I just got off the phone with my 89 year old Mom who is blessed to have good health, mobility and very capable. HOWEVER, she has been very selfish the entire time we’ve had her living next door to us. She plays the hypochondriac whenever something needs to be done that she does not want to do and this has been happening more and more. I work full time and she has no problem with calling at work to complain about nothing. Then when I tell her I need to go to work she responds with “I’ll let you get back to your “little” job”. 😠.

It’s infuriating and shows no respect for me. I’ve tried so many times that I can’t even count them to get her involved with the senior center so she can have a helper come in a few hours a week and give her a hand with all of the “To do” items that she piles on me on a daily basis. Many of these things she can and should do for herself. She refuses the outside help, of course. Just this week she wants to go grocery shopping which she says she really enjoys doing but every morning this week she calls me at work to gripe and complain about all of her ailments and how if she goes to the store without me she knows she will just pass out in the middle of the store. Crazy insane. I do take her shopping on a pretty regular basis because she goes through this angst almost every time she has to go out of the house on her own. It drives me crazy because all she does is complain that she has nothing to do. No-win scenario. Crazy!!

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Hi everyone,

How do I set boundaries if she is old and I'm her only child around?

I'm self employed and I have to work, I support my own family.

I am beyond exhausted with her needs and wants.

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First off, realize that you have no LEGAL obligation to care for your mother or to provide for her financially. At least here in the US, we are each responsible for our own selves.

You need to figure out what your mother's legitimate needs are (not her wants) and what her resources are. One way to do that is to call your local Area Agency on Aging and request a "needs assessment". Make sure that you are there during this assessment.

Many elders will "showtime". In other words, if asked "can you get your own meals, Mrs. Elder?", your mom will say, Oh yes, I can do that. You need to be there to say "well, mom, yes you can take the pre-prepared meals out of the fridge and microwave them, but you have problems working the stove". And so forth.....

You need to determine what mom's resources (SS, SSI, pension, Veteran's benefits, is she eligible for Medicaid).

You go from there.
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I would tell Mom that your boss has asked that you have no more personal calls. My family knew it better be an emergency if they called me at work. If you think Mom is capable od doing certain things then tell her u know she can do them so she needs to.

You have a job, house and family. I set a day out of the week for shopping.
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Tell your mom that you can't answer personal phone calls at work. She needs to make a list of what she needs.

Call once a week and let everything else go to voice mail.

If she's capable of living independently, she should be fine.
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Thank you for your comments. So very true. I have set boundaries with her at home which she is still complaining about, of course. I will start to let the phone ring awhile at work before I pick it up from now on. It wont stop her from calling but it will certainly make me feel better about it. Of course I’ll get the “why didn’t you answer- I could have been dying” speech but that’ll be a great intro for me to tell her if you were dying you should be calling 911 and not me at work. 😉
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As long as you are there for your mom to do for her, she will continue to be a Drama Queen and pull your chain. Say you’re reading this and Mom calls. She needs you to come over and do something for her. Will you say “I’ll be there after I finish this, Mom.” Or, will you drop everything and go running next door? If Mom is capable of dialing a phone, she is capable of dialing 911 in an emergency. When she calls you at work, don’t be quick to answer. Say you have more responsibility now at your “little job” and you will no longer be able to talk on the phone with her. It will have to wait until you get home or until the weekend IF you have time.

Mom knows you have your own, interesting life and she does not. She’s jealous of you. My mom wasn’t a pain in the behind, but she was jealous of me as well. We had a beautiful, large home and she persisted on calling it “a barn”. She said that to my face and to anyone else who would listen. How mean.

If you dont don’t set boundaries with Mom, she will continue. Tell her if she passes out at the grocery, you’re sure someone will call 911 when she hits the floor.
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