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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. January 20, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Posted by Georgina

    Dad past Oct 2003. From 2003 thru 2012 Mom and I in her late 70s were out and about and very close. The my brothers stepped in got a power of attorney, banking rights on mothers’s behave. Well, he took over well-being on Mom and now her failing health surgeries on triple by pass heart surgery, falls causing head injuries, fracture foot/ankle and hospitalize and rehab he with a stroke. I can my brother sound advise to bring in pro help for Mom. Well, he stared to let me see my Mom with POA rights and now threatening with text messages. He know he is going thru Moms money .


  2. November 26, 2018 at 12:45 am | Posted by Mark Roym

    My sister has put my mom in a nursing home. She took her away from our family, me and my son. My mother is 98 years old, me her son I am 66, this sister has controlled and had 10 years of my mom's income now over $259,000 to control as she pleases. On this past week end Nov 23-25 I requested from the county sheriff to do a welfare check at my sister's residence since this was the last known residence if my mother. The officer went to the home asking about the wearabouts of my mother. He was to give them my phone number to have my mother call me. He asked where my mother was and could only tell me that she was in a nursing home. You cannot find your parents in these situations. I've called many homes asking, to no avail. What legal procedures can I take to find my mother? Please help me, she is 97 years old her birthday was Nov 24 2018. This sort of separation should be illegal. Mark W. Roy


    • February 11, 2019 at 11:27 am | Posted by Diego Vargas

      I have a similar situation with my brother refusing to say where my mother is. Have you had any type of response.


      • March 11, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Posted by Ruth

        Judge gave order for me to have visitation to see my mim at the nursing home. My sisters discharge her from the nursing home. Is this a comtemp of court?


        • September 12, 2019 at 1:22 am | Posted by Marites Oberg

          did you file a case against your sister? would like to file a case for abandonment, abuse and negligence against the one who got the power of attorney.


  3. November 22, 2018 at 10:29 am | Posted by Sailaja

    I am not allowed to see my mother who is very sick. I want to seeher.but my brothers wife does not let me step into the house. She tells me to keep my mother. My husband asks me to go and stay with my mother if I want to spend time with her.I don't know what to do. Can anyone please tell me how I can see my mother.


    • October 6, 2019 at 6:20 am | Posted by Anneliese Reitz

      My mom was dying in the hospital ..One brother the oldest didn't notify my brother and myself that our mother was in the hospital dying. Then he calls to tell us he held her hand and told her he loved her. While the rest of the family was not allowed in the hospital. Our family is not talking to each other because of it. My older brother is dead to me. I am so hurt. .


      • December 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Posted by Kathy J McClain

        I understand mom is 98 I have a brother just like yours..he has gone so far as to mail me letters calling me a bastard and saying my father beat me up all the time cause I didn't belong to him and calling me a whore telling me to have a miserable life and calling my son a bastard.he is a


  4. November 17, 2018 at 8:07 am | Posted by Reba

    I took care of my mother with absolutely no help from any of her children for two years while she had dementia was incontinent. They would say how do you know how to take care of her well look how pretty you have her dressed we love you thank you for taking care of mom if you bring her to our house you have to stay because we can’t take care of her like you do!! it went from that to... going to court and being accused of sticking a cane up her ass abusing my father leading a drug dealer inject heroin into a sister in letting her die to the most obscene lies I have ever heard in my life !! What makes people you love turn against you and say the most horrific lies and kill your heart. I’ve videotaped my mother saying she didn’t want to be cremated they cremated her then buried her in the room grave with a stranger !! My mother passed away in 2014,I did not receive a phone call when she died I did not receive a phone call about any funeral arrangements when I Found out where the funeral was going to be I went I walked in and grab some little cards and there was no one there if anything 20 people my mother had 13 children and over 100 grand a great and great great grandchildren the church should’ve been filled with nowhere to sit she should’ve had a per session as long as the eye could see. After my mother passed I’ve been having so many dreams of her social many I went to church to ask God to please let her rest in peace . After they took her for me all they did was sit her down and give her morphine she died within five weeks because she gave up and did not wanna be there!!


