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A brief rant: Mom's oldest granddaughter is 27. She was always the closest with her grandmother, who was instrumental in raising her when she was young. She's always saying she's there to help, anything you need, just call and I'll be there and etc.

So today I had oral surgery thus I knew I'd be tied up and laid up for a bit afterward. I couldn't reschedule it again, it was a pressing issue that absolutely HAD to be taken care of NOW. I gave my niece seven days notice and emphasized that THIS was the day when I REALLY needed her to fill in, spend some time at the rehab, talk to the nurses and doctors in order to keep me posted and so on. "No problem", she said.

Well, first thing in the morning I get a text..."not sure if I can go today, no money, no gas in car, have to meet my dad (who BTW is and always will be a bum who did nothing to raise his three children and now wants a relationship now that they're grown) will call you later". Great. So I tell her no problem, swing by the house and I'll spot you some gas money. "Not sure if I can, will let you know".

So I have my procedure done, get my scripts filled and all i really want to do is get some pain meds in me and lie down. I text her to see how things are going, no reply. So I say screw it, I'll just go visit Mom now and she can go later in the day or whatever. I get there around 1:30 and Mom tells me her granddaughter hasn't even been there yet. Great. So I gut it out, gab with the PT nurse, chit-chat with Mom for a while and leave.

So I'm barely five minutes down the road and the texts start. "I saw you when you were leaving, visited but she's tired so I'll come back later". She did manage to stop by the house and pick up the twenty I left for her to use for gas, though. I go home, drug myself up and take a nap. I get up around 5:30, sore as hell, no messages. I try her cell, no reply. So an hour before visiting hours end I drag my butt back up to visit Mom again. "No, she hasn't been here since before" Mom tells me. Great.

It's not that she's a bad kid or anything, but often times it seems like all she wants is a quick daily update to make sure Grandma is still alive and once she gets that she stops worrying for the day. It's frustrating to say the least. I've let her know that she really needs to take advantage of whatever time Mom has left before it's too late but it's like talking to a wall. So my new approach is that I'm ignoring the daily update texts and telling her if she wants to know what's up she can either go and see for herself or she can wait around until it's convenient for me to update her.

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Dauph, thanks for sharing! In a nutshell, my niece is the kind of person who SAYS she'll "do anything" to help but when the need for help arises she breaks out the excuses and is nowhere to be found. And it even applies when I request a favor well in advance, too, which makes it even worse, as she'll wait until ten minutes before the thing I asked her to do then opt out, leaving me hanging.
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Your title is right on the head.

You have to do it, especially when you KNOW that your family cannot be counted on. You know it's on you, and there isn't a darn thing thing that anyone will do to help you.

When my dad was ill (he passed in 2012) I had a paid caretaker who I passed off as my boyfriend. (He was gay, I was a single mom, he needed cash, and sometimes I needed a break) "Kevin" could be counted on to check in on dad, run to the store for him, fix small things around the house.

If dad ever knew I paid him, he would have killed me. He had a thing against "paid help" in any way. But since he was my "boyfriend" it was fine. I know it wasn't true, but everyone walked away happier.

I don't know your situation, but if my story gives you any ideas, then I'm happy to have helped. Sometimes, the story is more important than the facts.

$.02 -Dauph
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Just an update: I've decided to just cut them out of the loop unless something fantastic or horrible happens. If anything they've become LESS helpful over the last few weeks. Mom might be 82 and losing it quickly but she sure called it re: the oldest one, she's about as useful as a football bat. Yesterday I asked her if she could drop by and feed the cat around dinnertime, as I knew that between visiting and a social obligation I wouldn't be home until the evening. At SEVEN o'clock in the evening she texts me and tells me that "she can't make it" THEN has the nerve to pepper me with questions about "how grandma is today". I mean sure, the cat was fine but still, not the point and definitely not "doing whatever I can to help". it would have taken her maybe fifteen minutes to get here, feed the cat and go back home and even THAT was just too much. So she's out now, unless something incredible or terrible happens she's just going to have to deal with not knowing anything and feeling anxious and uncertain just like everyone else does.
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Thanks for all replies, I appreciate everyone taking the time to respond to my rants!!

Sendme2help: if I take them all I won't have to hide them! Kidding, at least my sense of humor still works LOL! Doing well, back to real food again and thx for asking! Still sore but manageable. Re: money, that's not a problem as I'm not giving her any. If they'd like to EARN a few bucks I have plenty for them to do around here but I'm not holding my breath.
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Finished reading all above posts. Text reads: UPDATE. Reply reads: Don't have any money for you today.
Text reads: Where are you? Reply reads: Don't have any money for you today.
Next, take and hide all the pain pills. Hoping you are well enough not to need them anymore. How are you, anyway?
I wouldn't worry too much about mom, she already knows about her grand-daughter, as evidenced when she said, "Don't give her my money".
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dmanbro, if you change or tweak your expectations you will become less frustrated. I sympathize with your situation and understand you want the best for your mom. She has been admitted to a care facility for rehab, is that correct? Is that in-patient? Do you not trust to leave mom in their care for a day?
Your neice should not be allowed to visit af all because of the chaos and waking your mom up at her convenience. It appears she just wants "credit" for going so that you will continue to give her money. Stop giving her money, is my advice. I have seen this flaky behavior before. Have you checked for drugs? IMOP.
Sorry if I am way off-base, but can you explain why you are so panicked?
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I'd agree with letting the spastic granddaughter flounder around on her own.

