I Can't Handle the Stress!

by Laurie
(Tigard, Oregon)

I have been helping my parents for over 5 years. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and passed away in 2011.

I was there almost constantly helping even though I lived in a different state. The only thing my brother did is give advice when he knew nothing about what was going on nor did he take the time to learn.

He didn't attend my dads service because he had a hunting trip scheduled...5 months after dad died my mom moved to Oregon to be near me.

She lived with me for 6 months while I remodeled her condo. I was her source of everything. One year ago I moved her into an assisted living.

I did it all! Estate Sale, Packing, moving etc. All my brother did was ask where all her money is going and what she spends it on. This past year it has been harder and harder. Trips to the ER, store, etc. All me.

I talk to her a few times a day and try to see her at least 3-4 times per week as well as have her at my home. With her dementia it is very stressful. I am again moving her within a month.

I explained this to my brother 6 months ago that I would be moving her in February so to keep that open. Our relationship is nonexistent at this point as he gives me no support and he is a selfish person with no heart.

Obviously there is more to this story but...I just sent him an email giving him the dates and of course, no response. I told my mom that I had sent him an email and she told me he had scheduled a vacation for that time...

What should I do? I am thinking about hiring a person to do the move for her but then I feel guilty doing this. I don't want my mom to feel I won't help. I just need some support and am not receiving any. HELP!!!

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You are doing the right thing
by: Violet Rose

Take care of you.

The egotists should be punished too
by: Anonymous

Your brother sounds like a real ass from what you wrote about your situation. This is typical of many men who have a sister who is stuck, and/or is willing to do all the caring for an elderly parent.

I wonder, however, if your mother has a will and will bequeath you money when she dies? Perhaps your mother, if she isn't, or before she is deemed mentally incompetent, should either modify her will to disinherit him, or at least leave you most of her estate.

I can guarantee that if your brother were aware of this legal possibility, he would change his tune overnight. I don;t wish to foment hatred, but what do you owe him anyway?

Unless you are exceptionally close to him, and he really does care about his mother, which it sounds as if he doesn't, then forget about him. A "real man" wouldn't be so selfish unless he truly felt he had "good reason" to be. I should know because I am male myself!

by: Laurie

Thank you for your encouragement and advice. It really helps!

Also . . .
by: Anonymous

I agree with much of the advice stated here. One thing I'd add is to keep a journal of your interactions with your siblings--phone calls, save the e-mails, especially those in which you ask for help, etc.

Keep a journal of those health events too, and your participation in them. You might need this info in the future in case you're later accused of not doing enough or not communicating. This usually happens after the funeral and it's time to account for the estate.

You must come first
by: Anonymous

I am in a very similar situation to you. My siblings like 1000 miles away and are only critical about my full-time care of our mom. They offer no support. And as my mom has more and more dementia she grows more and more angry at me.

My mom almost died last week -- she had a violent outbreak from medication, which was probably an overdose, and I stayed up with her for three days with no sleep helping her come down. Again, no support from my sisters except for criticism.

What you have to do is

1. forget about your siblings, just answer their questions in an email or with a phone text and ignore them.

2. take time for yourself and do whatever you can to calm down and rest. For if you hurt yourself you are hurting your parent too.

3. Take things one day at a time and realize that you are doing the very best you can.

But stress, which can get out of control (my blood pressure was up to 200/ 130 today which is killer level), and affect your body in bad ways can kill you. Please do not let this happen.

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