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Family conflict


Registered User
Oct 27, 2005
north-east england
Hi All, just want to discuss family conflict as it has such a major impact on situations that i am involved in and no doubt is close to home for some TP members. Please feel free to read and post comments if u want to. Over the years ive been working in the area of elderly care with a specific emphasis on alzheimers/dementia i am often struck about the ways family dynamics come into play. This has a major bearing on my working relationship with any given family as i have to consider not just my client's welfare but also what effect the relationships and dynamics have on that situation. When i have meetings i have to be doubly aware if there are any such conflicts as a wrongly said word can have implications sometimes serious. One such family has recently given me food for thought where the mother would emotionally play the daughters of one another. I asked myself does this go back to the daughter's childhood and are deep seated jealousy's, resentments, anger at favouratism coming to play. This particular family's conflict has had huge implications for the mother's finances and who controls them and yes i have involved the police it became that bad. Of course all families are different but i do find that for better or worse alzheimers disease either brings them together or tears them apart till there is nothing left but a empty shell of a family. I am not sure what the current research is on this but i might consider it for my next bit of study. Thanks for reading Shauny.


Registered User
May 20, 2006
North East
Hi Shauny

I'm one of 5 and I can honestly say that my Mum's AD has not caused conflict in the family. It tends to fall to my brother and I to visit, and oddly, we're the 2 who take after my mums side of the family. But the eldest sister lives in Wales and the youngest one lives about 45 mins away - she tends to visit about once a month.. My eldest brother has a few medical problems himself and doesn't visit very often - I also think he can't handle it very well. So it tends to be left to the two of us, with my brother visiting 3 times a week and myself 2.

Prior to mum becoming ill and Dad dying, we would have some great family get togethers, and years ago, all used to congregate at mum and dads farm for some excellent Xmas's. Mum would think nothing of catering for 20 - 24 at xmas lunch - now whe souldn't be able to make herself a sandwich. I find that so sad.

My brother and I did fall out for a while some years ago, but the AD has brought us closer again - that and Dad's illness.

We've just recently had a family get together at our house last weekend. It was really nice to all get together again ( apart from little sis who was working) and hopefully, our house will now be a base for more drinking and eating!



Registered User
May 14, 2006
I'm an only child so there hasn't been any family conflict, but I've found that my chidren(who are 27 and 29) really don't know how to handle Mum's rather bizarre conversations and they won't visit on their own. I think it would be really useful to have information events and perhaps some kind of training to help families cope with Dementia in a relative. We haven't had any help or advice at all from social services-the social worker who visited didn't say anything we didn't already know. I have found it helpful to watch how staff at Mum's NH deal with difficult or distressing behaviour, as they seem able to calm things down with very little fuss. They have also helped Mum without using sedatives to make her drowsy. She looks so well at the moment it is hard to believe that she is unable to walk.


Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
Hi Shauny

I read your post with interest. My brother doesn't seem to give a fig for my mum. He leaves everything to me. He lives just 20 minutes away. I live 3.5 hours. He never rings me to ask about her and I've had to give him a rocket a couple of times to 'persuade' him to go and see her. It worked (just). He stayed an hour! He shows no interest whatsoever in her welfare. For my part, it would be good if he could visit her more, take her out, and have a more constructive approach: i.e. he never checks the fridge or cupboards to see what she already has. Just lets her buy what she thinks she needs. Her kitchen cupboards at one point resembled a distribution warehouse for Tesco. When I come up, I end up throwing food away. In the past when she's said she'd taken her medication, he'd accept it and because he never visits, he's not there to see that she's accidentally overdosed or had not taken enough tablets. But he thinks he's done 'his bit' and leaves with a clear conscience, whilst I run my self ragged trying to sort out the little pockets of chaos that my mum is creating. I've written to him, spoken nicely to him, shouted at him. Nothing works. The net effect of this is my increased blood pressure and lines on my face:)

My mum has always treated my brother with love and affection. But for him, gratitude is obviously too expensive.

This week I had a very positive meeting with my mum and the various agencies involved in her welfare. As they were arriving, my brother left. I guess that said it all.

Perhaps I'm being selfish and expecting too much? Who knows?

Good luck with your research study. :)


Registered User
May 12, 2006
west sussex

Just want to say that in my experience its not always the AZ that is the cause of the family feud.

according to my brother and his wife mum needed to be placed in a home as she was "agressive and out of control and they could no longer deal with her", inthe six months that she has been with me and my family, there has been no evidence of any of these traits. Diagnosis by Doctor is mild to moderate AZ but with no evidence of agression, depression or paranoia.

Mum only ever acted in this way because at the age of 85 she was always everyday out of her home. Apparently she needed to be kept busy, for christ sake she is 85, she also needs some peace and quite.

for eg, taken to respite home for one week's respite, returned back to my brother on friday, I picked her up saturday to stay with me until monday, back to brother on monday pm and hairdresser, daycare centre on tuesday, on wednesday morning mum refused to go to daycare centre, sister-in-law insists, mum make's a scene, brother on phone 4 times before 9 am shouting at my daugher that mum is out of control because she won't go to daycare centre.

