Follow
Share

I have a cousin who DMs me via Facebook every day now that my mother has been hospitalized for pneumonia & various other health concerns. No phone calls, just messaging. Mom is approaching end of life, and I'm doing everything in my power, as the only child (at 62) to make her as comfortable as possible & get her proper medical attention. She'll be going off to rehab within the next few days, and we're not sure she'll ever be able to walk again & return to the ALF she loves. It's not easy.


Yesterday, I was feeling frustrated because mom suffers constant vertigo & none of the doctors can give her relief. While expressing this frustration with the doctors to my cousin via DM, she DM'd me to 'have patience, you'll feel such a void after she's gone'. I truly felt like smashing my phone right then & there. WHY do people feel the need to make such remarks, as if we're not stressed out ENOUGH going through the end of life process & trying to make 1,000,000 decisions & keep all the guilt at bay? As if we're doing something to 'speed up' their demise?


I will no longer be DMing my cousin; if she'd like to talk to me, she can pick up the phone & call. Her sister, by the way, does call my mom and tells her all the time how she'd love to come pick her up from 'The Home' and have her come live in N.Y. with her. Meanwhile, she's never even come here for a visit, never mind anything else! If she did, she'd see that it takes 3 shifts of caregivers to care for a woman with dementia, incontinence, severe neuropathy, depression, stroke, A-fib, heart failure and about 10 other medical conditions. But hey, it SOUNDS good to make those off-the-cuff-remarks that aren't real, doesn't it?


To all the friends and family members who have Free Advice for us caregivers who are stressed out to the max, please keep it!

Find Care & Housing
Free advice is often overpriced.

I cut them off. We have a crazy aunt in the family who I tried having patience with but after enduring years of her off-the-cuff asinine remarks, I now openly ridicule her thoughtless remarks. And I don't care who hears me. A few months ago at a family gathering to which we schlepped my FIL, I rephrased every idiotic unhelpful statement she made and asked her if that was what she was suggesting. I wore her down and she finally just kept quiet about issues regarding my FIL.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
Report
cherokeegrrl54 May 24, 2019
Sometimes thats just exactly what you have to do!! Good for you!!!
(5)
Report
See 1 more reply
I saw these come backs on a website. They might come in handy for a lot of us whose relatives like to give unsolicited advice.

1. Thank you kindly for the unsolicited advice. You obviously know so much more about my life than I do.
2. Unsolicited advice is like somebody singing out of tune. Nobody wants to hear it.
3. I don’t base my decisions on advice from people who don’t have to deal with the results.
4. I didn’t realize you were an expert of my life and how I should live it! Continue while I take notes.
5. Don’t judge a situation you’ve never been in.
6. Thanks but I’m an expert of my life.
7. Have more than you show and speak less than you know.
8. I must have Alzheimer’s because I don’t recall asking for your opinion. (My favorite)
9. I’m sorry I offended you by ignoring the unsolicited advice that you shoved down my throat.
10. I’m sorry, I didn’t order a glass of your opinion.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to polarbear
Report
MaryBee May 24, 2019
Tempted to use some of these! I take my 94 year old motherinlaw to all her many appts for various chronic problems. Out of town SiL likes to make recommendations for new and highly specialized clinicians for her mother to see. In exasperation once, and not eager for extra appointments, I told her, Well the next time you come to see Mom you can make an appointment for that specialist and take her yourself. Haven’t heard a new “recommendation” since.
(11)
Report
See 3 more replies
Some of the comebacks suggested here are priceless! I'm one of those people who think of a snappy comeback after stewing over someone's asinine comment. I actually had one woman at church say that my Mom didn't seem like she had dementia. This after she said good morning to Mom and Mom said good morning back! That was the extent of the conversation and suddenly she was an expert! I don't have any great advice but I can certainly commiserate. I've learned that people, well meaning or not, can say some of the stupidest things when they don't know what to say. A simple hug or even just "how are you doing" or "I'm thinking about you" would be so much better.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to TiredSue
Report

((HUG))

Ignore them. They have no idea what is going on. Your sister is in LaLa land.

My brother and wife have not lived here for almost 40 yrs. Have not since where our 3 main employers have left the area and with them our tax base. They can't understand why Moms house cannot sell for more. Because, people are not moving here. Plus, there r houses in a lot better condition.

So, come here to vent and don't look for any compassion from cousin and sister.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

I am a Geriatric Care Manager and have been working with Seniors for 23 years. I specialize in seniors in long-term care. I can not tell you how many family members are quick to tell their siblings who are actually caring for mom or dad things like you are describing. I often hear these family members or friends say things like "you can't put them in a nursing home, it will kill them you need to keep them in YOUR home. " Really, I just say that sounds like a good idea, when can you be here to help out? There response is usually "I am too busy to help out", but they expect you to give up your life to provide the care.

