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Old 06-12-2008, 11:00 AM   #1
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A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

My brother has said he wants to help... this is the same brother that when I asked for helped told me that he needed at least 4 days of notice!!!!!!!! So now he says if I need anything to just call!!!!!! Do you guys have brothers or sisters that have said this. My brother has let me down once allready and I am not sure I can trust him with anything major... I am trying to think of things that he can help with and if he dosen't do them it will not be a big issue. What do your absentee sibblings do for your loved one. are there little things that they do to help and what are they.. I need some ideas. I know that it is hard when you don't know me but there are probably some little things that could help, but for the love of me I can't think of any!With having to do everything it is hard to come up with something that is not hands on. I know that sounds dumb, but if he is offering I want to take advangtage of it somehow.

 
Old 06-12-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

Speaking from experience. I have three sisters and we all truly want to do all that we can for Mom and Dad..... each in our own way. I did most of the hands on for over a years because all three of my sisters were working.... even though Mom and Dad lived 4 hours away from me. My sisters did question things that I did. Sometimes when I called they helped and sometimes when I called they didn't help. I will have to admit that being so hands on at that time I did question the way they did things as well.

When Mom and Dad moved to AL it became totally different. Two of my other sisters are now in the same town with Mom and Dad. One is now retired and has most of the hands on responsibility. She is in constant turmoil about what the rest of us are not doing. No matter what we do it is not enough or it is not done like she wants it done.

We have a division of duties that was created by our abilities and proximity. I do the financials. Anything related to bills, insurance, investments, income. It is amazing how much time that takes. I have something to do almost every day. I also go see Mom and Dad at least every 2 weeks and have the reponsibility of up keep of Dad's dream cabin in the mountains. Yet sister 4 that is hands on with Mom and Dad's care does not see this as important. Sister 2 has the POA. She is still working full time at a demanding job. She goes to see Mom and Dad at least once a month and makes herself available when the POA is needed, even if she has to take a day off from work. Sister 3 is a nurse and has all the medical directives. If Mom or Dad need medical attention she is johnny on the spot. She is still working and though she doesn't volunteer a lot she comes when she is called. Sister 4 is just a mess. She is overwhelmed and nothing we do suits her. In her mind, the things we are reponsible for are and do in no way compare to what she does. Now matter what we say we are not doing enough and are unappreciative.

I have found, being on both ends of the situation, that the best thing to do is to expect nothing. Always have a back up plan. Do what you think is right, be happy with yourself, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. At this point you have lost faith in your brother. He may have good intentions and just blew it. Chalk it up to the past and create a new history by giving him things to do.

Ask him to come for a weekend to give you a break. Don't make out of town plans so you will be available if he doesn't show up. That way you can enjoy some time without the responsibility if he does show or you can just keep doing what you are doing. If there is something you Mom needs then ask him to find it and send it. Can he deal with financial responsibilities to get those off of your plate. He could do that without travel. Know that he won't do it exactly like you would but he might do it sufficiently.

Mostly keep the lines of communication open. Perhaps the best thing he can do for you is be a sounding board. Tell him you need his time to vent and wind down. Build a new history of cooperation that can overshadow what has happened in the past. Perhaps you might ask him to be specific about what he is willing to do. Perhaps he will come up with ideas you don't already have.

I have just send an e-mail back to sister 4. She and I have been the ones with the most reponsibility and should understand what the other is going through. Yet it is she and I that have come to an impass. She invited me to go three rounds with her in the parking lot to rehash old issues. I simply responded that I felt that was unproductive. If she wanted to discuss going forward and what needed to be done for Mom and Dad I was more than willing to talk to her. Sometimes you have to forgive, kiss, and make up.... as my Mom always told us.... to go foward. We definitely need to build a new history of cooperation not tearing each other down.

That may not be the answer to your question but it's where I am in a similar situation. So have a little faith in the brother, be creative and find him something to do, then see if he rises to the occassion. If so you have a foundation to work on. Most of all you need his love and compassion and he needs to know that.

Love, deb

 
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

Well, I have one brother. Fifty years old, living 4 states away. He was always peripheral, but since dad moved here to Colorado 4 years ago, has been in thrice yearly contact. I call my bro, email him, leave messages for him...basically drag my brother into the fold, if you will. My brother is all interested in a little money that dad has been forthcoming with (for my BROTHER - not for me), but that's about it.

Brother came out here a couple of months ago (after I sent him the money to do so), stayed 3 days and left. No, he does not have a wife or kids. Just a dog.

Hmmmm. Think I am bitter much? Anyway, I do the 24/7/365 care of daddy, and every time I manage to get ahold of my brother, he tells me I am the "best sister in the world", and he is "available to be of any help I need". Bullsh*t. I asked him to come take care of dad for 3 days this month so I could go on vacation, and he couldn't seem to manage to do that, so in answer to your question...

I ask for zero help, get zero help and expect zero help from my sibling. I guess it just works better for me that way.

I hope you have more luck.

...deb

 
Old 06-12-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

I didn't appreciate my sister much when Mom was living with me and starting to get dementia. She felt her role in all this was to tell me how to do things better and differently. Once a year Mom visited her for 2 weeks. Sometimes the year stretched out to 18 months. During the last one of those visits, my sister maintained that Mom was fine --- in fact intellectually superior to most people she knew. I was disgusted with that, since my hope was that having Mom with her in her house for 2 weeks would wake her up to the fact that something was terribly wrong with Mom ... but it didn't work.

She agreed to let Mom move in with our brother, but on the phone she told Mom that her reason for being in favor of it was to get Mom away from me, because I was so controlling and didn't allow Mom any freedom. (translation - I didn't let her leave the apartment at 2 AM in her nightgown to wander the streets of Queens) ...

Sad to think about it . All that was 3 or more years ago, and except for being together at Mom's funeral and burial, we have had no contact outside of an email once every 2 months. My sister is still mad at me for not letting Mom have that freedom. When I said she no longer knows what the red and green lights mean, My sister said ''so what? If she gets killed in traffic it is easier than a long slow decline in the apartment."

Dementia is such a strain on relationshps - or, it brings siblings together. I love and admire my brother 100x more than before we went through all this together. He is the ''baby'' and yet took upon himself so much responsibility, and was so amazingly caring.

Love,

Martha

 
Old 06-12-2008, 01:28 PM   #5
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

Can someone explain all this to me? I thought I was the only one that was dealing with a divided sibling relationship due to a parent's ALZ or dementia.

What is UP with this? For those of us that are dealing with or have dealt with this horrible situation, how DARE our siblings criticize or abandon us? I keep my anger at my brother kind of squinched down in my heart, but reading that y'all have similar situations...it makes me so sad!

Every sibling of every familial caregiver needs to do 30 days of that which WE do every day of our lives. We make sure they don't go out in their nightgown, we make sure they eat, wipe, bathe, smile, live in a clean environment, have the bills paid, go to doctor's appts...how double-dog DARE they criticize us?

And where the sam-hill ARE they when we need a minute out?

It's all too sad, y'all. Sad and maddening. I hope my children are learning from watching me do all this for daddy that family is IMPORTANT - next to your spirituality, the MOST important, and we must ALL stick together.

Boy. What a can of worms. My love to EACH and EVERY one of you that are dealing with loved ones that need you. I can't be y'all's sister, but I can feel like one...

...deb

 
Old 06-12-2008, 02:23 PM   #6
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

I am so fortunate in having the brother I have..he is the best! It is just the two of us. He lives across the country from us but I know all I have to do is call him and he would be on an airplane. He is ALWAYS there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on..heck, he cries with me.

I know it is painful for him knowing he can't help since he is so far away but what we have found he can do is call her when she is having a bad day..( I call him and tell him what is happening and he calls her immediately, thereby taking her mind off of whatever thing has her filled with anxiety)
He mails her stuff all the time..she loves getting mail..he calls her to tell her when the Cardinals are playing baseball on TV. Stuff like that.

