How do you deal with "concerned" but not "involved" family members?

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My Mom has 6 sisters, all younger than her. Every time they come and visit its a million questions and suggestions....why is she like this, what if she has abcd disease? "Take care of her I know this is hard, but she will not be here one day." You don't know its hard because you're not here everyday!
One aunt who was willing to watch her so I could get away, backed out on me that same week.
They always pop up instead of calling so I could at least take a walk.
They are useless and make me feel like I am little kid getting lectured.
I know the answer is to probably just ignore them and try not to engage in conversation, and I will try!

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They're harassing and intimidating you. Don't let them do it any more. Think it over, work up your courage, and one step at a step, stand up to them.

For the sister who asks about a specific disease, tell her you're glad she raised the issue and will look forward to her assistance in identifying any issues that need to be addressed to determine if that disease might be a factor.

Ask, or suggest, or even TELL her to do research on good, reliable websites like Mayo or Cleveland Clinic, identifying symptoms, treatment and prognoses. And bring the information to you so you can discuss it with your mother's doctor(s).

To the sister who advises you to take care of your mother, say you're glad she raised the issue b/c you need help. Add that you're looking forward to a schedule she can provide to let you know when she'll be helping out.

Don't let them "pop up"; tell them you have a schedule to maintain, since you're handling all the caregiving ALONE, and that you need to know when people are coming to avoid disruption in your household.

Add that you'd like them to perform some of the caregiving chores you've been handling, so that they (a) learn how to care for Mom in the event something happens to you (keep a straight face when you say that), and also to provide relief for you so that you don't burn out and one of them has to take your place, full time.

If they find an excuse for whatever you suggest, ask what each CAN and WILL do.

They're getting away with intimidating and harassing you b/c they can. So stop them. I know it's easier said than done, but you're going to have to stand up to them and put an end to the harassment sooner rather than later.

Imagine what it'll be like when your mother is gone and they start meddling in every little aspect of estate management.

You're stronger than you realize; recognize that and use it to your advantage.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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They came back yesterday, and didn't really speak to me. I think they got the picture BUT they brought my Mom groceries! They think I am starving her to death! She has been having trouble swallowing until recently she is getting better, but they brought her a roast chicken! I have food in my house!!!
I am putting this in writing for future reference.
I will tell them I do not want suggestions, I want help! I need help! If they are not willing to help, they have no right to suggest and criticize me!
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Reply to anonymous786886
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Oh, and secretly document your requests for help, and their responses. If they start criticizing again later, you can remind them that you asked for help but didn't get it.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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You are SO right Garden!
I need to get the strength to say these things to them! For some reason I just can't bring myself to be honest and say what I feel/need. I would rather not talk to them at all!
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Reply to anonymous786886
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Hi Only child.,

Ya know, when I know I'm not doing my fair share, I usually over compensate with questions, suggestions, half baked concern and criticism.
Just to look like I'm really into it.

Have you flat out asked for more help from them, hands on? Or even money for respice? I know it's hard when you know their heart isn't really in it.

Sometimes others don't realize even an hour or two can mean a world of difference. If they don't, then tell them.

Big hugs. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
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Reply to Pepsee
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The next time they just drop in, you can tell them how happy you are to see them because you need to pop out for an hour or so. Or invite them to help you with whatever you were doing when they popped in and then suggest they call ahead the next time so you'll be ready when they come.
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Reply to EstherM
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GARDEN ARTIST IS SO"ON POINT". You're an adult caring for your Mom. Lay down the law and take control or this will only get worse FOR YOU! I recently had a challenge with siblings who do minimum ( buy some supplies and visit once or twice a week) and I stopped answering all of their text/email and calls. I'm the one " doing everything " for Mom. If their not going to assume any of the WORK then I'm NOT going to answers their questions of "fill them in!". They have been visiting her A LOT MORE. I've also fought hard to get Mom 24 care. Recently, an aide had to take a few days off. I brought it to my siblings attention. I told them, I wasn't going to cover those days, and I didn't want a new aide who doesn't know Mom to handle her. I told them I was going to pay the other aides to cover her shifts. I told them, I do it all and I shouldn't have to FOOT THE BILL FOR THIS. THEY STEPPED UP AND GAVE ME THE MONEY.
It's very very emotional/physically draining to do what we're doing. Stand up to those bullies. Lay it out to them. Tell them, THEIR SISTER NEEDS THEIR HELP. Instead of "drop in visits" , they can come separately and spend a few hours with her so YOU CAN REST! Put'em on the spot. Ask them for a commitment. WHAT DAY/HOURS work for each of them. Right it down and hold them to it! Even if they don't always come thru at least YOUR IN CONTROL, NOT THEM. Trust me, it'll only get worse if you don't take control.
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Reply to Melimar
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onlychild, with it comes to elder sisters seeing another elder sister who is ill, there is always a thought in the back of their mind that they could get Alzheimer's/Dementia [as per your profile]. They are scared. That is why they are hoping this is some other illness. Some feel that Alzheimer's/Dementia is inherited, and that isn't always the case.

