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Mom and Dad live in a NH, and I don't mind bringing needed or most wanted items, but Mom is really wearing it out! She used to like going out with me to acquire items and I get it that at 87 she may not feel like going out anymore, but how do I not feel like the errand girl? Now that I look back, she ran my Dad raggedy...poor daddy,
Maybe I could have her make a wish list and once a month we review it and go from there?

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I would be sad too, but I do all those things and anything that I think would bring them joy as I've always have and don't mind most times because I try to put myself in their position of not being able to do for themselves any longer. I'm a giver by nature and because of that sometimes my giving nature can be taken advantage of...even though I know it's unintentionally done by my parents but it is done. Other people I can easily say no to, my parents I turn flips for! Thanks jeannegibbs for getting that it the kinks that I am trying to work out.
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I agree with you, vstefans, one of the pleasures of being an adult daughter is being able to do little things for the woman who nurtured you all your life. That is why I really hope sumierc can work out the kinks in her relationship with her mom and get more pleasure out of what remains of it.
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I know it can be a lot sometimes, and if mom was asking for stuff she would not use it would be different, but darn, I will be sad if I CAN'T run out and get her little stuff like her sugrafree candies or fancy kleenex any more. Her closet is pretty well full of clothes, and she does not like flowers or wear jewelry or do crafts or reading. She likes to go out to eat maybe every once a week or two weeks at the most. She can't see well enough to look at catalogs with me either. I did have to tell her no occasionally when she wanted a new item and she already had a good one already and it was too expensive (like new glasses when we had just gotten some and the Rx had not changed).
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I'm walking a fine line between sympathy and tough love with my parents. While I can't imagine what loosing ones sight must be like, I feel I can't go into a pitty party with mom because once there she will never come out. My personality is of positivity, Mom's isn't! She will agree for the moment then go right back to woe is "me" me, me me.
I have seen some improvement and i will try to dwell on us moving forward. I love the idea of audio recordings, but I didn't mention her hearing is very low also. It's sad to witness this decline in health, I only hope to help them and myself move thru it with love dignity and respect.
Thank you all soo much!
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Sumierc, I'm so glad that you've "realized what's going on in our relationship and I'm trying to find a healthy way to turn it around." That realization is half the battle, and you are fortunate to have come to it while your parents are still alive and you can change your attitudes and interactions with them. I'm betting you'll do fine!

Remember that denial is a coping mechanism, and it sounds like your mother genuinely has a lot to cope with. I can't imagine having my vision deteriorate to the point where I couldn't read, couldn't knit, couldn't do crosswords, and couldn't even enjoy watching television! I would think that this might seriously reduce my pleasure in going shopping or going out in general. What a sad loss! Perhaps something you could do that would be well above the errand-girl status is look into the program the Library of Congress has for visually impaired people. I understand you can get audio recordings of not only books but magazines and newspapers, and a simple-to-use player for them. If she is in denial, you are not doing this because she is losing her vision, but because it might be more relaxing for her to be able to sit back and let someone read to her. And you don't have to be restricted to Hallmark's calendar. You can go to church and lunch with Dad and Mom in her new outfit any Sunday that she is up to it.
Best wishes to you as you build a better relationship.
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I don't know if this will work for you, but when I felt myself being sucked into being the unpaid gopher, I hired a caregiver that comes by once or twice a week. If I were you, I would hire someone out-of-pocket to do errands for your Mom and Dad one day a week. When Mom calls, tell her to put it on her list for when the caregiver comes by. Then, you can go back to being the daughter and visiting them and helping them with their health decisions - which is what children should be doing. If your Mom tries to guilt you into doing the grunt work - just remember the mantra, "put it on your list Mom." I bought a Walmart gift card to give to the caregiver and just reload it when needed.
I hope this works for you.
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mapa2011, How great that must have made you all feel. Your Dad sounds like my Dad in that regards, he never asks for anything until 2 days ago when he said he wanted his freedom.
Stock up on those M&M's! and thanks for sharing a bright moment.
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I had a little different situation with my father. He never asked for anything(was in a Rehab & Nursing Facility) However, he was always reserverd, I knew what he liked and needed him to open up. He loves M&M's. Bought some for him and bought an M&M characture(looks like there viewing a movie & and you fill the container). That brought such a happiness to him(and all of his therapistst!!!!!!) From that point on he made sure I was informed if he needed more m&m's and dad checked everyday.
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jeannegibbs, most times I visit them twice a week, mid week and a weekend. I have a spot in my home for their, mostly moms most wanted items which consists of snacks, depends, cigarettes and other incidentals.
Mom was constantly asking me to bring her over the counter medications which I did at first but soon stopped because I knew better! She's on prescription meds. She can be very intimidating but darn it I had to tell her NO MORE.
Just recently, she wants to change to another cable company so she can watch her game show channel which to do so would cost $75.00 vs free cable. Not only can she not afford this but she blames the current cable companys "low frequency" for her not being able to watch tv clearly. she has macular degeneration which only worsened after the brain bleed. Now she wants a flash light! Is this major denial or what!! She is also a smoker, so @ $30.00 a carton, general snacks and incidentals, she exceeds their $60.00 a month allowance for medicaid. I insist that Dad gets a hair cut out of their allowance, jesh! He asks for nothing, he deserves a little treat weather he cares or not.
