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2 problems


Registered User
May 19, 2015
I have two things I'd appreciate advice about to help me with my mother, who has vascular dementia, still lives on her own with no carer package yet (still refusing that), is 200 miles away from me, is 8 miles from my brother, who either can't or won't visit regularly.

Problem 1:
Mum has been able to keep a diary up to now, provided I spelt the words for her to write down, but today when I was on the phone trying to help her fill thingss in, she said she couldn't remember how to make the letters - so we are at the point where she can't fill in her diary, but can read things which are in there. How can I, from a distance, make sure she knows what she needs to be doing each day?

Problem 2:
I usually travel up to see Mum and spend a week with her over Christmas. During that time, we usually get a visit on Boxing Day from my brother, his wife and two children. Mum looks forward to their visit tremendously and has to be stopped from emptying Tescos for the event! Unfortunately, since my father died, 12 years ago, there has not been a good relationship between Mum and my sister-in-law and that rift has spread to my nieces, too - now 15 and 16 years old. My brother has now told me that his family want, for once, to have Christmas to themselves, although he's happy to drive Mum to my house to spend Christmas here. I don't think that's good for Mum'cos she'll be away from her home environment, won't see any of the few friends she still has left and will miss seeing her son and grandchildren. Also, it would mean that my opportunity to check that things are still OK in the house and to sort out papers would disappear. Any suggestions - particularly as I care deeply for my brother and family, but find it difficult to understand their point of view -would be welcome.

Thanks in advance!


Registered User
Apr 8, 2013

1. Does she have a very kind neighbour who would pop a printed out information sheet that you send daily (by attaching it to an email) into her house. I'd do that for someone.

The neighbour could pop the information sheet through your Mum's letter box and your Mum could pick it up every morning?

2. Difficult. Could you spend Xmas at your Mum's and ask your brother round for tea on Boxing Day with his family and you doing all the catering? They could stay a short while e.g. an hour.

Perhaps it could just be your brother that comes and he can make some excuse as to why his family can't make it (seeing his wife's relatives perhaps?)


Registered User
May 21, 2014
I can understand both perspectives. Your brother wants Christmas stress-free, and your Mum wants to see him. How about they came for a pre-Christmas visit, telling a little love lie of having booked a holiday over Christmas? That would still give you the time you want with your Mum, and maybe they can call or Skype on Christmas day?


Registered User
Jul 2, 2011
I'm not sure there is much you can do about your brother,if he wants to do things differently that's his decision although it does seem a bit mean.Does your Mum know it's Christmas and would she miss his visit?If it's better for you to visit her go with that and make some excuse for their absence.I know from experience that we all have to make our own decisions about what we're prepared to do for the person we care for and it's much less stressful if you can accept this.


Registered User
Nov 23, 2014
As it sounds as though things are deteriorating somewhat with Mum and that soon she is going to need much more help. Suggest you twist bro's arm heavily, using whatever means you can. I think a visit might be needed before Xmas arrangements are put into place.
Fingers crossed that he does not hide behind the kids, as some are inclined to do. We had an uncooperative SIL, so I know what you may be up against.
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Registered User
Aug 27, 2012
All this is so difficult isn't it? You may find that it is your nieces who could be playing up too. They can be pretty selfish in those teenage years. My kids found it quite difficult being around their grandma repeating the same questions all day, having the heating up at Tropical and personal hygiene not being great. They have always accepted that duty is all part of a supportive and loving relationship but if your SIL isn't giving the right messages your nieces will soon pick up on that. Your brother may be fighting a losing battle at home.

I think a short and jolly pre-Christmas visit might be acceptable to everyone.


Registered User
May 19, 2015
Thank you to everybody who has replied. It's good to get a bit of perspective here. Yes, it could be that the girls are causing problems -and they've never been forced to do anything with the family that they've not wanted to do, so I don't think the concept of familial duty is something they know. Nice girls, in spite of that!

I'm sure I'm in good company as far as Christmas pressures are concerned. Maybe I should concentrate on making Mum's holiday as full of entertainment and company as I can?