I've been on here many times for advice, and greatly appreciate everyone's insights. My 92 year old mother, who chooses to live in her apartment, expects me to be at her beck and call. I keep firm boundaries of taking her out twice a week and to doctor appointments, but she comes up with medical issues where she wants to see a doctor the very week I tell her that I have something important going on or when we have company. I am at my wits end, just having been there this morning to take her food shopping, and now called back to take her to the doctor for an "emergency" appointment SHE made for another issue. I have asked her repeatedly to call me first, then I will make the appointment. I am taking her, but afterwards telling her that unless she call me first, I will not be taking her to the doctor or other appointments. So many times these are nothing other than her wanting sympathy and attention. I waiver between worrying it actually being something and saying enough is enough. Any suggestions?

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The solution lies within you, pattiac. As long as you allow yourself to be ordered around and at her beck and call, Mom will be more than happy to do so. My mom was the opposite. She was content with one visit a week, but then went around telling everyone I didn’t have time for her.

You are a grown woman, blessed with grandchildren. You have a life. Take Mom’s demands to the extreme and offer to call transport for her, be it Uber, Lyft, community transport, or, like in our town, we have a gentleman who will take people to medical appointments. Found him on Facebook. If she says it’s an emergency, offer to call 911. At my mom’s senior apartment, the community transport stopped right at the door. When I was very busy with my own grandsons or hubby, she either took that transport or went without. If you have something going on, four words, “Sorry, Mom, I cant.” Do not say “I’ll be right there.” If she persists, kindly suggest moving to Assisted Living where she will have constant attention. Like my mom was, your mom may be jealous of you and your life. This is not a curable condition, just one to be dealt with.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
pattiac Apr 4, 2019
So true - I have to be part of the solution for my own sake. I did tell her after her appointment that if she needs more than the two days I can give her, she should certainly call on our neighbor, who she pays, or consider other options like in home care, a cleaning lady, etc. She will never change, so I have to in order to maintain my life.
Keep your boundaries. She is taking advantage of you. If it is that serious tell her to call 911 or get a taxi. Stick with your schedule -you need your own life too.

It may not be wise to tell her much about what you have going on. Mother, who was narcissistic, would pull an emergency when I went on holiday or had a special event. She had to be the center of attention and come first all the time. So I didn't tell her.
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Reply to golden23
pattiac Apr 2, 2019
I agree, Golden 23. I tell her the least amount possible. Unfortunately, she knew about this one because she's aware that our grandson is due and it affected her outing. Other than when I have to, I try not to tell her anything. I believe my mother is narcissistic, too.
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Thank you all for your input. It gives me strength to hear what you all suggest. I come here often to get and give advice. Sometimes things will be peaceful for a while, then the proverbial s#@t hits the fan. It's tiresome since this is who she was since I was a child and it was like parenting them with all of their issues (alcoholism, co-dependence, and narcissism). The last year I've pushed back a great deal to maintain my life and force my mother to see she either needs more in home help or to go to assisted living nearby. We have several nice places nearby to consider. If there is one thing this has taught me, it is NEVER to be this way with my children. They deserve their lives and it brings me and my husband much joy to be with them! Thank you all for your time and support!
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Reply to pattiac
disgustedtoo Apr 5, 2019
Those of us who deal with this vow to not be like that with our children, and that will likely work so long as we have our mental faculties relatively in place. If some kind of dementia kicks in, all bets are off!!! Just be sure to provide them with the warning signs and how to deal with it!!
My mom is 93, lives with me. It’s like their only socialization is at the doctor’s office. I absolutely hate it. She loves it and wants me to be all chipper about it, like, whoopie, I get to go on my social outing to the doctor and my mom is the center of attention on stage, embellishing facts that I have to correct. Just gets crazy!

I feel your pain!
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
pattiac Apr 2, 2019
NeedHelpWithMom, I have to correct my mother as well, and she gets furious, but I'm not going to waste the doctor's time on phantom imaginings. It is crazy and whenever I try to put her in her place, she turns it around on me!
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My mom does this "OH, I am so glad to see you! I have been praying and praying for you to come" line on me when I go see her. (Very rarely these days.) I call her on it. "No, mom, you were NOT praying for me to come. Love of heaven. If you need ME, call me". She won't. It's far more dramatic to have her pining away in her apartment praying for me to show up to do A, B or C. Trust me, it's NEVER anything important.

She sets up for me to take her places and then gets my YB with whom she lives to take her, so I show up, she's not home, doesn't know how to answer her phone and I trot home wondering what happened. If I confront her with this, she acts coy and small--" oh, you're just so busy all the time"--I decided to ask R.

MOTHER. I PLANNED to take you. I planned my whole stupid DAY around this. I think she just enjoys looking "popular" if that makes sense.

We had a family event on Sunday. The entire family was there--and she wanted me or DH to run get her, run her to the event (45 minutes away) and then bring her right home b/c she doesn't like sitting on hard chairs. So, DH or I would have spent literally NO TIME with our kids and g-kids. She saw no problem with that.

Mostly I have found that I just don't tell her anything. She only cares about what came in the mail, what somebody said about her cute shirt at Bingo and how much everyone adores her. It gets old.

She'll do this to YB too. She needs him, he is in the garage or up in his office and she will simply sit in her apartment 100 feet away and wishes he'd come down. I asked her why she didn't CALL him. (The one number she can remember)...hemming and hawing,,,no answer, just wants to be his first priority or something, I do not know.

We have to set the boundaries. If I let her, she'd eat me alive.
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Reply to Midkid58
NeedHelpWithMom Apr 2, 2019

Don’t think there is a comfy chair for them, do you? My mom is never completely comfortable. I get it. She’s 93. I really don’t want to get like that. You know, voice so many complaints to my kids.

I have started practicing now. I hardly ever complain to my kids. I do not want to make them miserable over petty BS or something they have no control over. I can’t change the chairs in waiting rooms!
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if it’s a real emergency, you will know. I go through something similar with my Dad. It stopped as soon as I said I couldn’t take him because I was out of town. This could also be a work conflict or a prior personal commitment. After that, he agreed to let me make his appointments for him. Those are the only ones I take him to, unless it is a real emergency. A real emergency is life-and-death that requires a trip to the ER, not some new problem that needs a scheduled appointment with one of his doctors. You have to make your line clear, and stand by it. Every time you take her in (and then “slap the back of her hand” after) it reenforces that it is not a real line and she gets her way every time.
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Reply to Mel2159
Oskigirl Apr 5, 2019
My mom is in AL and they have told her (usually in the middle of the night) that she does not need to go to ER (all vitals OK, and the docs find nothing wrong...). So, since she still has her phone, she is now simply calling 911 in the middle of the night and taken to the ER where they find nothing wrong... *eye roll*... The last time, because she was in the ER, she missed her scheduled doctor's appointment, in fact.
Yes, I get it. My parents aren't that old, but, they don't seem to utilize a lot of the planning and executive function that they used to. I would question if she just isn't able to do things the way you want. As seniors age, even if they don't have dementia, they seem to lose their ability to empathize and recognize that others can't be at their beck and call.

It seems to be wildly popular though. I see it with my parents, their friends and my friends' parents. The only thing thing that I know is have her reschedule or just leave all the scheduling up to you. Yes, that's more work, but, what's the alternative? There are some senior transport options in my community that operates for very modest fees. The problem is how long the rider may have to stay out for the day, due to the number places the mini bus takes people. You have to take your lunch, since you could have to wait most of the day to get back home. Of course, some seniors might like that, because there are lots of people to chat with. Or, you could hire private drivers.

I'd consider that she may be forgetting what you tell her. Of course, she wouldn't admit that.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
paulfoel123 Apr 3, 2019
Ah yes patient transport. Dads options were:-

1. Patient transport for free which takes a bit longer.
2. Taxi £20 return which he can EASILY afford.
3. Me taking day off and losing £100s (Im self employed consultant).

Guess what Dad thought was the option he should have?
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Sunnygirl1, I do try to stay flexible to her needs and agreeable to her aging process by adjusting each week as needed, but for her it's never been enough. I asked her to let me know whenever she needs an appointment, so I could make the appointment and then let her know. Partly for my convenience but also because she seems to have difficulty following conversations on the phone. This came out of the blue, and now that I took her to the doctor, it's clear that when she talked to my neighbor earlier in the week, she was annoyed that my neighbor mentioned how busy I'd be with our new grandson. That rubbed her the wrong way and triggered her need for immediate attention. I wish I could blame her lack of empathy and selfishness on her age. She has been this way all my life. It's just magnified with age. I don't mind helping her, it's just frustrating that instead of appreciating it, she just wants to pile more on when she feels threatened, ironically by her own family.
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Reply to pattiac

I have the same thing with my mother. I talked to a neuropsychologist who emphasized I need to take care of myself first. If I start falling apart / getting ill then I cannot be here for my 5 year old, my wife, my 98 year old grandmother, and certainly not for my mother. He said I have to be ok with the boundaries I set in place and stick to them. There are many things in life that cannot be controlled and we certainly cannot control others. Once I stuck to the boundaries my mother got the point. She now has a care giver come in once a day for 3 hours so I know if anything happened she will be ok. If she gets to the point where she cannot afford I will ask one of her neighbors to check on her or call her once a day with a time limit on that call. Believe me I know the manipulation that they can place on a person but you have to take care of you first. Hope that makes sense. It took me a long time to come to terms with my situation but after I fell ill twice from stress I said no more guilt / manipulation. I hope that helps. You are not alone.

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Reply to foxpc586

My mom's dementia is accelerating and this has been the endless issue. "If you don't come to [her city] and help I'll be dead." She keeps going to the ER because she is sure she is "dying," and they find nothing wrong. Two of us siblings live plane rides away. The other lives not too far away but works long hours and travels a lot. Now she is calling us in the middle of the night to say she "doesn't feel well" and needs to see a doctor. She is in a very nice Assisted Living where she has access to round-the-clock care.

I'm trying to create boundaries, too, but it is difficult because she doesn't remember what we've said or done, and instead criticizes and guilts us.

Sorry, other than sticking to boundaries, I do not have any good solutions, but feel your pain.
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Reply to Oskigirl

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