Follow
Share

My mother lives with me and her and her sister used to talk about living with each other when they were old. Mind you, this was over 30 years ago when they would have these talks. A few years ago my aunt came to visit and made a joke about if her husband dies, she'd come live with us. We kind of laughed it off and didn't respond. My mom does not want her to live with us and I don't either.



My aunt's husband just died and she asked if she could have an extended visit at our home because she doesn't know where to go. She does have health problems and probably shouldn't live alone, however she also has four children. She has her own home and one of her children lives nearby. I called one of her kids and explained why she can't come for a long visit but that my mom could visit her for a short time so she isn't alone but I'm afraid she's going to try and come to my home at the end of my mother's visit. Her and my mother will probably get into a fight if they spend too much time together, as well. They were close when they were young but have had several fights through the years and gone long periods without speaking.



She can't live here, I work fulltime and am barely keeping my head above water managing my mom and her needs, doctor appointments, 'behavior'. My aunt has complex health needs and I imagine a lot of doctor appointments, etc. How do I nicely explain to my cousins that she is their responsibility ?

Find Care & Housing
I’d suggest that you write (email?? keep copies!) to each of the cousins saying that you are concerned that their mother has in the back of her mind that she wants to move in with you and your own mother. She’s mentioned this before. Your biggest concern right now is that she may have said this to the cousins, and suggested that it’s already agreed. It isn’t, and they should get together to make a plan for/with their mother. If they want you to join in, you will come and give suggestions, but there is no way that anyone should think that you will take on another person to care for. You won’t.

Unless there is a plan in place, you won’t have their mother for a visit, because that might make everyone think it can be permanent. (Or, bluntly, it may be hard to make her leave.) I wouldn’t go into the potential difficulties between the sisters – that’s not the point. I wouldn’t explain your own workload problems – that’s not the point either. Keep referring to her as YOUR mother. Give your sympathy for dealing with a difficult situation. It’s very very important not to leave this vague!
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

That is an easy one> "I am so sorry. We couldn't possibly do that".
No discussion. No argument. A simple and kind and polite "no".
Your cousins, if they wish to have no part in your Aunt's care can request that the court provide a Fiduciary and that Aunt become a ward of the State who will manage her finances and her care.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report

Your Aunt is freshly bereaved.

Of course she feels lost & unsure at this time. But she will need to talk to her adult children about her situation. Talking to the leader in her faith (if she has one) would also be normal to do at this time.

"my mom could visit her for a short time"

If your Mother is able-bodied, she can go visit her sister if she likes.

Visitors cannot just lob onto your doorstep - even family. Visitors must work in with what suits their host. Also must also be able bodied, no-one should feel entitled to turn up to be 'nursed'.

The two sisters may enjoy many phone chats instead. That would be my suggestion for now.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Beatty
Report

Make sure you don't take on any of your aunt's caregiving, because mission creep will happen.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to CTTN55
Report

Just an idea, many assisted living homes have 2 bedroom apartments available. Maybe the 2 ladies could live together happily in one of those.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Arlyle
Report
Maryjann Apr 24, 2022
(1)
Report
See 3 more replies
Through a series of interesting events, my father and maternal uncle shared an apartment an hour away from me. When my father was hospitalized, we (mom, bro, and I) contacted my uncle's children (3 adults all living in the same city) and told them that their father needed help because my father would no longer be able to provide care for him. My cousins blew off our concerns. Several weeks passed, my father passed away and my uncle's decline continued. I was the sole caregiver for my mom and her oldest sister and I worked full-time. My mom and I would check on him, but her sister kept us busy. A few months passed and my cousins called, wanting me to become their father's caregiver, too. I told them no. They said he didn't have to live with us, he could live in a Veteran's home in our town and I said no. I didn't hear from them again, and eventually, they moved their father to their hometown.

I shared this to say that no is an answer. No is to the point and is a sufficient response. You don't have to give a reason, but if you want to, that's your decision. Although I love my uncle, I have no regrets with that decision. I am very grateful that I was able to be there for my mom and my aunt.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to WillowBreeze
Report
EmotionallyNumb Jun 15, 2022
I'm getting a lot more comfortable with just 'no'.
(9)
Report
See 1 more reply
First day of vacation already over! It was in the 90's and the water was super warm. Rained for a bit in the evening and that helped cool it off some. The sand here is so nice, I think they call it sugar sand. Where I'm from the sand is almost like gravel and you feel like you're covered with a layer of dust when you leave the beach. Here it just falls through your fingers. I just like to sit and stare at the water, it's so peaceful. I kind of feel like I'm getting over a breakup or something, like a big thing has happened and I'm recovering from it. I have some work that I need to finish but I'm gonna put that off for another day and just read until I fall asleep.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to EmotionallyNumb
Report

You don't tell the cousins, you tell the Aunt. Sorry, an extended visit is out of the question. I work and when I don't work I am seeing that Mom gets to her doctor appts. You have health problems of your own that Mom and I can't be expected to deal with. I think you need to turn to YOUR children for any help you need. You and ur children need to plan your future because Mom and I can't be it. I know you always thought that u and Mom would live together but life changes. Mom needs someone to care for her and thats me. She cannot take care of you just as you can't care for her. Your children need to care for you.

If you have one cousin you can talk to, I may do it after u tell the Aunt. I may even record the conversation so Aunt can't twist it around. You can't be wishy washy. You need to be firm and direct. At this point I wouldn't even allow a visit. Your Aunt has children!

Its good that Mom doesn't want her sister to visit. I wouldn't bring this up in the initial talk but remember the house is yours. Even though Mom lives there and considers it her home too, its still your home. What if u did bring Aunt in for an "extended" visit and Mom passes. Are you now stuck with the Aunt? Because her loving children don't want her. What is going to happen to Aunts home while she is on this extended visit? Is she going to sell it because in her mind extended means forever. Then she has nowhere to go back to. Even if Mom wanted her to come, your house, your decision.

Stand firm. Come back and tell us how things work out.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
MargaretMcKen Apr 25, 2022
I still think that it’s worth telling the cousins direct. Their mother may well have been leading them to think that she is going to be able to move into your house. ‘Wishful thinking’ (on her part or their part) can be highly contagious!
(6)
Report
See 1 more reply
It can be uncomfortable advocating for yourself. That being said, those that attempt to bull past our wishes and disrespect boundaries will require a firm yet respectful NO. Awkwardness now will save you from a very difficult arrangement. Best of luck
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to JeanLouise
Report
IAmKaren Oct 1, 2022
This!

Simply say “no”. No reason, no excuse, not even “because I can’t”. Otherwise, people will try to change your mind, argue with you, reason with you, or even bully you to get their own way. Any information you offer with “no” gives them a chance for a rebuttal.

If anyone keeps pushing you after you’ve said no more than twice, it may be best to not even respond. Silence may be your strongest answer.
(1)
Report
EmotionallyNumb, if I were the other side of the Atlantic I would physically drive to your house, knock at the door and shout in your face:

NOT YOUR PROBLEM!!!

No lengthy explanations, no excuses, no need to give reasons.

A woman invites herself to live with your mother? On what planet is THAT okay?

I don't care if she is an emotional disaster area or one of the Borgias or Typhoid Mary, it doesn't matter to you and mother why her husband died, where she lives or how she will manage. These issues are hers to solve, and it is not for your mother to rescue her from any mess she may have made.

You and mother can help one another practise, actually - you have to say "completely impractical. No." without adding anything, looking away or letting your heart rate rise. Once you can do that, you say it to aunt.

When is your mother visiting her? I didn't like the sound of that. Can you or DH pick her up to make sure there aren't any stowaways?
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter