I have been married for almost 19 years to my husband. My brother's family basically says that he isn't their uncle. Yet they call my brother uncle. The point that I am getting to is that, there is to be a family meeting with my mom's "family" where she is living now. Just to give heads up on how she is doing. My brother got the e-mail but I didn't and I am the daughter also. He is her POA but I am her healthcare rep. He was nice enough to send me the e-mail and ask if I wanted to go to the meeting and what day was good for me. He HAD to ask if I wanted to go??? What kind of question was that?? If his wife and granddaughter are going, and so is my husband. If they say anything about it, they are going to get an earful. I don't think that my brother will say anything though. Thoughts? My brother and I have never had a close relationship before. I am closer to my mom than he is and I think that he knows that. Mom is a very kind person but since she has been dx of mild unspecified dementia and in less than a years time, she has moved from a house to an apartment to a memory care unit. She will be 89 in January and they have no inkling about her healthcare like I do.
Last year, the day after my mom's home visit, she attacked me via text,which I didn't get because I thought it was spam. I have a very lousy cell phone. Ended up using Facebook to talk and she sent me her text. It was a total attack on me. Siblings argue with each other. He was showing me things that I felt that he should have asked mom why she was writing those things down. He wouldn't stay for the home visit. I feel that was the start of my mom's issues. Another long story. Then sil even sent me an e-mail and it was a nasty e-mail also. This past July, after we got mom moved to memory care, I went to her apartment to pick up some things. My brother was there and we had a discussion. Ended up becoming an argument. Again siblings. I wanted to drop the issue but he continued. Then he talked about filing a restraining order against me. etc.... Then he left,drove away. When he got in the car, I yelled and him and told him 2 times to go to h e double toothpicks! He got me mad. The next day, she texted me and told me that I had a mental problem and to stay away from their grandchildren. I was talking to him about my mom via text and it was the only way that we could talk. I know that she was reading his texts from me. I told him that I bet that he was exhausted. He never once asked for my help. The second text, she told me 'of course Rick is exhausted. He did it all with hardly any help from you. And then you had another screaming fit at him. What is wrong with you?' Are you getting the picture yet? I never responded to those texts. He and I are still talking about my mom but via texts. I stayed out of my husband's family issues. And by the way, I did help with the first move. I was taking care of my mom when he was helping the movers in the house. Then I was able to get some people from her church to help get the house all clean. I don't think that I ever said that mom sold her house in 1 day and had 30 days to move out. My sil even said, they downsized from a 4 br to a 2 br. But they are 25 years younger. Plus my mom is a widow for 22 years. Do you want me to tell you what her daughters did to my mom 10 years ago? I could go on and on... But I'll stop. :)
First the scheduled meeting, given this is a new facility for your mom I'm going to guess they had your brother's email first in their system because the business office has needed to have more contact with him thus far for financial reasons so they just sent the email to the "active" address in their system. It's new to all of you so they are adjusting to the way your family works just as you are to the way they work. An easy fix given you are the MPOA and once things settle in (providing they do) they will likely contact you more often than your brother. It sounds like your brother however is doing his best to keep his siblings in the loop and you recognize that. So maybe it's just his poor presentation which often happens with some people, I know my brother tends to just forward stuff to me often without explanation, lol I over explain stuff and he just doesn't unless asked but he makes sure he passes it on and I have learned to interpret myself before asking questions. Anyway if your brother had said "I assume you will want to join us" or "You should be included in this" rather than "Do you want to be there" and asked about good times for you would that have changed the way you received his email? My guess is they all mean the same thing in his mind unless asked to think about it. You and he are the two people most important for this meeting as her POA and MPOA and then your other brother (is it just the three of you) as her three children. This being the first Family Meeting with her new facility team the people most involved in her care should be there if possible, after that you are going to be the most important participant as MPOA (unless this is shared) and your brothers when they can, providing you are as good (or better) about sharing information with your siblings as your brother is trying to be. Keep your siblings up to date on feedback from these meetings and any major medical stuff and it will go a long way toward encouraging them to do the same and maintaining a better working relationship with them which only helps your mom.