Talk about scared, my Mom had one of her sisters passed in her 50's from breast cancer, so for the next 40 years my Mom had yearly mammograms. Nothing like taking a 97 year old who is frail, to have her mammogram. Mom insisted.

There is still that adult/child dynamic. You are still the kid, and what do you know :P Try to let their lectures go in one ear and out the other, only you know what is best for your Mom.
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Reply to freqflyer
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I feel your pain ! BUT.. I suggest looking at it from a different perspective.
Quick Background I am 1 of 3 sons. 8 years ago, Mom suffered a major stroke (hemiparesis, aphasia, apraxia, Bed/wheel chair bound , Dad had Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (passed 2015) , I took on the role as primary caregiver with promises from 2 brothers, Moms sister , Dads brother and my parents very close neighborhood friends to help.

Note: Help means different things to different people.

What you described above is the same thing that happened to us where everyone promised to help but it never materialized. In the beginning, (approx. 1-2 years) I slowly built up a resentment because I was the only one caring for them and it Appeared to me that everyone else was just “Harassing me” as a few people answered your post. I spent countless hours trying to GET THEM to see what they were doing, or not doing as the case may be. I won’t go into the daily occurrences as yours seemed similar and everyone reading this has their own unique experiences. Suffice it to say that We, The primaries, are always doing so much more than the “well meaning” bystanders.
The point is : WE made the commitment TO OUR PARENT (or loved one) and THEY made the commitment to US, the caregiver. The care for the Parent is Obvious but the care for the caregiver is hidden. Therefore, the Bystanders don’t FEEL THE PAIN.

Fast forward … They were doing the best they could under “their” circumstance = some were married with kids, some were going thru their own crap (nasty divorce), some lived 100’s of miles away, 1 was a sociopath (who will remain nameless) but even he “had” good intentions. I am not making excuses for them. They could have +++ and should have+++, but they didn’t and that’s just the way it is.
=======================================================================================
I will read a quote from my dad that he tried to ingrain in me when I was younger,” you get more bee’s with honey than with vinegar”

Even though they really didn’t help me that much, just their presence made my parents happy. It didn’t solve any problems, It JUST MADE MY PARENTS HAPPY”! As I wrote above, for the 1st year or 2, I tried to GET THEM to do more. And I tried many of the suggestion above. Guess what, It just drove them to defend their actions more. It created animosity which did more harm to my parents. It didn’t solve anything, albeit made things worse.

Here’s what I learned and did: Maybe it will help you.
1st: I made everyone and anyone who stopped by feel welcomed and appreciated, (never guilty)
2nd: I answered almost every question they had when they inquired about mom or dad.
3rd: If they had a suggestion, I asked them to write it down. This made them feel as though their questions were valued and would be addressed (ironically, a few actually were important)
4th: I created a “Space online *” where I added as much information as I felt comfortable sharing, like Blood work reports, pictures, maybe a little story on something we did. [Replying to your post “What if she has A/B/C disease”] , I even attached articles that I researched even if they weren’t relevant. That stopped my brother dead in his tracks of the A/B/C question.
5th: and possibly the most beneficial: I shared as many pictures and stories as I could that showed the “byStanders” what they were missing. Like a night out at a Pavillion concert of a Neil Diamond (cover) . I said above to not make the bystanders feel guilty, But when they saw their Ill parent, Sibling, or Friend having a good time “without them” , they felt guilty all by themselves without me pushing it on them. subconsciously, they might think, Sis won’t be around forever…………

This OnLine Space allowed friends and family to garner whatever they wanted on Their time schedule freeing me up from taking calls and answering their questions : Ya know. The INTEROGATION.
It also pre-emptively made them “feel” in the loop and important.
What happened was:
It minimized the Interrogation, It FOCUSED their attention (when they did stop by) onto my parents instead of “the discussion”. It simply made the situation better, Not just for me but more importantly for my parents.

Sometimes ya gotta lose the battle in order to WIN THE WAR .


*Initially I emailed everyone with these things but it only served to allow them to email me back with countless questions and suggestions so that backfire. Now they have a place to go whenever they want
* Facebook is a great place to share PUBLIC info like pictures and stories
* I do NOT share Bloodwork or Private info there, I use Dropbox and give access to only those I want to have that info

Here’s hoping this Food For Thought makes yours and your moms life just a little more enjoyable
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Reply to Uneekguy1
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Freqflyer
I do try to see their side. They are scared and wish they could do more for their sister. They could, but I think they hide behind their husbands, and grandchildren. I think they talk and talk and talk to hide their shortcomings and sadness.

Thanks for both of your replies Garden and freqflyer.
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