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I am 89 and I have a few physical problems. Besides which, I recognize that my memory isn't what it once was so taking care of husband's needs, of which there are more than mine, is really stressful. Those in my church don't seem to realize this and keep requesting that I help out when I am really tired much of the day. Our children live out of state, but try do what they can. We don't have the finances to afford help and so far I have been able to handle the laundry, shopping, meals and cleaning, but I do wish I could make my friends understand that I have all I can handle at present.

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There is a good suggestion for me in what you have offered. I have never been one to ask for help as it is difficult for me, knowing that so many others have problems of their own. However, I could ask that my husband and myself be put on the prayer list, which might make others aware that we are struggling. There is the possibility that my husband could reject this as being too embarrassing. He would not want to have to explain his problems to anyone who might ask.
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What sort of thing are they expecting you to do or to join in with, EmandEm? Is it possible that in their eyes they're trying to include you, and show you how much they value you?

I think you really must feel free to be very frank with them. For Heaven's sake, even without an infirm husband to care for, you are 89 - which I wouldn't be so personal as to mention if you hadn't first! :) - and surely that entitles you to a little down time after many years, I'm sure, of contributing to your congregation.

Good words to use to people who importune you for time or work that you can't spare are "realistic" (they will have to be), "fair" (it's about time you got back some of what you put in), and "sensible" (you have to be, unless they're planning to rally round and look after both of you once you've cracked under the strain).

Also, looking ahead a little perhaps, what about asking some of these friends for help? When they call and ask if you can bring a dish to a supper, instead of feeling you have to explain that you can't manage it you could explain that on the contrary you need help with shopping for groceries - and maybe somebody's young adult child could lend you a hand for a change. Fair's fair. Maybe it's time you claimed some payback.
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Show them your birth certificate.
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This really ticks me off. One reason is that my parent's church is pretty bad about this too. They don't ask my parents to do things, but, they are constantly badgering them about why they missed a church service. It's obscene, imo. My parents are some of the founders of the church. Actually they are 2 of the oldest 3 original oldest church members. (Since the 1960's,) They have given tons of money, labor and love to the church and now are in their 70's. They sometimes miss church service on Wednesday night and Sunday night. You would not believe the members who call them up and demand to know WHY they weren't there. My parents feel bad and guilty that they missed. It's obscene. Some would say that these well meaning people are trying to make my parents feel missed and valued, but I don't buy it. I think they are MEAN.

EmandEm, does your church have a church bulletin that is distributed out on Sunday mornings before church? I'd find out who prints it and ask that they insert a note that says that you and your husband request prayer to help with all you are going through right now and that any offers of help would be welcome. And if they keep bugging you, keep putting the insert in the bulletin. If that fails, I might ask them for a love offering to help pay for outside help to come. lol

It's very insensitive. Hopefully, the new pastor can put some sense into their heads.
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((((((((((Em))))))))))
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Thanks for your understanding responses. I would talk to our minister but we have an interim pastor while we search for someone permanent. And I have told others that I would appreciate it if they would not give me any duties but they don't seem to listen or take my situation into account. Fortunately, my husband is very good natured about his infirmitives and we do have good times.
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This makes me mad that Church expects help from an 89 yr old. They should be helping you. Like with a meal a couple of times a week. Taking you out while someone sits with hubby. You need to talk to the minister and have him come to your home. Tell him that these requests are stressing you out because you can no longer physically or mentally help anymore with the responsibilities you have. He can then go back to these people and request that they stop. If it continues tell them you are pulling ur membership and your money.
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Emandem - what a wonderful job you are doing taking care of your husband and yourself with physical problems taking their toll. Unfortunately, even our friends don't always take our own ageing and health changes into account if they need something. A person I knew for years bugged me to do his overdue taxes while I was recuperating from surgery. Sympathetic? Not. You have to firmly but gently say "No, I'm sorry. I couldn't possibly do that with my other responsibilities. I was going to ask YOU for some help with my tasks that are going undone." If they are friends, they will back off, perhaps help. Sometimes even friends don't want to see our limitations to help THEM. All they see is what they need. We have to keep repeating, Sorry, I can't possibly do that right now. Please take care of you.
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