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Hi Everyone,


I am having a conflict with my brother over scheduling matters. My mother had a stroke in August 2017. She was left with mobility loss / post stroke dementia.


She lives with me and my sister here in our family house which she still owns all on her own without anyone else’s name on it’s ownership with her.


The thing is since her stroke she has had various health challenges including urinary tract infections. She had SEVERAL in early 2018. One each month from February to July. Finally, she was placed on a preventative daily antibiotic. Things are better but she still gets infections. Two of them since the antibiotic started and the last one was just in March.


She has also had bowel concerns going on. She just went through TWO bowel illnesses this winter and spring. One in December / January and one that ended not too long ago… From February to March. They last weeks for her instead of only days. Then she has had experiences of sometimes just being over tired from what we feel could have been side effects from stroke medications as well. She has had chronic back aches with arthritis too.


The point is that since her return from in patient stroke rehabilitation back home my brother believes my sister cancels out on too many of his ideas about trying to see her in person either visiting at the house or cancelling on taking her out for some outing etc…. due to some reason of my mother’s... Like she’s ill again or tired again etc… He contacts my sister to arrange things ahead of time and then he says my sister tells him not to come after all.


Now, Please be aware, when I say “He contacts her ahead of time,” MOSTLY when he just wants to see her at the house that day, he phrases it, “I want to drop by and say Hi to Mom.” And he only contacts my sister THAT VERY MORNING anyways. My sister and I REALLY prefer that he contact us at least the night before if he wants to drop by the next day. But what can happen is that he’ll contact my sister at between 9 and 10 am on a weekend morning and say, “I’d like to come up around 12pm or 1pm.” This is not much notice at all.


So now, he asked our mother if it’s ok with HER ( our mother ) if he “just drops in WITHOUT calling first” to see her. He told my sister he believes he has to do this to see her when he wants to see her because if he contacts her first she gives him reasons not to come to see her that day. My mother says yes that IS ok with HER if he comes without any notice at all. ….. Even though I don’t feel she is really that into people ( even her children ) just dropping in without ANY notice herself. 😊


My brother lives an hour and 15 minutes away by car. He seems to be EXTREMELY BUSY with his business career. We appreciate how busy he is but that doesn’t change our mother’s various health challenges… AND the fact that WE are the ones living with her and helping her get through all of them.


It IS unpredictable. Dementia ALONE IS unpredictable since ANY DAY can be like a roller coaster. Then you also add on various physical challenges and that adds to how unpredictable the day can be too.


HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT A SINGLE WHOLE DAY COULD BE LIKE HERE. BUT WE DO. And having who knows what could be going on that day coupled with having to anticipate him driving in unannounced just doesn’t feel fair to my sister and me.


I feel we would like to advise my brother to actually at least contact us the night before to let us know he wants to come hoping for the best going forward since our mother is actually FINALLY improving lately with medication additions for challenges and with subtractions because of side effects.


Can anyone Please reply as to whether or not we are within our own rights to ask him to consider OUR wishes as well as our mother’s words… Considering how vital we are to her daily health and well being… Even if we don’t technically own the house?


THANKS SO VERY MUCH FOR ANY AND ALL REPLIES TO ME. :)

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Darned if he does and darned if he doesn’t come by.

I understand your concerns but thinking I needed permission to visit my mother is foreign to me. None of my brothers ever asked they just came over. Same with me when I left.

I would let him come announced just in case mom was having a bad day. But to me giving 2-3 hrs notice is fine.

There are many mothers out there that would love if their sons came unannounced or announced. I would have a basic conversation with your brother that some days are not good and why, but him being witness to his mother’s health status isn’t a bad thing either.

And its her home. If my brothers tried that I would tell them to go fly a kite - I am going to see my mother!

Sounds like many here agree with your brother’s right to visit his own mother in her house. Have we swayed you yet or going to stick to your guns?
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Reply to Shane1124
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I too am someone who would never just "drop in" to visit anyone, and in fact, have not answered my door if someone shows up unexpectedly without having been invited.
However, that being said, I never felt I had to have permission or advance notice to see my mom. When she wasn't feeling well I was intelligent enough to recognize that and kept my visits brief. I also feel that my children are always welcome to stop and see me anytime they would like, with or without calling first. However, since they also live about an hour away, they always call first to make sure I am home. If I am busy or not feeling well, I just let them know.
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Reply to katydid1
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So yes and no. First if it is your residence as well I'm not sure it matters who owns the house when it comes to visitors. It could be considered the same thing as being a renter or house mates, you all live there and can have visitors. But that also means your mom has every right to visitors whenever she wants them.
That said I'm not sure the legal "rights" are the best way to think about and approach this. I'm not sure how you all got to this place but it sounds like your brother wants to be a part of your mothers life and help care for her as much as he can and it doesn't sound like his visits are harmful to your mom, maybe even the opposite, I can see why he might feel shut out. Often when people start feeling shut out or excluded they dig in more and I'm wondering if this has contributed to this cycle between the 3 of you. Perhaps you and your sister could take a breath and step back a little in the hopes he might find a way to do this too. If this is the house you all grew up in or at least your parent's have been in for a long time and your brother has always been welcome to walk in either because he lived there or because your parents did, it's the family home maybe that's why instinctively he let's you know the morning of. Maybe because of his work as you point out his schedule is that irregular and packed but because he wants to be part of your mom's life he tries to grab any time he can fit it to make the trip. I know you are feeling like he is being insensitive and self involved but it doesn't really sound that way to me, it doesn't sound like he just drops in unannounced, count your blessings because in many families that's the norm in Mom and Dad's house. All of that said, you do live there and have the right to request some notice (sounds like he's doing that) or change the procedure just remember it can be hard...old dogs, new tricks... What is the objection to several hour notice? I mean why is calling in the morning to say he plans to arrive late afternoon not enough notice? Whatever Mom's issues they are what they are, you live with them every day and there is every reason not to hide them from your brother. I mean if your home and he comes over you can take the opportunity to do stuff around the yard, run to the store, take a walk in the park and while I get not wanting to put your mom or brother through a clean up or some embarrassing emergency if incontinence underwear doesn't help that wait you or your sister can just be a call away and come home to do your thing. It might be good for your brother to see the day to day and sometimes there isn't a daughter around full time and a son has to take care of these things what if you and your sister became unable to care for mom for a couple of weeks?
Your brother may very well be feeling like your trying to keep him out or worse yet hide something from him after being told "no" so often and while I get you had reasons that doesn't mean it doesn't look different from his point of view. If I were you I would tell him she has this bowel infection so she isn't in great shape and if he still wants to make the trip, good for him he cares! Your right he doesn't know what it's like day to day but not because he isn't trying, let him come whenever he can and see the different days, let him experience the bad days with dementia who knows maybe he will have ideas about how to help. It just sounds like a brother many here wish they had, I see complaints about siblings never visiting or calling until the parent has passed. Maybe try to make your brother more a part of the care team rather than just an nuisance visitor and when you say this is a bad day for me because or it would be helpful for me if you called the night before he will make the effort or let you know why he didn't. If mom is the issue maybe when he calls let him hear you say "Bob wants to stop by this afternoon does that sound good?" and her answer so he knows you aren't making the decision.
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Reply to Lymie61
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worriedinCali Apr 9, 2019
You need to read all of the OPs replies because a lot of this response is off base. The OPs brother does not want to be part of moms life and do all he can to take care of her. He hasn’t called her since February....
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My take on this is that is would be best if there is some flexibility both ways. There might be days when brother finds that he can fit in a visit because he is driving in your direction, or has unexpected free time and is missing mother. Yes, mother will be glad to see him, and you should be glad for her. However there should be other times when he is planning to come by, and could easily let you know the night before. Some people’s lives allow them to make plans at short notice (in fact I remember the time when for me it was ‘what shall I do today?’), but you are not quite in that position even if your brother is.

Perhaps you could ask him to give you notice whenever he can, and add that you can then arrange for some free time for yourselves. Perhaps tell him that some free time will keep you coping with mother for longer, instead of putting more pressure on him! And say that if he calls without notice, he needs to know that you may be telling him that it’s not a good day and that he needs to keep it to 10 minutes. Take him with you to show him how to cope with toileting and incontinence – it will help him to get the picture, as well as to make you feel more confident about taking your free time. Of course your mother is not likely to tell him to go away, no matter how she feels. But a couple of ‘10 minute’ visits will probably encourage him not to waste the time it takes him to get there.

There is no reason why he shouldn’t clean up for her. We humans have two sets of ‘down there’ equipment. We all know our own, and most of us know the other set pretty well too. Women have to cope with male doctors peering ‘down there’ (unless they are nuns), and men can do the necessary jobs just as well.

Work out with your brother how you can best help your mother. It's a better discussion than arguing about boundaries.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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DLW268 Apr 10, 2019
Hi MargaretMcKen,

Thanks For Your Reply.

I see what you mean about things with regards to scheduling to suit both sides here. I don't see my mother ever wanting him to help her with such personal matters like the bathroom so we can make arrangements to help her by just staying around the house when he visits .. We can still go in other rooms or outside and have free time to ourselves in other rooms and in the yard of the house trust me. .. And be close by to help if she needs us.

I guess it's just my "manager" personality trying to have some notice about his visits because she can react badly when he visits since she has unfair beliefs towards him regarding her post stroke rehab stay in the nursing home. He was actually more involved in her recovery back then by seeing her more often when she was an in patient there .. He had / has a more flexible schedule due to having his own business where he sets his daily appointments and doesn't have to be in an office etc.. on a set daily schedule ( although his girlfriend told me at the time that due to his frequent visits back then "the business is suffering tremendously" .. I guess by cutting back so much on weekly appointments .. Although he seems to have backed away a great deal with his contact now.. He will be out of contact for weeks and then pop up out of the blue and want to come visit that same day..In a few hours or so.. I prefer a more scheduled weekly call system where he calls or Skypes more regularly .. We would have more notice about his schedule for that week that way... But he claims he can't do that.. ) And he had / has a good car to transport her to and from places so he transported her to the nursing home and she says "He put me in jail" because she has dementia and doesn't recall why she was there and what rehab help she did get there etc... And she hated it there because the staff had to keep her safe so they watched her so much because of her fall risk with dementia and she calls it "Being in jail" .. And she says, "How could he do that to his mother?"

