Follow
Share

It seems that everyone has an opinion. If my mom gets into a conversation with her eye doc, the dental hygienist, a niece who rarely visits or even grown children who rarely visit, EVERYONE has an opinion about how things should be. Mom is living independently and everyone thinks she would be better off in an elder care facility. She doesn't go out of her way to say that she is super happy, of course, because she has congestive heart failure and she is 92 years old, so life isn't perfect, but it seems to me that she is quite content most of the time. While I appreciate helpful information and references, it seems at times that people say to her she MUST live life the way they think is best, instead of according to her preferences. Since she is not strong, she doesn't argue and I just feel like she is being badgered inappropriately. If I'm not there, she just takes it all and seems to agree with anyone who is talking to her at the time. For example her eye doc thought she MUST have an iPad, and she agreed, even though she never goes on her desktop computer. We had talked about starting her on a Kindle, but once the eye doc got to her, she said that's a good idea. Other than being by her side 100% of the time, does anyone have suggestions about how to encourage people not to be so inappropriate with her? I have already suggested to her that she might start by saying she is OK with things and not be so agreeable to suggestions she ultimately will not do.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Judyjudy, yes... I am becoming an expert on what it's like to be in your 90s. Mostly it is a blessing for all of us who are around my mom. I also have to laugh at your family ritual. I can just imagine it... tho I'd only do it when I'm standing alone in a room. :-) Thank you so much for your support!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Stanford has a lot of CHF info on their website if you have not checked it out. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to get so much info, but it is a good site to earmark for when you do want more info. Mayo clinic also has good info.

You are doing fine and appear to have things set up so your Mom can stay in her own home, which is what we all want for ourselves for as long as possible.
I have found that the people and things/situations that come into my life have been there for a reason, however stressful. When I can learn from and utilize them, things seem to work out ok. However, as a friend of mine once said, "It may be good for me, but I don't like castor oil any better than I did as a kid!"

There is a line from a poem by Francis Thompson which asks the question,

" Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?"

It sometimes does seem that we get a little scorched around the edges by the vissitudes of life. When those "vissitudes" come on 2 legs, however well-meaning, it can be really stressful.

One good thing about all you are going through is that by the time you are in your 90's, having to deal with whatever you have to deal with will be a piece of cake!

In my family we have a little ritual to express the ultimate frustration with someone. We reach out with our left hand as if grasping the "Offender" by the hair, and proceed to "slap" the #$@^ out of them with the right hand! (back and forth "slaps") It is amazing how that little gesture relieves the tension, even if we are only "slapping" thin air! ARRRGGGHH! is also helpful! Hang in there.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, I do realize this is unusual, odd, funny in a twisted kind of way ... asking for help about getting too many unsolicited suggestions. I also, realize it might be funny to some that the eye doc is recommending an iPad, not an Eye Patch. For me it's very serious every day that my mom gets the care that she needs, that she is happy and that she doesn't get sent off track.

Judyjudy, you really helped by pointing out that I am feeling a lot of stress and concern for my mom and I'm overly sensitive during this time. Also, you provided a lot of great suggestions. I will implement some of them right away. I have to add that mom's cardiologist and other docs are all well aware of her living arrangements and they and mom and I are all in agreement. Also, we have all the legal document in order and we are managing her legal and financial situation appropriately with long term family financial legal advisors who I consider trusted family friends at this point. They are not making unsolicited suggestions.

I have a lot of questions about what happens with congestive heart failure, and the doctors and this site are helping me with that, but what troubles me is when people offer advice that has nothing to do with their expertise and has NOT been solicited. It is a tremendously stressful time and an unfamiliar journey and mom and I are hanging in there together through this.

Mamasugar, your point about suggestions with no willingness to help is also a factor. The ideas send mom off in directions that the suggestor typically will not be involved in implementing. We currently have adequate care coming into mom's home and we don't really need additional help at this time, it's just that while people mean well, they probably don't realize that for every 10 suggestions they offer, there are 10 others offering 10 more suggestions and sometimes mom feels like she owes it to the suggestor to look into what they think is a good idea.

As we have all mentioned on this site, some of my request is to hear your good ideas, to learn from your experiences and some is just to vent. I will continue to discuss the wild goose chases that people set mom on with her and I will file the best good ideas away.

