My Mother Had to Change Care Facilities Many Times Due To My ‘Opinionated’ Brother

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 50s and my mother, who requires Level 3 care, has been living at care facilities for the past five years. My brother, who is eight years older than I am and unemployed, constantly makes complaints at the facilities. As a result, my mother has had to change homes multiple times and is currently at her fourth one. I’m very worried about her future.

My brother has always been rude and uncivilized. It seems he shows up every day to the facility where our mother is staying to offer the employees his “opinions.” He tells them that they’re not doing a good job of taking care of our mother and lectures them for a long time.

The head of one facility contacted me and said, “We thought he was just telling us his opinions, but the staff has become exhausted by his such a rude attitude, so we decided to contact you.”

I apologized and said: “I know my brother’s character. I don’t care if you make it public, but please prioritize the safety of your staff.”

My brother’s wife is completely indifferent, so I can’t discuss this with her. Is there anything I can do?

— H, Wakayama Prefecture

Dear Ms. H:

It would be understandable if your brother were doing it out of love for your mother, but he just goes to spout his opinions. It seems to have become a point of pride for your brother and his reason to live.

It’s not that your sister-in-law is indifferent, she’s probably just happy that her loud husband is out of the house.

Maybe you have let your brother take care of your mother since he is always around her. You probably don’t live very close to the facility, making it difficult for you to regularly visit.

The fact that the director of the facility contacted you might mean they are suggesting it might be safer for your mother if you move her to a facility closer to where you live.

It is not normal for your mother to be living at her fourth facility in five years. Having to frequently move at your mother’s age must be both physically and mentally stressful for her. If she has dementia, it wouldn’t be surprising if it has progressed. Since the problem is obvious, I think it’s time you make up your mind.

If your mother is able to express her thoughts, tell your brother that it is her wish for you to take care of her. If she cannot, then firmly tell him that you can no longer leave your mother in his care. Everything depends on your decision. That is the only thing you can do.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer