How much family support do you get?

I care for my husband for 15 years he has two brothers that come when they like. I make them tea and sandwiches sometimes I make them a dinner My problem is Why would they not suggest taking my husband out for a walk or a coffee whatever They come and tell him everything thing they do and where they go. With each other I did ask once if they would take him out one day just too cheer him up The reply was. No way I couldn’t cope with him. Am I angry No But it baffles me why they come here Are we just a day out for them or somewhere too go

Hi Jennifer,

We call relatives like that “Helicopters”. Both my own brothers seldom visited mum, and I mean maybe go a whole year without seeing her!!! The they would tell me what MORE I should be doing for her.

Stop being so nice to them. Make them a cuppa, but no sandwiches, certainly no dinner. You are doing more than enough already. Tell them that you are “too busy” to do anything. Suggest that next time they have something before they visit.

I love :heart: that term a helicopter :helicopter: I’m going too call them that the next time they visit When they ask what I mean I will gladly tell them. One of the brothers has a very Lonely sad life as his own family have no time for him and treat him like he dosnt exist I have a natural caring out look I can’t be nasty I think maybe they are jealous that after all these we didn’t fall apart We got stronger.

Good for you, Jennifer. You sound like a really lovely lady. Your husband is very lucky having you as his wife and carer.
It sounds like the brothers are more trouble than they’re worth. They probably feel that by visiting their disabled brother they are ‘doing their bit’ but they are actually making you more work.
You need to be more assertive. Next time they come round say ‘will you please take your brother to the pub/cafe/park or whatever because I’m busy today and have to go out.’
If you say that every time they come round they will soon get the message.

Just tell them, that your husband wants to be taken out, to the café,pub,whatever. If they say again they cant cope, ask what specifically is it they cant cope with? and deal with that problem.
Tell them you cant afford to be providing dinners and snacks on carers allowance and its their turn now. If they don’t step up, then they either don’t come or if they do I’d go out and just leave them to drink water.
I don’t get any support with My Mum, she has seen her brother 4 times in 20 years and he lives half an hour away. I wont ever talk to him/ his wife and my cousin ever again. My Mum is going into hospital in a week or so and she has told them she will ring them on her discharge.

Maybe just tell them you need to go out and do something when they come, get them used to taking some responsibility and learn to manage. Maybe there’s a risk you’ll put them off coming, but how positive a contribution are their visits otherwise? Maybe it would be worth your while thinking of it as an investment of your time, instead of making meals etc. to train them up, so they learn to manage … give you a break etc

It could just be that they are close and want to see their brother. This doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility of perhaps taking him out now and again, but could answer your question.

During WW2, my father and his brother, one in the Tank Corps in N Africa and the other in the Air Sea Rescue managed to get together for nothing more than a beer together when my father was stationed in the Med.

I get no family help at all with my wife as they are all (not that there’s many) either too far away, or in one case very much out of favour with my wife and myself.

btw, it may be of interest to some that my father always said the most danger he was ever in was when towing targets for the RAF to shoot at. :open_mouth:

It wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to give you reasonable notice of their visit, and then bring with them some food for you all to share. After all, you are caring for their brother 24/7, they only see him for a few hours every…

I think this sounds an excellent plan!


I think this is common, my own Sister lives five minutes away and randomly visited for an hour a fortnight when Mum became really ill. No notice, just turn up, sit on a chair while constantly counting down the hour till she could escape.

At the risk of being shouted at by other members, they simply do it to appease the guilt they feel for doing nothing, they tell themselves “I’ve visited, done my bit and all is fine” then forget about what the main carer is going through.

When Mum was put into a Nursing home and I was deliberating bringing Mum home or staying in the Nursing home, I was told in no uncertain terms “If anything happens to Mum in the Home, her death is on your hands”. Lovely!!!

Mums now been home for 27 days, during which we have had two random 1 hour visits and one apologetic text for being a no-show.


Hi everyone,

Gosh, I can relate to this. My family have made the entire situation more difficult. My sister was rather like your relatives, Jennifer, she’d turn up without notice, plonk herself down and pour out all her troubles. Eventually I told her that (a) I needed her to arrange when to come over rather than just showing up and (b) that it would be nice to see her when she was in a good mood, rather than just when she wanted someone to moan to. That was about six years ago now and I never really saw her again. We did stay in touch by text for a while but my son was very ill for three years and she didn’t visit him once, despite only living ten minutes up the road. When we moved house I invited her to come and see the new place (twenty minutes away from where she lived). We were there for eighteen months and she never came round. The final straw was my son’s sixteenth birthday - she’d forgotten all about his birthday for the two years previous to that (which we’d had a big row about) and on his sixteenth sent me a text saying she’d bought him a card and I could pick it up anytime I wanted. My son has complex needs and requires 24 hour support so my patience ran out at that point and I never contacted her again.

My mum, dear God, is in a whole different category, and has reported me to every agency going claiming that I abuse and neglect my son. How she convinces people is beyond me; she’s an alcoholic and the narrative she gives is very contradictory and to anyone with any sense obviously doesn’t make sense. Yet she’s managed to do a very convincing job six or seven times now, I think (I’ve lost count!). At one point I reported her to the police because she’d forged my signature on my son’s Premium Bonds account, to take back money that she’d given him. I found out because I received a letter from the Premium Bond people and obviously I then let them know that I hadn’t requested the money. They sent me a copy of the withdrawal form, on which she’d formed my signature and had also claimed a change of address and put her contact details down instead of mine. So I reported her to the police and during the police interview she claimed that she tried to take the money back because I have schizophrenia and can change personalities without warning, and keep spending my son’s money. She told them that I am very good at coming across as normal to other people and that I read up on mental health conditions on the internet so that I can convince people I don’t have them. They believed all of that and took no action against her. That’s just one example; she’s done similar things over and over again and what always comes across in the narrative she gives is her own poor mental health and general lack of connection with reality - yet she’s regularly been believed over me and I’ve had child protection action taken against me many times. So I don’t have any contact with her, either :slight_smile:

So to get back to the point of the thread, I agree with others - you do need to put your foot down, although it may mean that they don’t visit at all anymore or that they say unpleasant things. I don’t know why people behave like that, it’s very difficult to cope with and really no more effort to be nice but for some reason a lot of people don’t seem to be able to do that. I hope you can find a way to change things without it being upsetting for you xx