Mostly I appreciate hearing your acknowledgement that this happens to you too and I like learning from you on how you've handled it. I love the point that ideas are like armpits... it just is the way it is.

Sending you my gratitude for your kind and thoughtful responses! They have brightened my day.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear Snoozi,
Every body has an opinion and/or advice when they are not in the trenches because they are NOT in the trenches. If your Mom just nods her head in agreement and then forgets and really doesn't want to do it, then I would just let it go, unless it irritates you and convinces your Mom to do something she really does not want to do; then I would intervene and tell them to stop. They see her only once in a while, while u see her.....? Everyday? Every few days? Every week? To me, you have the power and say on what goes on with Mom. Only you would know that. I think your Mom is doing the right thing by just nodding her head and just smiling. Maybe your Mom knows how to appease them and make them shut up by just agreeing? Smart Mom.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sooozi, If the things people say are not effecting your mom and she has no problem then what's the harm? Does she go out or have you buy or do, the things that have been suggested? Unless it will hurt her physically, or causes her pain mentally, I would just let it slide off. Everyone WILL have an opinion of some kind or other. That's the way of the world today, you just have to pick what you want to worry about most. With my mom I learned to not sweat the small stuff,....that sure saved me a lot of grief in the long run. Just smile and nod (like your mom does)...it seems to be working for her. And as long as she is still cognative enough to live on her own more power to her!! Good luck and Godbless..
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sooozi, I had to smile when I first read your post and you were saying you didn't want people to give their opinions to your mom, but you were asking for our opinions. Now you gotta admit that's funny. :) So...in my opinion... I would tell mom that I want her to be happy, and I don't want her to miss out on anything that I think she'd enjoy. BUT before she agrees to anything that anyone suggests she should do or buy, let's run it up the flag pole first. Let's sit down and talk about whatever it is she's being told is the next big thing, and put our head together to see if that's true. OK?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It can be very challenging for someone to hear different opinions from all their friends and family. I know they mean well and are concerned and thats great. I've dealt with this with my mom and have found they only share their opinions... no help. We have been told mom could not stay in her home. She told me she thought she could so we did research and found the help she needed to stay 10 yrs beyond what the opinionators said. She is still home. She always tells me what they say but they never offer any help. So when it comes time to help mom she says what do you think I should do. I always try to help her based on being there and knowing what her real needs are. It is a different thing observing someone and actually being involved in their daily care. Most of moms friends and even close family don't even realize her true condition and don't bother to get involved with her care. Therefore what they have to offer is always a little jaded. I just let them opinionate then do what is best for mother with her approval. So often folks mean well, even physicians and nurses but not knowing the whole story or condition just speaking from their perspective but you have to have the whole perspective. I suggest you let them rattle all they will but suggest you help mom make the best decisions for her. You will probably be the only one that really cares enough to really do anything when it comes down to the wire. Opinions are like armpits....everybody has a couple....... What really matters is that mom is happy and has a great quality of life as long as possible. Everyone told my mom she should not go shopping at Christmas because of her mobility issues.... they all opinionated and she cried, but who did she call at Christmas. I Took her to four malls and pushed her chair so she could do what made her happy and loved every minute of it, while they offered a mouth full of words. Pay them no mind and help your mom be happy as long as you have her. There is nothing as rewarding as seeing that smile and knowing she is happy. Blessing....Hope she becomes a centurion.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

As a Medical Social Worker, I run into this issue a lot. Sometimes people are seeing things that you may not be aware of, or they may be jumping to conclusions based on inadequate information. There are a number of things that can keep you from being upset and irritated by the suggestions.

First of all, be aware that part of your upset may be due to your own concerns about the future and an awareness that her abilities are not what they were 20 years ago. This often brings up a lot of grief and fear and a desire to put your fingers in your ears and go “la-la-la-la” whenever even you have to think about her becoming more frail or disabled mentally or physically. Having other people allude to your own worst fears and concerns will cause anger and a desire to run the other way or lash out and tell them “everything is fine” because you cannot bear for it not to be. It is human nature to avoid painful end of life issues and serious concerns until it really is bad and you are forced to do something.

