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Breakdown of family relationships

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support needed

New member
Feb 9, 2021
4
0
Hi there,
I am new to the forum but would welcome any advise or experiences of others. My mother is in mid stages of Alzheimers and is being cared for by my brother. I have lived abroad for the past 20 years, but have moved back with my family to the UK to be closer and, I hoped, be able to offer more support to my siblings. Covid 19 has prevented much physical contact (I live 2 hours away) and relationships between the 3 siblings has now broken down as there is a judgement that I am not doing enough and am sure there is resentment that caring has been left to them. I feel extremely anxious that all contact is being judged and worry about how we will overcome this if I am to see my mother in the future when Covid allows. Any advice or experiences welcome. I cannot sleep at night for the worry of it all, and feel whatever I do will never be enough and will be judged negatively.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,704
0
Bristol
Hullo and welcome to DTP @support needed. Family stress and conflict come up a lot here, so you'll find plenty of fellow feeling and support. I have had to battle my partner's children to get them to support more, but you've made an effort to move closer so I can't see where you will be judged.
Anyway, keep reading around other posts. It's a good wee community.
 

support needed

New member
Feb 9, 2021
4
0
Hullo and welcome to DTP @support needed. Family stress and conflict come up a lot here, so you'll find plenty of fellow feeling and support. I have had to battle my partner's children to get them to support more, but you've made an effort to move closer so I can't see where you will be judged.
Anyway, keep reading around other posts. It's a good wee community.
Thanks for the welcome. I am hoping that members might have some practical ideas of how they have maintained or developed connection from afar in a fraught environment or situation
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
2,802
0
Hi @support needed and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. We have a similar situation in my husband's family as the four siblings all have very different ideas about the support and care their mother needs. There have been times over the last few months when there have been falling outs between them about their mother's care, but they have managed to still keep talking, even if at times the communications are not very frequent. The Covid situation makes things more difficult. At the moment my husband feels visiting might put his mother at risk, but not doing so puts a lot of pressure on his brother who does most of the day to day care. They seem to have mostly overcome this by some honest phone calls and zoom meetings and a bit of flexibility in their views as to the best care for my MiL. For example my husband thinks she should be in a care home, and his brother was very anti carers coming in. They've compromised by agreeing to care visits and that seems to be working OK at the moment.
Maybe an email explaining how you feel and that you do want to help as much as you can. Could you take on some admin stuff?. My sister in law, who is also not visiting her mother, is the person dealing with all the stuff concerning the care company and their visits for instance
 

JudyS

Registered User
Feb 6, 2021
14
0
I have the opposite situation to you in that my sister lives one and a half hours away and has visited Mum three times in the last eighteen months yet is very quick to accuse my daughter and I (who see Mum several times a week and organise all her shopping, cleaning etc) of not doing things that we should be doing. This all came to a head four weeks ago when Mum had a fall at home and I brought her back to mine so that I could take care of her (on a Friday evening) having waited for six hours for an ambulance that never came and we had established that she had no serious injuries. My sister's response when she heard about the fall was to ask "Do I need to come down?". At that point the answer was negative as we were waiting for a response from NHS111. Two days later my sister told me that she had offered to come and sit with Mum until the ambulance arrived - an absolute lie - and started telling me and my daughter that we should do this and that, although she herself had not seen Mum since August.

The resulting exchange of words now means that I have no contact at all with my sister who, in spite of me passing on the details of the care home where Mum is currently having respite care and assessment, waited over ten days before attempting to even telephone Mum. I have kept my sister in the picture via my nephew, her son, who passes information on to her, but it is perfectly obvious from her lack of interest that all she is interested in is the money that she hopes to get when Mum passes! All any of us can do is our best and this is uncharted territory for both myself and my daughter and we are both only interested in doing what is best for Mum.
 

support needed

New member
Feb 9, 2021
4
0
Hi @support needed and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. We have a similar situation in my husband's family as the four siblings all have very different ideas about the support and care their mother needs. There have been times over the last few months when there have been falling outs between them about their mother's care, but they have managed to still keep talking, even if at times the communications are not very frequent. The Covid situation makes things more difficult. At the moment my husband feels visiting might put his mother at risk, but not doing so puts a lot of pressure on his brother who does most of the day to day care. They seem to have mostly overcome this by some honest phone calls and zoom meetings and a bit of flexibility in their views as to the best care for my MiL. For example my husband thinks she should be in a care home, and his brother was very anti carers coming in. They've compromised by agreeing to care visits and that seems to be working OK at the moment.
Maybe an email explaining how you feel and that you do want to help as much as you can. Could you take on some admin stuff?. My sister in law, who is also not visiting her mother, is the person dealing with all the stuff concerning the care company and their visits for instance
Hi there, thanks for taking the time to reply. The siblings agreed to care for mom at home and ultimately a third sibling close by with time and flexibility is what they wanted (not one with school aged children who lives two hours away). They have mentioned that they have worked on their constraints and have their priorities straight. Ultimately the disappointment and resentment appears impossible for them to overcome, and my efforts (calls, cards, photos, flowers) etc are being judged to suit their narrative. I have emailed them to find a better way forward, but they have replied that mom is there as she has always been and I need to find my own way.
 

