When relatives who haven't visited in decades suddenly visit

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When my father was diagnosed with PD-like illness last year I sent a note to one of my father's cousins, who lives far away, letting her know about his declining health and general situation. We are not close, we've talked on the phone once or twice in 20 years and I doubt she could name any of my father's grandkids. I know they were close when they were kids but since then I think they talk infrequently ie on birthdays and he's met her kids twice. She decided to fly in for a visit -- for one day. She is bringing her children who are in their 20s. I do not think she is prepared to see how debilitated he is, how they live in a totally inappropriate setting with tons of stairs, hazards and mess, and to be around my mother who is, ahem, difficult, as in illogical, angry, confused, and stressed. (What happens when someone who probably has early dementia attempts 24/7 caregiving and refuses help.) My mother has always despised my father's relatives and is convinced the cousin is coming to town to take my father's money. Sigh.

1. What activities should I plan? I have to keep these people from sitting around and getting on each other's nerves. I'm not sure going out to eat will work. My father has trouble eating and drops a ton of food and, of course, will not use modified plates or silverware that would be a huge help. My mother sometimes gets angry at him for being messy and that is so upsetting. Right now I am thinking about a "city tour" bus or maybe some kind of matinee performance.

2. Should warn the cousin of what to expect if she visits them at their home? Thankfully they're going to stay in a hotel.


Yes, I would inform them of what to expect. Why not?
I would advice them of what to expect.

It is a kind thought on your part, but you really aren't responsible for the nature of this visit or the outcome. It is what it is.

I have a cousin I was great buddies with as a child. And though we have not seen each other much through the years I can imagine wanting to visit him one last time (or he to visit me) near the end. I would be hoping to make a connection, and to reaffirm the love between us. I wouldn't be expecting to be entertained or to judge his circumstances. I'd just want to hold his hand.

I think it would be helpful to know what to expect.
Definitely tell them what to expect from both your father and mother.
I don't think you actually have to plan any activities for them they are all adults and the hotel will probably have flyers for local events.
i don't know how long they plan to stay or whether you live in a tourist area with plenty of sights to see. Also how much are you involved with the parents and what are your other comitments.

I don't think I would attempt to take the whole crew to a restaurant. Maybe take a meal to your parents house and dine there. That way you know how the food is prepared and mother won't poison you. If you feel everyone should go on an outing something like a matinee would be a good idea and not too stressful for the parents. Perhaps a picnic somewhere peaceful would also be nice.

It is probably best if the visits to your parents are kept short. Dad is confused and Mom is probably totally exhausted and can't cope however difficult she is.

Don't worry about the visit they are the people who chose to come and are responsible for their own entertainment.

When i first read your post my first inclination was to say "hide the silver" but in this instance I don't get the impression that this is the case. They have been so out of touch they will have no idea whether your parents have money or not.
Please let them know.. and warn them about mom.. so they don't feel it's them or something they did if things go south. Having an escape plan is a good idea too! They may not want to believe things are as bad as they are.. but they can't say they weren't warned. Good luck!
I would definitely give them a warning on what to expect both physically and mentally for your parents, and the physical state of the house in case they do end up coming over. OR suggest a place to meet up, a nice park or coffee shop? Tell them ahead of time that eating a meal out will most likely be too much of a production, so they are on their own for meals.
I would CERTAINLY tell them in advance what is going on; I also would NOT feel responsible for organizing the outings, etc.

"I just want to give you a head's up about mom and dad; they are neither of them well; their living conditions are a bit squalid. They really need more help at home, but mom is quite resistant. "
Yes, you ought to let them know what is happening with both of your parents. Do you feel you have to be there? It may be best to let them find their own level themselves.

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