sacline Asked November 2011

My mom is killing me. She calls at all hours wanting to know information. I am worn out, what can I do?

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Mom is 84 and resides at an assisted living facility, she has very bad arthritus and other age related health problems. Last night since I would not stop everything and look up her meds on the computer, she blasted me and said I do not care. She told me that since she no longer has a computer she cannot look up side affects associated with her meds, which if she knows of them she always ends up having them. Now she thinks her meds could kill her (most medications have many potential side affects) and since I do not want to look them up , I dont care. She is in assisted living and seems to not get enough attention so I get these calls daily. What can I do, Last week we made three visits to the Doctor, it looks like I will have to take her again this week, nothing changes. Soon her Doctor may give up..but I cannot...she is my mom.... but I am afraid this daily complaining and Dr visits is killing me...No matter what, mom is unhappy, uncomfortable and just plain mean at times. She wants me to listen and take her to the Dr. constantly, it is her neck today, her leg tomorrow, then confusion, then her back, then her stomach, then her teeth. Seriously my mother has an issue every day, it is always something and If I do not come running , then I do not care, I am beginning to think otherwise. Maybe I should not respond everytime, she is not going to be happy anyway. My sweet wife is very helpful but at what point will she say the heck with this...I am just worn out and have very little patience....what to do....

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Jaye Dec 2011
thank you for your encouragement!!!
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maggiesue Dec 2011
Jaye, it sounds like you are using boundaries to me. I think part of good boundaries is not taking on responsibility for someone elses feelings. Most high maintenance mothers get anxious if they don't get an answer on the phone. But that's not your fault if you're mother gets anxious. It's her experience and only she can deal with it. And yes behaviour will escalate before it tapers off once you set a boundary which may be what's happening when your mother calls multiple times. And that's the hard part of boundaries. Once you have set them you have to keep them. You can't be answering the phone when you want to discourage that behaviour.

You arranged for your mother to get her banking done and didn't rush over there to take her when she called. I'd call that a boundary.

As for respecting boundaries, of course she never will. Because if she respected them you wouldn't have to set them. What you are doing is requring that she change her behaviour by changing your behavior. It's not easy. There will be lots of opposition from her corner. And lots of gut wrenching from yours. But eventually she will mellow. And you won't come home from work sick.
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Jaye Dec 2011
yes that is really good however my Mother has NEVER respected boundaries and I don't have that option. She will keep calling me and get my anxious til I call her back!!! Yesterday I literally went home from work sick she called and was insistant that I take her to the bank. I just said Mom I can't if you will wait my husband will help you. we just have to let her know she cannot run rough shot over us... I love her and so does my husband thank God!!!
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maggiesue Dec 2011
Good boundaries, PamelaSue
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moonchild Dec 2011
i am going through this with my mother, she has been a hypochondriac my whole life and it only has gotten worse. do what i do, DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE. let it go to voice mail. i listen to the messages later and then decide if any are important enough to respond.

my mother asked me why i don't answer my phone and i told her the truth, "mother, you call too much to often, and it's usually about things that i can do nothing about until the next time i visit, so i call back shortly before the visit". she said, "but i worry about you, i thought something had happened to you and steve and the kids". i told her that if anything had actually happened to us, that she would have been informed.
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sixthchild Dec 2011
My mom calls all the time and will usually leave a voicemail. What my mom doesn't understand is that she is not really talking to me, but she is leaving a "voicemail" . . . where she carries on a one-sided conversation. I just have to smile and laugh . . . getting old is hard and once I figured out that its okay NOT to take every single call she makes to me, I can deal with her better. She is in an Assisted Living Facility for a reason and I know she is getting the care she needs. My mom is 82 years old and worked right up until 5 years ago. She is a go getter and is very, very independent. Being in this AFC home is NOT with her approval and of course, she misses her family. If she wants to call me and carry on a conversation on my voicemail, that is okay with me. I will call her back when I can and when I'M READY to talk to her. I love her dearly and want only the best for her, but I have to do what is best for me too, and it sounds like you need to do this as well before you end up resenting her.
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Tamara Dec 2011
The loss of independence is a big deal when our parents health causes them to have to move to an assisted living center. The fears of end of life, lonliness, feelings of uselessness and many other emotions that they have to deal with and try to work through are difficult for them. Maybe your Mom just wants to feel your love and enjoy as many visits & conversations from you as she get, therefore looking for any reason at all to get your attention. My Mom passed away in May (85 yrs old) and believe me I would give anything for just one more of those phone calls. I did use the idea of keeping a note of her physical complaints to talk to the doctor on the next scheduled appointment unless it was something serious that needed immediate attention. Good luck...make sure you tell her that you love her...you never know when that last phone call will come.
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planeman Dec 2011
There are telephone answering machines that show the number of the caller. You then have the option of accepting the call or to not do so.Personally, I would record a this message, "Hello, this is Jerry, I.m away from my phone right now but if you will leave a message I will get back to you when I return." Of course if your name isn't Jerry..................
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marielove Dec 2011
My parents argued constantly about my nannas demands and too late we discovered she had ll the symptoms of dementia and was just scared. Attention is something old people do not get enough of in this country and they lose their dignity and independence when in AL. When we get married we expect to come first and take precedence over our spouses parents but your wife wasn,t there when you were growing up and your mum was looking after you. Its tiring and a balancing act but instead of your mum just having her ailments to focus on perhaps a weekly fun outing will give her something to look forward to. Make sure you take some time for you, pamper your wife and set boundaries with your mum, maybe her complaints are the only time she feels listened to. Is there no one else that can pop by and see her? A couple of my mums friends stopped by to give my mum a break, we the grandkids did as well and I must be honest deep down I do feel resentment that my dad forced my mum to make choices and guilty for visiting my nan and not going with her so hopefully your wife understands and would do the same for her parents. Read the book "contented dementia" its excellent if she does develop further problems.
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palmtrees1 Dec 2011
Keepontryin, this actually sounds like my Mom. She has abandonment issues too. However, she never calls anyone. Even me, her daughter. I can go for weeks and weeks without her ever calling me, my brother, any of her siblings, neighbors, etc. It is our job to call and check on her. She keeps a tab of who is calling "her" and who doesn't. I call her almost daily, that sort of makes her happy. She really wants my brother to call her daily since he is closer to her and could be of use to her. Strange what parents do in their old age. Mom is very selfish, lives alone. But my brothre is 6 miles away. She tells anyone who will listen that she has "no one", which translate into my son and daughter are not at my beck and call. I guess I am sort of lucky that she doesn't call me. If I decide to not call her today, it will take about 3 or 4 weeks for her to pick up the phone and call to see if I am dead or alive. All of the parents are just pulling our strings. Geez
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