So his visits can be challenging, especially if she is having a UTI that makes her dementia worse.. He's certainly seen her at her worst in person and spoken to her over the phone when she was experiencing these outbursts.

But I still like to prepare us on this end for his interactions with her as best I can before they happen as he can leave or hang up but she could be upset by their interaction for hours afterwards...
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I know where ur coming from, I do, but I have to agree with worried here. If it was a friend who wanted to visit, then I'd say you have a right to tell them when the right time is. But he is her son and should be able to come and go when he wants. If mornings are hectic, mine were, then you can tell him that is not a good time. I wish my brothers had visited more.
He should see the changes in Mom so there are no surprises.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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DLW268 Apr 7, 2019
Thanks For Your Reply JoAnn29.

I would never consider my own self to have the right "to come and go as I want" at anyone's home, including my mother's home. But I really am one of the most introverted people in the world so I guess that's the reason for finding it odd that someone else would be all right with dropping by their mother's home unless there was a really important reason to do so.

I hope my posts haven't been misleading to anyone. Since her discharge home from rehab, he certainly saw her fairly often enough considering his round trip driving distance of 2 and 1 / 2 hours and his extremely busy weekly schedule. So he has seen the changes in our mother already. Both before she was released from rehab and later on at home... Even if he can't fully appreciate how unpredictable each day can be.

But there were just a fraction of times when she just didn't want to see him due to being sick etc... She doesn't really want him around at those times when you ask her about it but he doesn't ask her detailed questions about when she is in the mood to see him or not see him... Instead he just keeps it simple and asks her the most basic question about dropping in.... He doesn't ask her straight out about whether she wants him to drop in or be here when she's sick etc.... Whether he realizes or not that she isn't likely to place all those variables of how she might be feeling that day when he drops in into her answer without he specifically asking about them I don't know.

Thanks Again For Your Reply.
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No.You don’t have the right.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Lol, speaking from experience that used to p!ss me off. Exes brother was supposed to bring dinner once a week...that lasted one week on a Friday or Saturday night and let us know a few days before hand. They would call at 5 or 5:30 knowing damn well dinner was almost done, then they would invite themselves to eat what I cooked. Then at dinner say well we wanted to bring dinner but Tacy wouldnt let us. He was also a violent drunk and I am a smart ass, not a good cimbination, so I didnt like being in the house without ex there in case he went into a violent rage.

No, your life doesnt revolve around when he decides to grace you with his presence. Ask him to pick up a shift or if he shows, leave him to caregive.
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Reply to tacy022
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I think you will get varied answers here but I am going to say this. She lives in her own home and he is her son. He should not have to ask anyone’s permission to see her. He should not have to arrange it beforehand with anyone but her. I actually find it quite odd that you and sister have even taken this approach with him. He’s your sibling and her son. It would be different if she were living in your home and he had a history abusing her or something. Think about this for a minute. How would you feel if you couldn’t see your mother without getting permission first? I would be livid, and I wouldn’t tolerate it.

Bottom line is, your mom said it’s ok if he just drops by. So let him. And use the time to get some respite. Step out for a bit.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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DLW268 Apr 7, 2019
I Appreciate your opinion.

It's not about "permission" to see her. It's about "notification." I am totally NOT someone that drops in on ANYONE that way. Especially if I KNEW that people there are managing a daily life of challenges. That's not me to be that way. But people are different I guess.

Even if my mother says something one day it really isn't necessarily valid the next day, ( or the next half day later ), believe me. She can say one thing one time and another thing the next time about various topics.... Including her statement about ANY people just dropping by anytime they want to do so.

As for going out for respite during these times if he just shows up it's nice to go for a walk but the thing is being an assistant for my mother kind of challenges my own schedule too so I am kind of planning things out more carefully since her stroke. I might be scheduled to do things on my computer on a deadline ( I am taking courses as well now ) while balancing tasks on and off through the day as I still help my mother along with my sister that day.

We do things for her that my mother isn't going to want to do with him. If she has an incontinent accident ( which can happen EVEN without a UTI for her now ) she isn't going to want HIM to help her clean herself and change her clothes.

If she has a bowel illness / accident she isn't going to want him to help her clean herself and change her clothes.

That's totally absurd.

But anyways .. Showing up out of the blue, especially where I know everyone is managing different unpredictable things with the consistent unpredictability of dementia just isn't anything I would do myself.

And I myself ALWAYS give notice to ANYONE the night before if I want to go by their house but that's just me. Well, unless it's some important reason something needs to be attended to that day and then I ALWAYS try and call first. Unless of course there's some reason I feel there's an emergency and I have to get there right away but that doesn't usually happen for me.

Thanks For Your Reply.
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