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My cousin wants wants to come see my Mom who has dementia and lives with me and my spouse. My mother feels embarrassed she doesn’t remember people and she thinks she looks too bad for people to see her. She welcomes her hospice nurses okay but has expressed that she doesn’t really want visits from anyone other than her immediate family.


My cousin has planned to come see her in few days and how can I politely tell my cousin, who I love, not to visit.

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I find telling the truth works. Tell your cousin that your mom has dementia or that she is ill and doesn't want any visitors. If your cousin really loves your mom she/he will understand.

Just do not let anyone guilt you into anything you or your mom don't want..
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Reply to Shell38314
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It might help your mother to tell her that the visitor knows all about how she is now, but would like to see her because they love what she has meant to them in the past. Your mother doesn't have to do or be anything, except how she is now. It is about being loved, not about putting on a performance. I am sure that this is true, and it might be a lovely thing to say to your mother.
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Aging082981 Dec 31, 2018
Lovely advice! Thank you very much! xo
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I agree with Tekkie. Tell her you'd love to see her. And that its nice she wants to visit Mom. But you just want to warn her that you never know what kind of mood Mom is in because of the Dementia. So if she doesn't think that would bother her please come. If nothing else you can have a nice visit. When she gets there don't ask Mom to guess who the visitor is. Say, Mom, Mary Ann has come foe a visit.
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Aging082981 Dec 28, 2018
Thanks JoAann! That’s what I’m gonna do. I have told my mom and asked if she’d like to see my cousin( who she hasn’t seen in about 20 years). Her answer depends the hour she answers it. One minute she doesn’t want to see anynone, and says she feels embarrassed and anxious she doesn’t know them and the next hour she says it would be fine to see them. She says she is embarrassed by her memory and the way she looks. She does not remember my cousin at all even though she used to keep up with her birthdays and such.
Thank you for your helpful answer!
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Does your mom have any issue with you having friends over? Could you entertain your cousin in a common area and let your mom decide whether or not she will join you? How would you handle the situation if a friend came to visit?

Of course, your cousin might be disappointed not to see your mother so explain the situation to her ahead of time. I would try to accommodate my mother's request but I wouldn't go so far as to ban all relatives from the home from now on. That doesn't seem like a reasonable thing to ask you to do.
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Aging082981 Dec 28, 2018
Thank you for the advice! I don’t want to deny her to see my Mom, but I don’t want Mom or feel uncomfortable. Even when friends and company come over, or when no one is here Mom does not want to come out of her room except to go to the bathroom. Guess I’ll just play it by ear and see what mood my Mom is in when the day comes. thanks again!
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By opening your mouth and just telling them.

I had to tell people for 2 years that my DH didn't want company - it made him uncomfortable. I took the calls and sometimes DH took the phone but as often as not, he didn't even want to do that.

It's about the patient, not the visitors. I called his brother when I knew time was growing short - and both his brothers came and wound up visiting with each other, not my husband. I don't think Ray even knew they were in the room as he was already sleeping most of the day. But I thought they should get the chance to say goodbye. Ray was gone within the week.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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In agreement with
"It is about the patient, not the visitors".

Protecting the wishes, privacy and dignity of the patient is first, imo.

Planning to persuade (or coerce) the patient into having a visitor is wrong, imo.
It would be like saying: "I know you are embarrassed, don't look your best, but the visitor wants......."

Speaking to the cousin (behind patient's back), explaining patient is a betrayal of patient. "Let the visitor know she is embarrassed" does sound all nice, but it is NOT!

Just say "NO".

Forget "polite" if that has failed.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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IDK, we get so many posts from people who feel they have been abandoned by friends and family and I wonder how often that initial urge to isolate themselves played a role in that. As she aged my mom could never figure out why anyone would want to visit either, she felt as though she had nothing to contribute to a conversation and would grumble that she "had" to put up with so and so, but after the visit she was happier and had something new to think about for a few days. I wouldn't twist the arm of anyone who would be really be negatively effected by a visit of invite someone who may react in a less than kind way but sometimes it's just a matter of learning how to accept the new normal and discovering that it isn't as bad as it seems.

I might add, as my mother became more withdrawn the visits were mainly with me, with mom in the room but rarely participating. I think those visits were a great respite for both of us.
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Reply to cwillie
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How about: "Hi, [cousin's name]. I'm so sorry but I'm afraid my mom is too ill to receive any visitors right now. All visitors outside of me, [spouse's name and any other immediate family members you care to mention] make her feel extremely anxious, so I'm sure you can understand why we aren't able to have any visits at this time. However, if this situation changes, I will let you know. Thank you for caring about mom. I appreciate it so much."
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BobbingWren Dec 29, 2018
Being that closed off will cause relatives and friends to accuse you of isolating your loved one and being abusive.

I have had good luck in using digital technology as a compromise. Having a Skype video chat on my phone in the same house as my mom, and saying "aunt sally is talking to me, want to say hi?" is a great solution. When mom mumbles "no", swears, and wanders around in the background, aunt sally gets a glimpse of the reality and sees that mom no longer wants to talk.

Sometimes, mom does want to talk, has a really good day, and sounds like herself from 20 years ago, mom ends up walking away with my phone for nearly half an hour. Relatives treasure those moments.

My mom cannot handle people coming over, she compulsively starts cleaning and yelling about how filthy the house is and that there are "bugs" everywhere. (The house has one story, concrete floors and is very easy to keep clean.) But telling people not to come over is a problem, so instead I redirect and ask to start with a phonecall or skype and work up to a visit.

Instead of denying contact, I complain to relatives that I have tried to get mom to call or visit them and she is not interested anymore. And then, while on the phone, I ask mom to say hi, and she almost always refuses in a way the relative can hear.

There are three people my mom can stand having come over, and even then we need to work into it. Sometimes they choose to stay outside while I duck into the house to avoid the potential meltdown.
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Just tell your cousin the truth; mom doesn't want visitors because of XY and Z. The well meaning relatives who are clueless really think it's perfectly fine to drop in for visits whenever they feel like it, regardless of how the patient feels about it. I've told my cousins MANY times that mother is in no shape for visitors, so please don't come by. Thanks, love you, XOXO
The end.
Best of luck!!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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What to say...
Thank you cousin for wanting to see mom she is not well and requests for visits are denied at this time.
She welcomes, notes, cards and letters.
Sometime you just need to be open and tell them if it hurts their feelings sorry but that is the way it is.
Blessings
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