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My sister won't move out

(19 Posts)
Nicea Fri 10-Nov-23 09:40:34

My sister was bereaved 18 months ago. Since then she's been sleeping in my spare room because she doesn't want to be alone at night. I am used to living alone and I need my space and my privacy. I've told her it can't be a permanent arrangement and she gets upset. She leaves at 8.30am to go to her own place nearby, then comes back at 10.30pm to sleep. What can I do?

Grannynannywanny Fri 10-Nov-23 09:52:15

Could you maybe go to her home for a few overnights to encourage her to settle back?

rosie1959 Fri 10-Nov-23 10:01:04

Even though she gets upset you are obviously going to have to explain to her that this is no longer going to be acceptable.
If she is in her own home all day can she tell you what is bothering her about being there overnight. For instance is it a really rough area ?
Suggest maybe she gets some company in the form of a pet may sound silly to some but if she is an animal lover they can bring great comfort. If alone I would get a dog preferably a big one with a loud bark !

pascal30 Fri 10-Nov-23 10:05:40

You've been amazingly loving and tolerant but now it's her turn to understand your needs. Would it be possible to work out a graduated resettlement with her.. maybe you or someone else sleeping at hers for a few nights.. then perhaps her alone with her mobile near her, or one of those alarmed response plans with a company.. and get her to talk to a counsellor about her fears.. as long as she's listened to she can probably face leaving yours

HelterSkelter1 Fri 10-Nov-23 10:14:06

Can you try 2 nights at hers 2nights at yours and the other nights she tries being alone at hers. Maybe for the winter. And then encourage more time at hers in the Spring.

Has she any family of her own who could spend one night a week at hers?
I enjoy Smooth Chill on the radio as a background and would have it on all night if needed. No news and very little speech.
Has she got a good lock on the door if she is frightened and a mobile phone or landline by the bed? A rescue cat could be a good idea for company on both sides!

I have no idea how I would be in the same situation so I sympathise with her...and you.

M0nica Fri 10-Nov-23 10:48:16

You do not saay how old she is. Couls she get one of those personal alarms so that she knows she can always summon help if needed.

I know some people do find the idea of being alone in a house at night very frightening and if you reach old age before you experience it, it must be very difficult.

It would probably help her to have counselling or possible a course of CBT therapy. After that could you go away for a weekend so that she would not be able to spend the night with you and only have the choice of 2 empty houses.

BlueBelle Fri 10-Nov-23 10:56:06

I think helterskelter s idea of a graduated move is a really good idea little by little and yes it may not be the best time of year to start the process, lighter nights might be easier if you can hang on
I can also understand from your side I ve been on my own so long I would find it very difficult to have someone staying long term

Casdon Fri 10-Nov-23 10:57:36

I wonder is it because she is frightened of being alone at night wherever she is, or whether she is frightened of being alone in her own home because she has to confront the reality of the loss of her DH, and that’s always very hard if you wake up in the middle of the night? It may help her if she can change up her bedroom so that it feels different, or if she could try sleeping in another bedroom if she has one. I agree that it would be good if you could stay with her at her house for a few nights, to try to understand exactly what it is she is frightened of. Getting a dog or a cat is also a good idea, as there is another presence in the house then, which changes the way it feels.

Glorianny Fri 10-Nov-23 11:11:36

Lots of great ideas. I wonder would you be willing to call her, or let her call you during the night? So maybe a call at bedtime, one or two during the night if she can't sleep and an early morning one. It might help her get through. It would mean a few disturbed nights for you.

welbeck Fri 10-Nov-23 11:22:00

would she consider getting a carefully selected lodger, or something like the homeshare scheme.

welbeck Fri 10-Nov-23 11:23:48

Theexwife Fri 10-Nov-23 12:15:30

I would speak to her and say that it is time to stop this as it cannot go on forever, dont plan when it will happen or she may fret about it and her fears will become worse. She will probably get upset which will be hard for you to see, however if you want it to end then you will have to harden to it.

Could you go away for a night, or a few days to force the situation? When it has happened once you can then say to her that it will get easier.

MerylStreep Fri 10-Nov-23 12:26:31

She could try a natural sleep remedy together with a tv that you can set to go off after a certain time, ie the tv is on when hopefully the tablets send her off to sleep and the tv will automatically turn off when she is sound asleep.

sodapop Fri 10-Nov-23 12:51:31

A graduated move sounds like the way to go here. I think you need to set some time scales for this as well Nicea otherwise it could go on indefinitely.
Good luck.

Georgesgran Fri 10-Nov-23 14:10:36

I’d also favour a graduated move. My Sis-in-Law didn’t want to use the same room where her DH died and having put a big tv on the wall opposite the bed, she’s very happy in the spare room.

I do think Casdon has a very valid point about the cause of the fear - afraid of being alone in the house full stop, or afraid because her DH isn’t there.

Possibly, this is the worst time of year to resolve things, but try to make it clear that things must start to change in Spring.

Allsorts Thu 16-Nov-23 13:13:37

I’m afraid it’s got to be be faced, sooner rather than later, this isn’t really helping, she’s just postponing the inevitable.. I would just say you need to move on but will support her.

greenlady102 Thu 16-Nov-23 13:22:21

I know its a horrible thing to say but I don't think its helped that she has had a choice. A week after my DH died I had to be home alone with no choice in the matter for very good family reasons. I am not saying that the first few nights were easy but it had to be done.

Georgesgran Thu 16-Nov-23 13:52:09

I never left the house after DH died - couldn’t see the point in going off to stay with either of my DDs and being alone in a big house had never bothered me in the past, so on a practical footing, it made no difference.

Nicea Thu 16-Nov-23 15:27:43

Thank you all so much for your helpful contributions. I now have various approaches to consider. I do need to balance my own needs with hers and I do think I have to set a time-limit or she won't face something that has to be faced. You have suggested a number of options that could make it easier for her to move forward.