I think it is a good idea to cut off communication with the family members who are stressing you out! You must put yourself first. If you don't then you will be the one in the hospital! I can't tell you how many times the healthy spouse dies first because they were so busy doing the caregiving that they did not take care of themselves.

Take care of YOU so you can care for your loved one.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to cjwilson
Report
cherokeegrrl54 Jun 16, 2019
Thank you for a very common sense answer!!
(0)
Report
I'd so be tempted to block the cousin from Mom's phone.....we had a relative suggest getting a dog for my 96yo frail, huge fall risk FIL "because he could use the company". Another suggested we pop my 99yo mother onto two planes, three airports across country for a short visit. This weekend, "well meaning" people will be politely criticizing that we didn't throw a big birthday bash for my mom, who's hearing, vision and cognition are greatly diminished.

Ignore her messages - if she asks about your silence, tell her you've been too busy with your mom for social media.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Linda22
Report
lealonnie1 May 23, 2019
Linda, well that takes the cake!!! Sending a 99 yo on 2 plane rides for a short trip and getting a DOG for a 96 yo fall risk!! And when I think about the reality of throwing a big birthday bash for my 92 yo mom I cringe. The logistics of just getting her back and forth to my house for a holiday are a total nightmare. These people just do not get it at all, do they? :(
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
I hear you. My father's entire side of the family decamped to Florida 40 years ago because they hated NJ. All of his siblings are gone now, but my cousins in FL continue to give me unsolicited advice on caregiving for my brother, who is on the autism spectrum and is often uncooperative. He never married or had children, leaving me literally the only family he has left. Because he's also socially isolated himself, I'm the only person in his life he has left so I've taken over caregiving by default because of course I'm not going to leave him out in the cold. One cousin told me my brother should move to FL because the weather is so much nicer and he'd have the opportunity to go out more (knowing full well that my brother also has extreme social anxiety and prefers to isolate himself at home). After pushing the idea so much I finally snapped and said, "Really? Are you going to take the time to see him every day, take him on his errands and doctor visits, manage his finances, make sure he takes his meds and eats properly, all while holding down a job and taking care of your own household? Because that's what my life is all about now and will probably continue for at least another 20 - 30 years." Cousin never mentioned moving again.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to TSPiggy98
Report

I've thought more about your question and wish to share two tactics from an outstanding self-help book, Coping With Difficult People by Bramson. Granted, many comments just blindside us and we turn into open-mouthed sea bass, but I've practiced these two until they are ingrained and they sure help me!

1. "This is a strange conversation. How do you foresee it ending?"
2. "What do you think I'm going to say next?"

Both are questions that place the ball in the other's court and they work best in conversation, not in DMs or texts and in this day and age, they may be outmoded. Anyway, I hope this helps and your status as front-line caregiver and an only child is respected.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to pronker
Report
jacobsonbob May 28, 2019
Thanks, pronker; I'll have to remember these!
(3)
Report
See 2 more replies
I think people mean well, but they just don't HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE.  I know and sympathize with you completely.  Some days the only thing that keeps me hanging on is my faith.  This role-reversal isn't natural and the stress of 24/7 caregiving is exhausting.  You are exhibiting signs of burn-out and believe me, I know burn-out.  Please take - or should I say make - time for yourself, before this affects your health.   💙💙💙
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to dlpandjep
Report
lealonnie1 May 23, 2019
I don't believe all people mean well.....in the case of my 2 cousins, they love to judge everyone and everything, and to get their message across in "subtle" ways as in calling the wonderful ALF The Home.
MY faith has been a huge help too. I'm definitely burning out after 8 years of being an only child in charge of everything. I lost Dad in 2015 which was blessedly quick, but Mom is hanging on and the ER visits, falls and hospitalizations are frequent and exhausting. She starts rehab tomorrow to rebuild her strength but I don't know if she has the will to work with the therapists at this point. I'm grateful for this site and all the support and understanding from the caregiver community
(5)
Report
See 1 more reply
When someone complains to me about something I have no idea about I usually say "I wish I could offer some good advice but since I've never been where you are I can't but I do sympathize and if there is ever anything I can do to help, let me know" I do sincerely mean that too by the way. I know there are people who offer to help and then make themselves scarce just in case you take them up on it.

Nothing like being a caregiver for a declining loved one to make you more aware of those around you. I M O.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Gershun
Report
PandabearAUS May 28, 2019
Yes. I also say “ anything you need. Anything at any time of day or night” and I mean it
(1)
Report
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter