Person I Care For Reluctant to accept help - but needs it

Hello, brand new poster here, so please forgive me if this has been asked a lot.

I’ve been caring for my brother, who had a stroke 16 years ago, which left him with left-side weakness. He received a full assessment from a social worker last week, and she seemed to think I should have been opening and dealing with his mail for him, but this is the one thing I have always left him to do for himself, although have had to urge him to when it has piled up on the worktop. He has always been adamant that he can deal with his mail, and that it is private, and he’ll do so when he gets his “head around it”.

With other health problems piling in this year on top of what he already had, I had several times offered to go through his mail with or for him, and still he was adamant he could manage.

And then somehow a form for P.I.P. was not completed, and not only has his benefits been stopped, but my carer’s allowance has also.

I am struggling to find the right people to talk to to get the benefits reinstated, and because I was already exhausted after 15 years of caring with no breaks, even though, compared to many other people, my load is light.

But I am wondering, how many carers do open and deal with the mail of those they are caring for, and are the carees happy about this? My brother has always been such a private person, and when one day I had to take the phone from him before he lost his balance, and a woman from the DWP started reeling off to me a list of bank accounts that my brother was supposed to hold, I was shocked that she was divulging what seemed to be confidential information to me, as though I would know all about it.

Should I know all of my brother’s private business just because I am his carer/sister?

And if I am to continue as his carer - because I believe the social worker who recently carried out an assessment still assumes I will be doing so, and I would like to be able to continue, because blood is thicker than water, and someone doesn’t stop needing care, in spite of now having no income at all since my carer’s allowance stopped, and no savings to fall back on - how would I go about convincing my brother to let me help him deal with his mail.

Just of the top of my head …

Others will add…

The social worker should be speaking with your brother. You will have to be very blunt with your brother.
You can no longer care for him without the right support in place. For him and for you.

Citizens Advice can help with form filling etc.

How old are you and your brother?

I would make it clear that you WILL NOT care for him any longer unless he sorts out a Power of Attorney for you. He can’t have it both ways, either he needs help, and wants you to help, and does the POA, or you leave him to it.

If you had POA you could deal with all his correspondence re benefits, for starters. In the mean time, you can apply to be his DWP Appointee, a quick and simple process.

As a kinship carer , don’t lose sight of what’s available out there :

Thank you all for your advice. It is much appreciated.

My brother is 61 years old, i am 5 years his junior. And his doctor says he is “of full capacity”.

I have submitted (late!) the form for PIP, and have told my brother that I will leave him to it if he continues to be so bull-headed. (I think he knows I mean it, as he has been a bit less difficult with me today).

A care agency supervisor visited today to ask him more questions about his care needs. I know it has been hard for him to face up to his disabilities, but she was a pretty amazing lady, with a background in other areas of managing people with complex mental health and housing needs, and she also advised Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and got my brother to admit he needs help with dealing with mail. I think stuff from his childhood may have caused him to be private to the point of secretive, and didn’t want to face the very invasive PIP form.

A guy from Active Independence with whom I spoke said he will help us appeal if the P.I.P. application fails (though why it should fail just because it’s gone in later than they requested it back I do not know).

Kicking myself for not being a bit more forceful about dealing with brother’s mail. Found his house insurance hadn’t been paid either!!!

Thank you again for valuable advice, and for giving me some extra strength.

As your brother needs help with finances, I would strongly suggest that you become his DWP Appointee, so that you take charge of his benefits and make sure all bills are paid from your “appointee” account. It’s a really quick and easy process unless you have a murky past!

I suspect your brother might be really grateful to know that it’s not his responsibility any more.

Thank you again. Oh how I wish I had found these forums years ago. It really does help being able to, not only ask for help, but to browse and see what other people are having to deal with on a daily basis.

I had a good chat with my brother today, and told him straight that he must trust me. After all, during the fifteen years I’ve been his carer, he has had no reason not to trust me. (I certainly don’t have a murky past, especially financially, I have even worked in banking and in a finance department for a holiday centre).

The overwhelming tiredness threw me into panic and despair a couple of weeks ago - everyone’s help here has dragged me from the brink, and I am eternally grateful.

“Overwhelming tiredness…” When did you last have a proper holiday, getting away from it all for a couple of weeks? There is only so much one person can do. If you love your brother enough to provide so much care, then he should be grateful and accept either alternative help at home, or a short stay in a nursing home, so you can get away and recharge your batteries, physical and emotional.

Are you getting any or enough day to day help with caring?