Worried about my Brother


I am not quite sure where to post this, however, my brother is the primary carer for our 93 year old mother. They live together on a quite isolated farm. My mother has carers to support her to get washed and dressed every morning. I visit during the afternoon/early evening to prepare a meal and put my mother to bed.

My brother has always been a little ‘quirky’ (please excuse the term, if it is insensitive). For example, he says exactly what comes into his head and he will verbalise his thoughts, laughing and whispering to himself. However, once or twice over the past month or so, he has shouted at me, accusing me of trying to push him into the fire or trying to hurt him in some way. There has never been any reason for him to think I would attempt to hurt him.

Yesterday, however, he stared at me and said he was going to take out a restraining order on my because I had tried to attack him with a chainsaw, tried to run him over with a tractor, I was constantly trying to push him into the fire and I was plotting with my sons to kill him, so we would take over the farm. He said he had seen me doing these things and spoken to me.

Obviously, there is no truth in any of this, and I spoke to him stating how terrible these feelings must be and that he must be really stressed and so on. He calmed down after a while and even agreed to make an appointment to see his GP this morning.

I have sent him an e-mail this morning, encouraging him to see his doctor. However, I have arranged for my husband to cook a meal for my mother, because I am scared that my presence might trigger another ‘episode’.

So far, my brother has not responded to my e-mail. What should I do if he does not see the GP and if this behaviour continues. He is 62.

Hi Janet
How distressing for you!
You may know this already. Sometimes a urinary tract infection can cause bizarre behaviour. Delirium. I wrote to my husband’s GP with my concerns regarding several UTIs and my concern re memory. Could you do that. At least it would alert the GP.
Another valued member of the forum often suggest filming on your phone if you have one, to prove abusive strange behaviour.

Pet66, thank you for the reply. Indeed, if my brother has not contacted the GP, I could alert him to the fact that he may have an infection or other (mild) illness that could be making him feel ‘out of sorts’.

Obviously, I am concerned about my mother, who is very dependent on him. I also realise that, although the tirade was directed at me, yesterday, he may be suspicious of others as well.

Hi Janet,

is he still allowing the care workers in to care for your Mum?

Is your Mum still ‘with it’? Is your brother still ok with her?


Frankly, I think he’s having a nervous breakdown.
Does he actually run a farm?

If you didn’t do something, and a dreadful event happened, you would never forgive yourself, so you need to pass this on to someone else, the GP, Social Services, or mum’s care agency?

Once again, thank you for the continuing support. My brother still runs the farm, although it is largely contracted out, so he does not have a lot of ‘hands on’ work to do. However, the farmhouse and buildings are quite run down. There is a constant problem with hot water, and my brother boils water for the carers in an electric boiler, so they can wash my mother. There are some portable heaters, but the main source of heating is a fire which my brother fuels by sawing wood on an almost daily basis.
He has also had a problem with rats, which got into the house, but this has abated. The setting sounds grim, and it is, but it is how my brother and mother have lived for years, and, indeed, I was brought up in that setting.

Yes, he does allow the carers to come in and care for my mother. However, he used to go to church with my mother on Sundays and go to a church meeting one evening a week, and he has stopped doing this. I thought perhaps the colder weather was to blame, but he may well be isolating himself.

He sent me an e-mail later yesterday, agreeing to contact the doctor (whether he has done so or not, remains to be seen). My husband went to visit in my place and told me that my mother was in bed (he got there at 4 pm) and asleep.

My brother told me recently that the carers get my mother up, then, when she has had breakfast, she wants to go back to bed. He says she usually goes to bed at 11 am and stays there until I get her up between 4 and 5 pm. I suspect she did not get up yesterday, although my brother has been known, occasionally, to cook her a meal in the late afternoon/evening. My mother has some serious short term memory issues.

I am going down to see my mother and brother later today, and I will also check to see if my brother has an appointment with the GP.

I know I need to mention this episode to someone, but I would prefer my brother to make the initial move. I am frightened of feeding his paranoia by saying anything to his GP. However, I do not think I can simply brush this off.

Hi Janet

Just wanted to reflect that you seem to have handled this episode with a great deal of tact and sensitivity. Supporting someone experiencing mental ill health can be quite challenging, so thought I’d share with you a useful guide that Mind has produced on the topic.

I do hope that your brother gets an opportunity to discuss what’s happening with him at the moment, and if you need any further support do feel free to email our helpline on advice@carersuk.org