And, they were right. "They", in this case, being professionals warning of the tangential effects of caring for someone with mental deterioration. The 'effect' this time was my brother, spurred into an inquisition of mom's care after her dementia made a couple of incoherent phone calls that left him upset.
Fair enough; prior to moving to Auburn, I had also gotten such calls. They leave the recipient feeling helpless and confused; they usually do NOT leave one feeling hostile or accusatory, which was the course my brother chose to take.
His belligerence stirred the Col. Nathan Jessup that lies in all of us. Jessup, if you recall, was the character played by Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men", the one whose signature line was telling the Tom Cruise character "you can't handle the truth". Not only is my brother unable to handle the truth about mom, he is denying its existence.
I will not go into details other than to say, unless you are with the deteriorating person every day, you are in a woefully weak position to judge those who are. My Jessup sentiment was along the lines of "she has to be cared for and her peculiarities accepted. Who's going to do that? You? Not so far. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. You get to sleep and rise knowing that she is taken care of yet have the audacity to gripe about that care is given. Frankly, I would prefer you just said thank you. Otherwise, take up a shift and see if your perspective doesn't change a bit."
Books on this subject are filled with tales of intrafamily strife and the theme is consistent - those on the outside have little clue as to what the inside looks and feels like, yet want to play some sort of directorial role. Look, circumstances happen in every family where one sibling or another is precluded from being an active participant. Such is the case with my brother and I don't begrudge him that. My opportunity to go to grad school was knowingly coupled with returning mom to her home; I am neither a martyr nor seeking canonization. But, reality is what it is and it cannot be seen from 300 miles away.
Fortunately, there is a vast repository of literature available, and his email and regular mailbox will fill up with both. He can choose to read them and modify his approach, or take a second pass on the path of confrontation. The latter is guaranteed to not only fail but to potentially cause irreversible harm. He's a smart guy who works in health care, no less. It is not like he lacks for resources. This should be easy to figure out. Should be. Nathan had his exercise for the week but he is manning a post.