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Grandmother is 78-y/o with disabilities from brain aneurysm many years ago. My sons do not have close attachment with her as they did my husband's mother, who passed one year ago. My family of origin was very dysfunctional, and my husband and I did not spend a lot of time with my mother and stepfather and siblings due to this. So, now, our sons do not like to spend time with my mother. I feel sad for this, because my mother loves my sons, and would enjoy seeing them, and wonders why they do not visit. My stepfather is now deceased, and I've been my mother's caregiver until this past year when we moved her into ALF. I do not want to "guilt" my sons into visiting her and reaching out, but I do wish they would express some type of care for her. Any suggestions?

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While you can't force them to visit, maybe you can offer them a bit of a 'party' take in cookies and coffee or tea. They don't have to stay long, but I'm sure the visit would make grandma's day. It is often difficult for family members to visit in a long term care facility; many say they don't like seeing their loved one in that condition etc. Grandma won't be here forever so they need to visit while they can. Even if it's a few times a year. Once she is gone, the opportunity to visit has past. I wasn't as close to my father's parents as I was my mothers, it's just the way it is. Some siblings aren't as close as others; that doesn't make it bad or wrong. While I love both sets of grandparents I saw my mother's family more so I feel that connection. I visited my grandmother when she went into the nursing home regularly, but it's ok to visit infrequently. Maybe they could send her a card from time to time, she would welcome that I'm sure. They can also call her, residents in long term care facilities love to get mail and phone calls.
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I appreciate all the responses to my question. My husband's family has been much more connected and involved in my sons' lives, and they visited their paternal grandparents frequently and were much more attached. There were very unhealthy dynamics between my mother and stepfather that were very difficult and uncomfortable for our sons, and we did set boundaries to protect them. The stepfather's behavior affected my sons. Now, I am my mother's caregiver and trying to show her love and attention. My sons care "from afar" but really do not feel "attached" to her (and no, there will not be any inheritance because the nursing home and Medical Assistance will take it.) I am going to read the book recommended -- Being Mortal. Perhaps it will help me too. thanks again.
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I find with my adult kids that I can mention something once to inform, twice is giving a reminder and that's all. After that, it's their decision to make and deal with. You mention "other reasons", which means more than just too busy or hate seeing her in NH. My mom has 3 grandkids who are low contact or no contact for very valid and fairly recent reasons. While it's sad and we do hope they can find some way to patch things, my sister and I also know they have to do what they feel best and we leave it be.
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My son finds it hard to see his gma in NH but what he does is set a phone reminder to call her every Wed. It works for them both. Having dealt with being guilted, I am loathe to do that to my kids. BUT I also feel that it's my job as an old fart to point out to them that sometimes you have to do these things because it's the caring, decent thing to do. No one likes to visit hospitals, NH or go to funerals but you do it because it's the decent thing.
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Litldogtoo you have an excellent point about how family members are scattered throughout the country, thus it is hard to get together as a family.

Both of my grandparents lived else where in the U.S. and as a child/teen I saw both sets once a year. Here in the States people were lucky to get 1 or 2 weeks vacation... there was no shutting down for the month of August like in some European countries.

Once I got married, vacation days were juggled between my parents and hubby's parents [Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays].... there weren't any days left to fly off to visit the grandparents :(
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I would also comment along the lines about it all coming home to roost...the granny who was so hateful, bossy, non loving to ALL of her family now complains non stop about no one ever comes to see her, help her, call on her or just check to see how she is and she can't figure out why....in the back of my mind all I can think of is REALLY??????? She meddled in my brother's marriage (this was his first MIL) she was rude and hateful to my Mama and Daddy, very disrespectly and arrogant and no reason whatsoever to be so...and yet my parents were always very kind and receptive even in the midst of her hatefulness....now the fact that not even her own children, let alone her grandkids want to visit her...be it right or wrong...all I can say is it finally came home to roost....I think you do get what you dished out and there are going to be a lot of shocked and lonely folks out there one day when it all comes home to roost on their own doorstep.
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Breathe deeply...EXCELLENT answer!!!! couldn't have said it any better.
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I would also add that my brother tried to blame their non visits on me, saying I had hurt their feelings...I addressed it with both of them, and they said they didn't have a clue what he was talking about...that they loved us...so I have no clue..and it is shameful.... :(
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Breath deeply, you are a wise person. Spot on comments.
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Seeing your question makes me sad because we have a similar situation here. The odd thing is ...MY Mama is the grandmother who has always been the very loving, accepting and non-nagging granny...the other one is loud, hateful, bossy, and NON cuddly...BUT my two nephews will not even visit Mama here in her own home, let alone in a NH. It is heartbreaking and I will NEVER understand it. My brother did not raise them this way and they always loved coming here UNTIL Mama got to a point where I know she would still enjoy seeing them and yet total no shows. I have tried everything and all I can say is one day I think they will have a LOT to regret. Personally I think it is shameful for grown men especially (and to me a man in his twenties should know better) but my nephews are in their thirties now and still..NO SHOW....

