End of my tether with sisters and brother

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by SusanB, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Hi All,

    Now...what do I do? I've posted here before and mentioned the apppalling burden that I appear to be carrying alone regarding Mum who has vascular dementia and now I'm so p****** off I don't know where to start:

    Today:
    8.00am - call Mum to remind her that a halogen heater that I've bought for her on the internet is coming
    1:0ppm - frantic call from Mum to say that her bank has sent her a letter telling her that she "has no money". Wrong - the bank sent her a letter in error which should have been addressed to be regarding third party signatory.
    1.30pm - go over there to sort things out and to wait for this flippin heater to arrive to show her how to use it.
    2.30pm - takes an hour to get there (appalling traffic)
    2.45pm - heater arrives. Mum hysterical as it's "something new". Not suitable. Needs to go back. ANOTHER THING FOR ME TO ORGANISE
    2.55pm - worry, worry, mither, worry (Not even from Yorkshire!). Her brother is coming to visit her at the end of the week (my Uncle) and what should she cook for him? She no longer has the capacity to plan for meals, write a shopping list, cook and generally look after people. Muggins here: "I'll cook a casserole, bring it over, come over on Saturday night and order take away/DVD, come over for Sunday lunch, come over next Tuesday to cook some chinese food, don't worry Mum it's OK, it's OK no need to worry"
    3.00pm - Arrival of wonderful neighbour (a true gem). This lady has the courage to tell my Mum to wash her hair, which she hasn't done for 2 weeks. I just couldn't get the words out.
    4.30pm - Arrive home - knackered, heart broken at seeing my Mum in such a state
    4.45pm - leave message with my two sisters and brother
    6,00pm - sister no. 1. (get this...twin sister!) calls back. Doing yoga DVD. Just not interested. Not planning a visit while our uncle is there, vague invitation about Saturday week. Me: gobsmacked
    6.10pm - sister no. 2 - better, much nicer person. We need to solve this, what can we do, what is the solution, stop doing so much, Susan you will make yourself ill
    8.25pm - no answer from emails or phone message from brother, who has not seen her since December.

    Meanwhile... Power of Attorney needs to be registered and nobody is taking it seriously.

    Meanwhile... I have HALF A MILLION POUNDS of business to close this year. I've been working for 20 years, have decided not to have children and I work full-time with a very responsible job.

    Err...can you tell I'm just that little bit stressed?

    I'm so down, I don't know what to do. And now my telly has stopped working.
    Susan
     
  2. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    565
    Merseyside
    Oh Susan, I'm so sorry things aren't getting better and that you're carrying the responsibility yourself.

    As I always say it's a mystery to me how people can say "I'm not interested".

    Is there anyone other thsn your siblings? Does your mum have any friends who would be willing to help out more? To be honest we found that people wanted to help they just didn't like to ask in case we were offended - strange as the truth is we were offended that they weren't helping!!

    Will your mum accept regular carers do you think? Have you had a carers assessment?
     
  3. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Susan....well the positive note there was sister no 2, so that is where I would start...get together as soon as possible and talk about mums needs, and how together you can share responsibilities, and she may be able to galvanise other siblings.

    Sounds as though you do need to try and have a family gathering to discuss mum's needs...other siblings may not see what is required. May be that you all have different roles to play in the support...and sometimes you just have to accept that life is not fair, and you will have more than your fair share of the responsibility, because that is the sort of person that you are.

    Feeding uncle? Supermarkets these days do good quality ready meals. Phone takeaway from home and let Uncle dish it up....I presume that he realises his sister needs support.

    TV broken? Probably make your evening more productive, or time to soak in a bubble bath or read a book, or phone someone that you have been meaning to catch up with but havent had time to. or just go to bed and sleep on it, cos things rarely seem quite
    as bad when you get up in the morning:)

    Take care.
    Love Helen
     
  4. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for your kind response. We have just about started a working realtionship with a good CPN and Mum has a wonderful neighbour, but who does the "personal stuff"?

    Sister no. 1 and brother just don't seem able to accept the true situation. In fact, sister no. 1 was more interested in talking about joint birthday plans (she actually changed the subject...I was shocked into silence) during the conversation.

    On the plus side I have a meeting booked with a very kind counsellor from the Alzheimer's Soc next Wed and the fab CPN is calling on Mon to arrange another visit.

    No, we've not had a Carer's Assessment but I will ask about that. Mum has problems letting strangers through the door. Sadly she no longer understands that I have a job. She thinks I sit with my feet up all day drinking tea.
    S
     
  5. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Susan - no advice - just huge empathy - when I finally crumbled and saw my GP last year about the stresses of caring he asked 'How much time do you spend with mum?' and I screamed back 'It's not the time I spend WITH her - it's the time I spend ON her' ... the errands, the appointments, the laundry, the EPA ..........etc etc etc the ORGANISING .:(

    Love, Karen, x

    PS: There's a wonderful children's poem 'The Day that the Telly broke down' ....... see it as emancipation!!!!!! :)
     
  6. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Thank you, Helen

    You too are very kind and your suggestions are welcome. I do have some lovely Molton Brown bath goodies which I've been meaning to use for a long time. Tip: Everyone should buy Blissful Templetree - it is indeed blissful.

    Anyway, in case you think I'm on commission (!), we have a joint family meeting with the CPN to discuss ongoing care and for the last three weeks I've been keeping a diary just so they realise what's going on.

    I'm not going mad, honestly!

    It feels like it sometimes.

    S
     
  7. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Tender Face

    The organising never ever stops.

    Power of Attorney, bus pass, blue badge, bank accounts, pension, hospital, doctors, buying christmas presents, liaising with all and flippin' sundry, theatre trips, concert trips, family outings, lunch, Carelink, Medication Reminder, brother, sister, sister, uncle, Mum's neighbour, buying heater, taking back heater, buying another heater, heater not being suitable, gas bill, water bill, electric bill all by direct debit, refunds, council tax reduction/cancellation, community psychiatric nurse, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

    I've just realised that I've got two full-time jobs.
     
  8. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    66
    Sheffield
    Hi Susan

    sounds like your sense of humour is still functioning, which can only be to the good in helping you cope.

    Your twin obviously can't/won't face up to the truth about your mother, that's how some people deal with a problem, they ignore it in the hopes it will go away. But all your siblings are going to have accept and come to terms with the fact that your mum needs help and that they can't just leave it all to you.

    With luck, the meeting with the CPN will bring home the truth to them and they will be a bit more helpful in the future. And, hopefully, the CPN will be able to offer some outside help as well.

    I will keep my fingers crossed that the CPN meeting has a positive result for you and your mum.
     
  9. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    1,314
    Hi Susan, and your doing a marvellous job coping, probably the reason it all falls your way.

    I hope at the meeting that they are all ears and your taken seriously and that support is forthcoming. Good Luck, Taffy.
     
  10. wesbrencro

    wesbrencro Registered User

    Jan 16, 2008
    13
    Peterborough
    Hello Susan
    I have read your recent threads, I do sympathise with the family seeming to not want to know. My aunt has 2 sisters, admittedly they are 81( twins)but they do tend to 'stick their heads in the sand' in lots of ways, my Mum has only just realised it's no good telling my aunt future dates etc, you need to put everything on the Calendar. Like you, I do all the bills, paperwork, banks,etc, we have just had a lot of problems with 2 cheque books, one she lost, the other she said she cut up, 2 cheques written from both books after they were stopped, causing letters from the bank, she did not understand. I have now have her cheque book and Debit card, she only has her Post office card. I fetch her money, we don't want too much in the house, but sometimes I feel as if we're keeping her short of money! ( which we are not) . Luckily, I am now retired,so have time as such, it must be really difficult while working too.
    Even when I registered Power of Attorney ( still in the process)Mum did not see why I was doing it. I am finding the Talking Point really interesting, Brenda
     
  11. Natashalou

    Natashalou Registered User

    Mar 22, 2007
    426
    london
    It is very hard to deal with things alone. My sister and her four adult children made it clear they would have nothing to do with mum or the whole situation. none of them have seen her for about two years now and there have been no cards letters or enquiries about her welfare.
    My sister had a very long term poor relationship with both my parents and feels she simply has nothing left to give...
    To be fair while in some ways it is hard being the only person to deal with everything..on the other hand at least I dont have to keep getting someone elses opinion etc ..particularly someone I dont have a very good realtionship with either!
     
  12. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,654
    Kent

    That`s just how it was with me and my sister Natasha. And it was so much easier than having a discussion about every dotted i and crossed t.

    So even if you do have to go it alone when caring for a parent, it`s better than the animosity some are forced to experience.
     
  13. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Thanks for your input, peeps

    I guess it's comforting to know that I'm not alone, although it's sad to realise that this situation is so common. It's the never ending "stuff" that really gets to me. There's ALWAYS some sort of "project". This, added to the fact that muggins here realises that things need doing/organising and then I just get on with them! If I ask my twin to do anything she finds a reason not to:

    Working full-time (as I do)
    Living too far away (I live further away)
    Not having time (errr...I have LOTS of time of course. Not)
    Not having a car (oh perr-leeeese)

    Grrr...
     
  14. Curlie

    Curlie Registered User

    Jul 24, 2007
    21
    South East London
    A little out burst does you good

    Thank you so much Susan for making me realise that im not the only one going through it.Or should i say was the only one.

    I too was the only one who was doing all the things you mentioned for my Mother-in-law.That was until my last out burst.As mentioned in the other post some people cpoe with this situation differantly. My husband was in denial, my kids just did not want to believe it was happening to their nan and also they did not realise what was involved with their nans care.Lastly, but not least was my brother-in -law, who not only ignored it but told me that some times my mother-in-law was playing games with us.

    This all changed not long ago,i had taken yet again another day off work to take mum to the hospital, only to turn up at mums and see my brother-in-law sitting there.That was the last straw, i just let rip on him, the air was more than blue.i told him exactly what i thought of him and how mums situation was also taking a bad toll on my marriage and family life.

    He looked just like the rabbit looking straight at the head lights of a on coming car.( pure shock), but boy did it work.

    Yes i still took mum to her appointment but that night he phoned to say how sorry he was and agreed he did not do enough but would do in the future.So now along with my hubby, myself and my newly changed brother-in-law the load is not as bad.Even my lovely son took his nan out to the shops so she could get some fresh air and a few bits.

    Please dont hold it all in Susan because who would mum have if you were to get ill.I really think it would do you the world of good to let the others know what is like for you. Write it in a letter if you dont want to tell them over the phone.Once you start writing you wont stop.

    Dont get me wrong i am still doing the majority of the tasks but by them just taking some of the jobs off my hands it helped.

    Good luck. x x x :)
     
  15. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Curlie,

    What a well-written, articulate post.

    My brother spent several months "in denial" and is now accepting her condition - this doesn't mean that he's doing his share, though. I think I need to point out that:

    1. Things will not get better

    2. Mum is likely to decline in memory, cognitive function, personality, everything

    3. She is probably going to become doubly incontinent

    4. She will likely lose the ability to speak

    5. Mum will cease to recognise us

    6. We will lose her to a dark, horrible nothingness. Meanwhile, her heart will continue beating and she will carry on breathing in, breathing out. A slow, painful death.

    Hmnnn....I like to look on the bright side, don't ??!!!

    At least I know what's going to happen.

    Glad to hear though, Curlie that your BIL woke up to your commitment to his Mum. I've tried getting stroppy, believe me, I do stroppy rather well (I'm Stroppy BA Hons) and will work towards my Stoppy MA Phil in the coming months!

    Susan
     
  16. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Susan,
    Think I am going to play devils advocate here.
    Sadly this is all probably true. And as it happens you will look back and wish for those days when mum could say your name.....you will beg her to try and remember you. You may well have to bathe her....look after all her personal needs, and you will think back to the days of a proud independent person. You will long to hear her utter a sentence, a word of love, a simple goodbye. You may spend endless hours with her as she cannot move, speak, feed herself, as her body contorts. And maybe you will be with her as she draws her final breath.
    Susan I know how hard it is to tear yourself into pieces.....but amongst all your business, and frustration with other family members.....dont forget to appreciate what you still have.
    Love Helen
     
  17. Curlie

    Curlie Registered User

    Jul 24, 2007
    21
    South East London
    I have to say it is so easy to read your posts, it's as if you are right in front of me speaking.

    Yeah you are right it will only get worse and sadly we can not stop that but the one thing you can proudly say is...I was the one who was there when it was needed no matter how hard and tiring it was or is.Your head can be held high not like some of your siblings.Another thing, you were not asked by anyone else to do the things you do ,you do/did them because you care.xxxxx

    Funny because as you go through life you always think you have incountered every possible emotion there is, but when faced with someone you love having this illness you end up having all the emotions, sometimes all in one go.

    Blimey i come on here and start getting really deep. LOL:)

    Next thing you know i will end up typing with the correct spellings.

    Take care.

    PS and remember hold that head up high, mind you not to high you may bang your head on the next bridge you pass under.
     
  18. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Helen, you're quite right, of course. Wise words indeed. I hope that we don't get to that stage.

    Please forgive me for saying this but I'd rather she dies in her sleep within the next couple of years or that her heart problems induce a quick "goodnight Vienna" situation. She often talks about wanting to be with our Dad again and sadly, I don't think we can draw up a living will due to her dementia - not sure if this would be accepted as she is "not in her right mind".

    I'd rather not lose her but I don't want her to go through the horrors of late stage dementia - it's a choice of two bad things and I know which one our family would prefer. Please don't be cross with me for saying that.
     
  19. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008
    155
    Hove
    Curlie,

    Thank you so much for you kind words. I agree with everything you say. Hey ho - off to buy some ingredients for a casserole to take over there for when my Uncle comes. I make a rod for my own back, don't I?
     
  20. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    AZ Just doesn't affect the person who is ill , it affects the whole family . Just sometime one member of the family like you , shoulder the whole Rod ( burden )
    while other in your family keep away and pretend the problem are not their responsibility , it all end up in a family feuds.

    you can talk ask your sister to face up to her responsibility , it may be that she just scared of doing that so, feels you are so much more caring than she is , or that she cannot accept your mother ilness .


    Just make sure you get all the support you can from Social services , so It give you time for yourself
    your in the stage with your mother that very stress full , in time she go into another stage transition , that not so stress full , but just need more support . so while your in this stage with your mother . the most important part is looking after yourself .




    If going into denial help you cope for the now , in hoping something different will happen so the disease does not progress do it .


    I done that , it help me cope also .



    Just take one block of stage at the time, live in the hear now with your mother, But as I keep saying take time out for you , be kind to yourself .


    Good book to get is "The selfish pig guild to caring "
     

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