My parents just moved into the nicest retirement community (which I found with advice from colleagues) after having lived on our street in a house that just became too much for them (even with a lot of help). They are now 20 minutes from us now in a very nice apartment in a senior community that makes just about everything more convenient for daily living, and enjoyable for seniors. They seem to be happy there and it seems like a good/smart/safer place for them.
My only sibling lives about an hour away. Since my husband and I are the closest geographically, we get all the calls/requests/etc. (especially when they lived on our same street; they were the ones who moved to be closer to us). Putting true emergencies aside (e.g., middle of the night calls due to illness/injury, trips to ER), we also get all the not-so-urgent phone calls for help. Since their mobility has declined, when they lived on our street, we regularly helped with garbage/recycling/mail/shoveling since they had a very long driveway. I am the one to find them doctors, print out directions or take them, run errands, bring down food they like, pick up things at the store, and get last minute requests to pick up Chinese take out (even though they have menus of places that deliver).
At times my parents could be very demanding but I wouldn't say that my parents are like some of the nightmare ones you read about here. Some requests are fine - "Can you please pick up my prescription and bring it when you visit?" But some requests are very insensitive as to my own schedule and they don't like it when I explain what my availability will or will not permit (I work beyond full time and have a young child). Some requests are rather impatient.
What really irks me is when I go over there (at least weekly) to visit/help with stuff, and immediately they have a long list of things for me to do (after all - I am "free help" and the retirement community would charge a fee for these services).
My husband and child have been good sports and help out all sorts of ways. Since my parents are still in that "moving in" stage, I am more than willing to help with a lot of clean up and rearranging so things are more comfortable for them so they can fully settle in. But then my mother says, after about an hour and half of work, "Now I want you to re-fold all the towels and linens in the closet so they are perfect like I like them." She is a little OCD and wasn't happy with what the movers did - they weren't perfect but they were fine and certainly a HECK of a LOT better than my linen closets!! So I pushed back and said - "I don't think I'm the best person for this job because this really looks fine to me and you know that I don't fold perfectly." She wasn't happy but she later found a cleaning person in the retirement community to re-do it to meet her VERY high perfectionistic standard (for a very reasonable fee that I'm sure they didn't want to pay but had no choice).
I do realize that a lot of the demands are to feel in control, to feel more comfortable in the new environment, but I do feel like they are "testing" my love and taking me for granted. I have gotten great advice from this forum about needy parents - about setting parameters and establishing reasonable schedules, to protect my own sanity/well being, and how it is better to feel guilty than resentful. But still I struggle with this uneasy feeling, like I'm a bad daughter when I won't drop everything and do everything exactly as they ask.
To be totally honest, I get the feeling they really don't want to interact with me so much as they seem to just want me as "free" help, though I do know I'm loved and enjoy my visits. It's not their fault to be less independent as they once were, but they have more than enough money to use the services of the retirement community and I just can't meet all their needs. Anyone else facing this?