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Help! Mother with dementia and brother with schizophrenia

Community Member

I have a mother with dementia, and a brother with schizophrenia. My mother needs treatment but my brother is dead set against my mother getting treatment, and is riling her up all the time telling her that the rest of her children are trying to harm her in some way. My brother speaks in simple platitudes, promised to buy her a house (a promise that he cannot keep), and is basically the only person that she trusts at this point. This has been going on for about 18 months.

Recently our sister and I were given a guardianship order to supervise our mother's health care, housing, and so on. We need our mother to cooperate but it is very hard when he is always on the phone to her telling her that he mean her harm. I've spoken directly to my brother about this, and he seems amenable for the most part when on the phone to me, but as soon as the call ends he is doing the same thing.

We had a brief respite for about a week when the police picked him up during an episode, and was sent to the mental hospital. Once he got out he kept on doing the same.

My question is what can we do about this? He is making it impossible to go about our duties are guardians as she refuses medical care, refuses relocation (back to her own home), and if this continues she is going to be permanently in a nursing home, something that we would like to avoid for as long as she is able to live semi-independently with in-home care.

Are there any options to have my brother stop this behaviour? Negotiating haven't worked.

4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Jack

Thankyou for reaching out about this matter. I understand you as my mum is also in the same situation too and its a painful place to be in.

My big brother had schizophrenia in the 1980's and has since passed away but I remember his episodes all too well. Can I ask if your brother has been diagnosed with this awful illness by a psychiatrist? (if thats okay)

I understand that you and your sister are doing the best you can for your mum. Its hard to comment as I dont know if your brother is taking his meds or not

The forums are a safe and judgemental place to be Jack.You are more than welcome to post back whenever you choose

My kind thoughts for you


Community Member

Hi, Paul. Thanks for your reply.

My brother is a diagnosed schizophrenic, and is subject to a community treatment order. He gets medicated, but he seems to be delusional all the time these days, and also very manic. Perhaps his meds have to be changed or the dosage altered - I do know that the dosages were reduced a couple of years ago.

My brother emptied my mother's bank account, and I have already spent $1000 just 5 days into my guardianship. I didn't realize that he did that (I knew that he had used some of her money, not that he had emptied her account), so now I have to seek financial guardianship too.

I am at a loss at what to do. I have my own issues, but fortunately not schizophrenia or an illness that impairs my judgment. I struggle not to lose my temper with my brother.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Jack...My apologies for my typo above.....the forums are a non judgemental place where you can post....

Your post reminded me of my brother.....my brother would stop taking his meds (Im not saying your brother has at all) and it would be difficult for our family as he had more manic episodes

You are only human and it would be difficult not to lose your temper with your brother especially with your current circumstances with your mum

I have had anxiety followed by depression for a while yet I still have my balance and sound state of mind. (just to let you know)

As you are aware your brother suffers from this awful illness and sometimes may not be responsible for the decisions he is making.....the thought processes may be flawed as you know

You have enough on your plate at the moment Jack. I have colleagues here on Beyond Blue that I would like to have a private chat with if thats okay.....Please bear with me so we can help you more effectively

In the meantime can I ask if you have a good GP that you can discuss what you have here.....You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing so. You are also not breaching any privacy boundaries either by asking your GP for assistance

My best to you in this difficult time....please bear with us


Hey Jack;

I see you're in a bit of a pickle with your mum's care, and management of her assets. This is a really tricky situation as emotions run high dealing with an unwell ageing parent and conflict from an adult sibling with a mental illness.

Taking responsibility for your mum's well being is a grand gesture, but very hard work, especially when your brother seems so difficult. It sounds as if your mum is still capable of decision making though, so that's great.

Emotions run high from everyone involved, especially with dementia in the mix. Even the most well meaning 'child' will have bias at some level, and this could be playing out.

Contacting a private Occupational Therapist and/or Social Worker for a formal assessment/recommendations of your mum's situation could be beneficial for everyone. It can also be kept for legal and medical stuff down the track.

An appeal can be made to the Guardianship Board, though this is extreme. If your mum ends up in an aged care facility, full management of her finances/care etc would most likely go to executives at the Home.

I can't advise you on dealing with your brother, except to learn as much as you can about him and his illness. Have empathy because he deserves this much, but use 'boundaries' to protect yourself and your mum, even if it means talking with your solicitor and/or police.

His community order would have conditions attached, so asking him what they are could help but, he may become upset. Bit of a catch 22.

Other than this, you could call the mental health hotline in your state. They're the best source of info to kick start your enquiries. We here aren't professionals, only peers, and that's probably not with schizophrenia as this site's more for anxiety/depression.

I wish you and your family well and hope I've helped just a little.

Kind thoughts;