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Brother with serious mental health issues

(26 Posts)
LaCrepescule Wed 19-Jan-22 14:23:49

I’m in my mid 60s, still working and live alone although I have a partner. I have one daughter early 20s who will probably come back home to live next summer for a while. My mother is almost 91 and my brother aged 62 lives with her. He has severe mental health issues and goes from one crisis to another and is basically incapable of looking after himself. My other brother aged 60 lives nearby. He’s recently widowed and is in remission from prostate cancer. I live about an hour away from my family.

I’m the fixer in the family and am doing as much as I can to support my mum and brother. But it’s so hard as I’m not on the doorstep and I feel terribly guilty that I should be doing more. I go down every week but my brother is so ill and this is impacting so much on my poor mum….I don’t know where it’s going to end or how things will get better. Sorry not really expecting any answers to this but just feel so guilty...

ayse Wed 19-Jan-22 14:28:02

Please don’t feel guilty as you are doing the best you can in very difficult circumstances. Do either of them claim any benefits? If not, I suggest you contact Age Concern as they could point you in the right direction.

Sending you hugs 💐💐

silverlining48 Wed 19-Jan-22 14:41:03

Please get some help. You can’t fix it fir everyone on your own. Your brother is close by and he should be most involved, because you are a woman doesn’t mean you have to be wholly responsible.

Your brother with mental health problems should already have a support worker to contact but if not you can ring his local Mental Health Team to refer him.

Age concern and social services elderly care team can be contacted fir your mum. Both can advise of services which might help support your mum and brother.

Obviously you will want to visit too, but it’s not all on you. Perhaps you can take on the administration etc and your brother help more with day to day issues.

LaCrepescule Wed 19-Jan-22 14:51:27

Thank you so much, and for the practical advice, feel a bit better...mum is fiercely independent and hates accepting help, even from her own children. She still feels it’s her role to look after us, bless her.

silverlining48 Wed 19-Jan-22 14:56:04

Your mum sounds lovely, but you will make yourself ill if you take on so much on your own. There is help out there, you know what might be needed so do a bit if investigating.

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 19-Jan-22 15:01:19

I think that you should have a sit down with your younger brother and talk about what will happen to your elder brother when the inevitable happens and your DM is unable to care for him.

Please don’t take it all onto your shoulders, your youngest brother is in remission and must be told he has be willing to help.

But getting the necessary advice is easier to do now, rather than when it becomes urgent because your Mother is suddenly unable to cope.

LaCrepescule Wed 19-Jan-22 15:03:00

She’s quite difficult silverlining but I do know how lucky I am to have her around. And thank you, I will make myself ill. The advice about getting a support worker for him is very useful.

LaCrepescule Wed 19-Jan-22 15:15:11

Thanks Oopsadaisy. I don’t have a good relationship with my younger brother and feel bad for him because he’s had cancer (which might come back) and lost his partner to cancer too. But he seems quite well now and is retired with no children. I know he should do more and perhaps I just need to ask him....

silverlining48 Wed 19-Jan-22 15:17:32

It’s understandable and hard accept the limitations of age and many older people can be stubborn, because it’s not easy acknowledging that age and health limits what one has always done.
It comes to us all, but if she realises how tired/worried you are she may be willing fir you to look into options.
Even if you phone fir advice you will know more about what us available . Also check any benefits payable are being paid.
Have you spoken to the GP? If you havnt already done so, it’s a good start.
Best wishes flowers

silverlining48 Wed 19-Jan-22 15:19:56

My dh is also in remission with prostate cancer, he carries on as usual and isn’t the least bit restricted. You should speak to him. It’s his mum and brother too and he is nearby.

EllanVannin Wed 19-Jan-22 15:24:01

Adult social services will help, I'm sure. What an awful plight, I really feel for you.

V3ra Wed 19-Jan-22 18:03:19

LaCrepescule do you have the two Power of Attorney permissions in place for both your mum and your older brother? If not I'd strongly recommend you and your younger brother need to talk about this.
Maybe he could organise it for you all? The forms are available online and are fairly straightforward to do yourselves.

