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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 ?

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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!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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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.
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Reply to Beatty
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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.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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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.
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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!
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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
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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.
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No way, you are busy caring for your Mom. Tell the Aunt this in a kind way and suggest that perhaps she live with one of her kids
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Fawnby Apr 24, 2022
She might be able to live alone if a hired caregiver comes in a few hours a day.
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Telling your aunt directly that she can't come live with you seems to me to be the best course of action, even if it is awkward. The aunt does not sound as if she currently has dementia, and I think she might be insulted if you communicated with her children instead of with her. Additionally, while emphasizing the care you already give your mother, I think telling your aunt she should be thinking about living with her children is unfair to them and to her. We have many requests for help from this forum by people who are unwillingly and unhappily taking care of their parents whom they have brought into their home to live with them. Frequently, we tell the person asking for our advice that taking one's parent(s) into one's home to care for the parent(s) should NOT be a filial responsibility. Not everyone agrees on this point, but I think most of us do agree that we should not be suggesting to anyone that she/he should have to care for parents in their own home. Please don't suggest to your aunt that she should live with her children! Your aunt needs to understand she can't live with you, but don't put her children on the spot! Unfortunately for all, your aunt is probably going to do exactly that; i.e., ask her children to let her live with one of them. However, the suggestion should not come from you. In addition to being unfair to her children, you would also lose them as possible allies in determining where your aunt might live if not with them; e.g., a retirement community, AL, senior apartment., etc.
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Reply to caroli1
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Just an idea, many assisted living homes have 2 bedroom apartments available. Maybe the 2 ladies could live together happily in one of those.
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Maryjann Apr 24, 2022
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Explain the same way you did here. You were to the point but nice about it.
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Explain to them the same way you explained to us.
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Why he nice. Say No, and keep repeating it over and over.
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Lucetta Aug 28, 2022
Saying no now is nice to all involved. "No" is just no unless it is said in hate.
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Make sure you don't take on any of your aunt's caregiving, because mission creep will happen.
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Reply to CTTN55
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"oh, I'm sorry, that just won't work for us".

Rinse and repeat. Stay tough. She HAS a family and they should be handling this, not you.

No long, deep explanations needed. Just a firm 'no'.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Caroli mentioned: "you would also lose them (cousins) as possible allies in determining where your aunt might live if not with them; e.g., a retirement community, AL, senior apartment., etc."

I don't see that cousins getting mad at you for not taking Aunt in, leaves you with the responsibility of finding the Aunt a place to live. I don't feel that children should be made to physically care or allow a parent to live with them but this woman has 4 children. At least one has to be willing to help her find an AL to live. After that they can put her in the hands of the State.

Your Aunt is not your responsibility and don't allow her to be. Good or bad she needs to ask her kids for help. I don't mean to care for her or bring her into their home but to help her find a place where she will be cared for. At that point, they can step back. You need to make it clear that you and Mom are not an option. "So sorry, I have enough on my plate"
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Reply to JoAnn29
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caroli1 Apr 26, 2022
JoAnn,you're right; I also don't think the OP has any responsibility for finding a place for her aunt to live. I just thought that out of kindness, she might offer to help her cousins find a place for her aunt, and that it would be better if she stayed on good terms with the cousins. But it's not something the OP is under any obligation to do. I'm sorry I didn't make that clearer!
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Just tell your cousins, she is their responsibility. Period . There’s no way on earth they should see that she is your responsibility, unless they’re just trying to get out of taking care of their own mom . Just be direct and positive. Mom and sister can have face time on the phone . I wouldn’t give it a second thought , doing it any other way .
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Reply to havensage919
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I have found out more information since my first post. Aunt's husband committed suicide and her children feel that she is partially responsible and have decided they are not going to communicate with her or provide her any assistance for the foreseeable future. She is probably ok living alone but would need to have food and medicine delivered to her but she lives in a rural area that does not have those services. She does not have any support other than her children. She wants to leave her home as the suicide occurred there. The home would need to be sold in order for her to be able to afford living in an apartment. Her kids said they will not assist in moving her or helping to sell the home. At a bit of a loss here on how to proceed.
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Reply to EmotionallyNumb
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MargaretMcKen Apr 26, 2022
You don’t have to ‘proceed’ at all, in fact you shouldn’t. The most you should do is inform APS if you think that Aunt is unsafe.
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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?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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A firm but politely delivered.."No, that just won't work for us" is the best course. Not long ago we lost my FIL. His wife (step mom) was very lonely. We offered help relocating to AL, but our house was out of bounds. She understood and now is in AL and adjusting quite well... Just be up front. If you let your aunt come to your house, you may never be able to get her out.
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Reply to Muskie
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It is so easy to asume responsibility for your aunt and in some people it is a given.

The obvious response to your aunt and your cousins is “No, I am all tapped out with care for my mother, my full time career and myself. Aunt Jane, I know the dream of living with Mom was lovely 30 years ago, but I can’t provide the support, because I don’t have enough time to add another person to the list.”

Stick to your guns. No is a full sentence. Do NOT use the word “sorry.”
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Reply to Cemay1
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You don't explain 'nicely'. You explain plainly and in plain language so as not to be misunderstood. You take that white elephant (your aunt and your cousins) in the middle of the room right by the trunk and make this announcement.

'I want to make something very clear to everyone. Aunt (fill in name here) will not going to be coming to live at my house. It is not possible for that to work out and it is not going to happen.'

