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I can't get my nieces or nephews to visit mother. I can't get their PARENTS to do it.
Part of it is that they do not have a great relationship with her, never have. To tell them that she is dying or lonely, doesn't ring with them. They don't really KNOW her, so they "care" but not that much. Also, she tends to talk about all the OTHER people she DOESN'T see when someone does visit.
My own kids will come to town for a visit and may go to her place for 10 minutes with the great grands. I don't push it and I don't suggest it. Mother can be difficult and she is kind of "scary old" now.
My own grandmothers called me, or I called them every single week. I miss them every day and have the BEST memories of them. So do my KIDS! My own mother opted to not be a hands on grandmother and is sadly paying the price. You can try, I know I did, but in the end, I gave up. Mother won't call people to chat with. You cannot create a relationship b/c someone is old and lonely, if it wasn't there when they were healthy/younger, unlikely it will start now. There's always hope--and you can try.
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DD, if you need help with practical tasks, ask for it directly and be specific. Well-muscled chaps can help with the heavy lifting, delicate ladies can bring treats for your Dad, chirpy grandchildren can offer him an hour's conversation - delegate ruthlessly.

And then again, if your father mentions wanting to see a given individual, pass that message on verbatim - you're just making the phone call on his behalf.

But the relationship aspect of it, the get to know your grandpa now because if you blink you'll miss it, part? - I'd leave that to them to figure out. You have enough to do without adding their long-term emotional health and development to your own list of tasks.
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Your daughter like many of ilk are spoiled and selfish. My parents helped all of their grandchildren. My mother took them in when they didn't get along with their parents and when the parents said, "You are 18, time to get out!" They helped all of their kids financially when in a pinch. I lived 3000 miles away and called once or twice a week. They lived close by and managed to visit once every other year or so. "I am so busy". Really? Trips here and there but planning a small visit to grandparents because you are busy? Really? I sent my niece a letter scolding her ignorant behavior. The family fractured. A once close family now rarely sees each other. Oh now guess who gets to give up their life to help out. Yes the one that had to move 3000 miles away, back to a place where I have all this animosity. What none of the others know that I do do is...what is in the will. Too bad for them. Just rewards for their ignorance.
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My Dad is not scary sick, and I need the distractions and could use some help getting some of the heavy moving of things at the house done so he can have a room on the first floor when he's ready. (His view of the pond we live on is unbelievable from upstairs, the first floor room has no view at all.) I know that my younger cousins missed having a relationship with our grandfather because they were very young (or not born yet) when he died. Since I originally posted I have spoken with my daughter and while she's not the oldest, she is the leader of the "pack." She and my son-in-law stopped by the other day for a short visit. My son-in-law is coming by sometime this week to install some grab bars in the bath for us. It's such a hard line, I don't want to scare them into thinking that he's on death's door, but I really need them to come by. At this point (and especially with the weather we're having here in NE Mass.) he and I are getting on each other's nerves.
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Sometimes some people rather remember a person the way they were, back when they were younger and/or healthier. My Mom was that way, starting 30 years ago she made excuses not to visit her two sisters.... we even offered to drive her and my Dad back then... but no go. She did call them on phone and vise versa.
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I'm the oldest of the sibling and the only one that has the contentious parts to the relationship. I spent the afternoon and early evening getting in touch with the grand-daughters and my aunts. They're all stepping up. At this point my Dad isn't hooked up to any tube or anything. So, I really want them to start seeing him more often before it gets to that.
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Thanks zookeeper. I've been passing the news on the the family today. Being snowed in today was a blessing. I spoke with my Mum who is my rock. (She and Dad have been divorced over 40 years, they get along pretty well). Then I wrote the details out in emails for my brothers who both live far away. i just calaled my daughter (31) and asked her to call her cousin who lives near her and I'm going to call my oldest neice (36) and ask her to convey the information to my other niece (27 and pregnant) and tell her. My nieces lost their Mom (my sister) five years ago to pancreatic cancer and then just about 2 months ago, their father died of a sudden heart attack. I really hate the idea of piling more sad/bad news on, but it won't keep. So I am now forced into being straight forward with telling them that they need to visit as much as they can. I pray that the time will be more years. I lost my own husband to cancer almost 23 years ago to cancer, and then lost an ex-boyfriend that I had lived with for over 7 years and stayed very close with to ALS. For someone that's bi-polar and suffering from the PTSD from the losses I've had, I'm trying very hard to keep it together. Today's a bad day, Tomorrow will be better. (I'll keep saying that until I am livingit.)
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I think sometimes it is a matter of age and that some younger people are very uncomfortable with the whole getting older and dying thing. I've heard some younger people even say things like why go, they were never that much of a part of my life which tells me that they did not have much of a connection. Other younger people are more comfortable with being around a wider range of people like my youngest son and have not problem with visiting elderly grandparents. My oldest son is not as comfortable with visiting elderly grandparents or older people in general. His personality is more selective than his younger brother. While you can ask them to come and visit, you can't really make them if they are now grown adults on their own.
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I think a lot of people are freaked out by the sick and dying. They have absolutely no practice at it and it's overwhelming. The sight, the smells, the awkward silence. The anticipatory fear "something" might happen and I'll either look a fool or be in the way.