I would probably send her an e-mail (I don't text and in fact blocked that feature on my cell phone) stating the conditions of visitation (I would e-mail rather than call because it doesn't sound as if phone calls are very productive):

1. NEVER wake up your mother when she's sleeping.

2. Either come or not come; don't harass you with explanations of what she's doing or not doing.

3. Take control of the update situation: if there are changes of which she should be aware (important qualifier), you'll notify her by e-mail. If you call her it'll just be another litany of excuses. Otherwise, if she doesn't hear from you, she can assume everything is okay, status quo, or proceeding well.

4. You spend a lot of time ensuring that your mother is getting good care; that's the bottom line issue, not updating someone who doesn't seem to be able to get her act together.

On the other hand, I suspect there are a lot of those in that age group today. And on the other hand, I was surprised the other day to see white haired people sitting in a doctor's reception area playing with their SmartPhones.

Their lives aren't with those who are living; it's with their electronic gadgets.

BTW, somewhere on tv in the last week or so I learned that there are now Internet addiction groups that provide therapy to those who can't get off the Internet. I suspect the DSM will be adding some new syndromes relating to electronic addiction.
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freqflyer: Yup and unless it's important it's going to be ONE call a day, after the visits and etc. are finished. I just don't care about her itinerary or her various woes nor can I plan my schedule around her vague plans for the day.

And that's if she even HAS a phone to use, as "right now" her own phone isn't working (most likely overdue on the bill again) so she has to use her sister's or her BF's phone to communicate. Fortunately, though, everyone's up to date re: tattoos (eyeroll).
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dmanbro, if the niece wants any information have her call you on the phone, no more texting. It is so easy to text, doesn't take much thought for the younger generation, then they are on to something else. A telephone call means she actually has to call and think on her feet when she talks to you.

My sig other's grown daughter [40] life is involved around her Smartphone. Sig other will fly in to visit her and he is competing with that darn phone.
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Update: So yesterday I stopped in to visit Mom right after breakfast. Brought her a few snacks she likes, picked up her laundry, showed her some photos, chatted about stuff, a really good productive visit IMO. When I left her she was (as usual) apprehensive about PT but all in all she was relatively fine.

So all day the niece is badgering me with the same old crap. "Updates? Not sure when I can visit today but can't stay long. Tough time paying for all that gas (facility is seven miles and an easy 15 minute trip away, BTW). Lots to do today (a lie)". At dinnertime (first time I was eating real food since oral surgery on Thursday) she calls me in a weepy breathless panic because "grandma is all groggy and saying weird stuff! What do I do??". Turns out she had PT earlier, which leaves her exhausted and agitated. Niece showed up while she was sleeping, woke her up (because God forbid her elderly grandmother is asleep when she finds the time for one of her ten minute "visits") and Mom was out of sorts and confused for a few minutes. I visited again after dinner and Mom said "yeah, I was dreaming and they woke me up for some reason". Otherwise she was fine.

So that was the end for me. Now I have her number on block. I can still see the messages and she can still leave VMs but I've had it with validating her feelings and reassuring her all the time. Already she's in a panic state, texting me and demanding to know "where I am" as if I answer to her or something. And I don't care at all, as maybe some real stress will be good for her.

Yesterday Mom was pretty hilarious re: her granddaughters and their perpetual money problems. First she made me promise that I wouldn't give them any money (particularly HER money) then she asked me how many tanks of gas they could have purchased with the money the youngest girl wasted on her idiotic tattoo. She's a real pistol and she knows those girls quite well!
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Yeah, I told her yesterday that unless she hears from me otherwise, everything is status quo. I don't think she knows what "status quo" means but nevertheless.
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Some people are so accustomed to texting or tweeting back and forth whenever a thought comes into their heads that they have become, well, thoughtless. Whether I am having lunch with a friend or meeting with the man to fix my roof I have to put up with the interruption of chimes, bells or whistles as their phones signal incoming texts or calls. Even if they don't answer it is distracting, more so when the texter sends repeated messages. Enough already, it's OK not to be constantly available!
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Countrymouse: "expectation management"...that's as good a term as any I suppose. Today I had to draw a line. despite telling her that I had a morning appointment and would be unreachable until around noon, the texts began first thing this morning. "How is she? Any updates?" at 9am. Then "I'll "try" to visit "later" I "have a lot to do at home". My reply..."who doesn't?". Then I informed her that her grandmother was asking about her (which she was) and visiting hours haven't changed since she was first admitted last week.

I'm not being drawn into some melodramatic battle of the wills here (it has happened before). She can either opt to step it up or she can keep finding excuses, that choice belongs to her. Even as I'm typing this the phone is blowing up with more texts..."how did she do in PT today?" and honestly I just don't feel like replying. It's a 15 minute ride, go find out for yourself.

I do hope that my niece's stupid approach isn't hurting Mom's feelings though, as I think it bothers her that she doesn't come more frequently. Then again she knows the kid is unreliable and always has been. Still though, it's disappointing.
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Or, Windy, trying to establish your life, build your career, take care of your family, or even just hanging out.
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I think you just take what you can get from the grandkids. I wouldn't ask much from them. If they stop and visit for a few minutes here and there that's better than most grandkids. My folks have 5 grandkids, my nieces and nephews, who live in the area and they are all very busy, self absorbed 30 something's, just like I was, and they visit hardly ever. When things first started going down hill with my folks I tried to enlist the help of the oldest grandson to help me keep an eye on things but soon realised this was really not his cross to bear. I'm the son and it falls to me to take care of my parents. I accept this and have no hard feelings toward the grandkids. I never lifted a finger when my grandparents were old and failing. I feel kinda bad about that now but I was just like these kids busy getting on with life.
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I think back to where I was in my 20's and I'm thinking it's more a case of her just not "getting it". I look back now and see things I had could have done to communicate more with my aunt in the nursing home or help my brother and sis-in-law more when he had cancer. Some of us develop wisdom with age and experience, some never do. I think it's a rare soul who shows that degree of selflessness and empathy at a young age.
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Dman, I have found trying to get my own chiodren, in their early 30's are very busy with their families and lives. They all live about 60 miles away and I would never ask them to check in on their grandma. Course with twenty dollars gas money she must be rather close. Still, even though her grandma had much responsibility raising her, I doubt Grandma ever felt that this child now owes her. If this young woman balks at your request to visit her grandma, don't push it, it is only serving to try to make her feel guilty which will just push her further away. After all, and she probably understands this grandma is being well taken care of.

It would be nice if the neice were more interested in spending time with grandma, but it will not happen if she feels pressured to do so. Stop reminding her that grandma would love to see her. Are you sending her daily texts as grandma update? I would do this a couple times a week at the most. Her irresponsibility is probably causing you more stress and frustration than it is worth. Leave her alone and she will come around and allow her to come when she wants to which will lead to more pleasant visits for grandma. She may be beginning to resent you and/or grandma for trying to force a level of involvement that she, for whatever reason, does not want to have.
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Dman, ref the preamble when granddaughter visits - some dam' fool's told her about "expectation management" and she's trying to avoid feeling guilty for not staying longer by, unfortunately, wasting what little time she has on explaining why she has to go. Smile sweetly and say "it's understood. It's nice that you're here now, let's make the most of you."

I get a similar thing with visits home - every phone call about them make me end up wanting to swallow my own tongue with frustration. Half an hour minimum on how she could come on such and such a date but then she can only stay overnight or she could make it in a fortnight instead and stay two nights or… Aaaarrggghhh!!! Whatever! I'm trying to find a nice way to tell her not to worry about it without ending up so exasperated I blurt out "oh for God's sake don't bother." Haven't found the right words yet.
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freqflyer: I like to visit each day as IMO it's good for morale. Obviously if I can't I know she's in capable hands, but still, I like to keep tabs and see how her therapy progress is going.
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Thanks for all the great replies everyone! Recovering nicely, it was a pretty brutal procedure but damn what a great dentist, talk about bang-zoom! It took longer to get my scripts filled than it did to have the work done! Feeling way better now, a few days and I'll be 100%.

One thing we WILL be discussing first thing tomorrow is my niece's awful habit of prefacing every visit with a list of reasons why she "can't stay long", as IMO it's a demoralizing and rude way to start her visits. Just because Mom is a little slower and a little more forgetful it doesn't mean she's an idiot who can't read a social cue. In fact today she kind of insinuated that she more or less "played" tired so her granddaughter would scram, as she didn't feel like hearing a laundry list of excuses followed by the usual cliches about "trying hard" and etc. Even when I'm pressed for time I make sure to treat my visit as a priority, not something I'm sandwiching in or that's inconveniencing me. I'd rather not have her visit at all if she's going to just rush through and check the time every two minutes. That's going to stop right now, as it's not conducive to offering the moral support and love she needs right now.

As far as her other two granddaughters are concerned, who the heck knows? The last time her youngest one visited she stupidly showed off her (sigh) new tattoo and I knew instantly what Mom was thinking ("how did you afford a new tattoo?") which I have to admit was pretty damned funny as it was my exact thought to a tee as well. I realize they're young and busy and all but still, their grandmother isn't going to be around forever so it's visit now or regret it later.
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On this journey that we're on, I've finally learned not to expect of relatives what I think they should do, but to be realistic as to what they might do. It helps to avoid anger and disappointment when someone doesn't accept responsibility for his or her promises to do something.

Dmanbro, if she offers to do something again, just sweetly and calmly remind here that she didn't follow through with her last promise so you don't feel she can be reliable. Or ask her if she'll follow through this time. If you don't want to challenging or caustic, don't bother to say anything; just don't expect that she'll follow through.
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I have the same question as FF. She's in rehab. What's the crisis here? When my mom was in rehab I would visit for an hour once or twice a day. Dad has dementia and I didn't want to leave him alone for long periods. It worked just fine.

This girl is 27 and doesn't have 20 bucks? Do we have a case of arrested development? In the future, she clearly can't be counted on for anything.
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27, doesn`t have money for gas ... why, doesn`t she work or if she does what does she spend her money on. Sounding like an oldster (which I am) I find the younger generations have no work or responsibility ethics at all, expecting that life owes them and wailing if they don`t get it on a silver platter and be spoon fed. I put it down to parents who went through hard times and have showered their kids with everything to make up for it, resulting in a greedy, whiny bunch of little losers.

An example. I live on 2 acres in the country and hired a young man from the village to be a helper around the place. He has no wheels so I have to pick him up, no problem. First time he was gung ho and worked well for 6 hours. Next time, he was sitting in my living room after an hour and a half whining he wasn`t feeling well and I had to take him home. I told him to rest the next day (Monday) and call me between 8 and 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday and we`ll see where we`d go.

He did call me and was dismayed that I was just heading into the city to run errands ... it was 10.30 a.m!!! He said he`d had a late start ... what! he lives in an apartment with mommy and obviously had just fallen out of bed. He`s 23 (by that age I`d been working for 7 or 8 years), never worked, can only think about playing computer games, smoking a little dope and making some cash for a snowmobile, boat, etc. just toys.

I give up. If you`re looking for some help look at older people who grew up with a work ethic and make sure you do a background and police check. You`d be surorised at how many have a long prison record.

You`ll get nowhere with the granddaughter so shut her out. Get some paid help.
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Agreeing to do it and then backing out is selfish and unacceptable. I think you are right not to update her on demand.

But it really is not as if Mom is on her own, or that Granddaughter not showing up was going to impair Mom's recovery. Should she have shown up after saying she would? Yes, absolutely. But I can understand that she didn't see the urgency in doing this. I don't either. It sounds like Mom has visitors everyday. That is awesome! But missing a day or two when you are under the weather or called out of town or something comes up and you just can't make it is not the end of the world as we know it.
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Dman, if I had a nickel for every time…

Granddaughter's 27. And nowadays (God I'm old) 27 = around about fifteen, if you ask me. And the only way to get a 27 year old teenager to concentrate and do what she's promised to do is to get on the phone - forget texts - and impress on her that you expect her to do X, Y, Z like she promised she would, and no excuses.

I have a lovely daughter, a little bit older and wiser now but not as much as you might hope, who would do anything to help anyone and over commits herself like crazy. I'd hear her on her cell phone to a friend (a friend six miles away in heavy traffic, mind you) saying she'd been held up but she'd be there in five minutes, thirty minutes, an hour tops… I cam eventually to realise that these were special units of time unique to this age group that a) have no relation to any we recognise and b) evaporate in the whirlwind of their lives as something more urgent or more interesting crops up.

So yes, she does need to grasp the concept of priorities. And she needs to understand what her grandmother needs from her when you can't do it, so you can't just wait for her to grow up. Be explicit - be nice, but be explicit. And be in her face in the moment, or someone else will usurp you again.

Drives you nuts, doesn't it? :)

Hope the pain's settled down and you get some rest.
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If your mother was in a rehab facility why did you feel the need to visit her when you needed rest from your surgery? It's not like you left Mom at home alone.

As for your niece, sounds like she needs to grow up and accept some responsibility.
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Yeah, just being patient for now but it was disappointing, as today was a day where I really NEEDED the help. I've politely tried to explain to her that when you make a commitment you can't bail on that commitment with no notice at all, as it causes a ripple effect that impacts people all along the line. Like I said, she's a good kid who's gone through a lot in her life but she really needs to grasp that life doesn't center solely around her and that sometimes you simply must make sacrifices even if they're not ideally timed.
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Why try to change a brick wall? She is who she is. As for her texts for updates..."Gram would love to talk to you. Give her a call." Over and over and over again. Count on her for NOTHING.
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