Switching off?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Valerie 3 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #64365 Reply


    Growing up, my brother and I always sort of understood that I would be the one to take care of our other brother, who has downs. I was happy to stay closer to home so I could help our mom, who had struggled with breast cancer and we sort of all knew I would need to take over sooner, rather than later.

    Now that mom’s been gone a few years and my own son is a teenager, I sort of feel like I need an extended break from taking care of my brother. It’s really tough, because I don’t want to send him to live with our other brother. It’d be really hard on him to leave home and have so much change all at once. On the other hand, it’d be huge to ask my brother to move back to our home town to provide more day to day help or have our brother live with him for a few months. It’d be a huge upheaval for his career and his wife. And I don’t want my brother to move in with my other brother forever, I just need a break. It doesn’t feel like it’s really worth the hassle of moving him just to have him move back in a few months.

    So, I don’t know what to do.

    My brother has always helped out. Every year instead of going on vacation he comes here so I can go on vacation. Or he takes our brother on vacation with him and his wife. He also handles a lot of the paperwork and covers more of the finances than I do. But after so many years, I feel like I need more time off.

    I’m almost wondering if I should send my teenager to stay with my brother, since it’d probably be fun for him. I don’t want my son or my brother to feel like I’m banishing them from home. I love them both and I love having them with me, I’m just tired. The two of them are running me ragged!

    Have any of you faced a similar situation? How can I get a reprieve without asking someone to really upend their own lives?

  • #64382 Reply

    Bob Harrison

    Kris, you’re really, unintentionally, making the situation worse for yourself by creating increased
    stress that your tired body does not need and may not tolerate very well. First thing you need to clarify
    is whether you want to take an extended break. Sending your brother to your other brother would be the wise idea. You indicate there would be no problem there other, than the readjustment period for your brother with (downs). And I agree it might be a bit difficult in the beginning, but he would adjust well in time. You can’t ask your brother to give up his way of life and move back home, when he can watch your brother from the home he is in now. Sounds to me like you, like the idea of your brother living near you so you could share in the care giving. Probably ideal for you-but perhaps not your brother. Again, you need to clarify if you want an extended break, or not. Having your brother with downs in the same town as you will not be an extended break. My thoughts are, you should let your other brother care for your brother with downs while you take the needed extended break. And maybe you could set up some sort of routine with your brother for your breaks. Here’s the thing, decide what it is that you really want, then approach your brother. Sounds like you have a close knit family, and in this case that is a good thing. I believe your other brother should help you so you can take a break from care giving, although it probably will be at his residence. You’re very fortunate to have a helpful brother. In my experience with care giving based on hundreds of stories and articles, usually when a sibling takes over as a family caregiver, the other siblings get out of the picture as fast as they can and do not want to help. Sadly.

    Long-term care giving over time can result in burnout and illness. That’s a fact. So, take that extended break, away from your brother with downs. I know, it will be hard on the both of you. If your going to care for your brother for the long term, and it appears you are, you must take some time out for you. Imagine, the excitement of being reunited with your brother with downs after a bit of time away from each other. Priceless.

  • #65934 Reply


    Have you considered moving closer to the brother you want to help care for your brother with Down’s?? If that’s a doable thing, it might be easiest for everyone. Also, is there any In Home Care Service your brother might be eligible for?? That might give you some reprieve time.

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