Self Serving Older Brother

by Anonymous

My mom is 90, her health is failing and I have cared for her 2-1/2 years now. In the meantime, I ended up divorced and on my own without income or support, and plenty of monthly expenses.

Spouse got off easy and just walked away. I've almost used up all my retirement savings paying my bills, but I still have two years before I can collect social security. I don't have enough money to make it that long.

I have sleepless nights and most days feel dazed from constant worry and no peace of mind. After working for 44 years, I thought at my age I'd have a little time to enjoy what I missed out on when I was younger while raising kids and working.

Now I experience so much loneliness and the feeling of being forgotten about. I have a brother who is married, retired who's decided to put his house up for sale next month to move out of state about 700 miles away.

It does not even phase him that I'm in the predicament I'm in and gives no second thought about moving away while mom is in the condition she's in either. He claims to love her so much.

Truthfully, all he does is take her out for coffee once or twice a week (while she pays). If I ask him to take her to the doctor once a year,he'll do it but then leave the rest for me to do, like fill her prescriptions, get lab work done, etc. He cannot totally follow through.

Why he wants to move? Likely to be far enough away from mom and I when she ends up critical and in hospice. He won't need to be burdened as I will make all the last minute decisions and funeral arrangements that have never been discussed, because it is assumed that "I" will be the one responsible for that.

I plan on not being angry, but instead do what I know needs to be done - and get it done somehow. It's likely my brother and I will never speak again. I know he does not care much.

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Feeling Your Pain
by: Anonymous

Boy, does this sound like my life.

I am 62 and moved to another state so my sister could help with my mom who is 90, blind and wears a hearing aid.

Well, let me say, I don't know that I did the right thing. I have no friends, cause I am with mom wr/7, so it makes it impossible to go meet people. My sister and her husband are recently retired and are out and about all the time. They come for coffee once a day, I serve the coffee and clean up.

They feel they are helping, but I don't. There is no mention of me, or what needs I might have.

I gave up with my brothers and have given up with my sister. So, it is mom and I, we do the best we can. We both survive on our social security.

I rent a small home from my sister, no break in the rent by the way.

I think we are the forgotten ones.

Ticking Clock
by: Ellen

Hello serving older brother. Your situation sounds totally like mine.

It's so heartbreaking in our situations and I understand what you are going through. My Mom has dementia too, which I didn't mention in my post. It's not easy seeing her decline day after day.

I have to do everything to run her household. I have to grocery shop and leave her alone for an hour or more. It scares me.

If someone comes knocking, she doesn't hesitate to answer the door without asking, who is it? I do have a lady come & bath her twice a week & she has meals on wheels. At least I don't have to cook everyday.

Mom is loosing control of her bodily functions, so I clean her up and what ever else has been soiled. It's a big job!

I'm totally wiped out day to day and don't sleep well much of the time. I feel sometimes I can't go on, but I wake up the next day and do it all over again.

We are stronger than we think at times. I know we are not alone with what we have to deal with being caretakers of our parents.

We can reach out to strangers to come in and help and basically trust & mostly have to pay for their services. They understand how hard it is, but they get to go home and take the night & weekends off.

I have a hard time finding trustworthy ladies to stay with Mom for me to get a break, so I don't do it much. And I need it so desperately.

We do what we can and that's all we can do.
Hang in there! I am.

Some of This Is SO Familiar
by: Anonymous

I don't have any siblings to help; I'm it. I just got back from a week off helping my mother, and as soon as the plane touched the runway, it's like her radar detected me. She knew I was back and my phone began ringing, her calling to make demands.

I truly understand how you feel about not being old enough yet for Social Security, being broke, and hoping for some time for yourself. I'm well past the pinnacle of my life and now I'm looking at a slow, downhill slide too, much of which could get eaten up with a crabby, never-satisfied 89-year-old mother.

It's too late for me to say I won't get angry. I'm already there, and then some.

Its about Priorities
by: Anonymous

I'm just a bit older than you (66) so I know we basically come from the same generation that told us women are the caregivers, nurturers, whatever society wants to call it.

My 93 year old mom has been living with me for nearly 2 years now. It took me over 18 months and a health scare of my own to learn what ALL caregivers need to learn and apply every day: PUT YOUR NEEDS FIRST!

Taking care of yourself is NOT being "selfish"; its being responsible for yourself. Men come by it easy and simply assume they aren't expected to go outside their comfort zone when a loved one gets ill; they just leave it up to someone else - usually a female - and have no shame in doing so. So your brother is no different than most other men.

Do you ask him for more help? Have you told him what your situation is and how you feel? If you haven't reached out to him, then reach out to somebody else - friends, other relatives, a church, senior citizens center, your doctor, anybody who will listen and care.

Don't be ashamed to admit what a hardship this has become for you. People won't know how to help until you tell them what you need.

This is the ONLY thing that saved me from going nuts with my mom here. My husband died the prior year and I wasn't even finished with my grieving process when Mom needed help. I have siblings and won't hesitate admitting I felt deeply resentful that the doctors, nurses, and even my siblings thought my home would accommodate our mother the most. Who Hoo. Imagine my delight.

I lost my freedom, my privacy, and even the right to prepare meals the way I'd always done before. I couldn't even concentrate on hobbies for relaxation.

Then I was diagnosed with severe COPD. I could hardly breath and figured I was truly going to die early.

A strange thing happened though ... one day I sat down with my siblings and told them I could not cope with all of our mother's needs because I needed to give everything I had to focusing on MY health. I told them I didn't care what they decided, but that our mother would have to be out of my home by next Spring. Period.

Lucky for me they all stepped up and started doing more - probably so mom wouldn't have to move in with them! Whatever the reason, it freed me up mentally to put myself and my needs first for the first time in my life.

And guess what? The ceiling didn't fall in on me, nor did my mom's life suffer. If anything, her life is enriched because others are helping now and I have time to get away once a month for R&R. Oddly enough, it seems to have been what I needed in continuing to have mom as a "roomie".

To every caregiver reading this, I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is that you put YOUR needs first. It truly made all the difference in the world for me, and for my mother and siblings.

Burned Out!!
by: Anonymous

My whole life has been invaded !! My mom wants/demands 24 hour attention/company...... I have explained over and over again that she cannot be glued to me 24/7 she agrees and it starts over again the next day, I'm being smothered!!!!

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