JGSmith Asked September 2010

My mom and her husband call me for everything but never take my advice. Should I keep giving them advice?

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JulieQ Sep 2010
I saw some pretty harsh answers on here! To answer your question, advice is cheap. Sometimes you have to act. Many elderly are not capable of helping themselves. Asking for your advice is a way to get your attention. You are supposed to read through the lines. When my mom was still living alone, she fell. I talked to her every night and she told me she had fallen in the afternoon but she "was fine." I asked her if she wanted me to come over and she said, "no." When I got off the phone, I called the triage nurse at her clinic, got some advice from her and called my mom back to tell her I was coming over. She was so relieved! She thanked me profusely.

No one ever sees themselves as getting older or being needy! I am shocked at the number of elderly living alone who don't want a medical alert. I'm the caregiver and I should probably have a medical alert in the event *I* would fall!

Another suggestion is to have your mom make you a list of things they need help with. Sometimes writing things down makes it seem less important. Get them a notebook or binder where you have written on the front...."THINGS WE NEED DONE." Makes it more official. As you do the things they want, check them off with the dates so they have proof that you are helping them. Sometimes helping means you care and love them.

Lastly, it's scary to get old and not be able to do the things you did before. I would suspect that most elderly know they shouldn't be driving anymore but no one is available or willing to take them places so they keep on trucking!

Caregivers need to be part geriatric nurse, part therapist, and part mindreader!
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leonard13 Sep 2010
All of us are sterling at giving advice rather than as a receiver so
an alternative maybe to suggest paths of alternatives: Your will
continue to disagree or ignore you but now you are exposing them to more pathways at a nhigher level.
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toadballet1 Sep 2010
I can relate...I have a "fix-it" personality especially for the people closest to me. I have spent hours getting all kinds of contraptions and safety devices for my Mom and installing them; only to find them tossed or in the closet. She NEVER takes anyone's advice including her docs, me, or family members. I found that the more available I was, the less she respected my time. Also, I work for myself, so she thinks that is less important than others who work in a "real office." So I finally decided to do the things that she really needed first (trips to doctors, picking up Rx.s, etc.) the "wants" come when I have the time.
I am the only one in my huge extended family who is a caregiver for an elderly parent. My cousins are fond of putting the old folks "away" when they get to "bothersome." I figure what goes around comes around. I will continue to help Mom live independently but it does not mean that I have to become the unpaid help. I think that this is the caregiver's plight: what does it mean to "care" for a parent? I think it means doing what is in their best interest for safety and wellness. All the other stuff is just an energy zapper. It has taken me several years to come to grips with this. I never knew where to draw the line.
My best advice is to do the things you are capable of doing - especially those needs that are urgent. For the other things, I highly recommend telling them that you will be glad to hire someone to do whatever they need...then do it.
good luck
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One aspect of this dynamic is, you fix stuff for the people you love and then you wish they'd better choices (=take your advice) so that there's not so much stuff to fix. You have to identify what's going on for you in this dynamic, what hooks you in. You will want to be more conscious in your own decision-making about what you fix, so that you are less hooked in by how much of it there is to do. Then if they just want to complain, you also are in charge of how much you choose to listen....
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hapfra Sep 2010
It sure sound to me like you need to stand stern and NOT be so availble to them- or if they are of sound mind, explain to them, that you are considering assisted living for them-if they are unable to handle their own affairs. Whatever happens -Don't be an enabler to them, as they most likely will ask more and more from you. If possible, try to have a discussion about all this-and make a plan of action that works for everyone.
I also like Ed's idea of screening calls~
You have to take care of your own life's issues, and DO NOT put your life on the back burner-if at all possible. Also reach out for support of other family members, as you have done in this great forum.
Best to all~
Hap
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picture Sep 2010
They are all right. I tell my girls if you don't want to get advice, don't call me. And they still do but I am much better at it. Usually I just drift off as they speak for such long periods. Thank goodness for the internet, gives me something to do during such calls. And it is true, these types of people, if you start on a long dialoge of your own, suddenly they have to go, got things to do. I absolutly love it when my phone's battery goes dead! Yippee!
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JG, wish I had a dollar for every time my mom did that to me and the family. We were always ready to help but she never took our advice. She has narcisscitic leanings. We soon learned it was all about her, all about the control and all about the drama. It ended up like the little boy who cried wolf, nobody listened to her anymore.
I like Ed's suggestion, screen your calls that way you have control.
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LynnPO Sep 2010
Stop giving them advice, start asking "Do you WANT me to fix this for you?" or "What do you want me to do about it?" or, "How do you want me to fix it for you?" If you get no answer then you know it's just complaining. If they really DO want you to fix things schedule time to go to their house and get several things done at once. If they ask you to come BEFORE that, tell them you have your own chores to do and just can't make it until the appointed day and time. It's hard to do this and stick by your guns - don't you DARE feel guilty - if it's not a TRUE crisis there is nothing wrong with getting your own stuff done THEN working on theirs.
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Eddie Sep 2010
JG:

You're probably the only person on their speed dial; plus you listen to them. And Naheaton is right. They don't want any help. Screen your calls, or tell them you'll call them right back ... eventually. Maybe the following week. Needy people equal entrapment, so flip the script on them for a while. Call them every half hour and see what happens. If you're lucky, they just might file a restraining order against you.

-- ED
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NancyH Sep 2010
Sounds like they're just calling to complain, not wanting any help. Just like most wives who need a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear from their husband, and not to have their man try to fix it.
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