How much time should be devoted to an elderly parent during the course of a week?

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My mother is 77 years old ,is in fairly good health. She live approx. 10 minutes away, 20 in traffic. She is able to and does use township transportation to go to the mall with her friends 3x per week. She spends 11/2 hours there and is home by 11am. I take her to most Dr. appoints which is usually 1x mo. I visit every Fri eve after work to take her shopping, banking or for prescription pick-up. On Sat eve I visit at 4;30pm, Take her to church @6pm and usually stop for coffee or ice-cream afterwards. I am getting back home @7;30 or 8pm. Sometimes I go over on Sunday any where forom 2 to 3 hours depending on where she wants to go. I work full time. Have a 17yr old that I take back and forth to work appox 3-4 times per week. My daughter is in 12th grade, I am also in the middle of college searching. My son visits my mother every Thurs eve fo dinner and usually stays for 11/2 hr. My Mothers complaint is that noone visits her enough or does anything with her. I also took her down the shore last month for 4 days. My only vacation this year. My mothers friends have large famies with lots going on. My mother is constanly telling my older son to give her a great-grandchild because all of her friends have one .My son works 2 jobs and his wife is in school and also works full-time.They are getting very tired of hearing this. He cuts her lawn every week. but this doen't count as him visiting her she says. My sister lives out of state , she visited 2 months ago and did not rent a car,so I drove her several times. She did nothing to help my mother ,. My main problem is I think I do enough but it never is enough for her.

Answers 1 to 10 of 11
Has your mother always been this way? I think the great-grandchild thing is absurd at this point and the subject is being used as emotional blackmail. If I were him, I would tell grandma, "if you bring this subject up again, I am not going to visit you on Thursday and not cut your grass anymore." This will most likely not change her, but he as well as you need to set up some boundaries for self-protection. Your mother sounds like an unpleasable, narcissistic, "mommy dearest" type personality. You do do, enough. You might be doing too much. That is not your problem. That it is not enough for your mother is her problem, not yours. Otherwise, your mother is going to destroy your son's marriage and possibly your relationship with your daughter. Don't give in to her emotional blackmail which is ignited by Fear, fueled by Obligation and runs on Guilt, i.e. F.O.G.
Top Answer
I agree about the great grandchild thing, tell grandma to back off cause it's a non-issue at this time. And even if it wasn't, it's not something she has to drive into the ground thus driving her grandson away. That's stupid. I also am the one that entertains my mother-in-law since she's a widow and I'm the one that doesn't work outside the home, plus live the closest. She however lives in asst. living so she's not isolated unless she wants to be. My husband and I take her to church Sunday, I personally see her at least 2 other days a week to run around and do dumb stuff together. It's working for her and me at this time. She has it in her power to get involved with the activities where she lives, even with her limited eyesight and terrible memory due to Alz. They are more than accommodating to her, so when she'd rather sit there and watch TV & hold up in her room, that's on her and I'm NOT going to feel guilty. So my point is, when you're doing Friday's and Sunday's with her I think that's wonderful. Throw in some phone calls in between if you wish to keep in touch, BUT your family (husband/kids) are your first priority I believe. Your mom has it in her power to keep herself occupied if she wants to, she just wants it to be you. Don't go there.
Hi Carol, I like to get to the point: Your question shows that YOU think you are already going above and beyond the call of duty! YES, you are! I AGREE.
It's too much. I have a very selfish Mother, too, and they don't get any better if you keep catering to their narcissism.
Go once a week, the kids should go when they feel like it--maybe once a month. Tell her "That's the way it is, Mom. I have a life and my kids come first". Of course, if you have a husband they all come first:)
Make sure you find a very nice care home when she is not able to take care of herself anymore. Do NOT bring her to live with you. State your boundaries, and I pray that you do. Hugs, Christina
By the way: anyone of any age, that is not aware that your children need you first, and are not thinking of anyone but themselves, need to be left alone for a longer period of time. I am absolutely sick and tired of self-absorbed people!!!!
Sorry. I had to vent:)
Youi sound like you are doing more than enough.
The only thing I'd add here is this: Has your Mom done any pre-planning? Is there a plan in place in case she can no longer live on her own? With such a demanding mother, one for who nothing is ever enough - you need to begin thinking NOW about what level of involvement you are going to have in her future care. So many of us have found ourselves 'forced' into the role of primary caretaker because of our parents demands when we ruly lacked the resources to do it. Good luck to you!
This is WHO she is. I just learned this myself. My mom has always been a selfish, demanding and ungrateful person. It comes out more now that she has dementia. I do EVERYTHING for her and she calls me every day, many times, asking "when are you coming over?"...after I just left...sometimes it is NOT the disease it is just her wanting the unreasonable.
You are doing enough...do not let her get you down and know in your heart (and you do) that you are the best daughter ever....and you are!
Wow. I think you are doing MORE than enough and I probably would slowly back out of one of those week-end days - Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday? Friday evenings I would try to make a 'family' night if your kids are around and visit Mom another day.

When do you have fun with your kids? Or just unwind to do anything for yourself?

I think it's too much when combined with a full time job - college aged student; younger children. . .

Just be busy with other activities that you 'simply must' be present for somtimes. She is playing you like a drum and you are wearing your self ragged.
I feel your pain. No matter how much myself and 3 sisters visit or do things for Mom it is never enough for her. It's hard, but setting boundaries is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. You are only one person and her happiness shouldn't be at the cost of your own. Do what you can and let go of the guilt.

Someone told me once not to let her take up rent in my life and then I realized that she was renting she was almost residing in it. Made some self preservation changes.
I was experiencing somewhat of the same issues. It sounds to me like you are giving up alot of your free time to entertain mom and it's never going to be enough anyway. I now visit mom twice a week, schedule permitting and since I haven't been running there every other day, she's gotten used to it and our relationship is much better. I have less resentment and she's learned other coping mechanisms.
Carol-From what you have described about your Mom---you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't...I woud try to call a family meeting together with her and everyone involved with her care and try to iron out issues....Perhaps she has not actually expressed what really might be bothering her....It would be a win - win situation. Best------------Hap

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