When the facility says Family Meeting they use the term loosely, they are looking for the decision makers and the family, blood or otherwise, most involved with the patient's care, the people who know her best. While these aren't always the same people, typically they are and the facility is going to want as few people as possible in these meetings to keep things less chaotic. It can take a meeting or two however for them to figure out who is necessary and who isn't and they may ask that so many people not be included next time if it obviously isn't working. You could call the person who sets up and leads these meetings and ask them who they want in the meeting or you could have a discussion with your brother about concerns that having too many people in this first meeting until you get a better feel for how these work and suggest it just be the three siblings (if 3rd can) for now. Unless your DH, SIL or niece have some specific expertise that might make them valuable to have there like medical knowledge, the ability to sift through info better and take notes or simply have spent more hands on time with mom in that facility.
Your mom's kids should share equally in all mom info and they then share with their families (spouse, children) and back up the line to simplify here. Your stuff with SIL needs to be separate from this as much as possible and you don't really need to deal with her, that's your brothers cross to bear and trust me he knows. He may not know the details etc but he knows how his wife is and he knows his sister, the care of Mom in her final years supersedes it all and the best thing you can do is rise above it, not saying forget it you just have more important things trying to control bro's branch isn't worth the energy. Might drive SIL nuts too, added bonus.
Classroom teachers can lose their jobs or their assignments over taking time off, FMLA or not. The school system I worked for did not allow FMLA to be used in increments of less than one day. Most of us cant afford to do that.
Judy, you said your brother was able to use his summer break to move mom? Can you be grateful that he had the flexibility and the wherewithal to do that?
Practising gratitude can be wonderful for your mental health.
I know that you are trying to be very helpful and I appreciate that. There are many underlying circumstances that many people don't understand. Most in-laws will always be involved for whatever reason.
I am grateful that he has done that. It happened that way for a reason. And not for me to be attacked either. It will come back at her one way or another and I don't wish for anything bad to happen to her.
Judy, why are you bothered that your husband will not take time off work to take your mother to doctor's appointments? Why did you insist that he take a day off to go to the care conference?
The Care Conference is for the family decision makers. There have been many posts on this forum regarding only blood relatives being at meetings to discuss care giving. The only exception being when the care giving is falling on an in-law or the parent lives with one of their children and spouse.
You appear to hold onto grudges. When you first mentioned that your nieces and nephew, do not call your DH Uncle, I thought that they were perhaps children. But in a later post you mentioned that they are adults with children of their own. If you were married to a different man when they were young, he would have been the man they called Uncle. The man you are currently married to is your husband, but I can see why they do not call him uncle.
Case in Point. My Uncle D was married to Auntie D, until I was 12, they divorced and he marries Auntie L. They were together for about 10 years. Since I became an adult he has had multiple long term relationships, I have not called any of those women Auntie, my children do not call them auntie either.
2nd Case, Auntie M, divorced Uncle B when I was 13. I have never called her new husband Uncle, just used his first name. Uncle B, my uncle by marriage and by the fact he is the father of my cousins will always be Uncle B to me.
I agree with this though. I don’t see why they would call her husband uncle. If they are adults with children, he’s likely never actually been an uncle to them. My uncle was married 3 times. Had 2 kids with wife number 1 and they divorced before I was born. Married wife #2 and they were still married when I was born so she is my aunt. They had 2 children as well and the divorced. He married wife number 3 when I was 22. She is not my aunt. None of us has ever called her “aunt Madeline”, because we were all adults when she married our uncle. She is and always will be “my uncles wife”. It would be different if she had been around when we were all kids and a relationship had been established the way it was with my aunt Kathy (uncles 2nd wife). But we don’t know her on that level, don’t get me wrong she’s very a nice lady and she loved my husband dearly & she’s still part of the family even though he’s been gone 10 years now but she’s not our aunt. Kathy will always be my aunt. It’s not a matter of how I was raised, it’s who I was raised with. And I was raised with Kathy in my life, not Madeline.
The facility where your mom is isn't licensed? You will be moving her when the state shuts them down. You are taking huge risks by having her in a care facility that is not licensed to be a care facility. I would venture to say that they have no insurance, no background checks for employees and obviously no oversight.
Your SIL is the least of your problems right now.
I am horrified that you think that this is a viable solution for a vulnerable senior. Your brother is right, she needs to be in a licensed facility and she should be moved right now, don't wait until she has time to adjust.
Loyalty and love make us family.
Your brother knows what his wife is. I would leave it alone. She will win if he feels like he has to choose. She can make his life miserable and you can't, self preservation is a powerful motivator. He probably appreciates that you don't dump it on him and he is working with you for your mom, that is something that is not worth risking.
Like you I probably wouldn't have told my brother about SILs email but it maybe something you need to bring to his attention at some time. I have two SILs that don't seem to like me. Have no idea why since I have no problem with the other two. I have excepted it and just limit being around them. My FIL said years ago about one that she was jealous. Really, she comes from a well off family and has always had more than I have. You may never get a reason why SIL treats u the way she does or has turned ur nieces against you. Thats a question u may have to ask SIL.
The meeting is a "Care Meeting". The staff in charge of Moms care will be there. The office I had mine in was not big enough for every family member to be there. There is no reason for SIL, nieces or ur husband to be there. Mine was 15 min long. I was not able to ask questions because the time was taken up by the staff giving their care info.
Your husband is your brother's children's Uncle by marriage. And not to except him as such is disrespect on your brother's part.
They have been taking care of my mom pretty well. Except for one issue and that is she is now wearing pull up's. She has urinary incontinence. There is one caregiver that I don't think that she likes too well. But then again,she has been there for only 2 months and is still getting used to it.
About the uncle part, my husband's nieces and nephews call me Aunt Judy. That is what they were taught and how they were raised.
For the meeting, we were told to expect about an hour for the meeting.
One thing that does bother me is that he will be there for the meeting but isn't willing take off to take her to any of her doctor's appointments,except for when he is on school breaks. I do all of that. I have PTO which I am currently using. He is a middle school teacher.
I am there for my mom and always will be. She won't be alive forever. Tonight or tomorrow is never promised.
Did you hear about this from mom, and only mom?
I learned to be cautious when listening to what my mom told me about what others had said. And in retrospect, her inability to completely understand complex situations was present a long time before anyone suspected that something was amiss with her cognition.
The possibilities for misunderstandings in families are boundless. If this is not applicable in this situation, so be it.
Wishing you well!
They used to like me when they were little. My oldest niece will talk to me. But she have a family with 4 children. A lot for her to handle but she is doing a great job. The other sister never talks to me or acknowledges me. And the nephew, has blocked me on fb along with his wife.
Except for my oldest niece, no other family comes to visit her. Okay, my brother and sometimes, his wife. And the dog.
Just wonder, and only wonder, if she did move in with us, if things would have been different. I did see in a letter that she wrote to someone that she wished that she never left the town where she was living. She was doing pretty well. Just tired of taking care of the house and the responsibilities.
Now, the most that she says is mmm hmmm. I have to force her to say something. She, I hope, is still getting adjusted to where she is living. Sept 4th will be 2 months that she has been there. It's a nice place.
Just pray that her ltc policy will be okay.
It sounds like people here have said, a working meeting, with only those responsible for her care attending, and any caregivers.
It is about your Mom and her care.
Not about who hurt whom in the past. Can you let that part go?
Edit: Well put Barb.
The OP Judy has been gracious in accepting our comments so far. I hope she knows that we are on her side.
1. Facilities need to have ONE pont of contact. Let it be brother if he is POA. After my mom had been in the NH for several months, the social worker got that brother did financials and I did medical. Sometimes they even called the right person! But don't count on that.
2. It sounds like your harbor long held resentment against something your SIL said or did years ago. Either clear the air with her....or stop harping on it.
3. Your SIL posted that it was with regret that MIL was admitted to Memeory Care. Do you not feel regret? How is that offensive?
4. You should know that irritability is a symptom of depression. If you find yourself unable to shake this way of being, please get yourself seen and screened for depression.