I think the awkward feeling scares a lot of potential visitors away. Nobody wants to feel like an incompetent visitor.

Tell them EXACTLY what is OK for a visit, such as: You only need to be there about 10 minutes. Grandpa is fine with us just sitting there with him in the room. He can't be part of the conversation, but he is aware of us being there. We can talk to each other about anything and it's good for him. Or Grandpa is OK with us just sitting in the room not talking. We don't have to be in an active conversation with him or about him. Your presence is what is good for him. It's OK if there are long periods of silence.

I've said it before & I'll say it again - we've lost the ancient art of the visit. This used to be common practice on Sundays after lunch. Drive around, see who might be home, and "sit a spell" with them. It was not considered an intrusion unless it lasted a long time. People also had to know how long was polite and then to get up & leave before then.

I can't imagine how irritated I would be nowdays if somebody showed up on my doorstep to just sit & take up my time on a Sunday of all days. I'm busy!
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You have had a contentious relationship with your father. What kind of relationship did the grandkids have with him? Time is running out. You see this as an urgent last chance, but prepare for the possibility that they are not interested in a last chance. For them, perhaps that boat has sailed.

If you have a good relationship with them, I think your appeal should be as a help to you. (Although I don't really see how getting them to visit helps you. If you think it does, that is the basis for your appeal.)
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Then your efforts at getting those nieces and nephews going is all the more urgent. You have to "use" the "Time Is Running Out" approach. Best wishes for success, and I hope they do realize what they will be missing, if they don't respond appropriately.
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Well, this started when there was plenty of time, but over the course of the last week and the test results, it may be more urgent. It seems that the cancer that he had radiated (7 and 2 years ago) has metastasized. We'll be seeing an oncologist soon, and the needle biopsy should shed more light, but his primary care doctor doesn't think so. And, she's been right in the past occasions. Dad and I have a fairly contentious relationshpi since I was a child, so this is really difficult.
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By the way, my sister, who has POA and is the mom of the niece and nephew, responded the same way her daughter did: nothing. Has POA but hasn't seen mom since before Thanksgiving. My other siblings don't respond either. And there's no excuse for it. So don't expect them all to respond or even think about actually getting real help. If one or two does, consider yourself lucky.
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"I'm really exhausted taking care of Grampa. I'm going to keep doing my best -- I love him very much. It would help a lot if he had some other visitors. Could you help me out and go visit him one day this week?"

Ask. Say it is for you. But then let them decide. I'll bet some will visit, and some won't. That is just the way the world works.
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Same problem here with a niece and nephew, both of whom were basically raised (or at least "nannied") by mom, who is now 88 with dementia and starved for social interaction. I first asked my sister and her husband to have a chat with the kids and ask them to make time for a quick 5-minute visit whenever they could. They live less than 10 minutes away. No such luck. I finally decided to take the guilt approach: I called the kids myself, reminded them how much I missed getting to know my grandparents and how lucky they were to have the best grandparents in the whole wide world and that nanny would love to see them and with grandpa gone, she's all they have left. The nephew responded the next day; the niece could give a d*mn. But mom was thrilled to see her little 24-year old boy! And he now comes by pretty often, sometimes just a quick "hi" and he's off. Good enough. And that's what matters.
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All helpful answers. I really don't expect them to find time to do anything other than visit him. Worse is that today we found out that his previously treated cancer has metastasized. Chemo may or may not be an option. But it does bring to light that time is fleeting. I find myself feeling very cheated by powers-that-be, I've put so much into this, mentally and financially. My boss has been super at easing my schedule, but that has only made me more dependent on Dad. Tonight I'm just a hollow mess (yes, I know that makes no sense, but I can't describe it any other way).
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I say you don't. It should not become his grandkids burden to take care of him. Hire some help and let the grandkids remain grandkids.
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I am with cwillie. I do not understand nor forgive relatives who get so reluctant at this pressing time.
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Forget tact, you need to come right out and ask for what you need. And be specific. If you need a couple of hours respite, or help with laundry, or shopping done say so, that way there are no misunderstandings. Say "grandpa really misses you, what day can you be here?" Avoid vague language that lets them weasel out with promises of someday.
And as pamstegman says, you can't expect all of them to be good at caregiving, but each of them should be able to figure out how to contribute something.
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Sometimes you have to be a little urgent in your tone of request. The other issue is whether or not they are any good at caregiving. My SIL will visit her mother, but she is totally useless as a caregiver. Her brother asked her to give mom a shower and she said "WHAT?!?!?!" and managed to avoid doing it.
So brother went to the head nurse, who got it done. SIL will not check her legs, take her BP/O2/temp nothing, nada, no go. How she managed to raise two kids is a total mystery.
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