support needed

New member
Feb 9, 2021
4
0
I have the opposite situation to you in that my sister lives one and a half hours away and has visited Mum three times in the last eighteen months yet is very quick to accuse my daughter and I (who see Mum several times a week and organise all her shopping, cleaning etc) of not doing things that we should be doing. This all came to a head four weeks ago when Mum had a fall at home and I brought her back to mine so that I could take care of her (on a Friday evening) having waited for six hours for an ambulance that never came and we had established that she had no serious injuries. My sister's response when she heard about the fall was to ask "Do I need to come down?". At that point the answer was negative as we were waiting for a response from NHS111. Two days later my sister told me that she had offered to come and sit with Mum until the ambulance arrived - an absolute lie - and started telling me and my daughter that we should do this and that, although she herself had not seen Mum since August.

The resulting exchange of words now means that I have no contact at all with my sister who, in spite of me passing on the details of the care home where Mum is currently having respite care and assessment, waited over ten days before attempting to even telephone Mum. I have kept my sister in the picture via my nephew, her son, who passes information on to her, but it is perfectly obvious from her lack of interest that all she is interested in is the money that she hopes to get when Mum passes! All any of us can do is our best and this is uncharted territory for both myself and my daughter and we are both only interested in doing what is best for Mum.
I am sorry you are going through this. It seems that at a time when families need to pull together, there is the opposite outcome. I hope you find a way forward.
 

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
197
0
My sister lives abroad and has done 3/10 of sod all. She occasionally thanks me for looking after our father and says that she wishes she could do more but at no point did she bother actually offering to research estate agents/solicitors for the house sale, nor do any of the admin. She does occasionally send some rather dry cakes through from an online company but rarely finds the time to Skype him or respond to my e-mails. I get that she probably feels helpless and upset that she may never see him again (she's in Australia) but I don't have the luxury of burying my head in the sand.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,747
0
Hello @support needed, have you put forward your thoughts of how you would like to share the care?
I'm with @Sarasa on this, you may not live close enough to do much of the day to day care, but would you be able to offer to spend time with mum to give your siblings a break, obviously it's something to organise when the worry of Covid has receded.
Don't give up on trying to build bridges and hopefully your siblings attitude will soften.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,354
0
High Peak
Cards, calls, photos and flowers are lovely but don't help your siblings with caring for your mum. I'm guessing they were hoping for more 'hands-on' help from you, which you may not be able to give. Are there things you can do from your end that would help? e.g. paperwork, researching care homes or sourcing a cleaner? That sort of thing? And maybe if you can't be there every other day due to your circumstances/distance, would it be possible for you to go and stay for a week or so at a time to give your siblings some respite ocasionally?

Otherwise, talk to them. Ask them what you could do, what help they want, what would make caring easier for them. (But be clear about what you can't do.)
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
720
0
Hi there,
I am new to the forum but would welcome any advise or experiences of others. My mother is in mid stages of Alzheimers and is being cared for by my brother. I have lived abroad for the past 20 years, but have moved back with my family to the UK to be closer and, I hoped, be able to offer more support to my siblings. Covid 19 has prevented much physical contact (I live 2 hours away) and relationships between the 3 siblings has now broken down as there is a judgement that I am not doing enough and am sure there is resentment that caring has been left to them
I notice people talking as if covid stops care quite often. Currently we are all required to stay at home but there are exemptions, some 17 of them and there can be unlisted exemptions. One exemption that is absolutely clear is " to give care of assistance to s vulnerable person". Everyone over 70 is a vulnerable person. So to put this very simply, " carry on caring". So unless there is something else stopping you, you can make the journey and give your share of care if you want to. There care no travel restrictions.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,470
0
Hi @support needed you have been living abroad for 20 years so what do they expect from you, nobody is obliged to care for an elderly parent so I don't see what they are talking about. You have come home to help (you didn't need to) they should be thanking you. My brother lived round the corner from my dad and wouldn't lift a finger (busy) but that is another story altogether. A bit of interest from him would have been good or even 'how is dad' but no, it took a real crisis and the threat of putting dad into a care home before he sat up and took notice. All a bit late really and he was only thinking about the money.