So take a deeep breath :), and consider this an opportunity to begin to prepare for any eventuality in small ways that will make it far less traumatic in the long run.

Now in terms of dealing with intrusive, “helpful” people, try this approach: Tell yourself that this is simply more information for “The Folder”. Buy an inexpensive accordion folder with divided sections in it. Place all of her important medical information in it.

Treat the “ helpful” suggestions as just more possible resources. Ask your mother to simply thank them and say that she is “in the process of gathering information and investigating all of her options right now ”. Have some inexpensive e-mail address cards printed out for her. She can then ask them to put it in an e-mail for her so she can "remember all the details". That way, you both can quickly scan and delete or just ignore all the suggestions.
If someone is persistent, she can easily act flustered, and cut them off by saying she just can’t possibly remember all that and repeat the request to e-mail it. She can ask them to list the pros and cons and give e-mail sites so she can make an informed decision! Some might even be useful and having the suggestion in an e-mail would allow you to go on line and get more info. People who really feel that what they are telling her is important will follow up, and the others will not bother. If nothing else you will acquire a file of possibly useful information should she ever need it in the future! That way, you will not be reinventing the wheel at a time when you are stressed and being forced to make a decision. Keep in The Folder all useful info and e-mail sites for future planning.

She could also ask for a "home safety evaluation" from an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist and Medical Social Worker, should you become concerned that others might be noticing something that you are not. If her doctor is suggesting she not live alone, he or she can order that such an evaluation be done in the home. If there are compelling medical concerns, then Medicare will pay for the evaluation. This is also true if it is part of Home Health Care after a hospitalization. You can also request time with a Medical Social Worker specializing in Home Health Care, if she is ever hospitalized. The Hospital Social Services Dept. can expedite this process. This sort of assessment is useful in long term care planning. Discuss the issues of what structures might need to be changed in the home so she can remain there, or what resources might be required if she cannot. Should she be hospitalized and return home, you can ask the doctor to request a “home safety evaluation” at that time and long term planning services from a Medical Social Worker. Setting up Powers of Attorney , Appointment of Representative forms, Bank account and bill paying, Will, an "Ethical Will" and other legal considerations can easily be done with forms downloaded from the Internet. You should take care of this if it has not already been done. It will save Court expenses and hardship if this is all in place while your mother is still competent to make her own decisions. You or whoever she appoints will be able to step in with full legal authority should she become incompetent or physically unable to manage in the future. Be sure she has Parts A,B,C,and D with her Medicare. You can make changes now through December 7, this year.

By seeing this as an opportunity to plan for any eventuality and these people as possibly valuable resources, then it will be far less stressful both now and if things really do change in the future. You can also start looking at her home now and seeing what changes might need to be made to accommodate her, should she not be able to manage as well in the future. It is much easier to start looking at clutter that might get in the way of a wheelchair, better lighting for failing eyesight, hand rails, timers so she doesn’t forget to turn off the stove, emergency alert devices, lists of medications in one place, info for Emergency Ambulance Personnel regarding her health, doctor, meds etc. Are there pets or someone to care for them so the police do not have to take them to a county shelter in an emergency? The City of Oakland, CA has a very useful 9-1-1 Registry Questionnaire so that senior citizens who are at risk for having emergency services called for them will have a form on site which gives all pertinent information to expedite emergency care.

This is an opportunity for you and your mother to set up a comprehensive care plan for her future so that she can remain in her own home with appropriate community resources and that is what you can be working towards. Basically, this is a wonderful opportunity to set these things up and gather all the info you can. Then when people make suggestions, you can tell them that you are gathering all these resources and see their “help” as just another resource for the file. And hopefully, it will remain just that.. a resource you can utilize immediately should you ever need it. Change happens and the more control you have at the time, the easier it will be for you and your mother.
Hopefully you will never need any of the resources you set up, and you can tell people that you have a comprehensive plan in place should you and your mother ever need it!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you for your suggestions. Yes it might be her generation, showing respect.

Just a few clarifications... the eye doc wants mom to get and Ipad with all of the complex technology. She is starting with a Kindle (which is also quite advanced, but don't get me started on the comparisons). Why is the eye doc telling her what she must do, completely unrelated to her eye exam?