  5. November 16, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Posted by Susie Q

    I think all of this is crazy. Every mother wants to see her children. I don't care how their life's are or who they have become you're your mother child. Any body that keeps another sibling from seeing their parent is a fool. I tell everyone that God is not sleep and when it is all said and done if your not doing the right thing about your parents are anything you're gonna have to answer to God.To all think about what this does to your parent's. It's like they are being held captive and in prison in their own homes or in their children's home. Remember you're going to get old one day and what goes around comes around. I pray that God touch everyone's heart and that you find enough peace and love in your heart to love one another. I pray for a brighter day for each parent being held against their will by their own children. God Bless you all.


  6. March 3, 2018 at 6:20 am | Posted by Sharon Pittman coursey

    My father just passed my brother and sister will not let me see mom this hurts l just want to hold her hand and hug her why are they so nasty


  7. November 11, 2017 at 12:14 am | Posted by Tonya

    My brother and sister falsely and Have forged a false health care proxy and a power of attorney. I filed a court case. The case was approves by the court. However, I withdrew the case. I intern went to the administration and they spoke to my mother. They intern informed me because there is no court order I can see my mother. If your family has no legal papers stating you cannot see your mother due abuse. You have a


  8. October 29, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Posted by Ann

    I have a sister stop me from seeing my father who has cancer he can die anytime he has hospice my sister only wants control she’s very selfish when he thinks about her self I need help I need to see my father before he dies I’ll know how anybody could be like that she’s been like that since she was a kid she is bipolar and does not take her medication that does what should I do I need to call attorney I guess anybody have . Can anybody help me or give me any ideas who I can call thank you my father is 87 years old this is so sad she always wants control. I called the police yesterday they said they couldn’t do anything I can’t believe it I need help .


    • April 6, 2018 at 8:43 am | Posted by Natalie

      My dad does not have cancer but he is bed ridden on a feeding and has some dementis my sister has taken on everything I really know nothing that is going on with him when started doing this I trief and tried to offer help she refused now I feel like I dont know him he lets her boyfriend help him and not me.


    • April 21, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Posted by Paul

      I have a sister who is just the same . Controlling . Why are they like this?


  9. November 28, 2016 at 9:19 am | Posted by Darling NICKKI

    my mother is dying and does not wish to be in hospital bed. However, with pnumonia, COPD and congestive heart failure i dont see a light at end of rainbow. The problem is my sister whom my mother hasnt spoken to in almost 4 years comes into picture and takes my mother out of hospital.. they moved her from one floor to another as soon as the DNR3 was signed.. my sister told me mom signed it but her Co2 levels was out the roof and was basically in a coma when we spoke.... My sister stated she had a POA and she has taken my mother out of the hospital! none of the siblings know where she is and she is not going to live much longer. How could the hospital allow this and How can my sister have us removed from Hospital and no be allowed to see mom? there are 7 siblings... only one has POA which nurse stated my mothers wishes was not to see anyone... I can assure u that the ONE person would not be her daughter she hasnt spoken to in 4 years! what can be done and how fast???? time sensitive matter


  10. August 22, 2016 at 9:57 am | Posted by tessa

    i'm also in the same position - my brother and his wife lives in my mothers house and left it in disrepair (mice infestation, molding roof with damp) in order to save for their house and live rent free. they now bought their house and are trying to force her there against her will and have put charges of harassment against me for telling them off about the criminal neglect! 2 other siblings now back them up but they have a history of domestic violence and abuse too! so basically all the abusers in the family have teamed up together against me and wont let me see my mum. my mum also wont let me visit because they are scared of them. i however live abroad and they are the official carers and now they wont let me see my mum to help her keep her house. they want the money and free childminding against my mum's will. she had a nervous breakdown about it all last year and now they seek poa.