V3ra Wed 19-Jan-22 18:07:33

www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-lasting-power-of-attorney

Hithere Wed 19-Jan-22 20:39:30

Is there a plan to take care of your brother when your mother is not here? (No, you are not that plan)
Can your brother live independently and take care of himself?

welbeck Thu 20-Jan-22 01:25:40

yes, i was wondering about that.
presumably he lives in her house; so has there been any planning, would tax mean the house having to be sold, and how would he cope having to find elsewhere to live.
he should have a social worker or support person.
good luck.

LaCrepescule Thu 20-Jan-22 01:37:58

We have POA for mum but not for my brother. Hadn’t thought of that. We need to sell the house when mum dies as we took out equity release. I’m fully expecting that my brother will come to live with me.

silverlining48 Thu 20-Jan-22 08:15:04

Having your brother live with you for you to become his carer is huge but doesn’t necessarily have to be the case,
You really need to seek advice now and have plans in place for his future, otherwise this will very much impact on yours.

Hetty58 Thu 20-Jan-22 08:31:29

LaCrepescule

I feel sorry for your brother already:

' I know he should do more and perhaps I just need to ask him...'

I've been on the other end of that conversation - despite doing more than my 'fair share' - and suggested that perhaps they 'should' do less!

Who are you to decide and dictate what others 'should do'? In reality, it just doesn't work like that. One sibling did nothing, another martyred herself to daily visits and constant fussing. People will decide, for themselves, what they are prepared to do.

silverlining48 Thu 20-Jan-22 08:50:27

I don’t think it’s about deciding and dictating but having a conversation about sharing the care more fairly.
Men especially do not seem to notice that someone else (generally a woman) is doing most of the work or indeed that there is any work.
This needs to be discussed and agreed between all involved.

Dickens Thu 20-Jan-22 09:47:35

Hetty58

LaCrepescule

I feel sorry for your brother already:

' I know he should do more and perhaps I just need to ask him...'

I've been on the other end of that conversation - despite doing more than my 'fair share' - and suggested that perhaps they 'should' do less!

Who are you to decide and dictate what others 'should do'? In reality, it just doesn't work like that. One sibling did nothing, another martyred herself to daily visits and constant fussing. People will decide, for themselves, what they are prepared to do.

... goodness, that's a bit harsh.

Who are you to decide and dictate what others 'should do'?... was that really necessary?

Hithere Thu 20-Jan-22 12:09:50

OP

Your mother is not doing your brother any favors- she should be preparing him to live by himself or make arrangements for his care when she is not here

The fact that you are expecting to take him in (and resigned to do it) shows the unreasonable expectations you are under

You have a choice here, you don't have to take him in.

I have seen this happen time and time again, mothers that claim to take care of their special needs AC but really
1. Set them up for failure when the mothers are gone (martyr role)
2. Do not think long term about the AC, only about their role as a mother
3. Expect family to continue the role

Hetty58 Thu 20-Jan-22 12:19:32

Dickens, yes - it was necessary. I've been on the sharp end of 'the fixer in the family' (self-appointed) and it's ruined our relationship. Her anxiety, her obsessions - and control-freak approach - along with an assumption that she should organise us all - was truly unbearable!

Dickens Thu 20-Jan-22 13:19:53

Hetty58

Dickens, yes - it was necessary. I've been on the sharp end of 'the fixer in the family' (self-appointed) and it's ruined our relationship. Her anxiety, her obsessions - and control-freak approach - along with an assumption that she should organise us all - was truly unbearable!

... but that's your story - why assume the OP is like the "fixer" in your own family?

You've judged the OP - and it is a judgement - based purely on your own experience. You don't know her, but have made unpleasant assumptions based entirely on what happened within your family.

LaCrepescule Thu 20-Jan-22 17:04:37

Hithere, you’re spot on about my mum! She has absolutely set him up to fail and won’t allow him to do anything around the house.

Hithere Thu 20-Jan-22 18:21:31

You cannot fix anything - you didn't create that problem, you are just a external party dealing with the damage your mother created

There is nothing you can do to fix this issue, that clearly has been going on for years, even decades, right?

Is he at least in treatment for his MH?

If not, this is a situation for social services to deal with