sure.

Jadviga · 02/04/2023 19:51

Caring is certainly brutal, it's 24/7 with few breaks.

However, that doesn't automatically mean you need to pick you brother's slack.

Tell him you can't do it. So he has a few choices, he can just not go on two months long holidays (most people manage that quite well), or he can schedule respite care, or you can both agree that your mom needs to go into a care home.

I'm listing the options so that you can see that your brother isn't stuck in an unbearable situation, but don't get drawn into looking for solutions for him !

Frankly, for all intents and purposes his job is looking after your mother, and as in any job expecting a two month holiday is ridiculous. I bet you don't even get the carer's allowance while he's off !

MyriadOfTravels · 02/04/2023 20:01

Yes, your brother is ok because he has two women to prop him. Two women that he is pushing the boundaries of, you and your mum’s carer.

I think your brother and your mum are ok. But I think it’s both you and the carer that aren’t.
I mean no hols fur 10 months is crap. And so is asking her to work Christmas Day etc…. Your brother doesn’t look like a nice person and he is taking the risk that she will say she has enough and leaves….

MyriadOfTravels · 02/04/2023 20:06

the problem is my brother tells me what he wants to happen, I say that there may be issues with this and he tells me that he is pleased that it’s now agreed.

He is used to have his own way doesn’t he?
Time to put your teacher’s hat on and treat him like a teenager that always wants to have his own way. Tell him NO. Stick to it.
And yes don’t trust his account if the situation. Financially, with the care homes etc… He is currently benefitting from the urbanisation (fair enough). He might have out his sight on your mum house and doesn’t want it to be sold to pay for a care home. He might also hope that when your mum dies, he can stay in the house and have use of it as her long time carer…

unsync · 02/04/2023 20:09

Gosh, there's a lot of things that dont seem quite right here. Your brother doesn't work so that he can look after your mother, but you also have a carer who does all the work? What does your brother actually do?

Has he had a Carer's Assessment? What does your Mother's care plan say with regard to respite? Who has the PoAs? Does she still have capacity?

Soontobe60 · 02/04/2023 20:14

Your brother is completely taking the p*ss. I strongly suspect he has done this as a purely financial act. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he has managed to persuade your DM to alter her will in his favour! The only reason he is reluctant to get more care / respite for your dm is because it will deplete his inheritance. From what you’ve said, I’m guessing he’s sold his home in London? He’s not paying any bills, and both him and his wife are benefitting from living with your dm. He won’t want her to go into care because her house would presumably have to be sold.
She needs full time care from professionals. My first action would be to check the house thoroughly when you’re next there, to find her will. He’s up to no good!

CovertImage · 02/04/2023 20:39

I sometimes wish I was dead and only don’t go through with it as my son would be so terribly hurt

That was weird, right at the end of your post

doodleZ1 · 02/04/2023 20:46

OP the thing that you were asked to give up, can you get back into it? What is your sons perspective on all this, as he will have seen it all first hand.

Schnooze · 02/04/2023 20:56

Regardless of everything else, a thorough review of your mums finances would be a good idea. It sounds as if your db is definitely benefitting but doesn’t want to put the work in.
Pp is right - you and the carer are doing the hard graft and making the sacrifices. What sacrifices is he making? He just seems to be taking.

You might also have to harden your heart to your mums tears. You can’t sacrifice your life. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not doing so.

LucifersLight · 11/04/2023 18:45

Your brother is clearly motivated by keeping his interest in your mothers house, thereby expecting to keep it all to himself eventually.

He is taking you for a mug having you clean when his wife is off on a jolly. Stop doing this.

Do not agree to become carer when he fancies his holidays, make it clear that it’s a full-time job for him, he can always leave the house and let you take over full-time.

If your brother wants to take all the financial benefit then you shoul dbe able to just visit your mum as when you want with no responsibility or need to clean.

Find your backbone and book yourself a holiday with your son slap bang in the middle of summer.

Daffidale · 22/04/2023 17:42

I sometimes wish I was dead and only don’t go through with it as my son would be so terribly hurt 

How can I be a happy person that embraces my mother and brother (when most of the time I bitterly resent both of them) if I’m not being fair please tell me.

You need to look after yourself. This at the end of your post really worries me. Have you looked into counselling and support for you? If you are doing some care (which it sounds like you are, cleaning and such) then you may be entitled to some via local carer support groups. Talk to your GP as it sounds like you are really suffering.

You do not need to embrace your mother and brother if you resent them. Counselling or therapy might help you work through that resentment. But you can make this their problem. While it’s not unreasonable of your brother to want a break from caring. It’s also not unreasonable of you to say you can’t step in to help. Your brother wants to go on long haul holidays? Then he needs to arrange alternative live in care for your Mum and pay for it.

Hoplite · 26/04/2023 16:39

OP this sounds mental. Your DB doesn't work, doesn't seem to do much of the caring, has freedom to go off on long haul holidays, you clean his house when his wife isn't there (wtf!?). Meanwhile he gets the benefit of living mortgage and bill free.

You work and give up your holidays to facilitate his?

If he asks again about holidays, tell him flat out no that you won't be doing it because he didn't stick to what was agreed the last time.

If you keep enabling all of this then nothing is going to change. Your DB and DM have what they want and won't want that to change so guilt trip you. You seem to be putting more importance on your DM being upset about respite than you being suicidal. Start putting you and your son first.

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