She agrees to the suggestions and asks me to carry them out ... even though they are counter to what she wanted previously. I sit down and talk with her through the "opinions" of others that she is asking me to implement and she then feels the ideas are not sound. It's taxing... to her and to me. She gets excited by things that are disruptive to her well being and then when I ask her if she really wants to go in that direction, she does not.

What do you do when everyone has an opinion .... we feel like a ping pong ball, depending on who spoke to mom and what new idea they insist she implement, until she thinks it over and goes back to her lovely life and the plans she already has in the works.

I'm not saying that things don't change and I'm not saying that some ideas are not helpful... they are. Some helpful suggestions are welcome.... BUT eye doctors telling her what kind of technology she should buy or a dental hygenist making an appointment with her to show her an elder care facility are examples that I feel overstep their professional relationships. My cousin who visits once every three years, etc etc.

Yes, this is a nice way for me to converse with my mom and help her think through the multitude of great ideas others have for her. I was just feeling like there were too many odd ideas coming out of left field, unsolicited and wondered how you might handle it. As with Linda GS' daughter, I suppose this is universal for all of us, throughout out life times. Thank you for your wording suggestion Yellowbrix. That is helpful.

Also, it would probably stop or slow down if my mom's first response was not to encourage all the ideas. I just feel like saying... who asked you for a suggestion and why does everyone feel like they have a better idea than the things my mom is already doing? She is OK.

It's just my own insanity in a slightly stressful situation. Thank you for listening and for your suggestions. I appreciate your ideas and hearing your similar experiences.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Perhaps the i/pad eyepad is about the functions it offers.
My grandmother had a giant contraption so she could read her mail. It scanned and enlarged everything, but it was terrible for cake mixes and pill bottles and other awkward things to read.
An ipad has a camera and you can place a cake mix in front of it and IMMEDIATELY have the directions legible. It also has choices about fonts and such for books you read. Some fonts are pretty but are cognitively VERY CHALLENGING. That can take all the fun out of a book.

Seperately. I wonder about the pattern. My daughter listens to all the crazy input at school about everything in her life and each day we debrief all the input. Should she wear her hair up, should she redo her math notes, should she hem her gym shorts a little shorter. At the end of the day we sit down and chat and it all pours out. We talk about each IDEA and decide which is a good idea and which is unsolicited nonsense. Perhaps that is why she shares with you all the stuff that people tell her. Perhaps she is asking for your help in clarifying which are mandates and which are sales pitches.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Is she complaining that people are always giving her unsolicited advice, or does it bother you more than it does her?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Oh now that's funny. JessieBelle's suggestion that the eye doctor meant Eye Pad, not I-Pad.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Sometimes, people don't even realize what they're doing. Some of you reaction might be guided by your mother's reaction. Does she indeed smile politely, then ignore the suggestions? Or does she feel "obligated" because some individual with a medical diploma on the wall said so? (Both are common reactions for that generation - extreme courtesy or submission to authority.) If their comments make her feel bad about herself, then she might appreciate you running interference. Dead-set eye contact with the speaker and the coldly delivered phrase, "Thank you. We will take your comments under advisement," will generally result in silence on the other end. Those words will shut down anyone with any sense at all - the ones who keep on after that? You'll have to actually pull them aside and tell them to stop it. Or, you can also call in advance of medical appointments and tell them not to bring up any subject other than the reason she's there. That is, her eye doctor doesn't need to worry about her housing. Her hair dresser doesn't need to worry about her eyesight. Etc...
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Well, who care if she is agreeable to suggestions she ultimately will not do? She doesn't owe her eye doctor the effort it would take to explain that her daughter already has a different idea. Let her agree, and then not do it.

I know that listening to uninformed opinions can be a drag. The ones I hate worst are the people who know God's mind and insist on telling me, and the alternate medicine folks who are sure a certain supplement will cure dementia. I don't usually think I owe them any explanations (unless we are stuck for a topic in a social situation) so I usually just say "that is an interesting idea" and change the subject.

But, yeah, it is annoying!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I also wondered at the thought of the eye doctor thinking she needed an iPad at 92 years of age. Maybe he/she meant eye pad.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It sounds to me like your mother has learned the art of handling people -- agree with them, then ignore the suggestions they made. It can sure beat arguing. :)
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter