I am sure others have navigated this before, so tips welcomed.

THANKSGIVING. I live with and take care of Mom. Mom does not do well going out of the house. She gets very agitated when we get home, says "This is not our house," and, " Other people" have to be told we are in the house/or own the house now. Add walker banging and being told I am a "bit@h" for not leaving. I have talked to her doctor and medication has been prescribed. It helps but does not entirely work.

So, last week I get an email from a travel site. Reservations have been made at an area hotel. I am a little confused, but a text comes from my brother in Tennessee. He and his family is arriving the day before Thanksgiving. They are staying at a hotel because my SIL is allergic to the cats. he wants to go out to dinner to minimize fuss. Nobody discussed this with us.

I asked my brother about my sister. He said he had not talked to her. So, surprise! She texts the next day, telling me which rooms she and my niece will stay in and my niece's dog will accompany them, so the cats have to be penned.

This was not discussed.

Oh, and dinner will be at home.

HOW do you all manage relatives descending? If I sound peeved, I am. Both siblings are free with advice/orders from their homes.

I just want a good Thanksgiving for mom.

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I recently learned to use a very helpful line with others, when necessary: "Unfortunately, that just doesn't work for me."
No other explanations necessary.
I do not take well to being told who's coming to stay with me, what rooms they will be using, and what will need to be done with my pets. Or that they will be bringing their pets.
Unfortunately, that just doesn't work for me.

Good luck! Hope you (and all of us) can get thru The Holidays this year with our sanity still intact.
Helpful Answer (29)
Thank you such a great response lealonnie1. Short and to the point.
Not much else needs to be said.
It is wonderful that your family wants to get together for Thanksgiving.
Consider that you are "discussing" the plans now with them, by e-mails, since you were not consulted in advance. Just because their plans are delivered to you rudely, does not make it a real plan unless your input is accepted.
I could be called "enabling", but I just want you to have a good Thanksgiving too! So, I am going to suggest a solution, based upon what I have read so far.

It would be helpful to know what you and your family has done in the past to get together, prior to Mom's decline? What were your plans, if any, and what would you like to see happen? And, if family has traditionally gathered at Mom's, consider that yes, they are "clueless" and missing that tradition.

Here is your response to their offers to visit:

Dear brother and sister:
So happy to hear that you are coming for Thanksgiving! I have discussed your visit with Mom. We will be serving sandwiches from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day.
Other than that, you are welcome to bring any food pre-cooked and ready to serve. We cannot attend a restaurant event however. We will be home, as we are everyday since Mom's decline.
There will be no dogs, as we cannot accommodate them nor can we pen the cats. Sincerely hope (niece) can find a place to board her dog, because I would love to see her!
You may choose to stay with brother at this hotel:...
Looking forward to seeing you all on Thanksgiving!

Love, Sis

Foley, what do you feel about overnight with sister and niece at your house?
Will that work if she does not bring her dog? Are you experiencing any burnout? If so, you stay at the hotel and sister and niece can stay at the house overnight? Go out for some fun with brother and his wife?

Hoping if you state your needs and preferences (or rules), that they will still come, and it could be a better day. At the very least, they will see for themselves your Mom. A chance does exist that Mom will be on her best behaviors, or even "show-timing", and no one will learn anything, and go on their merry ways.
Helpful Answer (22)
Beatty Nov 2019
Excellent reply!

Hope the OP uses your speech - definately in need of setting some boundaries.
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Quietly and keep it to yourself, grab your purse, keys to car and say you have to run an errand.    Splurge on TWO movies and let them deal while you're out.  In fact, get a pedicure too.   Maybe meet with a friend for a while.  Take your own mini vacation away while all your family is there.  When you return and they ask you where you were,  say you can't remember.
Helpful Answer (20)
Rbuser1 Nov 2019
That sounds like a good idea. I was thinking along those lines too.
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you dont have to feel indignation on the behalf of the cats . cats invented the concept .

out local vet clinic put up a humorous sign a few months ago .

" if cats could text you back -- they WOULDNT " .
Helpful Answer (20)
BlackHole Nov 2019
Ha! Love it.
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Tell your sister she is welcome to cook thanksgiving for mom and visit with her while you go out to dinner with your brother. Then you'll all gather at mom's home for desert.