The poor woman didn't know if she was coming or going, and even though at my sister-iin-laws insistence we built an extension on their house for my parents, she was kicked out of her home everyday. at 85 and with AZ I think a little consideration would not have gove amiss.

So easy to blame the AZ.

In the past 6 months, she is forgetful, always packing, confused, laughing, happy,

but never agressive or paranoid, or depressed.

Before she came to stay she wal on alsorts of medication, everything has been cut out, doen't need any of it.

But my brother even got the AZ society involved to convince me that mum needed to be put in a home, when all she needed was some peace and quite and consideration.

I'm so sorry its a very sore subject with me.. I am now rambling on

I don't know if what I have written makes sense but just had to get it off my chest..........


Registered User
Mar 23, 2006
:( I have got a different family conflict. This is my second relationship and my partners family have never been close , However my grown up children have always been close to me....hence the conflict my children want to know why I am not getting support from partners children and are telling me to walk away!! they are very fond of their "step father" but are concerned about the effect on my health.


Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
West Sussex
I have an older sister and a younger brother, as children my brother and I were inseperable and excluded my sister totally.

Since Mum's illness and Dad's death, my sister and I are very much closer and both seem to want the same thing, Mum comes first, if she is happy, we are too.
We chose the home together and share the visits between us.

My brother is concerned too, but only with how Mum's finances are going, sad, but he rarely visits and even had to text my daughter to ask what Mum wanted for her birthday, if he visited her, he would know that she is incapable of asking for anything.

These last few years have widened the split that first began several years ago when he left his wife for another woman and cut his daughters out of his life completely, devoting himself to his new family, I was excluded too because I have refused to cold shoulder his ex, she is still family to me, divorce or no divorce.

His choice, his loss, but Mum, who put him on a pedestal all her life, is, hopefully, unaware of his attitude towards her.

Family life is complicated enough, but throw in an illness that has no pattern or timescale and is affecting a parent and it rapidly shows up any cracks that are there, these either heal or split wider than ever.



Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
There was far more contact with other family members because of my mother's illness than there had been for many years.

Back last October/November my brother accused me of spending too much time visiting our mother in hospital. I said she could send me away, or the hospital staff could send me away, no-one else had a right to send me away. (I couldn't help remembering he didn't visit me when I was in hospital, and has never been an in-patient himself so doesn't understand what being visited means.)

The more my brother went on about "putting" mother in a home, the more she was digging her heels in. (Naturally enough. I've seen the place where he wanted her to go.)

Last November when I got the GP (because she wasn't eating or drinking or getting out of bed) he got the nurses, and they contacted Social Services, then when SS phoned MY BROTHER TOLD THEM WE DIDN'T WANT THEM! It was just bad luck that they phoned when he was there that day. As a result we had to wait 5 stressful weeks before the carers started.

But then when he was spending a few hours with her while I went out shopping she hit him, (because "he wouldn't do as he was told"!) and he phoned SS and asked them to come urgently.

Doctors and social workers assessed her as able to make her own decisions about where to live. She could put on a good performance for them.

(I wasn't even allowed to go to her Care Review because "you're not a carer", or to the second memory clinic appointment. (But whenever anything went wrong, "where's the daughter?"))

Of the extended family, the most concerned was her younger sister, but she couldn't take in the fact that her "little sister" nearly 80 herself couldn't keep on doing a 90-mile journey. It was that aunt who advised me to lock my mother in, (which resulted in me getting hit, as of course my mother thought she had a right to do whatever was necessary to get the keys from me), she (the aunt) even suggested asking the evening carer to lock her in and the morning carer to let her out, and of course we couldn't do that.

With the other family members, I was just grateful for any sign of life at all. Some did phone, send cards, visit, but never enough. And it seems some of them spent much more time on the phone to my brother, when I was the one who was there with my mother. I did feel a little resentful towards those who only turned up for the funeral, but tried to be polite to them.

And now I suppose we'll go back to not seeing each other for years.


Registered User
Oct 27, 2005
north-east england

Hi Nada, i am about to move to another local authority in a similar role. I have spent some time working with a local carers group and hope to continue this in my new job. When i start i will be looking at undertaking some academic study in relation to carers and the issue of conflict within families. Obviously i don't know just yet how long it will take but i will keep u posted. Shauny

linda a

Registered User
Jun 13, 2006

My husbands been dignosed with lewey body dementia he is 17 years older and we have a daughter of 17, he has 3 children from his first marrage his first wife died a few years ago, he has had a strained relashionship with his children you know on off family gatherings and phone calls but since he was diagnosed last January-Febuary we have herd nothing only through his sister and her family saying i can get on with it or put him in a home, i dont think any one deserves that, i would like to talk to them, but then i think why, its upset our daughter her dad is not that bad hes just a man who doesnt use the phone as much as he should, so yes famileys i hope that helps you with your problems, yes understanding.