You have done nothing wrong. I would continue to offer support and as @Jaded'n'faded suggests an offer of a weeks respite or the odd weekend is a good idea but you live 2 hours away so you can't be at their beck and call. They should be pleased you came home to help and should be making you very welcome.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,308
0
Victoria, Australia
My sister lives abroad and has done 3/10 of sod all. She occasionally thanks me for looking after our father and says that she wishes she could do more but at no point did she bother actually offering to research estate agents/solicitors for the house sale, nor do any of the admin. She does occasionally send some rather dry cakes through from an online company but rarely finds the time to Skype him or respond to my e-mails. I get that she probably feels helpless and upset that she may never see him again (she's in Australia) but I don't have the luxury of burying my head in the sand.
And of course at the moment , she has a very good excuse as no one is allowed to leave Australia. - unless you are a politician, cricketerj, actor or have loads of financial excuses that allow you to sidestep the rules that apply to the rest of us.
 

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
197
0
And of course at the moment , she has a very good excuse as no one is allowed to leave Australia. - unless you are a politician, cricketerj, actor or have loads of financial excuses that allow you to sidestep the rules that apply to the rest of us.
I know she can't physically be here but having no contact from her at all is really galling.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,308
0
Victoria, Australia
I know she can't physically be here but having no contact from her at all is really galling.
And I know what that is like. My husband's offspring live somewhere in Europe but because we don't dish out loads of cash when they demand it, they refuse to have any contact with him. His siblings live in UK and they are lovely but of course can do nothing to help. They do however Skype regularly and they will spend a couple of hours chatting.

But the offspring are dreadful. No cards for birthdays or Christmas, no phone calls to find out how he is and then will expect to get his money when he dies. Sadly, their loss is not only financial but their relationship with their dad has no chance of recovery
 

Frank24

Registered User
Feb 13, 2018
106
0
As someone who fell out spectacularly with my brother when my mum became ill I would say that siblings can push all your buttons, and seeing someone ignoring and being hurtful to their parent who has done so much to them is a guaranteed lose lose situation all ways around. If you can keep civil and sane it’s worth trying. After 5 years of discord and all sorts of horrible situations including another family relative letting themselves into my mums house and removing social services notes, family without POA signing capacity paperwork trying to get my mum admitted into a home against her will, I can’t have anything to do with my brother and only speak to him if I need to let him know something about mum. It’s so draining being the main Carer for your relative AND dealing with family aggravation. Try and avoid as much as you can! Easily said...
 

Seaholly

Registered User
Oct 12, 2020
62
0
Sometimes (at least, this is what I have experienced) when you are the main carer, it can be frustrating because it often takes many months, or even years for other family members to 'catch up'. As time goes by, you start to realise that this is inevitable and neither you, nor your siblings and other relatives are psychic! I've felt a lot of resentment and anger towards several family members, but eventually, you come to a point where you realise it is pointless. Everyone in a family has different strengths and weaknesses and everyone has something they can bring to the table.
Dementia, especially, has a cruel way of making people confront the worst bits of their character, as well as revealing the best in them. It also holds a (usually unflattering) mirror up where parents, children and siblings can see their own faults in glorious technicolour, coming from other family members. Just to give an example, mum has a real go at me last nigh during a particularly nasty bout of delirium. What really made me angry - but also smile wryly - but also feel a shedload of pent up resentment that I honestly thought I'd left behind 30 years ago - was that the way she spoke to me and what she said was frighteningly close to the things I sometimes said out loud and often thought about her when I was a teenager!
Dementia has also thrown my brother and I back into spending a lot more time together and even though we are well into Middle Age, some of the things he says and does seem to catapult me right back to my pre-teen years when I found him so pedantic and bossy. In return, he treats me like I am still an annoying little baby sister of limited value and intellect. Today, Mr. Well-educated, high-paid job and all-round 'Great Bloke' has just said, "Get out of that chair - I want to sit there now!" :D That's after standing like a scowling lemon, while I finished helping mum back into her chair after she used the commode. Did he make any attempt to empty the commode bowl while I operated the chair? Did he heck! He just perfected his Scowling Lemon stance!

The key to it all (and the point of my reply) is this: the past is a foreign country! You all lived there once, as a family, but now it can feel like walking round the ruins of somewhere you used to know and being hit by feelings you used to have and thought you'd matured and left behind :p

Often, when you are the one doing the bulk of the hand-on care work, it's the little things that get left undone that make the difference. For example, is your mum getting the right level of Attendance Allowance? If she's on the higher rate, has she put in for Council Tax exemption? The idea of taking on paperwork remotely is a really great one, as is offering to do respite care. Another is offering to be the 'updates' person, who fields calls from other relatives (there's nothing worse than being trapped on the phone to well meaning relatives, while watching your PWD slip into full blown confusion and anger before berating you for not realising she needed the toilet and then claiming she had no idea where you were or who you were talking to!)
 

Goingbald

Registered User
Feb 1, 2021
11
0
Sometimes (at least, this is what I have experienced) when you are the main carer, it can be frustrating because it often takes many months, or even years for other family members to 'catch up'. As time goes by, you start to realise that this is inevitable and neither you, nor your siblings and other relatives are psychic! I've felt a lot of resentment and anger towards several family members, but eventually, you come to a point where you realise it is pointless. Everyone in a family has different strengths and weaknesses and everyone has something they can bring to the table.
Dementia, especially, has a cruel way of making people confront the worst bits of their character, as well as revealing the best in them. It also holds a (usually unflattering) mirror up where parents, children and siblings can see their own faults in glorious technicolour, coming from other family members. Just to give an example, mum has a real go at me last nigh during a particularly nasty bout of delirium. What really made me angry - but also smile wryly - but also feel a shedload of pent up resentment that I honestly thought I'd left behind 30 years ago - was that the way she spoke to me and what she said was frighteningly close to the things I sometimes said out loud and often thought about her when I was a teenager!
Dementia has also thrown my brother and I back into spending a lot more time together and even though we are well into Middle Age, some of the things he says and does seem to catapult me right back to my pre-teen years when I found him so pedantic and bossy. In return, he treats me like I am still an annoying little baby sister of limited value and intellect. Today, Mr. Well-educated, high-paid job and all-round 'Great Bloke' has just said, "Get out of that chair - I want to sit there now!" :D That's after standing like a scowling lemon, while I finished helping mum back into her chair after she used the commode. Did he make any attempt to empty the commode bowl while I operated the chair? Did he heck! He just perfected his Scowling Lemon stance!

The key to it all (and the point of my reply) is this: the past is a foreign country! You all lived there once, as a family, but now it can feel like walking round the ruins of somewhere you used to know and being hit by feelings you used to have and thought you'd matured and left behind :p

Often, when you are the one doing the bulk of the hand-on care work, it's the little things that get left undone that make the difference. For example, is your mum getting the right level of Attendance Allowance? If she's on the higher rate, has she put in for Council Tax exemption? The idea of taking on paperwork remotely is a really great one, as is offering to do respite care. Another is offering to be the 'updates' person, who fields calls from other relatives (there's nothing worse than being trapped on the phone to well meaning relatives, while watching your PWD slip into full blown confusion and anger before berating you for not realising she needed the toilet and then claiming she had no idea where you were or who you were talking to!)
Sorry but I did laugh at "the lemon" comment, as I say my older sister has a" lemon sucker" face, she pulls when she is obviously disgusted by my mother.....or me, .
 

Goingbald

Registered User
Feb 1, 2021
11
0
I notice people talking as if covid stops care quite often. Currently we are all required to stay at home but there are exemptions, some 17 of them and there can be unlisted exemptions. One exemption that is absolutely clear is " to give care of assistance to s vulnerable person". Everyone over 70 is a vulnerable person. So to put this very simply, " carry on caring". So unless there is something else stopping you, you can make the journey and give your share of care if you want to. There care no travel restrictions.
One of the problems I feel caused by Covid, is I visit my mother the same, I regard her as being in my " bubble", but because of the restrictions,feel I should not take her for a drive, or bring her to my house, because of the latest restrictions. So I feel my care is just not as good as it was pre Covid.
As soon as it is lifted, I will be driving her all over, it stimulates her (in a good way,lol)so much...
As someone who fell out spectacularly with my brother when my mum became ill I would say that siblings can push all your buttons, and seeing someone ignoring and being hurtful to their parent who has done so much to them is a guaranteed lose lose situation all ways around. If you can keep civil and sane it’s worth trying. After 5 years of discord and all sorts of horrible situations including another family relative letting themselves into my mums house and removing social services notes, family without POA signing capacity paperwork trying to get my mum admitted into a home against her will, I can’t have anything to do with my brother and only speak to him if I need to let him know something about mum. It’s so draining being the main Carer for your relative AND dealing with family aggravation. Try and avoid as much as you can! Easily said...
 
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