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First, you have every right to take care of yourself, if you are worn out, you can't even care for your mother. In your situation I would give myself permission to tell family members you would love to see them but that you have all you can handle at home. Tell them you will assist them by giving them names of appropriate hotels/motels nearby.....maybe there is an extended stay motel within reasonable distance? That way they can cook meals for themselves. I would be kind and polite but FIRM in stating that they will have to make their reservations and also plan to eat at least two meals a day in restaurants. If they come for dinner, they need to bring in food and do the cooking...and the clean up before going back to their hotels/motel. Be clear and be firm, keep it kind and polite but make sure they know exactly what to expect....no overnights and only one meal a day at your home....they provide food, cook it and clean up. It's okay to give yourself permission to stay well and happy...! God bless you, just do it!
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I am anticipating a visit like this in the Spring. I am thinking about saying to them that its great that they will be here with our 94-year-old Mom. (she lives with me now) I will ask them for a date so that I can plan for time away at that time. I want to let them know that this will provide private time with Mom for them as well as much needed respite for me. This will be very hard thing for me to say, since I'm not assertive nor confrontational, Mom can be difficult and manipulative, and previous calls for help have been blown off by my siblings. Advising me to play Parcheesi with her is the nearest offer of help or advice I've had from them. Sometimes I think I'm losing my mind. This site has done remarkable things for my sanity! And I am very thankful for that!
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I would like to echo Lilliput's point by illustrating what happened at my house on the Friday after Thanksgiving: one of my siblings had been here since Wednesday afternoon. Second sibling came on Friday for a visit and to take other sibling to depot. Since it was lunchtime, I mentioned fixing something, and both were more than happy to let me do that for them. Neither had cooked or brought anything, not even a "hostess gift". (Haha--I am so funny)
Second one rubbed back of first one as they watched me with my bad shoulder stir with my left hand. I said, "Gee, I"M the one who could use that, since I cooked all day yesterday, got up with Mother all night, and am now fixing you two lunch."
Second one smugly said she didn't want to distract me from what I was doing. First one--loser male--just glared at me.
(I just noticed this is my SECOND response. Oops--guess it really pissed me off. LOL) Carry on!
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Any family member who becomes "offended" that their sib cannot accomodate their stay is either woefully out of touch or cheap...either way, it is not the primary caregiver's problem. I noticed the family did not say to Marcella: "we'll come so you can take a break," or organize a function outside her home and offer to do errands etc. In most every family one member steps up while others step way back. The "me against them" mentality is not generated by the caregiver but by absentee sibs who are more than happy to look the other way.
ljk: "a large dose of forgivness" would not be necessary if all sibs pitched in to help. You can do things, both big and small, to help whether you live in the same town or even across country. At the very least, contact your parent on a regular basis, offer to come stay on a monthly or even yearly basis, call the caregiver and ask (not tell) what you can do to help.
Marcella owes her family no excuses or even "diplomacy" if they are rude enough to insinuate themselves on an already brutal situation. All armchair family members need to become FULLTIME caregivers, with all it entails, for a LONG period of time before they can judge anyone's actions.
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As the daughter that is far away I would suggest that a softer approach than some suggested earlier would be best. It is also hard to be only able to visit your parent when you are the guest of your sibling. A hotel is possible occasionally, but I would celebrate the fact that your family still wants to be in your mother's life. I wonder if you made a list of tasks and brainstormed with your family on how those could get done? Perhaps people could pitch in for respite help or cleaning help for you during the holidays so that you could welcome them staying with you? Perhaps there is a place you could all visit together instead of your home that would pamper everyone? I think making it a "me against them" situation is never wise, especially in families. I'm sorry you are so exhausted...I have been there when I have been away from home for weeks trying to take turns with my sister and be by my mom's side as she died. Neither role is an easy one. When people are burned out they are not at their most diplomatic and a large dose of forgiveness is usually required.
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Oh-they're offended? Situations like this make me say, "T---- S---. Tell them to get a hotel, and then come over and help with everything. Do you have the word "Slave" tattooed on your forehead? Sorry--am I being obnoxious? Freeloaders and advantage takers bug the heck out of me. JUST SAY NO!!!
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Plain and simple "No, that isn't possible, but I will miss seeing you". Clearly, they don't understand or don't care. The fact that they are offended IS offensive. Keep your response short and sweet, but very firm and do not waiver. Good luck and enjoy your holidays as best you can. You are doing a very hard job.
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When I moved in with mom I rearranged the house to accomodate her walker, wheelchair, potty chair, etc. to make it easier for us. In doing so, a lot of furniture was put in storage, the dining table was downsized, and Ma's room was put next to the living room. With no extra chairs, family ("guests") do not feel as welcome, and those that insist on staying HAVE to sleep near Ma, thus hear all of her restlessness, and talking in her sleep.
Those that came for Thanksgiving were directed to help Ma with whatever she needed (since I was "busy"), then they ended up eating either standing up, or on the back porch (it was about 60 degrees). Nobody stayed long afterwards, and there has been NO mention of being here for Christmas.
I may not win any awards for being the best Martha Stewart type hostess, but my priority is the comfort of one little 94-year-old (who doesn't remember these other people) and the 2 of us who care for her 24/7 (whom she also doesn't remember sometimes). The others can "get over it", as it works for me.
Good luck and Peace.
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OMG...if I hear of one more sibling (or groups of siblings) acting inappropriately I will become unglued (not much "glue" left anyway.) I understand that one cannot fathom the full extent of caregiving unless they have experienced it. On the other hand, we are all over the age of 9 and any adult in their right mind would have to know what an inconvenience it is to add to your "guest" list.
It sounds as if you plan to hold your ground. Good for you. Caregivers by the very nature of the word are "givers." So we nod and say yes to even the most unreasonable demands just to "keep the peace." For me, personally, it is making me more resentful and short-tempered. I used to be this laid back person...now I do not even recognize myself...it's just exhaustion.
Maybe the answer is to draw the line in the sand and not let anyone cross it. If they become upset with you...they will get over it. Also, as many have said above, tell them, "oh, Mom would love to visit with you, when can you come stay with her?" Then listen for the sound of crickets in the distance.
Sorry if this note is a little "edgy" but I was just regaled with my Mom's praise of my no-where-to-be-found sibling. And you, my dear, have heaps more on your plate than I.
In light of the upcoming holidays, I wish you (and everyone here) some respite from these dark,stressful days.
Peace,
Lilli
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Dear Marcella,
I feel your pain. My 89yr. old dad has only been with us for 3 weeks but it feels a lot longer. My 3 older and 1 younger sisters have seen him 1 time since then. I had the same issue for Thanksgiving, my sister and her daughter decided to stay to "help" (by the way they only live 30 minutes away). Some help, my sister didn't lift a finger, left my son's room a mess with newspapers all over the floor and my niece was texting the whole time she was here. What I would say to your family is, "it's very nice you want to spend time with Mom, so I will give you all the time you need and I'll make the supreme sacrifice and go to a hotel for the night!" Believe me, they will think twice before they pack an overnight bag. I hope you enjoy your holidays.
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You know, caregivers most often think no one else can take care of their parent/whomever's needs. Since these are your mother's children as well, she should be happy to see them....I still think you need the break and go spend the nights in a hotel is the answer! Give them a crash course in what mama needs, pack your bag, and say I will join you for dinner tomorrow! It's TOO much to take on all alone, your mom may do well having the break too....If she doesn't do well, don't worry, be a call away....Try it!
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Marcella, please try to remember that because you've been handling all your Mom's care and making it easy for your relatives (and probably not complaining), they may not even realize how overwhelming it can be. I've only had my Mom (with alzheimers) here for 6 weeks and I am shocked at how I have absolutely no time for myself in order to meet all of her needs. Unless they've done it themselves, they may not understand how much is involved. For Thanksgiving my sisters brought the entire dinner here and did all the cleanup which was obviously easier for me but still a lot for me to do because Mom was having a bad day. I love the answer you received from "Naheaton" about you checking into a hotel but that's probably easier said than done unless your relatives are up on how to take care of your Mom. You really need to tell them to check into a hotel and feel free to come by to visit and bring the meal with them. Don't let them bully you into being a hotel for them!! Stand your ground!
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What a great answer. I have always believed guests had to be invited-I would have suggested a motel for them but you going to one and leting them care care of her is a great idea.
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Marcella, don't tone things down too much for you sound like me a while back who did not like confrontation and did not normally do well in it.