I'm pretty sure if it's explained in these terms everyone will understand.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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You need to be clear and direct. Your aunt cannot live with you nor make a long visit. Maybe not even a short visit as it might be hard to get her out. Her own children may not want her to live with them, either, but they will have to help her arrange for in-home help or placement in a facility.

You are not that facility. You will need to stand firm both with your cousins and your mother. You do not need justifications for why it would be a bad idea. It is not an option.
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
That's the thing, they won't arrange that, they won't even do a joint memorial with her.
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There is a time when “nice” does not work.
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
I agree but you can't force people to be involved if they aren't even talking to her. I might think they could do more but I'd be wasting my breath and I have no desire to get involved in their family issues. I've had very little contact with them for the last 20 years. Aunt needs to be safe, that's all I"m concerned about, once that is done, I'm outta there.
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So because their mom helped her husband die, they are going to ignore her and basically help her die by not helping her. Are they hypocritical much?
Simply make it VERY clear through text or email for proof that auntie is not an option to live with you as you have enough problems of your own with working full time and caring for mom. As they come up with ideas on how you can handle bringing auntie into your home, just tell them you've got enough on your plate and the answer is no. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don't let your mom visit your auntie because it can be construed by your cousins that their auntie is moving in with their mom & could drop your auntie off when you're at work!
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Reply to Flowerhouse1952
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
Apparently aunt and her husband were arguing in the days leading up to his death and there were some other odd circumstances. I do think they could make arrangements for her before suddenly cutting her off. They do not want any involvement at all, they are doing a separate memorial service and are not inviting her. This is so strange, I would have never imagined things turning out this way. I am in shock that he killed himself and that they think she drove him to it.
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Just say 'no'. It is a complete sentence. Don't let them fool you...the short term visit will turn into permanent.
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Reply to boehmec
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PLEASE stand firm. Your Aunt is not your responsibility. At this point, I would not allow a visit. I would call APS and tell them that your cousins seem to have abandoned your Aunt. That Aunt wants to have an extended visit which means she wants to live with you. It can't happen. You already care for your Mom. Give APS cousins phone #s. It may end up that they relinquish their rights and the State takes over Aunts care.

I realize that this may not be what you want to happen, and believe me I feel for the Aunt but if her own kids do not want to do for her, there is a reason. She must not have been an easy person to get along with and Uncles death was the straw that broke the camels back. You are not the solution. You are not the only person who took a relative in for a "short-time" and then could not get them out. And the authorities are not all that helpful when u need help getting them out.
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
I definitely don't want to be involved but how can you walk away at a time like this? I am a clinical social work and I know quite a bit about what APS will and won't do in a situation like this especially given that my aunt has capacity for decision making. I will not let her live with me but I could help her find an apartment in a place that has services to meet her needs. APS won't force anyone to be involved if they don't want to be. My aunt lives in area that doesn't have hardly anything for services available and she is home bound.
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"NO" is a complete sentence.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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EmotionallyNumb, you are in a difficult position! It seems like if you stepped in to help in the least little bit, that it would rapidly become mission creep such that you would end up being way too involved.

So what would happen if your cousins refuse any communication with and refuse to help their mother with ANYthing? Assuming your aunt is mentally competent, then what would happen? Just how rural an area is this that nothing can get delivered? No Meals on Wheels? How does she get to her doctor appointments?

What would happen if APS got involved?
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
Very rural, no meals on wheels, no public transportation, doctor is half an hour away. Her husband did the grocery shopping, picking up meds and taking her to the doctor. I don't think APS would get involved unless it was voluntary as she does have capacity. In my area, there is a lot of services for elderly and there are several other siblings that she could be more involved with.
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“How can you walk away at a time like this”. Well, her own children are doing this, and there is a good chance that you will lose your cousins if you seem to be criticising them and siding with their mother.

What would happen for a childless widow, with no family and in an area with no services? You are a social worker, you must know. Remember that this particular example is not your professional responsibility, so perhaps the right thing is for you to contact the social workers for whom it really is their job. You could also send your aunt the phone numbers she could use herself.

If you step out, the chances are that aunt will live alone in her house for a while, and that eventually her own children will manage to come back into the picture. Right now, between the suicide and the funeral, it sounds like it’s just too hard for them to deal appropriately with their mother as well.

You don’t have to pick up this burden.
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
I'm not getting involved in their family issues, I'm just trying to help her be in a safe position. I haven't talked to my cousins in years prior to this so I'm not too concerned about our relationship or the relationship with my aunt.
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If you're in the profession, or an allied one anyway, there's your answer - it's unprofessional to get involved with family.

Are you concerned that your mother might be a weak point in the boundary, and if your aunt leans on her hard enough might let her in?
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
My mom is always the weak point in the boundary, lol. However, once a few weeks pass, she will eventually get in a fight with the aunt and start to back off. She won't be able to help herself, they are just fundamentally very different people with different beliefs and my mom is unable to hold her tongue and will want to push her beliefs on my aunt, aunt is the same way. It may be all love and light between them at the moment but it's unsustainable.
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EmotionallyNumb - you wrote: "How do I nicely explain to my cousins that she is their responsibility ?"

Questions for you.

Why do you have to "nicely explain"? Can you just explain factually and pleasantly? And leave YOUR emotions out of the conversation?

Why do you have to explain yourself to your aunt's children at all? Do you think you OWE them an explanation? Why?

Why is your aunt her children's responsibility? Why can't your aunt take responsible for herself? If her children, for whatever reasons, don't want to or can't help, then they can't be forced to help.
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EmotionallyNumb Apr 27, 2022
I thought her children were still involved with her when I wrote that, I have since found out additional details about the death and their relationships.
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