Question: My mother is 81 years old and I have not been able to see her since July 27, 2012. Her birthday was November 12, 2012 and I did not get to see her. Mom has dementia and my sister is influencing her and not allowing her to see all of her children. I keep feeling like I am hitting a brick wall. All I would like to do is see my mother.
Dr. Amy: Life is short and we only have so much time and energy. It amazes me that people spend theirs making others unhappy. And yet so much of this goes on, especially with siblings and older parents.
What happened on July 27? Why does your sister not let you see your mother? Does she also deny other siblings the opportunity to visit? Is there a way to talk together as a family and come to an arrangement that meets everyone’s wishes—and centers on what’s best for your mom? Perhaps a mediator or facilitator could help you all come to an agreement.
It is possible you can prick your sister’s conscience enough that she will change her behavior. For example, could you appeal to her from the standpoint that if your mom dies and she has prevented you from seeing her, there will be no way to rectify this in the future? Also consider whether there is someone else your sister is more likely to respond, perhaps someone in the community. If nothing seems likely to work, I suggest you consult with an eldercare lawyer about your options.
Your mother deserves to see her family and you deserve to see your mother. I truly wish you—and your whole family—a peaceful solution to this situation.
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