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What can you do when a sibling won't let you visit mom?


 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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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. March 16, 2021 at 9:26 pm | Posted by Lisa schjoth

    My bother won't allow any if us kids see our dad he was in an accident about 2 weeks ago and he has it so we can't even call and check on him at all it is unfair that he can choose for us to see our dad its uncalled for if something happens to my dad and don't get to see him I will hate my brother forever for taking my chance to see our father he did not raise us that way. And how can he stop us from seeing or checking on him. Is he allowed to do that to us their are four more kids. It hurts knowing he has kept us from him. We aren't told anything that's going on or anything its so unfair and hurtful.


    • June 27, 2021 at 4:37 pm | Posted by Alison Pickrell

      Oh my gosh, my heart goes out to you. I am in the same boat with a possessive sister who is denying my 81 year old mom from seeing me or my brother. I call and my sister screens the calls, her emails, her mail. I fear my mom will one day be in hospital and pass on and I won’t get to say good bye because my sister is mentally demented with ocd and possessive behaviour to name a few. What are options? I’m so sorry you are dealing with the same situation. 🤗


    • June 28, 2021 at 11:08 am | Posted by Bill Buch

      A sibling was upset with moving mum in with caregiver. The house was in terrible shape. Mum needed a different caregiver. Because, now sibling had to find work and a place to live. Therefore, told everyone caregiver had forbidden anyone from seeing mum. Contact the caregiver and get an answer outright. If true find an arbiter. There are those who just live for strife.


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  4. September 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Posted by Victoria maese

    My name is Victoria I'm the youngest of 7 adult kids one prother 5sisters well I have been living n careing for my 84yr old mother for 9yrs n have never got no help from any of my family but my own children n niece Renee well my mother has had several strokes n is going into demensia it was taking a big toll on me n I reached out to my older sister who lives a few hrs away finally after months of texting n receiving pisnfulcomments my older sister took my mother for a few days that now have turned into months she well not allow my mother to come home nor call me r even speak of home r me. My sister says give hers few more weeks n she will not rember her life before at all n laughed .I want my mom home last time I spoke to mom she said she didn't want to say any thing cause she was afraid but wanted to come home home so bbad


  5. September 21, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Posted by Daria Thomas

    Hello, my name is Daria. my mom is 86 and I have a 14 year old son named Trenton. My heart breaks because my mom is living with a 57 year old named Terry who does not want visitors. He made advances to me and my sister Nancy so that we would be so uncomfortable that we would not visit. When I told him unconditionally that I was NOT interested in him in that way, he called me and said I'm calling you now to say Goodbye. That was close to a year ago and since then, when I call my mom, it goes to voicemail and he picks up all her voicemails, I don't think he gives them to her. Haven't seen my mom in 2 years. I have been reading the Bible alot and listening to sermons and audio on youtube on Bible peace verses and it's helping a lot. I also pray for my mom and send her letters and some packages. I send her bible scriptures via text but I think he may be deleting those. Please pray for my mom Barbara and God, please let my mom know how much Trenton and I love you and will miss her always. I guess you just have to have acceptance at some point. The last time we visited her, I wonder if Terry made her miserable after our visit. He seemed very unhappy we were there. He told me that if anything happened to her, he would let me know but after the call saying "goodbye" b/c I didn't want to be involved intimately with him, my mom hit her head falling on fireplace and he never called. Mom, Trent and I love you, God please deliver the message and keep my mother safe from harm and please put your healing hands on her and forge a safety net around her. Please show her your beauty and hold her in her arms, in times of trouble, please hide her in your arms and set her up on a rock, lift her head above her enemies and give her joy, please keep her safe and happy and when she passes, bring her home to you and to my wonderful dad Morteza, who loved her so much, and also with Jack and Anne. In Jesus' name. Praise the Lord. Amen


  6. July 31, 2020 at 9:05 am | Posted by K Harmon

    My mother is in a nursing home in Cincinnati. My sister and brother are the POA. I am disabled but very upset and anxious because they are blocking me from seeing her. I was in Florida for 6 months when my mother agreed to live in this nursing home. When I came home I would visit her but found some real problems in the nursing home. I am a registered nurse. I would try to tell my siblings what I saw they did nothing. Now I am banned from the nursing home My mother has dementia but she still knows who I am. I have had long drawn out text messages with my sibling but they no longer answer. It breaks my heart I want to see her until she dies. I know no one can with the coronavirus but she has an eye appointment but my brother is going to meet her in the parking lot before she goes in the building all I want to do is to see her for a second. She could still sit in the car allow me to see her briefly with a mask on. They are now just a bunch of bullies. I should have fought to also be a POA I was living in Florida when she went in the nursing home but I was only in Florida for about 5 months just on vacation. What can I do. I have some disabilities. I don’t know about what they think I am going to do. But my sister told the nursing home I was coming to visit her the next day I was assaulted by the staff just waiting for me outside. That was before I was banned. I was hurt bad. I am not violent I just wanted to see her and bring lunch like I did several other times. They don’t want any feedback from me so I was physically assaulted by the staff.


  7. July 3, 2020 at 10:04 am | Posted by Candy Robinson

    My brother and I and my son were taking care of my mom for years living in the home with her trying to fix things that were tearing up as we could, we would take her grocery shopping when I could get a friend to take us!! My sisters always had an excuse why they couldn't take us...I ended up going to jail because someone stole my identity and committed crime meanwhile my sisters lie to my mother and tell her, her home was being condemmed, so the tell my son to get out of the house and they disconnect the electric, on my son and move my mom in with my sister against her will,she gives no fight because she thinks she has no choice I get out of jail move back in to get the house more livable for mom to come home. Sisters call the law because they don't want me out here!!! Where I have lived for years taking care of our mother!! They never offered to come help fix it up for mother. Mom has made it clear that she is not happy living with my sister, not is she happy about my sister Diane having the freedom to do what she wants to with moms money. *** Any suggestions how to help is welcomed***


  8. May 29, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Posted by annie

    MY sister took my mum to her house and then put my other sister and me and our families on a no trespass list so no one can visit mum. what do we do?


  9. February 25, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Posted by Joseph Wagenknecht

    My sister is strung out on meth my mother is dying in the hospital if I let her see her she will sneak her meth and tell her that she is dying to go ahead and do it. How do I keep her from seeing her


  10. February 20, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Posted by Bernadette

    I took care of Mother who has dementia for 3 years. Two years were driving 240 miles round trip to check on her twice a month, she was still able to live on her own. As she became less cognitive I moved in with her. I lived with her took care of her without any help from other family members who harassed me by name calling Black heart, low life scum, you'll look good in orange, they would call mom and tell her I was going to hurt her, I was going to put her out on the streets,I was going to take everything she had. Even though no one else had any other plan for her care and I was there 24/7 with no help. In the meantime I had to pack up my entire home in order to rent it out, as I could not afford to leave it vacant. That entailed spending several thousand to bring house up to par, such as new hot water heater, all the wall heaters cleaned and checked, painting etc.and giving up my means of income, as I did not have a studio in mothers house, I am a sculptor. and giving up my life for one year. I am not a healthy person, 9 years off and on chemo, diabetes, high blood pressure, The pressure of the discord caused by their calls to mother slandering me and that of pressure of dealing with someone who cannot remember any longer was overwhelming. Was in emergency 3 times in one year, was sleeping 2 hours a night and those were not consecutive, sleep 30 minutes, awake another 3 hours another 30 minutes sleep etc. Decided we had to move back to my home where it would be easier on me, as I would not be able to care for ANYONE UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS. I was also sleeping on the floor. During the time I was taking care of mother I did not deny any family member access to mother, she also maintained her land line so any one was able to contact her. After one year in mothers home my tenants lease was up and I went home to put the house in order so I could bring mother up to live with me in my home. after two weeks, I was going back and forth, I called mother one day and she was gone. Niece had put her on airplane and sent her to sister who lives in Hawaii. They took her dog to shelter as a stray,They had not bothered to inform me, even though I was her caregiver. As a result I put her house up for sale as it is in my name, and could not afford to keep an empty house. Sister then had mother sign a Power of attorney, even though mother was at late middle stage dementia and does not remember what happens after an hour or so. She then brought a lawsuit against me on mother behalf,, still ongoing. she will not allow me to speak with mother, has my number blocked. I do not know how mother is doing and sister has clearly alienated her from me


  11. January 28, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Posted by Colleen

    siblings should not ever tell mom or other siblings that they can not visit. If parent is living with them and they do not want to see they're brother or sister then leave your house so they can visit, its the right thing to do. Think of your parent and they're needs and wants first. Stop being a spoiled brat and man up Its not about you.


    • August 3, 2021 at 7:22 pm | Posted by RJ Kjelvik

      This is my problem, I live with one daughter who will not let her sister in the house to see me.......the thing is, I own half of the house, but I have no say in anything. It will never be fixed because both girls are so stubborn. And I just keep going through this thing over and over. I can't take much more....Please help me....


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