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My Aunt and Uncle (mother's brother) came to visit for a week. He has been tearing up our phones, emails, etc. with suggestions on products that he think will help Mom. He sent both my sister and I an email about a Liftware utensil that is for people with hand tremors that steady the spoon or fork to make it easier for them to feed themselves. It is a great idea, but while Mom has PD, her tremors are not constant and therefore she doesn't need this. We told him that, but he ordered it anyway...with a price tag of over $300.00!

Now he is emailing us about a captioned phone so Mom can read what he is saying. First of all, if you have an accent (he doesn't, but I do!) it may not pick up on the correct words, and we don't believe Mom will be able to read it and respond in a timely fashion. It is also large and she would have to be in the same room with the screen for it to work. Daddy got her some software years ago (Dragon I believe) that would type out the words she said but she didn't like it therefore never used it.

He has also gotten and received the caregivers cell phone numbers and was texting the weekend caregiver wanting Mom to text him back on her phone. MOM CANNOT TEXT! (Sorry). AND then he got upset because she didn't answer him right away. Guess what? She may have been busy tending to Mom!

How do I get him to butt out, or at least back off, tactfully without hurting his feelings? We (my sister and I - and the caregivers too) were hoping that once he saw how Mom is, he would have more appreciation for what we are doing to help her stay at home. I appreciate that he is trying to make her life easier, but more gadgets that are expensive and she won't use aren't worth it. If he wanted to spend $300.00, he could have gotten Mom a gift card to Amazon or JC Penney's so she could get something she wanted.

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Dear Uncle Carl:

First, thank you sooo much! for all the investigating you've done on mom's behalf. It just shows what our family has always known -- how much you mean to each other. Sis and I are very grateful for your relationship.

Mom really enjoys your calls. She doesn't, though, enjoy or want to learn texting. But do call her any time. She loves hearing from you! I am asking that you not call her caregivers. Believe me, we bother them enough. If you ever want to relay anything to them, sis is our go-between. And you know she's always glad to visit with you. Call anytime. If she's tied up, she'll call you back.

If you send things that mom doesn't want, can't or won't use, should we send them back to you, or would you like us to donate them to an organization in town that lends helpful products to seniors? We know you only have her best interests at heart, but sis and I have our arMs around her tight and know what works and what doesn't. We sure don't want you to waste your money on things that we feel she won't use.

Just an idea . . . If you're ever wondering what you might do for mom, she'd LOVE a small gift card from Amazon or maybe J C Penny. She could get something she really wanted and even have fun shopping for it.

Mom sure enjoyed seeing you both! Keep the calls coming.

We love you,
You and Sis

Just a suggestion. Then for emails with ideas, a brief "Looks interesting. When we have time we'll look into it and let you know," ought to suffice.
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This sort of hits a nerve with me. I have two sisters who barely see my mother but have spent money on expensive devices that she never uses. One distant sister actually sent a Hoyer lift to Mom's house to help get Mom up off the floor when she falls. But of course someone who knows how to operate the lift has to be there to help, and if someone's there, Mom can be helped up manually much faster than dragging out the directions that came with the lift and figuring out how to work the crank and position the sling, etc. So the lift is in storage, and several hundred dollars have been spent for nothing that could have been used for many other needs.

The other sister had a pneumatic wheelchair lift put on the back of Mom's car so Mom could take her power scooter and go wherever she wants. Of course Mom has never used this either. The mechanics of operating the lift are beyond her. Mom is just not able or willing to learn how to operate new mechanical things at this point. It has been used only once, when I took her to a mall that didn't provide motorized carts within the store. Again, if someone else has to be there to operate it, then it doesn't really help her manage independently.

I don't know why people go off and do these things without consulting with the caregivers who see the person frequently and who know what would be helpful and what would be a waste of money. It is frustrating because my Mom does have a lot of unmet needs and money directed in the right places would be really helpful. Nobody even consults with me about gifts for Mom's birthday or Christmas, and I could give them such a list. Oh, well...
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Appreciate everyone's perspective here. Uncle's behavior appears intrusive and controlling, however well intentioned. Ask him for the receipts so you can return it, say it is a duplicate. When he says he will return it, just say, no thanks, you've got it covered, you NEED to exchange it for something Mom has in mind.
The cell phone and telephone issues (especially with the caregivers) seem like he is collecting phone numbers, that may be why he wanted a text from Mom on the caregiver's phone, so that he would have the phone number! Hope for the best, but be cautious.
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Savinggranny, I'm going "awwwwwww…" - your uncle's heart is so much in the right place that it's genuinely touching. Think of him going through the catalogues and the websites thinking "oo! What a good idea! And only a couple of hundred bucks, money no object…" or busying his well-meaning little brain with 101 ideas to solve your mother's difficulties. I'm welling up.

On the other hand. You must have a migraine from all the eye-rolls. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell him to back off without hurting his feelings because it's a rejection of a gift he is trying to give his sister and her family. Instead, try positive reinforcement and/or alternative suggestions. E.g. "oh no, what a pity, she just WILL not learn to text no matter how many times we show her. Could you call for updates on Sunday mornings [or whatever] instead?" And to save your sanity, remind yourself that he means well and it's better he should waste his money on gadgets than start meddling in more dangerous ways, such as taking her doctors to task.

