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I pay for mom to have a landline in her Assisted Living apartment. She has some dementia from strokes, but manages to use her phone to call me when she needs something. I've asked her many times to call and check in with me if she hasn't heard from me, but never does. When I call, the phone rings and rings and she doesn't pick it up (God knows why). I've been sick and injured, and she knows that, and been trying to call for two weeks with no luck, and am disgusted that even after I told the nurse at AL to tell her I'm trying to call, she hasn't bothered to call me.

At this point, am I wrong to expect a little concern and consideration coming my way? A simple phone call?

And if you're wondering, she was never very other-concerned when it came to me, despite what she tells others (she's always telling them she hasn't heard from me and is SO worried). She's not on death's door either, she's mobile with a walker and participates in the activities at AL, wins at Bingo. If I tell her I have money in my purse for her, three hours later when I'm ready to leave for home, she'll remind me to give her the money (read: not THAT demented!).

I'm ready to shut off the phone, I'm so disgusted. Thanks for letting me rant : )

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It doesn't sound like your mother is so far into dementia that she can't at least answer your phone calls or even call you. Most people get too many calls.

If she's always been this way I think you have to just accept that how she is. Rant all you want here. You'll have plenty of company plus much empathy and sympathy. No guilt allowed : )

One suggestion: Could you call someone at the AL and ask them to go tell you mother that you are trying to call. In that way, you'd know she is alright. Let the rest go and rant when you need to.

Take care of yourself. That's a must.
Carol
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Stargazer, you have my sympathy for your frustration. If your mother is like mine, she is using the phone situation as an attention seeking means of control.

Mom never calls any one. In her mind it is their duty to call her and report to her their illness, death, marriage, life situations, whatever. But what she really wants is them calling to talk to her about her. Mom does not have dementia.

My mother is and has always been selfish and narcissistic. I once didn't call her just to see if she would pick up the phone and call me. It took a month.

Mom has always been difficult. My brother gave her a calling card after I moved to Florida and my dad used it to call his brother in Virginia. But never called me. She has a free cell phone but won't use it. Her landlines are old and have some issues she will not have fixed. She makes zero effort to have a close relationship with me.

If I were you I wouldn't call for a while. Being in assisted living, I am sure she is being looked after and someone would contact you in case of an emergency. People like our mothers are not concerned about your feeling or needs, only their needs. And as they age it becomes more so.

Having a sick or injured child I would be calling YOU, not the other way around. But that would be normal behavior.

One time we had two hurricanes in two weeks. Knocked out everything. Was a terrible mess. I heard nothing from mom or dad. I figured my phones were down. Nope, they just didn't call or give a you know what.

I truly understand your frustration.
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Stargazer, you are trying too hard. I say that because I have done the same. What happens when you have a self interested person, as you put it, we over compensate for the lack of attention we did not get. I had a realization just this week after something that happened to me that I try to hard. Not just with my mother (dad has now passed) but with everyone. And the harder we try, the more they will let us and use us.

I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting about overdoing things to make people happy, to make people like me, to not feel guilty. It all comes from never getting the love and attention we all need from a relationship with a parent or spouse.

So look,at yourself and see what needs you have right now and take of them.
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Countrymouse... I will bet you dinner that when she runs out of her special water, or her special yogurt, or her wrinkle cream, or money for the hairdresser, she'll remember to call and be able to do it. When it comes to getting her needs met, she has no memory loss or inability to express herself as all the AL staff will tell you : O If they are 5 minutes late on her pills, she's on them like white on rice.
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Your mom was never very people-centered, especially with you.
Your mom has dementia.
Your mom loves attention, and, apparently, a little drama in her life.

You don't need "justification" to have expectations of her, but I'm afraid they will mostly lead to frustration. Rant away here. Vent all you want. The chances of having an impact on Mom are pretty small. Sorry.

Do what you have to do to protect yourself from aggravation and frustration. It is OK to make some decisions based on what is easiest/best for you.
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Maybe she forgot that you want her to call when she hasn't heard from you in awhile? Or possibly she thinks she has to pay the phone bill and is trying to save money by only calling when she needs something?

On the other hand, if your mom has always been self-centered, there's no reason to expect her to change now. If the phone isn't being used for the purpose you intended, go ahead and shut it off. Tell her you gave it to her so she could call you to see how you're doing, but since she never does, you're not paying for it anymore. Then stand back and watch the explosion.
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Don't call her.

She won't call you. My mom is the same way. Actually, I like not talking with my mom. We (99% of the time) only talk on the phone if it's necessary. And I mean, NECESSARY. And when I do call my parents house, if she answers, she always sounds out of breath and like I've interrupted something very important. ???

I'd spend more time communicating with the AL facility.

So in regards to your question: "Am I wrong to expect a little concern and consideration?"

