My mom is 93, in fairly good health and still lives in her own condo, even though she is legally blind and has mobility issues (i.e. needs to use a walker all the time). I am her primary "go to" person for grocery shopping, doctor appointments and anything else she needs. I live about seven minutes away.
Mom is high-strung and even the slightest inconvenience sends her into a tizzy and puts her in tears. Today she left a voice-mail about her alarm clock. After daylight savings time, she needed to reset the alarm. Because she can't see to do it, she asked her neighbour to help. Her neighbour tried three times, but wasn't able to set alarm properly. Mom calls me in a panic, saying "this is just TERRIBLE that my alarm isn't working," and she's almost in tears. She asks if I could come over immediately and set it, but we're a one-car family and my husband was out with the car. Now, I am going over tomorrow morning to take mom grocery shopping, so I told her that I would happy to look at her clock then. Not good enough! She wants it done NOW or...could I come over tonight? I asked her if she really needed the alarm set for tomorrow morning. She said, "Yes, my caregiver is coming." I ask her what time her caregiver comes. She said 9:30. I said, "You're always up well before 9:30, but just in case, why don't you ask one of your friends if they can give you a wake-up call at 8:00. She said, "I don't know what time they get up." I said, "Ask them. Or, I can call you at 8, and then I'll be over later in the morning to help you." Well, she didn't like that at all. She went on about how awful this was. I said, "Mom, it's not good for you to be this upset. It's only an alarm clock and I'll be there tomorrow to fix it." She said, "You don't know what it's like to not see well...I feel so stupid that I can't do simple things like this." I do get where she's coming from, but I suggested good solutions for her. This is not the first time she's demanded that I come over to take care of a minor thing. I just can't do this constantly. It's about setting boundaries, but I still feel guilty when I say no. She has these "drama events" quite often and I find it hard to not get drawn in. When I see her tomorrow, I think I'll suggest that if she's having such difficulty with minor things, maybe it's time to look into assisted living. Thanks for letting me vent.