How do I tell my sister her visits cause more stress for me while caring for our mother?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

May I please ask -- I am caring for my mother who has been in bed for about 5 years now. My out-of-state sister is very challenging and may come to visit. If I feel so overwhelmed caring for my mom, is it ok to say that my sister just cannot come right now? I hope not to hurt her feelings, but she is sarcastic, finds everything to be a joke, and I have little energy to find anything to be funny. Also, she is very controlling and that is the reason for her visit -- to try to get my mom into a nursing home and control what is going on. She wants me to go live in a home with 7 elderly people, sell my home (possibly with the idea that the money goes to her). I am afraid of her, and it only takes a few minutes for me to be in tears in her company. Any nice way to say, just not now -- I am too overwhelmed with the care of my mom. Thank you so much. Blessings to you.



Community Answers

Askmehouse answered...

What a challenging situation you're in. And, it sounds as though there may be a history of a complicated relationship with your sister. I'm hearing that you feel afraid when she's around and don't feel emotionally safe. You certainly have every right to set some healthful boundaries for yourself (and, if she chooses to come anyway, you don't have to let her stay with you, if that's what she's expecting). It may seem "not nice" to say "no", but that is your right, and you don't have to justify your decision.

I'm curious......which of you is older? Does one of you have legal Power of Attorney? It might be worthwhile to work with a neutral 3rd party, like a geriatric care coordinator or elder advocate who could also help serve as a mediator between you and your sister.

(I note that it's been almost a year since you originally posted......this is the first I've seen it......I'd love to hear an update of how things are going for you.....)


Joebush answered...

Family is the hardest to deal with...you already know that....Adult protection services are there for you also,,,use them..you have rights....and the day comes when you HAVE to say NO to your sister, if she don;t like it....tough.....you are the 24/7 caregiver...she is a long distance know nothing person..( they always know best, because they won;t study up on things, and are just sure you are wrong...but you are NOT wrong..you deal with things , a lot of times, every 5 minutes at a time...she has never felt the helplessness, the...how do I handle this...and figure it out, and you know I could go on and on...but you already shown who loves the most....you....you have been there 5 years, you have enough stress, fon;t ley her heighten that stress....tell her NO....and if you have to, call the police AND adult protection services, I will assure you they will be on your side.....don;t let her run over you, or degrade you....praying for you


A fellow caregiver answered...

I can understand and relate to exactly what is happening to you. My older, out-of-town sister would come for a few days every year or every other year to see my mom who lived with me and my husband and two sons. I always felt like I was 5 years old when she would come and stand in judgment of me. Nothing I did was right and she had answers for everything. When I recognized definite signs of dementia in my mom, my sister was the first to say that I didn't know what I was talking about. As the dementia progressed and my mom got more and more helpless, my sister also wanted me to send my mom to a nursing home. All my mom wanted was to stay in the home she adored with the family she loved. My husband and I with full time jobs and our unemployed sons in their 20's took turns caring for my mom. My sister and my older brother complained and bullied me from afar until I finally said 'no more'. My mom passed away last year. I have never regretted caring for her-- it was worth all the smiles and love she expressed to us. My sister and brother do not communicate with me anymore, but amazingly, I am okay with that. You will be too. Don't be a doormat. Your sister deals with her grief by tormenting you. Give yourself a hug for the sacrifice you are making.