Mind you, I have no problem kicking in a few extra $$'s, I want them to be comfortable and happy. Dad is happy with a drink of water in a paper cup, mom could drink spring water out of a silver goblet and still want something else.
Mom used to go out with me and we would make it a mom and daughters day out, spent anyway she wanted, shopping, nails, hair, lunch. For the past couple of months, she's not wanting to leave the NH. I'm a shopper so while I'm out and about I don't mind picking up "a few things" but this continuous , bring me this, pick up that is past it's expiration date!
The last straw was Mother's Day. first she didn't want to go anywhere, then one mid-work day for me, 3 day's before Mom's Day, she declared she wanted a new outfit to wear to church and out to lunch if it was ok with me. I'm a shopper but I'm not a last min/crowd shopper. However, I fulfilled her wish. Mother's day came and she started with my stomach hurts I think I better stay in bed routine. So there is a brand new outfit, hat and all in her closet.
Basically, my mom has not been happy most of her life, I guess I fell into the habit of trying to bring joy into her life. I know its not my job, my place or my problem. But I've just recently realized what's going on in our relationship and I'm trying to find a healthy way to turn it around.
Once again, my parents are good people, were great to me and I am great to them however, there has to be limits so that one doesn't feel put upon like I have been feeling.
Thanks for allowing me to rant on and thank you more for everyone's words of helpful advice.
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cmagnum, thanks for understanding and sharing your story. I love my parents enough to say politely but firmly, No! or ummm sorry I can't do that. I'm the 50 yr old "baby" with childhood issues. My 96 yr old Dad who had a stroke last yr said to me the other day, she just won't stop worring herself and everyone else. Dad had a stroke and recently Mom had a brain bleed and stress played a very major role in both of their conditions. I'm very close to both of them but like you said healthy boundaries are a must and that's what I'm practicing on my daily walk.
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Your mother sounds just like my mother in law. She also sounds like she is viewing you as the substitute go fetch person that your dad was which is not healthy. After years of treating your dad that way and now you, she is not going to change. However, you don't have to buy into it. You can love her, but also detach from needing to please someone who sounds like has never been pleased for more than 5 seconds which is rather selfish. I've read so many stories here of daughters trying to please unpleasable mothers or trying to get their mothers to validate them or really be the nice, loving mother that they wish they had. That is a dead in street which if you continue on can kill ya. Know this much, you did not make your mom the way she is. You can't control it nor can you fix it and it is not up to you to fix her emotional state for her. All you can do is take care of yourself with healthy boundaries regardless of her changing or not. Remind yourself, if you need to from time to time that you are your mom's adult daughter. You are no longer her little girl. Your are not a substitute go fetch person in place of your dad. I'm convinced that my mother in law drove my father in law to an early grave by treating like like her personal slave and to this day the only reason she misses him is that he is not here to do something for her. I wish you well with these boundary issues.
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Sumlerc, how often do you call or visit your mom? Twice a day? Twice a week? Every other week? What is the nature of the things she asks for? Does she really use them when she gets them? What bothers you about this most? Is it the cost (does she pay for the items), the inconvenience, the expectation that you are at her beck and call? The solution might depend somewhat on the answers to these questions.
Is she physically able to go with you to shop? Could you say, "Let's go together and get that next Thursday afternoon, and have a nice treat while we are out." When she asks for something else on the next call, you can cheerfully say, "Oh sure! We can get that next Thursday, too!" I don't know if this would satisfy her because I don't know what is really behind all these requests, but it would be a way for you to satisfy your duty, express your love, and reduce the number of shopping trips. A variation on this theme, if she isn't mobile enough to go out to shop, is to shop online with her. My husband has dementia and he was really happy to look through an online catalog with me and pick out a new jacket. Much less stressful than in-person shopping! Most NHs have a computer for resident use.
It sounds like this is a long-standing pattern for your mother. I'm not confident you can change that. The person whose behavior you can change is you. You can say no sometimes. You can establish a schedule that is convenient for you. You can decide that it is her need, not your issue, and at this point you are willing to meet her need. Then do it graciously, without feeling like an errand girl. Just recognizing that you really do have options, that Mom is not in control of your behavior, might make you feel better about whatever decision you make.
Let us know what you try and how it works out.
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agecare232, thank you. I'm not new at giving and don't mind doing things for my parents as I always have however, even they had a limit with me as I beleive everyone should have limits, I'm just looking for a loving way to have my limits and to say no sometimes. Giving people everything they want is not necessary a sign of love.
Thank you.
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Keep loving your (mom or grandmother whichever ) and remember she did A LOT of running out and getting for you. Give a little back. She will not be with you forever.
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Thank you daughtercarer, I usually don't have a problem saying no, but I've been evaluating my relationship with my mom and I have been trying to please her all of my life. She's always appreciative but the feeling doesn't last more than a few mins before shes to the next request. I've just began saying "no" to somethings that are against my better judgement but I'm trying to over come trying to make her happy and me feeling angry and used.
WOW! As I write this I'm having 20/20 hindsight. This website helps provide wisdom and for me, foresight.
Thanks for all helpful replies.
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the wish list is a great idea but it depends on your mums attention span. And some time "love is no". (though I struggled with this). A friend who is looking after her grandmother has the confidence to say "I can't today" & it seems to work for her. Her grandmother respects her more. Though everyones situation & family are different. Sometimes we have found that when a behaviour is ingrained it is impossible to change & trying to change it just wears you out & adds to your stress. Hope this is helpful.
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