She is still able to fly alone...(probably not much longer) so I put her on a direct flight to Los Angeles and he is right there at the gate to get her and keeps her for a few weeks at a time. When she is with him it is like most of her symtoms disappear. All of his friends know her and love her so they are always wining and dining her. She revels in the attention. A producer's wife that my brother knows was wearing a skirt once that my mom admired. The woman then bought her one and my brother mailed it to her...so it is little things like that.

Mostly he is there for me, which of course is a great help. Just knowing that is like having a pillow strapped to my butt. I always know I can fall back on him. When I am not sure if I am doing the right thing I call and talk and he listens and by the end of the conversatin we have figured it out.

I wish I could share him with all of you. He is my towel.

Meg

 
Old 06-12-2008, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

meg1230 perhaps you can loan him out to us who have problems with our siblings.... I like the ideas that you have posted and will try them out and see if my brother will adopt some of them. thanks for the input....

Last edited by jagsmu; 06-12-2008 at 04:24 PM.

 
Old 06-12-2008, 06:39 PM   #8
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

Ha....I have 3 brothers, one lives out west, 2 live here .
My brother lives at my MOM'sS house with his wife and child.
He does what he can, which is VERY LITTLE.
My other brother has NO children and has not called his mother in months!
He is in TOTAl denial. I have told him that Mom has dementia, not leprosy.
It sickens to no end. I am a 24/7 caregiver and I work 12 hrs a day!
But, like I say..."what goes around will come around." I used to get all mad at them all but I have learned to just shut them out for now as I have bigger fish to fry here on Cape Cod!

 
Old 06-12-2008, 06:41 PM   #9
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

Forgot to mention that the brother who has no contact bled my mom dry over the years.
He took ALL of her money, I am talking millions!

 
Old 06-12-2008, 07:06 PM   #10
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

I think what you are saying is that greed and selfishness go hand in hand Ocean. If somebody will bleed their parents of money they are not caring enough to be a caregiver.

Should we put up a calendar with a rotating schedule for Meg's brother? What a wonderful blessing he is for you Mag. I do have a sister like that, sister 2. We talk several times a week and she seems to know when I am upset before I do. She called this morning about sister 4's e-mail to make sure I was ok and we e-mailed during the day and talked tonight. She is my rock and even makes me laugh. I return the favor. I have a more distant relationship but a workable one with Sister 3. I am putting sister 4 up for aution!!!! I will even throw in a goss of hand towels to sweeten the deal.

Love, deb

 
Old 06-13-2008, 04:17 AM   #11
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

After reading these posts I have to be thankful for my sister -- yes, she was critical, in denial and no help with caring for Mom. But, she never took money, in fact she was quite generous in helping Mom over all the years, and now that it is all over, has also been generous to me. So I am sad about the break, the end of our close close relationship, but thankful that all in all she did what she could and was financially generous. I will focus on that, since Mom is gone, but sister is still here! Maybe our old closeness can be restored.

Love,

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 06-13-2008 at 04:19 AM.

 
Old 06-13-2008, 05:26 AM   #12
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

In my somewhat jaded opinion:
  • Don't expect help but be gracious if it is offered and followed through.
  • Don't set yourself up for disappointment.
  • Set boundaries: them's that did nothing, who now do something might have an ulterior motive. (cynical .. yes ... I hope it's not true)

And if he's being honest, *seen the light*, and means what he says and becomes a model helper ....... then hug him, treat him good and be thankful that SOMEBODY is there for backup.

Sorry for sounding so ........ er.......... blah, but having been bitten ......... well you get the idea.

Cheers
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... your loved one hasn't forgotten you ... the DISEASE doesn't remember you

 
Old 06-13-2008, 06:44 AM   #13
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Re: A Question for you with Bro and Sisters

EXCUSE ME DEB!
It says on page 13 of the manual that hand towel are not to be used to for barter of ugly sibling just to rid ones self of said ugly sibling. Towels should not be used for such nefarious purposes. Use of twoels for such purposes will immediately cause user to suffer dreadful harm to include the ugly sibling living with them forever......

 
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