I try to think it may be because they don't want to see Mama the way she is now...and that may be BUT because it would mean so much to her, they should man up and do it...but I do understand how emotionally painful it is..I just wish I knew something that worked....bless your heart
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I believe it's up to your adult sons. I never interfere in my adult 'children's' lives. I happen to be the 'grandma-out' because I live in another state. My ex-husband is hands-on grandpa along with my son-in-law's parents. My grandchildren know them well.

My mother would have loved to see the children because she helped me so often with them when they were little, took them places, read to them, and was quite involved in their lives (as was I) even as they were in the thirties. While one 'child' travels twice a year to Europe, she won't come to FL because she doesn't 'like' FL. I live in a beautiful neighborhood with more than enough room to accommodate. I never question it. I'm not laying any guilt trips on them because I didn't like it when my mother/mother-in-law laid them on me.

I looked this up one day. It seems 50% of this country's adult children don't have constant contact with their families because of the ability to move.

There's nothing I can do about it. While I was in MA, my daughter visited and I got closer to my son, who now calls more often. Most of our communication is via email.

Our lives are no longer the lives our parents/grandparents may have had, with family close by. Our 'adult' (and remember that...they are adults) children have often gone off to other states for job opportunities or are very busy with their own families, with both parents working now. Grandma will 'always be there' or our parents will 'always be there' -- until they are not. I believe this is when they begin to understand their extended family will not always be there and when they start dying off, I believe they understand even more that they are now in charge of the 'family'. The head, so to speak. And I believe they feel that loss.

This isn't the answer you wanted, but it's my experience and how I handle it. I figure maybe someday when they grow older, they'll remember how you wanted them to visit their grandmother but they never did. They'll remember this in their loneliness when their children don't visit them.

Our culture has changed and, either fortunately or unfortunately, we helped to change it.

I'm reading an excellent book Being Mortal, Atul Gawandi, a doctor who goes into the generational issues, how hospitals were formed, how nursing homes came to be, and how families have departed ways. Excellent book regarding end of life issues.
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My question is, "will the sons feel the same detachment to any inheritance grandma may leave behind?". I have enough life experience to know the answer is likely a resounding no. Even if grandma has nothing to leave behind, unless she was a flat out abuser and they are avoiding her for self preservation (healthy boundaries), they should have some basic humanity and show compassion to an elderly lady in her last chapter. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Denial of an uncomfortable situation will never inoculate them from ending up the same position she is in. In fact facing it, in addition to being the kind and human thing to do, may very well inform them in ways that helps them live a better final.chapter.

I faced my fears & discomfort and made the effort for multiple folks at this.point in my life. Did I enjoy or love them all? Of course not. Did I do it out of guilt? Maybe, for one person who was prickly. That person ended up passing while I was there holding her hand. Her last words.were 'thank you', while we both had tears in our eyes. I cannot think of a more privileged moment in my life.

Contrast that with my sibling and wife, who cited EVERY single excuse posted here and more. They have taught their own children that caring for loved (or perhaps not-so-loved) ones, or visiting or showing basic human decency is someone else's job. Guess what? While otherwise lovely people, their kids have zero inclination to be there for them now that they are the ones needing someone to give them the time of day or simply send a card.

Karma doesn't miss a target good or bad. What kind of people we choose to raise and what kind of culture we willingly tolerate ultimately comes home to roost. Yes, you cannot force 20 something adult children to do what they refuse to do, but parenting and modeling good behavior doesn't end with their adulthood.