Having a loved one with dementia is a marathon. Maybe a double marathon. Everyone needs to be generous of spirit and forgiving. Keep in sight that it's your mom's welfare that is the objective here.
#2 Easy for you to say when you don't know the issues.
#4 I have already been talking to a counselor about this very issue. I am not depressed either. It's a bigger issue than that. Even my doctor knows what is going on. Do you want to change places with me?
I may sound that I am being on the defense, but I'm not. Just telling my side of the story.
Why don't you put all you can into healing your relationship. Your Mom is 89. If you don't care to see one another ever again after she dies, that's great. For now why don't you try with all your good heart and all your good soul to support one another, be there for one another, help one another and your Mom.
That would be what I would do. That's what I would advise. But you are your own woman and I trust you to make your own decisions.
If his wife isn't going to be there, then my husband won't be there. :)
Judy, if you didn't mean to give the impression that your brother's asking you if you wanted to go felt insulting to you, what did you mean? But never mind, it doesn't really matter.
Anyway. So - the problem you have is with your SIL and your two nieces. This problem goes back more than ten years. Your brother prefers to overlook it. But then again: you say you have things you could tell him about how you have been treated by these people and how it makes you feel; and you say that he NEEDS to know this. But then... why haven't you told him? Have you ever told him? Come to that, have you ever told them?
At some point, your mother was placed in a memory care unit. The unit has your brother's contact details, but for some reason you are not on their mailing list even though you are your mother's health care proxy. That bit you can put right with a simple telephone call and by sending them a copy of your documentation; but is it possible, too, that the facility didn't notify you by email about the meeting because they expected to see you in person?
To cut to the chase: would you actually be happier if your brother attended the family conference without his wife and daughter? If that is what you want, if their presence is going to cause conflict and detract from the usefulness of the care planning meeting, then hadn't you better suggest it?
Intrusive relatives-by-marriage are certainly something I can fully sympathise with. They can be a bunion on the foot of progress, as my father used to put it. Don't forget that the SINGLE purpose of this meeting is your mother's ongoing care and anything that doesn't contribute to that, it's reasonable to avoid. What do you think?
Often a facility will have ONE person at the top of their contact list, if you are healthcare proxy then perhaps you should be the primary contact since any issues that come up are more likely to involve care decisions rather than finance.
Care conferences occur routinely and are a way for the facility to sit down with all concerned parties to go over things, where I live they are mandated. I think that using the term "family meeting" is a misnomer and I rather doubt most care conferences have entire families showing up en mass, I wonder if your brother got the wrong impression? In any case these are working meetings and only those with legal authority (that would be you, as healthcare POA) have any say in her care plan, the rest are merely there as a courtesy.
On the face it, to an outsider, it was a courteous question. He did not dictate the date and time and make arrogant assumptions about your availability. He asked you if you wished to attend and when it would be convenient to you.
The fact that you are, clearly, affronted by this makes me wonder why your feelings towards your brother would be so defensive. Has your brother done anything in particular that would lead to negative assumptions about him? Do you have any reason to suppose that your husband will not be welcome at the family meeting?
Who was it who emailed your brother to propose this meeting but did not email you? - and is it possible that that person just didn't happen to have your email address?
It's his wife and children that have done things to even hurt my mom. More so his wife and 2 daughters. He is a wimp when it comes to standing up to them. His 2 daughters went to my mom 10 years ago and attacked me. Will never know the reason for the attack on me. She didn't deserve that.
You have to know the family history. My "sil" is a fake when it comes to "caring" for people. She loves attention. She even posted on FB about "it's with regret that we must put my mil into a memory care unit". She doesn't even know the whole story.
I SO want to show him the texts and messages that she sent me and how she attacked me without his knowledge. He NEEDS to know how she is hurting his sister. I haven't done anything to hurt her ever! She is a very vindictive person.
My brother is a very professional person. He has been hurt in his life but won't get any help for it. I, myself, have been to counselors. At least I accept the help.
All I want to do is scream. Just feel that my mom would be better off in heaven with my dad. He died 23 years ago.