The key is to keep away from attack language "you make me angry and stressed out with this unreasonable expectations." That puts someone on the defense right at the get go. It is better to own your feeling by speaking in first person, I, "I feel angry and stressed out by your expectation to stay in my house" (that is stating facts and feelings without evaluating what kind of expectations they are.) Even my first sentence from an earlier post changed a bit, "Your expectation to be house guests does not make me happy." is not a direct attack. Just tell them factually what you feel and factually what you will and will not do, period. Don't let them through you into compliance with guilt trip words like you ought, you should, you could, ect. Naw, tell them I will do this and I will not do that and I shall chose what I am going to and not going to do. People are surprised often when they don't expect it and someone says to them "I will, I shall, whatever instead of "I guess I could or would or should or ought to, but I'm really not up to it" That sounds softer, but it's weak and what people who spout tons of dense F.O.G., i.e. Fear, Obligation and Guilt. I wish you well and I am proud of you for standing your ground and if you want to quote me to them, you have my permission.
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Thanks everyone. I wish I could depend on them to take care of mom. They just do not have a clue. My mother would be under a great deal of stress just thinking about it. Then her dementia would really flare up not to mention Herpes Virus. Thanks everyone. I guess you just have to be a caregiver to understand what we are going through.@Crowemagnum I wanted to say exactly what you wrote. I put it in more delicate terms. It is my sister,sister's daughter and daughter's boyfriend. I love them dearly. She is saying I do not love them if I can not put them up in my house. They would be sleeping on the living room floor, sharing one bath.
I explained in great detail, still very selfish behavior.
I am done..I am standing firm. I would really love to have said what you had written. To top it off, when my mother is stressed she breaks out with the herpes virus. I am already dealing with dementia, cancer, prolapsed rectum, and bladder. Just a simple bath turns into a nightmare sometime.
Thanks again, Thank you for letting me vent! And yes my sister knows exactly what I am going through.
What is your situation? Who are you caregiving for?
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I love naheaton's advice! I just went through something similar (not even close to your stress level) when my daughter got married and my brother and his wife thought it was appropriate to be the 9th, 10th, and 11th people to stay at my house. "All we need is a place to sleep" they said. Well..... if ONLY people just SLEPT. How about meals, showers, etc etc etc.

What a great time for you to escape to a local hotel, take a nice hot bath, and let the relatives both give respite care for your Mom and prepare you an amazing Thanksgiving feast! Show up just in time for appetizers. Thank them profusely for offering you this vacation, and let them in as you are walking out with your bag. Of course, this is probably a fun fantasy - but what if you could pull it off!!!! :-) I'm amazed at the insensitive behavior of family, sometimes.
Ruth
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Marcella, now if these relatives were the kind that would swoop in to your house, bring all the food & do all the preparations themselves, I would say YAY. If they would come and clean your house before, during and after their stay, I would say YAY. But since that's probably something that they never even considered, then I would tell them this. 'If you decide to come ahead, even though I told you that I can't handle any more stress, I will be going to a hotel and be leaving mother behind for you'all to take care of'. 'I will come to the holiday dinner, but then I'll be needing to leave soon after'. Do you think they'd still come? NOT.
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I think I'd tell those family members that their expectation to be house guests does not make you happy. And I'd go on to say that I feel offended by their intrusive insensitivity to the realities that you are presently dealing with of which they are already fully aware. So, go check in a hotel like a lot of out of town family members do and don't expect to eat at home with you.

Who are these intrusive, boundary bashing relatives? They sound like the type that I would not want in my home anyway relative or not relative.

Stand firm with your boundaries.
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Your post reminds me of the time my Mom had been in rehab for a month and had just come home around
christmas. I was so exhausted I could hardly think! The family showed up for Christmas eve dinner, my brother, his new wife, mother in law, my sons. After they left my brother was apalled at the mess the house was in , etc. No one even offered to help me the entire time I was struggling to take care of my Mom. All they did was complain.
This year, I'm not having christmas dinner here. It is sad to lose the family gathering but for now I know I can't pull it off . They can stuff their own turkey !Time to change the Christmas arrangements!
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@Crowemagnum
They do not live with me. 3 family members want to stay over for the Holidays. I can barely think for myself. They are still aware of my situation and insist on coming. I said I am sorry I can not put one more thing on my plate. They are offended.
My mother has cancer and dementia. Just getting through the day is a miracle in itself sometimes. I have been her caregiver for over 6 yrs. I am plain and simply burnt out.
Thank you for responding.
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No, I don't, but who all has moved in and why are they still there?

I read on one thread that your mother lives with you.

I have had to kick family out from every sleeping in or visiting in my house again. My wife did not like this at first, but I let her know that it was either me and the boys or her mom would have to go.
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