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My MIL is in advanced dementia. Although we live 45 minutes from her facility we visit 2 times a week. I have gotten to know the staff and make sure I acknowledge all the kindness given to her. Although her physical condition is poor ( she’s 93) and her conversation makes no sense, I sit, hold her hand and agree with whatever she says. Most often she falls asleep and we watch her. My husband has no idea how to deal with her, so I take the lead and chitchat ( I am convinced my superpower is my gift of talking about nothing for minutes on end). This brings me to my problem.


My husband has 4 sisters, three of which live in the area. They rarely visit. They say that since she sleeps most of the time and makes no sense when awake, then there is no point in visiting. Last week there was a care plan meeting. One of his sisters said that Mom is greatly improved. My husband exploded. He is not an aggressive person, but that statement really got to him. After going on about her incontinence, lack of strength (in wheel chair) and the conversation that contains no hint of reality, his sisters became hostile and told him he was negative. There are five of them, yet they won’t communicate and plan for Mom’s next stage.


I took care of my mom for 2.5 years when she had Alzheimer’s. I had no siblings to help me. I would have done anything to have had a sister to talk to (my sister died a year before my mom came to live with us). I apologize for this long rant. I just feel that regardless of her mental and physical condition, everyone should be visiting and sitting with her. I have gotten terribly sad about this situation.

Unfortunately what you feel and what others consider ok are 2 different things. Each person can only do what feels right to them. Ideally everyone would want to spend time with a loved one no matter what. Realistically - it’s usually one person who shoulders most of the responsibility and care.

Usually care plan meetings are a chance to discuss discuss any issues, concerns and decide on strategies on an “if” basis. It sounds very much like his sisters are burying their heads in the sand - re visits and reality of your MIL’s needs.

Since you are frequent visitors maybe maybe an informal chat with the home about her care plan would be best. After all if the others rarely visit they aren’t very likely to enquire either.

Having cared for various family over 27 years I soon came to the conclusion that if in the person’s best interest I was all for it and hang the opinions of relatives who doled out “reasons” I deemed excuses re why couldn’t / wouldn’t / didn’t / shouldn’t .... visit etc.

Be kind to yourself - and accept that others aren’t as giving
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DareDiffer
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You (and through you your husband) have been-there-done-that so your perceptions and expectations are perhaps more realistic than theirs. Hearing those kinds of excuses is so common and it always infuriates me, taking 15 minutes to just hold a hand if that's all that's possible isn't too much to ask. I'm sorry.
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Reply to cwillie
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Everyone reacts differently, possibly the sisters past experiences with their mother was not the same as it was with her son. I can attest to this myself, my brother was always the Golden Child I was the Scapegoat. Sometimes we children just have enough, and back away.

I am glad that you enjoy going there I am sure it helps her, but, don't expect the others to feel the same way, you can only control you, your mindset, not anyone else's. No reason to get upset, just accept what you cannot change.

Sending support your way, your MIL is very fortunate to have such a caring DIL.
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Reply to DollyMe
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You can only control your own behavior and reaction to others. Accept that you are the only one with the compassion necessary. Frustration and concern about what others are or are not doing will only increase your level of stress. Work at realising that there are many people that just cannot do or act or support as you are.
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Reply to gladimhere
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Are you the only one who cares? Probably. Do-nothing, waste-of-air family members who only show up when the will is read are far too common on this forum. The sisters may feel that you have it all handled, so why should they bother. They showed up at the Care Meeting with no real knowledge of what was going on and ran their mouth. I don’t blame your husband for blowing up. Have you considered a “newsletter” (could be an email) of what’s happening with her sent to the sibs? Could be every two weeks or once a month. If it’s possible, it may engage them to care more and get involved.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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elliemay Nov 25, 2019
A Facebook group was set up to record visits, phone calls, interactions with staff, etc. This went well for a while. Family was posting and replying to each other. This all stopped about a year ago. My husband posts every visit, communications we have with staff and any needs MIL might need ( bring some shampoo on your next visit, Mom needs tissues, etc). Turned out they stopped reading the posts and since they weren’t visiting, the little items she needed were not brought. So I just started checking her supplies each visit and making sure to get them to her. Depends, wipes and anything we can get on Amazon is sent directly to her facility.
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I agree with you. I understand they feel its a waste of time. But in my opinion, even if their mom is speaking nonsense, just being there for her means something. At least once a week.
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Reply to Lvnsm1826
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