  11. March 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Posted by Ann millard

    I'm having same problem my mother loves me to pieces but my brother gets jealous and asked my mother to choose between me or him as e cares for her and he lives with her.he has taken over everything but he hasn't got poa over her and he's even blocked my calls to her I think he is lower than a snakes belly,he said he would call police if I went to see her.


    • December 29, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Posted by Sha

      Oh my God let him call the police. What he's doing is illegal. Don't let him get away with that!!! You call the police!!!!


    • June 20, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Posted by Dottie Gautreaux

      Your situation is almost exactly like mine. I went to visit my Mom and had a very nice visit until my brother came in. He then called the police and told them that he wanted me out of the house. Told them that he is a resident of the home and he wanted me thrown out. My Mom just sat there. He has now blocked all of my phones. What did you do?


  12. August 18, 2015 at 8:10 am | Posted by Betty

    l have Poa my mom lives with my brother and his wife. she and him will not allow me to visit nor call my mother. she's 91 years old. and decline. my mother gets upset with my brother and his wife because they refuse to let me call or visit. what can i do?


    • August 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Posted by Cat Koehler

      I am so sorry to hear you are going through this, Betty. You may want to consider consulting an attorney about your legal rights. You may also invite your brother and his wife to dinner to discuss any issues that need to be resolved. Good luck!


  13. April 23, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Posted by Dawn

    Can I take my brother to court to see my mother. He controls her every move. How & What to do.. he has nothing to do with her & is now taking over her bank account etc..


  14. April 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Posted by Steve sbertoli

    My father died and October 3rd 2013. He was 18 years old. My 80 year old mother who is alive and well today has a bit of dementia but not much is living with my sister against her will. My mother would like to live with me I am her youngest of 8 children. My sister is very controlling and wants my mother to live with her so that she can pay her mortgage. As well as other charges. My mom wants to live with me and I would be able to care for her at no charge. I adore my mother she's my best friend I've ever had I have no children just myself I'm single my whole life and I would be the best one to take care of her. My sister is fighting with me every time I Drive 250 miles to see her. Can you prevent me from seeing my mother because she's living in her home. Can someone please please advise me on what to do about this I need help some legal help or some good advice I don't want to stir up a hornets nest but I want to see my mom I love her and I don't want her to be unhappy . Everytime I go to visit my mother at my sisters house she packed her things my mother and she wants to leave. It's enough to break any buddies heart to watch somebody be held against their will she doesn't have any problem taking care of herself she washes cleans dress is everything on her own even does her own hair everyday. Judge Judy please if you see that help me you're the only one that would understand me thank you


    • October 1, 2014 at 11:10 am | Posted by Penny

      I feel your hurt so much. I am going thru the exact same thing, other than i can not even see my Mother. I couldn't get any help with my Mother, she was living with me. I had to have a procedure done and my brother and wife wouldn't take her for 2 days. My husband had to step in which was not pleasant. They take everything to extreme so they took her full time and won't let me see her. Has told her lies that I stole money from her (he is the one stealing, even money that was in my name) I really don't care about the money. I just want to be able to see my Mom when I want. Haven't seen her sine June 20th of this year 2014 She also has dementia


    • April 12, 2015 at 11:53 am | Posted by Charlotte Greeley

      My brother took my mother from therapy and will not let family and friends see her. I want to care for her now that she is walking somewhat I can stay with her and help her. My brother will not go up against my brother and listens to his brainwashing against me. Does she not love me? She is a mean person and somewhat like my brother. I understand she is afraid of being alone or going to a convalescent home, and believe this is a scary thought for her. I want to keep her in her home, but my brother wants to sell that too. Then I have no place to keep her if my brother does this. He has sold moms assets and continue to live off her letting her pay for all his expenses and he takes his money he gets from social security and hides it. My mom I believe has given up. I want to give her life back to her, she was a very independent women.


