Healthy brother won't support himself


New Member
I am seeking advice on how to deal with my brother who is in his mid Fifties and has been supported most of his adult life by my parents, who now have dementia and are in assisted living. This did not stop my brother from getting married and having three kids. His divorce was inevitable as my sister in law could not get over the fact that he refused to work to support his family. It's as though working to pay your own way is an option for him, which he opts not to do. His major job requirement is that it has to be flexible and not regimented, he wants to "set his own schedule". My dad has rarely if ever turned down giving him money and now, if he doesn't pay child support, he'll go to jail. As a result, my dad will keep giving him money. My normal brother and I are dumbfounded as to why he refuses to work. Basically, we are going to approach him to inform him that we cannot simply watch my father continue to enable him any longer. Seeking advice on specifically what to say and how to even start the conversation. Oh, and I should mention that he is prone to a temper and will probably scream and yell at us before stomping out of the conversation. How do I keep him at the table to make him understand that we are simply protecting my parents, not trying to hurt him?


Well-Known Member
I have two words: You can't.

He is a senior citizen now and was allowed to mooch all his life. Your parents allowed it. Your father still does. Your brother cared not one bit about your elderly parents or he would have stopped mooching years ago but they enabled him. They allowed it to happen. At 55 he has no job experience, no resume, no motivation and apparently no caring for anyone but himself. There are no magic words that will make him at least flip burgers. He probably wants more money than that.

This sadly is the consequence of anyone supporting an adult child all his life.

Not only can you not make brother work but you can't stop elderly father from giving him money unless he is incompetent.

I'm sure you have tried talking about this before through the years to your parents and to this brother but the money kept flowing to this brother and he kept on collecting it. And Dad is still doing rescuing this 55 ,year old man. Is Dad still competent? If not, who is in control of his affairs?

Very sorry you have this brother. I think it starts with Dad or else just let it go if Dad won't listen and you know it. Since Brother isn't beating up Dad and if Dad is lucid and willing, I don't think this constitutes elder abuse, but you can report it and see...

Good luck!


Roll With It
Your parents have dementia and you need to take control of their affairs with your other brother. File papers with the court for guardianship. In the meantime, don't bother talking with your brother, it won't do any good. He is not going to change now because you spoke to him. He simply isn't. You MUST call social services and report elder abuse because this IS elder abuse. There may be a special number separate from the regular social services number for elder care or elder abuse, but if you put some effort into finding it, you will be able to. If nothing else, contact the court clerk for your county or call a lawyer who deals with family law. In fact, it would actually be an excellent idea to get a lawyer involved to help with the guardianship filing.

I urge you to act VERY quickly because your brother could leave your parents destitute to make himself comfortable. You seem like a decent man who just wants to protect your parents, and your 3rd brother is not the only person out there who will try to take advantage of your parents. There are a LOT of people who will try to do this and if you and your good brother get guardianship of your parents money on grounds of their dementia, then they will be protected and will have a safe and comfortable life.

Act FAST before your scheming brother who is about to go to jail for not paying child support thinks of this and files for guardianship of them and gets power over their money to spend it like his own money!!!!


Well-Known Member
I've seen something like this in a friend's family. A man that was very intelligent and rumored to have considered medical school. Then, he had a good job with a great company and left it due to some silly disagreement. Then, he relied on his parents for many decades, only working odd jobs here and there. How in the world could that progression take place? And, this man, to the best of my knowledge, does not have any health problems, etc. As near as we can tell, his parents inadvertently, may have contributed to destroying his ability to earn a living literally his entire life. I agree with Somewhere OUt There. I think the probability that he will understand your good intentions are slim. At best, you might be able to talk him into some sort of compromise...although for the life of me, I don't know what that would be. Do what you can to protect your parents. If your brother is literally not working at all, maybe encourage him to get a PT job and hopefully when he starts getting a paycheck, he will discover that it is a positive thing. What a sorrowful situation. You can also give him food stamp information. Sigh. But, I agree, protect your parents.