If i were you I'd use some guilt, give it the college try and then make some younger friends to visit you later for when you become someone or live in a place that may be out of their (and/or sposes) comfort zone. Just sayin~
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My husband's 50-something kids never visit or call to see how he's doing after suffering a dibilitating stroke 11 years ago. They've never appreciated each other's compamy in the 45 years I've known them. I invite them to family celebrations several times a year. They don't rsvp, then they might show up or not, on their own time schedule, usually with their mother by their side. I fretted over this for 40 years. Their father is sweet and generous, but he can't engage. I've given up trying to heal their inability to share feelings or empathize. Now I'm understanding that's just the way tihey are, and it's not up to me to keep trying to change them. My evolved attitude is a big relief to my caregiving responsibilities.
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Hey, I was forced to go to nursing homes when I was a teenager as a member of a church youth grp. Never again. Plz do not try to force anyone, now that I am an adult,I would never try to make anyone do so. GUILT trips do NOT work with me.
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Little, I know exactly what you mean! I have a sib that is a counselor, she has had a series of excuses for not helping.
First - Plans changed sometimes as far as when she was needed
2nd - She counsels some dangerous clients so too stressful
3rd - She counsels caregivers and involvement would impact her ability
4th - She doesn't want to be in the same structure with me
5th - And naturally she does not have the time or has something she has to do.

The list could go on and on. This sib is not the mom of nephew that works two blocks from here that never stops in for a hello.
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We had the same situation as "gladimhere" with a 30 yr old nephew who wouldn't visit his grandmother in hospital or nh. His Mother's excuse was that he was an EMT and didn't want to spend his off hours around sick people...WHAT!
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My adult children don't often visit on their own ( long distance) but we have a family gathering at mom's nh at least twice a year. can also take your son along for a visit? Sometimes modelling " how to be with granny" can be a tension easer.
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All I can say is GOOD LUCK. Especially with sons in their 20's I assume? They are a self absorbed group, more interested in friends, and if they have girlfriends forget about it. Sorry to sound so cynical, but one of my nephews works two blocks from Mom's home and has NEVER stopped in even to say hello. When L was in rehab the only way he would have visited is if mommy went with him. They are afraid as well, because they wouldn't know what to say.
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I also meant to say - I think in most families there is a favourite cuddly Granny and a less favoured, perhaps stricter or starchier or anyway somehow more prickly Grandmama; and it is often the one the children see less of whom they find heavier going. The comparison isn't always fair. As you pointed out, they didn't really get to know her as a person; and that wasn't your fault either.
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Tell your sons that their grandmother would like to see them, and that it is not such a hardship for a grown man to spend a little time making an elderly lady happy even if he doesn't get a big emotional rush from it. It can be their Good Deed/a mitzvah/karma or whatever you like to call it. At the very least, it certainly won't do them any harm and it will do her spirits a power of good.

If they still won't do it, leave it there. It is sad, I agree, and I'm really hoping that they will be able to give themselves a bit of a shake and go along; but having said that…

Deep, sincere affection is a lifetime in the making. It requires two way input from the parties directly involved. Your mother has had all of your sons' lives to build a relationship with them, and if she hasn't done so, then there it is. Whatever you do, don't feel that the distance between these people whom you love is your fault.
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Thank you for your responses. I will encourage my sons to visit their grandmother during the holidays and make sure they have her address to send her a card on her birthday, for example. I do not expect them to connect with her in any deep manner, simply show respect and honor her as their grandmother. Thanks!
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taheger, I think most men in general do not like going into any building that appears to be like a hospital environment. Your sons could be that way.

Instead, suggest they send her greeting cards. If she has a sense of humor, the funnier the card the better. Suggest on special days that they send her flowers, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. If your Mom uses a computer and has email, they can email her a short note telling her what they are doing. When your sons comes to visit you, maybe as a group all go to the nursing home to visit, then the conversation would flow a bit easier.
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I think I would sprinkle the guilt. What do you have to lose? I might say that grandmother really does miss them and it's so sad that her friends at the NH have family come and visit, but hers don't. and that fact is very obvious and so on.... You get it. I would try that and see if the shame of never visiting will work. I mean certainly they could manage one visit a year at Christmas. Also,why can't they send cards?
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You can't force your sons to go see their grandmother but have you tried telling them how much it would mean not only to you but to her as well?

I don't see anything wrong sprinkling a little guilt their way. No one likes to visiting nursing homes but we all do it.

When my dad was in a NH and there was a day I couldn't get there I'd ask my 18-year-old daughter to stop in and see him instead. She knew it was no use arguing with me so she did it and my dad would be thrilled to see her and that made her feel good.

Use guilt if you have to. Spending an hour with their grandma won't kill them.
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