How do we tell family members to stay somewhere other than my parents house?

6 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My sister's son is giving her a surprise birthday party right after Christmas. A lot of people - friends and relatives are invited. It will be in a restaurant. Two of my relatives want to stay at my parent's house for a couple of nights instead of taking a hotel room. The problem is that both of my parents have dementia. These relatives have me not seen them for years. I hate the position that they have been put in, and worry about embarrassments, and gossip about them. I am trying to think of things to decrease contact. The worst thing is, that they did not contact my father directly. I am very nervous and upset about this.


Expert Answers

Monica is an occupational therapist and designer of adapted dementia products through her company MindStart. Activities for Persons With Memory Loss. In addition, she works with the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association and the University of Minnesota on dementia issues. MindStart provides age-appropriate and stage-appropriate dementia activities, such as games, puzzles, and books. The items are simplified to meet the needs of various stages of dementia while remaining dignified and familiar in appearance

They have put you in a difficult situation, which is unfortunate. Perhaps you could tell these relatives that your parents really prefer their privacy and own routines at the stage of life they are in and, therefore, a hotel would be best. This would not be an outright lie, but yet would keep the dignity and privacy that you are fighting for. Good luck.


Community Answers

Lebaque answered...

If these are close blood relations being forthright and explaining the situation may resolve the issue. If they are less close simply say that your parents are not able to entertain overnight guests and suggest alternatives - like not making a mini-vacation out of a one night birthday party.


A fellow caregiver answered...

You or the person who was contacted by the two relatives should tell them that they canNOT stay at your parent's house. It is your responsibility to make sure that your parents are protected from those who would take advantage of them. Sometimes relatives assume that nothing they use is an inconvenience as long as it is within what belongs to family members. That ceases to be true when the family members have dementia and are no longer able to consent to that use. For other family members to allow it is inexcusable and extremely inconsiderate. I hope you have the strength to stand up for your parents and stop this invasion of their home while there is still time to do so. If the relatives who need lodging cannot afford a hotel room, then perhaps someone other than your parents can offer them a room or several of you might consider pooling funds toward the cost of the hotel so that it is not a burden for any one person.


Dog walker answered...

Dementia is caused by illness, and there's no reason to be embarrassed or secretive about it. If your parents had other serious health issues -- heart failure or cancer, for instance -- you wouldn't hesitate to ask your relatives to stay somewhere else. Tell your relatives the truth, and trust them to be understanding.


A fellow caregiver answered...

The problem is that I do not want to share my parents' condition. I do not want them to be the butt of gossip. These are not people that I trust, and my mother has never really liked them. I feel that it is my place to let them have their dignity.


Lebaque answered...

If you do not trust these people and you Mother has never liked them then they must be told that staying at your parents home is not an option for them. You do not owe them any explanation beyond no means NO.