Sabotaging Siblings/Children?

Sabotaging Siblings/Children?

Sibling SabotageHow many of you have worked with a senior who clearly needs to make a move into a senior living community? Maybe she is lonely, not eating nutritiously, no longer driving or desires the social connectivity of liked-minded seniors. The senior is one visit away from selecting an apartment and putting down a deposit. A daughter has already consented that her mom needs the support of your community and is emotional exhausted from helping her mom. The son/brother is coming to town and they want him to put his stamp of approval on this move.

Suddenly, the senior and the daughter become uncommunicative with you. The family is a no-show for the scheduled tour at your retirement community. Your phone calls to reach out to them are unanswered. What happened? Are they okay? Did something happen and maybe the senior is in the hospital?

Most likely the son came into town and sabotaged the deal. “Mom is fine. She does not need to move into an old folks home. It is too expensive. Just keep helping her sis.” Maybe this son is in denial or maybe he is worried that mom might drain his inheritance. Either way, it is a sad circumstance for the mom who will lose out on a better quality of life and the sister who is tired of taking care of mom while raising her own children.

What can you do? How can you handle this situation in the best possible light?

Here is my suggestion: Next time, prepare the mom and sister for the brother’s visit. I would say, “I would love for your son/brother to come see this community and the apartment that you are considering. Just remember, when you tell him that you are thinking of moving here, he might believe you are moving to an old folks home filled with hospital beds. He won’t be able to imagine the lifestyle you will have living here. I think he will be blown away when he sees the 5-star dining room, live entertainment schedule and all the classes that you want to partake in. Let him know that you understand it is hard to believe and ask him to come see it for himself. Let him know how excited you are and that you want him to support your decision.”

Please share in the comment section below how have you handled this situation in the past.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.” It is rated by Amazon Editors as one of the best books of 2014 and readers have given it a 5-star rating on  This award winning book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

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  1. Great article Diane! I’m in the placement industry and this exact scenario happened to me several times. I was always blaming myself but after reading your article I’m convinced that it was sabotaged by a family member.

  2. From Linked In

    Kathryn Watson
    Director at

    This sounds like my story exactly! My mother in law was all ready to move several times and her son would squash the deal. We were not able to move her until a crisis happened. It was so stressful for everyone.

    Diane Masson
    Regional Marketing Director at Freedom Management Co.

    Hi Kathryn, it is really hard when one son does not understand. The procrastination is devastating for the senior.