You're not WRONG. Just don't expect it.

I am chuckling here. When I've been really ill, or had some sort of injury or minor surgery, my mom will make her obligatory daily phone call for a few days. And, believe me, it's obvious that the calls are obligatory. Sigh.

Sharon
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TY, Sharon. I am tempted not to call her. Wait it out until she runs out of her cases of Poland Springs bottles (which I kill my back dragging to her), and then I'll get the call that she needs water (she refuses to drink the filtered well tap water like everybody else there, I got her spoiled). The evil twin within is tempted to shut off the phone so she can't call to tell me what she needs ("Well, you weren't using the phone and it's such an expense...").
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Stargazer, you know your mother and I don't, so I'm hesitant about this; but if the dementia she has is related to the strokes it will have done strange and random things to her brain. And one of the things that is very common is the inability to 'initiate' (i.e. get ass into gear). With my mother, it's getting up from her chair to go to bed. "I'm ready for bed." Nothing happens. "I'll go and wash now." Nothing happens. "It's about bedtime, isn't it." Nothing happens…

So, it could be that your mother is sitting there vaguely thinking "I'll call Stargazer." (! - no I know she doesn't call you that but you know what I mean) Nothing happens. "Oh I meant to call. I'll call her after lunch." Nothing happens. Etc., for the rest of time; and - importantly - even if the ALF staff prompt her she might well be deferring it - "I will when I've finished my coffee. I will after this my tv programme. I will, I will…" It's not so much she doesn't want to, as that she just doesn't get it together to DO it.

When my mother used to sit there looking mournful because my siblings hadn't been in touch - plus que ça change - I used to say (somewhat tartly, I admit): "if you wish to speak to them, call them. If you don't, don't." She usually didn't, and carried on looking mournful instead.

Yes, it would be nice, when one is recovering from illness or surgery, to think that one's ever-loving mother might pick up the phone and make solicitous enquiries. But if she's never been that type, you're kind of banging your head against a wall hoping she'll start now. Difference is that nowadays she might have some valid excuses for it.

Take a leaf out of her book! Call her, and demand sympathy and fuss! Wish you better, big hug.
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Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a prepaid cell phone? That way, if she's not using it, you're only paying for what IS being used. Plus, she could carry it around with her, and if she doesn't want to do THAT, then she obviously doesn't want to talk badly enough to answer the phone!

Also, I agree with what everyone else has said about it being "ok to expect, but you're just setting yourself up for MORE frustration."

I think that we're all at different stages and, therefore, different levels of frustration, awareness and even acceptance (maybe resignation?) in this season of our lives--whether we chose to be caregivers or it was thrust upon us (as in my case).

Talk about not caring? Narcissistic? When I lived out of state and was diagnosed w/cancer (at age 35), my parents had just gone thru a nasty divorce and my mother--who had never worked outside of the home--no longer had unlimited access to my Dad's checkbook. I came back "home" to have the initial surgery but, when it was time for radiation, semi-annual scans, multiple tests, lumpectomies and in-patient treatments for nearly 15 years, she never came. She never even called or knew when I was going thru any of this. Once, when we spoke on the phone, she said (which was actually her way of attempting to throw the responsibility back into my lap) "I don't have the money. Do you want me to call your Dad and ask him for the money to fly up there?"

No, I wanted her to WANT to come badly enough, like most normal mothers... but eventually had to face the fact that there was something wrong with HER. I even got to the point where I could see WHY she turned out this way; she was so wounded all of her life. But NOW, this is who is living with me and expecting me to take care of her.

She has sort of done this "about-face" when it comes to my health, because now, if I have even a nosebleed, she freaks out. I had cancer and wasn't cancer-free until 1-1/2 yrs ago, but we don't talk about that, but boy, if I have some Kleenex stuck up my nose, there's going to be some Mama Drama.

She had an MRI today b/c her FOUR dr's can't agree on whether or not she has dementia. I live with her 24/7. I can give them a list of things that prove it... but they want to keep doing tests. If her MRI comes back "clear" then I'm stuck with her--literally. She has burned every other bridge in her life, including my 3 siblings and 3 out of her 5 siblings. She has no friends, or if she makes new ones, they don't last long because there's so much wrong with THEM, of course.

So, Stargazer, all this to say... No one can tell you what to do. You have to decide: do you really want to waste ANY MORE time and energy on this? I choose my battles daily, sometimes hourly, because honestly(??)...my health is worse than hers and I'm sick of all the games. She's outta here as soon as I find a place.

P.S.: I'm so proud of myself b/c I asked her brother to take her to the MRI today. It was only a 2-hr break, but it was wonderful. I'll take what I can get.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS TO YOU ALL }}}}}}}}}}}}}} Be good to yourselves!
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