  15. February 1, 2013 at 10:17 am | Posted by Lois

    I'm my 88 year old mother's primary caregiver (for last six years - live together and I retired to ensure that she received quality care to allow her to remain in her home. Here is the issue: unless it is a holiday or see is in the hospital their visits are wide and far between and the excuses are unbelieveable -- not a good time, I have to work, have a date, have to watch my granddaughter and/or interfers with my travel plans. What I find most painful is that my mother is a caring loving person who would do (and has done) anything for her children and, for that fact, anyone. She never complaints about their absence -- but it hurts me because I feel that they are acting like spoiled brats. In the last few months - she has been in and out of hospital and my siblings are pushing to have her put in a nursing home - knowing that it is totally against her wishes. They state that next time she goes to the hospital -- they will ensure that she goes directly to rehab and then to a nursing home. I now have medical power of attorney to ensure that does not happen. So I would never keep my siblings from seeing and/or spending time with my mother because she is on the downside of her life and she deserves to be happy - whether or not we are -- it should be all about your parents and not able us.


    • February 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Posted by Mary

      I would have to ask this person who is not allowed to see her mother at holidays... What does she do now to help? My mother is diagnosed moderate/severe dementia with other related health issues. Her doctor now says it is quality of life not quantity. I have a total of 7 siblings (2 that live away) There are 6 sisters that live within 20 miles yet 4 refuse to do nothing. I as caregiver have now asked for the minimal...... for each of the 4 sisters to split a weekend every 2 weeks. Because of my work schedule I work 2 out of every 3 weekends. This would allow me to save the money I pay people who do not know my mother and let them have their time with her. This amounts to 1 day a month for each of the 4 sisters. My other sister would do her whole weekend and I would have the other. Sounded to me like everyone would get what they want? But here is the catch.....they only want her when they want her. They want zero responsibility for her care taking and even has the audacity to tell me I don't have to do that much. I have done the whole explain my day thing it hasn't fazed them at all. So my reasoning here for this person who is so upset she cannot see her mother on holidays is......... again.....What are you doing now to help with your mom? Nothing hurts worse than siblings who care so little for you and your mother that they would abandon them!


    • May 8, 2018 at 6:46 am | Posted by hannah dow

      I have the same exact scenario caring for my amazing mother, however, my brother has the POA and is pushing for permanently putting mom in a facility. Not just pushing- HE AND HIS WIFE ARE DOING IT. As we speak he has kept mom in a rehab bed against her will. The REHAB discontinued therapy because she reached her goals and was ready to go home. That said, she is ready to go home and he refuses to let her leave. What can I do quickly? Can I call the police and have them help? He has gone behind her back and plans to put her in a facility and rent out her home of 60 years with out her consent. She has made it very clear she wants to leave the rehab, but he paid for her to stay and they only listen to the POA and the money. HELP!


      • November 13, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Posted by Sara

        Unless she has been proven incompetent durable poa papers don’t mean anything. They only go into effect if your Mom is incompetent. Talk to her Dr.


        • November 27, 2018 at 12:21 am | Posted by Donna

          POA's can be revoked. If your mother is mentally competent, she can assign a new medical & mental POA just by filling out a new form. The previous POA is automatically void and she doesn't have to provide an explanation for the renewal. Now, brother may try to take you to court out of anger, but reassignments are legal. Been there, done that. Best wishes.


          • December 28, 2018 at 6:58 am | Posted by Robin

            Problem with this is that you need it signed by a notery. If the poa make sure that the parent has no id. Then it cannot be witnessed and signed. These siblings that want control and power know all of the tricks to keep that power. The sad thing is that they are hurting their own parent just for a few years of control that they never obviously had in their own life. This is such a shame to read about all of you who are going through the same thing that I am going through. Fight for your parent and your right to have contact with them. What happened to “honor thy parent”. There will be a special place for those people that did their loved ones wrong. God bless all of you. Peace

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