A Visit from my Siblings


My brother lives in dad’s house, hundreds of miles from here.  Dad is unable to live there because of his Alzheimer’s.  He needs care for his Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) as well as his general well-being.

Before mom passed away, mom and dad spent summers in the north and winters in the south.  Dad’s Alzheimer’s developed slowly over many years.  He continued to function independently as long as he was living with mom.  Mom counted out dad’s medications weekly and made sure he took them daily. (However, she made some medication errors herself on both her own medications and on dad’s.)  Mom cooked and cleaned and dad spent a lot of time in his recliner just “resting”.

Mom told me a long time ago that if anything were to happen to her, dad could not make it on his own.  I began to see that was true when I spent time with them the first few years after I retired.  Thus there was no question that I would bring dad to live by me after mom passed away.

My brother has been living in mom and dad’s house for over 30 years.  Their agreement was that he would watch over the house while they spent winters in the south and he would forward their mail to them.  When something went wrong, like a broken hot water heater, brother just called dad to come home and take care of it.

Dad has been living near me over 2 years now.  My brother has visited only a few times.  He came when dad was sick and in the nursing home about a year and a half ago.  I think he also came about a year ago and spent a couple of days visiting my sister and one day visiting dad.

My brother planned to visit dad last fall but personal health issues kept him at home.  He did not return to visit dad until last week (over a year since he was last here).  He picked up my sister on the way here and they spent a couple of hours with dad.  My brother also spent 3 days visiting with my sister in her small town a few hours from here.

My brother’s plan was to take dad out to lunch in honor of Father’s Day since he won’t be here at that time.  The four of us went to lunch – brother, sister, father and me.  We had a nice lunch at dad’s favorite place and my brother picked up the tab.  After we returned dad to his ALF, dad sat in his chair and pushed back his recliner to nap.  Shortly thereafter, we all left and came to my house for a few hours.

The three of us visited for awhile and my brother dropped off several boxes of items he had brought up from dad’s home.  I had asked him to bring some things for me to try to sell (pictures from the walls and knick knacks from the shelves) in order to bring in some cash for dad’s expenses.  He brought what I had requested and a few more things.  I didn’t open the boxes until my brother and sister had left to return to her home.  And then I was frustrated as the pictures were covered in layers of dust!

Afterwards, I had mixed feelings about the whole day.  I was glad they had come to visit dad.  I know dad looks forward to their visits, yet it seems that he has already forgotten that they were here.  Over a year ago, on his first visit to see dad, my brother spent several days in this city and visited dad each day he was here.  Dad was in the nursing home at that time.  Now my sister lives a few hours away and my brother spends several days visiting her and just one afternoon with dad.

I suppose it shouldn’t bother me how much time he spends with dad, but it does because he lives in dad’s house at very little cost to him yet gives so little back to dad in return.  Dad and my brother were never close.  Mom was the intermediary between them.

One good thing though is that after 3 years of pressing him, my brother finally started paying the taxes and insurance on dad’s home last fall.  Still, he pays no other rent or maintenance and the home is becoming run down from neglect.  Fair rental value would be about twice what he pays for taxes and insurance.

Maybe it isn’t my business, but since I am the one trying to pay dad’s bills from his rapidly diminishing resources, I worry about it a lot.  My goal for years has been to have my brother vacate that house so I can put it on the market.  The money from the sale of his house would cover all of dad’s expenses for the rest of his life.  But, so far my brother has refused to vacate the house.  He says he will but it will take a long time.  I don’t think we have a long time before we will need the proceeds from the sale of the house.

I think I have mentioned before that my brother is a hoarder.  My sister is also though she lives in her own home and not in dad’s house.  The hoarding is the reason he can’t easily vacate the house.

Right now I am just frustrated.  I have the items from dad’s house that I have to sell if I can.  I visit dad several times a week and in-between shop for his groceries and take care of his financial and other business.  I am a bit overwhelmed with so many things to do while at the same time jealous, really, of how my siblings each focus on their own needs.  I can’t really change anything, so I sit here and vent instead.  🙂

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Caregiving, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare, Family, Hoarders, Hoarding and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Visit from my Siblings

  1. boomer98053 says:

    When your dad dies, you will have no feelings of guilt, e.g., “Gee, I should have visited dad more often.” Your brother, on the other hand, will have to carry the mantel of guilt while you take heart in knowing that you were a dutiful daughter, and you respected your father right to the end. You are a hero to me.

  2. Terry says:

    this is a very common problem, believe it or not. Sibling and caring for parents. The only real way to handle any of this is through an attorney. In my opinion the house should be vacated and sold in order to pay all of your father’s finances, and there will come a point where it will be out of you kids hands and the government programs can get involved for monies owed. I would rather do it now and be able to get out of the house what you hope for instead of being forced and pressured and have to hurry

    • I agree. If it were me, I’d have started packing as soon as mom and dad moved into assisted living. But my brother is procrastinating as long as he can. I discussed the situation with dad’s and my lawyer. She felt it could get messy to try to get him out now because he has been there so long. The will states that the house is to be sold, so it would be cleaner to wait. But, as you note, I need the money now. For the time being I am waiting and hoping he moves on his own. I don’t want to spend the rest of dad’s liquid assets trying to get my brother out of the house. So I wait. 😮

  3. jmgoyder says:

    That’s so unfair. I feel for you.

  4. Miss P says:

    That is a tough spot to be in…. I am sorry.

  5. Pingback: Settling an Estate — Disposing of the “Stuff” Left Behind. | Let's Talk About Family

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