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Newbie here and I'm so grateful to have found this site. Thanks to all of you who have posted to make this an informative and comforting place to be.


My mother and I are part of a large church community and for the most part they have been very supportive. However, every now and again, someone (usually another elderly person) will "throw off" on my care giving role. I'm always angered/saddened that they would say something to dampen my spirits especially since I've never complained about my situation. In fact, I find it rewarding to care for my mother and she expresses such gratitude in return. But I'm always left to wonder are they saying things out of concern or are they jealous because their kids/grandkids would never care for them and or are they being nosey?


Just wish I could understand the why's but if not find a quick way to shut them down and move on.

When my mom was struggling and I was giving her WHAT I COULD, everyone in my orbit - and mom’s - felt free to tell me what I “should” be doing. Wow.

Mom spent 7 decades perfecting her waif/victim persona, with a side order of control freak. Mom acted like she was destitute, when in truth she had ample financial resources. Mom wouldn’t let anyone perform a task (large or small) for her, unless they did it HER way.

Mom was so “private” that she assigned DPOA/HCPOA to someone who lived 100 miles away and had spent time with mom only 3 or 4 times during the last 10 years of mom’s life. (A kind and trustworthy person - to be fair. But that’s how determined mom was to maintain her privacy.)

**massive eyeroll**

Mom saw a doctor once in the last 20 years of her life. So NO diagnosis and NO treatment for her escalating defects with balance, mobility, mood, tiredness, dexterity.

Yet these “experts in our midst” genuinely expected me to be a saintly live-in amateur nurse with psychic abilities. And no needs of my own. No life of my own. No privacy. No career.

Incredible.

“Ignorance is bliss,” alright. For everyone who’s on the outside looking in.
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ScaredNewbie Jan 25, 2020
I really love your reply here and can relate to it in so many aspects. Thank you so much for sharing!
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You can always say "why would you ask such a personal question? " This usually gets even the nosiest person to hush.
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Well, the next person who gives you unsolicited advice, I'd say to her, "Since you have such broad knowledge about how to care for the elderly, I'll be dropping mother and her luggage off at your place at 6 pm promptly." My husband always says, "Say the most ridiculous thing" and so, that statement fits the bill, dontcha think? :)
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lilhelp Jan 24, 2020
I love this, lealonnie1!  May I add.. skip giving them a heads up, and just show up with mother and her luggage with a 'here you go.' :)
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The unsolicited advice is probably the most surprising or unexpected aspect of care giving, at least it was to me. I have one extended family who thinks she needs to critique something on every visit. Some people talk in front of my mother as though she isn't there. Mom has MCI and her short term memory is shot, but she still has fairly good cognition so she understands everything and seems to remember anything that's upsetting too.

My father had vascular dementia with serious judgement and executive function impacts but kept most of his long term memory so people who only visited occasionally and talked about "the old days" questioned whether he really needed a locked MC unit. I like to use the shock technique... "Yes, Dad is doing so well in MC and I can go back to being his daughter and let the MC staff deal with all the glasses of urine he puts on the window sill."
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Learning to walk away is your best solution. Who knows why anyone makes bitter remarks. They just do and I would bet that they are dealing with some cognitive decline and they are losing their filters.

I would look them straight in the face and say "May The Lord bless you" and walk away.

Caregiving will thicken your skin or devour you. You can not take things personally in regard to your caregiving. I promise you that it gets more challenging as time goes by. Forewarned is forearmed.

Welcome to the forum. Great big welcome hug!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Advice is criticism dressed up in a cashmere sweater. Unsolicited advice is control.
Put the two together and you get someone trying to control you dressed up in really nice clothing.
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jacobsonbob Jan 28, 2020
LOL; thanks!
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It is unsolicited.
It is unsolicited and unwelcome.

Explain that you have a thousand friends (here) who will answer any questions you can come up with about caregiving. And walk away.

We also will have every "WHY" question answered when we get to heaven.

I stopped asking for prayer at my church because passing by a prayer team member in the vacant church, he stopped to ask me if I was feeling any better.
I did not know him, would not have confided in him, and prayer requests are supposed to be c o n f i d e n t i a l, not give a stranger power and privy into ones life. imo.

In other words, unsolicited, unwelcome, and none of their business.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I feel for you, I face this from my own family.. If I pass along updates to my family, invariably I get feedback on what is the correct process.. or diagnosis which is sometimes so far from what is really happening it leaves me speechless. So this last time I just encouraged my brother to go to mom's Dr appt so he could hear it for himself. That way he couldn't stick his "two cents" in anymore..Or for the time being.
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Tizaboy Jan 28, 2020
speechless is the word. My husband has dementia and I am seriously in pain 24/7 forcing me to give up driving and of course he doesn't. I hear all the time that we need to get out more, go out to eat, the movies etc! Does anyone see what is in front of them?? Our children are a help but lead busy lives. We moved three states last June to be closer to them. If I did drive, I wouldn't know where to go. We do pay a woman to take us to appointments.
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At the beginning of caring for my mom people told me I had to put her in a care facility and that I could not do it. I did it. It was difficult, I got help and I managed until I couldn't. If you are fine right now, just say you and your mom are doing quite well so far and thank them for their "concern".
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Nurturbynature Jan 24, 2020
Same situation...its like folk won't even let you try to give it your best effort. Like you, I'm managing. I have some help and would like to keep mom in familiar surroundings as long as possible.
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I think that people often don’t know how to respond to something that seems difficult to handle. I have almost the reverse situation, which perhaps annoys me almost as much. People who know that I have pain problems ask ‘How are you going today’. I don’t want to talk about it, so I usually say ‘Not too bad thanks’. Their response is then ‘That’s what I like to hear’. This interchange happens over and over again. What I hear from it is that they want to feel good themselves.

When our house burned down in 2014 bushfires, people would say a few months later ‘I hope you’re getting back on your feet again now’. Well no, actually. It takes years to replace a few miles of fencing, let alone everything else. Once again, they want to feel good themselves. The comments are a wall to stop them feeling bad for you.

Perhaps the unsolicited advice comes from the same place – they want to think that they can give you a suggestion that will solve all your problems.

There is no need to be nasty, but it’s good to have an automatic response yourself: ‘We’re coping OK thanks. How are you going?’.
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