I’m coming to you with this problem as it’s in relation to my family and I’ve very little people to turn to.
My brother’s health has deteriorated over the last number of years. We’re now at the point where he needs a lot of help and care.
I know I may sound selfish, but I’m getting quite fed up with it
He’s still quite young and totally compos mentis, but physically he needs help with daily cleaning and cooking jobs around the house.
As I’m living the closest out of my siblings, a lot of this work falls on me. I know I may sound selfish, but I’m getting quite fed up with it.
I understand my brother is struggling at the moment with his health problems and the pandemic is not easy for him, but at the same time, I can’t cope with everything. I’ve a full-time job and a family, as well as keeping his house and my own.
To be honest, I actually don’t mind helping out, but it’s his way of going about things that’s really putting me on edge. For example, he refuses to allow Home Help into the house, he doesn’t give any notice if he wants me to do something and he’s actually quite bossy towards me.
I feel quite fed up and worn-out with the whole thing, but also guilty because he’s the one who’s sick
Also, even though I’m the nearest, my brothers and sisters actually don’t live far away. They’re all within the county. I feel like they’re using COVID-19 as an excuse not to help.
I feel quite fed up and worn-out with the whole thing, but also guilty because he’s the one who’s sick.
Can you give me any advice, Miriam?
Dear Connacht Reader,
Thank you very much for getting in touch. Caring for a relative can be very difficult, so do know it is okay to feel as you do. Also, don’t feel guilty, you are doing the best you can. Well done on that.
I am going to offer you advice that will hopefully alleviate some of these feelings. First and foremost, you need to get help. Whether that be through Home Help or your siblings, but you cannot keep doing everything on your own.
The key to this conversation is being both compassionate and frank
Home Help would be preferable. I totally empathise that is not easy, but do have a conversation with your brother and tell him that he is going to have to accept help and Home Help is the best option. The key to this conversation is being both compassionate and frank.
Really try for Home Help, but if that does not work you are going to have to get your siblings to help. Home help is operating during current restrictions and caring for vulnerable relatives is considered a reasonable excuse to travel at present.
I know you will all be trying to keep your brother’s contacts low, but getting help from even just one other person at present, who is being very careful, will make a big difference to you.
Make the point that you have a job and a family yourself
While you are talking to your brother, I would also tell him that while you are happy to help, he will have to give you notice as much as he can when he needs you to do things and that he needs to be kind in his manner. Make the point that you have a job and a family yourself.
Also, I would say to your siblings that when restrictions ease and your brother is safely vaccinated, you will need them to chip in more. Suggest you could each take a day a week, or something to that effect.
I know these situations can seem quite daunting, especially when it comes to family, but just say how you feel as calmly, but firmly as you can.
Although things are difficult in the current climate, you do not need to struggle on alone.
Wishing you all the best,