If they propose anything inconvenient say " oh, I couldn't possibly do THAT".
Helpful Answer (19)
Beatty Nov 2019
Yes ++++

I'll be in touch for a similar speech for my lot for xmas... ;)
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I recall a hysterical(to me) answer to a post last year. It stated that it was hoped that all the visiting relatives would expect to be eating the bland pureed food that is prepared every day for Mother.
Helpful Answer (18)

I think your brother is trying to be considerate by lightening your load with other accommodations and a restaurant meal; he's just not in touch with your mother's needs. Your sister is apparently really comfortable considering your home as her favorite hotel or home away from home. Neither of your siblings are very considerate about _asking_ before planning for others. Are you by any chance the youngest?

I would reply with an email announcing Mom and you will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a catered meal at 1:00p(?), since Mom enjoys neither restaurants nor late meals anymore. Then ask your brother if he would like to pick up the meal on his way over. Most catered meals include the turkey or ham and basic meal choices (mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls); you can add a couple of family favorites for a really nice meal with a minimum effort.

I would consider letting your sister and niece pen the cats (moving the litter box and crates) when they arrive and freeing them prior to leaving. I would probably be informing them of which rooms they could use. Assuming your sister has stayed with you during previous holiday visits, she probably thinks you expected her to stay this time around too. I know you are ticked and I agree you have a right to be; however, you probably don't want to have a big argument over it. You could thank your brother (in your sister's presence) for being so considerate helping out by staying at the hotel and purchasing the catered meal so you didn't have to work so hard on the holiday.
Helpful Answer (16)
MAYDAY Nov 2019
You are too nice and too correct!!

Your response it a wonderful one...

I CHOOSE TNTechie as the right response to this situation...
Foley - Is it even possible for Mom to have a good Thanksgiving?

No snark. I am genuinely asking.

It sounds like every possible scenario will lead to some sort of Mom Meltdown. If I am correct, then choose the scenario that works best for YOU.

And sadly, your siblings probably won’t learn anything from this Thanksgiving - no matter how it turns out. Won’t gain any appreciation for what you manage every day.

They might learn that their dogs are not welcome next year. But only if you tell them!

Thanksgiving is weird. So much noise about one particular meal on one particular day. And the insulting presumption that it’s a 4-day weekend for everyone.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (15)

Since you are the live-in caregiver, you most definitely deserve and need a break. I bet they expect you to COOK the meal too, don't they? Bless their hearts.

If I were in your shoes, I'd book myself a little getaway while they are there and let them do ALL the caregiving. I would absolutely do this.
Helpful Answer (14)
Daisy9 Nov 2019
There are many good suggestions here, but yours is the best! I would board my cats so I would have peace of mind about their safety. Notify the relatives when the first ones arrive that I'd be taking the weekend off. Walk out the door as they come in. Leave IMMEDIATELY and GO somewhere for R & R, and DO NOT answer the phone. If there's an emergency you can return the call. Leave a printed daily plan and an emergency plan with necessary phone numbers, and meds packed, with further instructions if needed. Leaving on such short notice will upset your mother to the point she probably will not be able to show-time. Hopefully the relatives will SEE what you put up with!
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I enjoy cooking and hosting - just not for family. Dinner guests are appreciative and contribute their part in good conversation. Why does family think they are entitled to complain about the food, get mad that, no, we don't plan on watching the game on TV, and no - sorry - I'm not boxing up the rest of the leftovers for you? Add on top some young ones who just look at their phones, are vegetarian, gluten free, vegan, no-dairy, no sugar - and get mad that I don't cater the ENTIRE meal around their issues. Nor do they bring anything.

So last year when family asked "what time" I said - nope. My husband, son, and I had had enough of family dynamics with my dad's passing two weeks prior. We went out of town to a cabin at Lake Superior. I cooked a traditional dinner with their help. We did a lot of cold hiking and enjoyed board games in the evening. We are doing the same this year.

Oh, and we are called selfish. But when I suggested that someone else host..... lost of back pedaling.

I will just enjoy hosting friends.
Helpful Answer (13)
Wonderful answer! You aren’t selfish. You are maintaining your sanity. Hiking sounds lovely!
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