How apt that you should say "after reading both of these comments I felt like I was talking with myself." because I think that's exactly what you need to do. In fact, you probably held numerous conversations with yourself in the ten hours it took to reach your mother's house, so what are your heart and head telling you?
Let's try something here to help capture some of the inner-dialogue going on in your head and try using it to problem solve together...
For the sake of this exercise, I have cast you in the role of being your own best friend, so in the conversation to follow please imagine how you might want to respond to this dear friend of yours as she struggles to resolve all of the problems she's encountering with her mother's present situation.
Perhaps you could back her up the next time she encounters her brother's apathy by reminding her that to do nothing is a choice too. Your friend knows that intervening on her mother's behalf is absolutely the right thing to do, with or without her brother's approval, so help her come to terms with that and feel good about whatever decisions she must make. To a Friend in need you will be a "Friend indeed."
For the most part best friends offer straight answers to tough questions, but with the perspective of someone who really cares about you, so words of encouragement and lots of hugs are always included. If you don't have this kind of support for whatever reason from family, maybe you can try providing it for yourself.
I'll take the first part of this exercise. We'll use your comments as the dialogue for "Friend in need" and I'll be responding as "Friend indeed" in Act One.
Friend in need:
I'm so scared that she's going to fall or have a problem and no one will be there to help. what makes matters worse is she's 10 hours away so it's a big deal to come see her.
Of course you are worried! I just read an article titled Senior Fall Prevention that I got from A Place for Mom and I was really stuck by the gravity of the risks for the elderly in this situation. Here's an excerpt from their article: "A simple fall can change your life. Just ask any of the thousands of older men and women who fall each year and break a bone. Getting older can bring lots of changes. Sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination and reflexes aren’t what they once were. Balance can be affected by diabetes and heart disease, or by problems with your circulation, thyroid or nervous system. Some medicines can cause dizziness. Any of these things can make a fall more likely. " (you can request the complete article from A Place for Mom)
It's got to be even worse for you with your mother living so far away too. I know that you would be checking on her everyday if you lived closer, but since that's not possible, were you thinking that it's probably time to address this before something happens and she really does get hurt?
I have to give you a lot of credit too because you are the only one in this family who is willing to put your mother's safety before everything else. It's certainly not about proving your brother's right or wrong either, it's just that having seen your mom's situation for what it is, how can you be expected to ignore it any longer?
I know as a daughter it's only natural to want to protect your mother and keep her out of harm's way because you love her.
Do you want to try handling a "Friend indeed's" responses in Acts Two and Three?
Friend in need:
so here I am. the papers and house are a mess. conversation is so negative ('so-and-so was beat so bad she almost DIED!' 'those people are just looking for a chance to steal you blind') or just gives you pause ('the reason the TV doesn't work is that the Obama adminstration is anti-elderly -- not because she screwed up the digital programing on the TV). She has so much stuff: trinkets and worthless little doo dads that people have given her over the years. I don't know where to start to jettason those (you could fill a gift shop).
Friend indeed: ...
Friend in need:
my brother and family are no help. I've talked with him on several occasions about facilities and he feels that we shouldn't spend more than $600 a month. he's in a dream world. all I get is a really bad headache talking with him or my sister-in-law. I wish there was someone nearby who could lend a hand or provide some sanity. with Tax season just around the corner I am still trying to get my head above water about what all is needed. Big sigh! it's all about little steps...
Friend indeed: ...
Please contact A Place for Mom for help, so you can get a better understanding of all the options that are available to help your mother including; home care, assisted living, residential care homes, and even assistance with financing.
God Bless you for all of your efforts on your mother's behalf and hopefully this will be some help tp you.