'Opting out' by brother

How does one ever recover from the abandonment by brother and sister in law in the care of elderly mother? They have rented their house out, sailed abroad into retirement and may or may not come home after 5 months. They will be away 5 years. Brother refused to have a meeting to discuss care of Mum or any legal matters “I don’t do meetings”. Instead he has left my nephew aged 26 with Power of Attorney for himself and wipes his hands of everything.

I told him that I could not accept sole responsibility for mother’s care, not least as I am not in good health myself. For the first time I have had to have bedrest for 6 weeks since they left due to recurrence of an old gynae op following heavy lifting.

How can I not resent my brother’s attitude? Of course my mother at aged 95 will want to keep in touch with him and receive visits as and when he returns. What mother wouldn’t. This means that I cannot just wipe the subject of my brother out of all conversation, much though I would like to do so, and move on.

Sounds very familiar to me. 2 brothers “too busy” even to visit, left me, recently widowed, recently disabled in a car accident, with a business to run and a son with severe learning difficulties, to do everything. Not so much as a phone call!

Forget them. If they don’t want to help, they forfeit any right to be involved in any decision making. Do you have POA for mum?

I found that therapy helped immensely. I spent a lot of time in 2017 talking with a therapist about my feelings. This is really not okay. You need a break from caring as well. Forget them. They have pretty much waived their rights at this point.
Can you afford a care home or not? This is a online UK care home directory that should be useful for you to look at https://www.carehome.co.uk. Have you had a needs assessment yet? That is the first step of the process. Will she be happy to have paid for carers in her property? Is that a option?

It never ceases to amaze me how selfish people can be. Your own situation was far harder and I hope you are now finding physical support from somewhere. Unfortunately if you have a bit of money set aside any help has to be paid for which is not always possible as the pot reduces.
I do have POA jointly with my mother alongside my nephew & brother.

I started counselling in July. I have had 2 sessions which were very helpful. Just letting go & admitting life is tough rather than pretending to be strong every day brings with it immense emotion at these sessions. We are very fortunate to have found a lovely carer 2 yrs ago who comes into the home mid-week mornings however I am still bearing the scars of years of coping & even though I am not hands on any more, the buck still stops with me and I am still ‘on call’. My mother does not wish to go into a nursing home & I cannot remove her from her own home.

That was my experience too. I just wish I’d had counselling 30 years ago when my brain damaged son was small. If I could, I’d make it available to all carers.

Doctors, nurses, social workers all have a vested interest in making you feel a failure if you ask for help, the “everyone else can do it why not you?” On the other side there is the caree, especially an elderly parent, who likes to pretend that they “can manage” without help, as long as they can make a son or daughter go along with the white lie!

For those, like me, who resisted counselling, here is a bit about my experience, and how helpful it was. The first counsellor, who I’m mentioning here, was arranged free by social services. Sadly, he could only give me a set number of sessions, which I wasn’t told when it was arranged for me. I now have a female counsellor who I pay for. (Mum left me some money when she died so I can now afford to pay).

Counselling was very liberating for me. My first counsellor was male, it took us a while to understand each other.
One day I arrived early and he was late, so I saw him arrive in full leathers on a powerful motorbike.
I then told him about my motorbike in Australia (I learned to ride on a Yamaha RD250).
He said I was a different person when talking about our adventures, and then realised how depressed I was.

Rather than be made to feel a failure, the counsellor was just amazed that I was still standing when juggling competing needs of two carees, mum and a son with learning difficulties, whilst also running a national club and running a business, whilst waiting for 2 knee replacements.

I thought the “real” me had died.

The counsellor really surprised me, and gave me “permission” to do less for mum and son as I had a right to a life of my own too. When we were chatting, I told him I was useless at art. His reply stunned me, he said I was the most artistic person he knew! I might not be able to draw or paint pictures, but I loved sewing, had a real eye for colour, my clothes were always colour coordinated, I did all the interior decorating at home and even loved wallpapering (just like dressmaking with pattern matching and scissors!)

I would urge anyone who is struggling to have counselling.

Can you hire more carers or not? I have a cleaner who formerly was a carer for most of her working life until last year. Have things improved for you?