My sister got my mother one of those changing electronic photo libraries, which I'm supposed to load with her favourite pictures - I expect I'll get round to it one day hem-hem; and then we will discover exactly what happens when a dementia patient tries to cope with changing images in the same photo frame. It appeals to my sense of humour, I'm sorry to say, but obviously I'll take it away double quick if mother actually gets upset. My brother got her state of the art cordless headphones, which fortunately make quite a striking sculpture for her bedroom mantelpiece because they sure as heck never make it onto her head. If an object is so obviously inappropriate and worth paying the return carriage for, return it with a regretful explanation and encourage him to get his money back. You could go so far as to say "I worry about you spending so much! - perhaps it would be best to discuss specifications first?" Or tell him when she does need something and ask him to get it for her. All he wants is to be helpful.
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savinggranny~my mother meant well too,,,but she lacked the medical info and sent info, books and everything you can think of regarding my sis having diabetes type 2. My sis also was suffering from "low blood pressure", too much activity caused her blood pressure to fall even lower. Our mom could not understand that so she pushed exercising and sent things that my sis could exercise in bed with out getting up.. God bless her, she meant well, but just would not accept the situation for what it really was. Sis is better now...after 8 years her blood pressure has improved so she does not have the light headedness, weakness associated with low blood pressure. No meds help.
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He sounds like a valuable resource: he does the research.. Appreciate him. Make him a part of the team. Ask his advice. Give him the impossible problems to solve. He has researched and found valuable tools. If you gave him more information, he would find better, more effective tools. By becoming a valued part of the team, you could explain that you need the caregiver's time to be devoted to his sister, not addressing his concerns.

Embrace him. Thank him, thank, thank him. Think of how you can just pour your hurts, fears, and deepest thoughts to your sibling; that you can't to a beloved child. He can do your dirty work for you. Mom won't bathe; he will find out why. Maybe it's just too embarrassing to tell a child. While you must tiptoe around your Mom's feelings, and respect her authority, he will tell her she smells, take a bath. That's what siblings do best.
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Txcamper, I get where you are coming from. I am grateful that he is trying to make her life better, and maybe I should have said "back off" instead of "butt out". Part of my problem is that I am more and more like my Daddy every day and try to take care of everything on my own. I am trying to realize that I can't, and need to take the help and guidance when I can, and in the manner it was given.

My Uncle is retired now, and he is probably bored. I know he is trying to help, but I think he has blinders on when it comes to the minute to minute caring of Mom.
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Boy, I see this from a different perspective.

How many times have I read that relatives don't care and don't visit and don't call and don't help????

Now you have one that does care and is trying to help and wants desperately to be a part of things and you want him to butt out.

Maybe Mom's tremor is not bad enough for the special silverware YET, but keep it around and maybe it will be useful one day. As far as the telephone, we were just having a conversation on this site not long ago about ways for the elderly to use a phone. Some people think that captioned telephones are a good idea and some don't. You don't, but that doesn't mean that you should just dismiss it arbitrarily. Give it some good thought and discuss it with your uncle.

Her brother is obviously feeling that terror that comes with facing his own mortality. He would want someone advocating for him, like he's advocating for his sister. He will probably slow down on his own. The caregivers shouldn't have given him their phone numbers if they didn't want him to call or text. They can handle that themselves.

This, of course, is just my observation. I try not to be too bristle-y when people have ideas. There's no way I can know everything or think of everything, no matter how much I care for my relatives. Sometimes, certain people just get on your nerves, though, and that is certainly understandable.
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Freqflyer, I don't know what he was thinking other than when he was here he got to visit with her when he wanted, and someone else did the dirty work, if you know what I mean. Daddy had all different types of gadgets for Mom, and they either didn't work, or she refused to use them.

Babalou, I have suggested that he run ideas by us first, and he has in the past, but he just took it upon himself to order this new utensil. He wanted Mom to talk to a "healer" on the phone a few months ago and told us that if we got in touch with our "inner zen" that we would be calmer around her and she would get better. I just don't see myself sitting in the lotus position and humming. If I got in that position, I am afraid I would be stuck that way! :)
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"Uncle Bob, I know that you really care about mom and you want to help. But we've tried lots of these adaptive devices, and they are mostly made for people with problems different from mom's. We know that you want to help, but we need to be a team here. Can you run your ideas by us first?"
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Tell your Uncle you have all of those catalogs and have ordered a few things, half of which were used once or twice and are now sitting in a box ready to be donated.

I am still in amazement that your Uncle wanted your Mom to text him on the Caregiver's cellphone. What was he thinking???
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Tact is fine for responding to his suggestions and gifts. But you may need to be more direct with his interfering with the caregivers doing their jobs.
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He isn't going to back off. He is a bore and a nuisance. Do not answer his calls. :) Good luck.
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This is frustrating. My mother was like that before she got Alzheimer's. With my mom, it stemmed from her thinking she knew more than the dr's or the person who was ill. We got where we did not tell her the whole truth about my sister or brother's health issues.

Most people will back off if you tell them the dr. does not approve of that particular item or telling them you will discuss it with the dr. For those who won't back off, if being direct is going to cause too many hurt feelings, then getting creative in different ways like changing the subject or just delete their emails. Good luck to you.
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