At 88 years and they do nothing for themselves, why do they keep trying to give orders?

The gutters need to be cleaned......I want them done.

So hard for us to hear these ridiculous requests.

My great friend keeps telling me to go with the flow.....say nothing......

I am finding that advice near impossible.

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My first thought reading this was while I totally get how this rubs you the wrong way and how a behavior like this can wear on you maybe thinking about it from what’s driving them might help. In my experience Mom gets difficult, obstinant and bossy which has never been her nature, when she’s feeling confused and out of control of her life. Normally she takes our suggestions and direction well, expresses appreciation often but when she goes the other way it’s typically because something is going on medically, she isn’t doing well and that affects her cognitively and she knows it which makes her fight to “Prove” she’s still capable, if that makes any sense to you. That said I also think it varies based on the person, some elders who have always been controlling soften like my grandmother did while others become more more controlling so if your parent always demanded the gutters be cleaned now it’s not surprising that has gotten worse as they become less able to take care of it themselves. I know how it feels to not be able to do things I used to and I’m not looking forward to the time daily self and household care, my independence is added to those things. I can’t imagine how hard it is for my Mom having lost conversation to her aphasia, driving and so much of her independence, being the one cared for by her children rather than the one taking care of them which is still her instinct she just isn’t able.

Doesn’t make the hour or more in the morning and what can be 5 min or 3 hrs out of my day at 11, 2, 5 & 8 because she is procrastinating or making promises and not keeping or maybe remembering to do it 2 min later less irritating but it does help me let it go and start over again. That and of course being able to trade off and vent with my brother. The time is nearing that our current set up won’t be sustainable and we know we need to plan for that too, there is NO shame in knowing when it’s time for things to change because having more fond feelings and memories of your parent than negative is so important, for everyone!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Lymie61

They can demand all they want but it doesn't mean you have to respond. Or put it back on time she mentions gutters give her the name of three people that clean gutters and let her call and arrange.

My father would call and demand I leave work to reprogram his know, the one I reprogrammed three days ago. I would tell him to use the tv in his bedroom. Then I also provided him with easy to read instructions on how to reprogram the remote. He said it was easier if I did it. I responded that is wasn't easier for me but if that is what he wanted he was going to have to wait for my next semi monthly visit. And for those who will may be too hard for him to do that. At this point it wasn't. He just got used to people doing things for him. Learned helplessness. I was willing to help with the things he could not do, not the things he didn't feel like doing.
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Reply to lkdrymom

My 91 year old Dad recently bought a pressure canner, he wants to preserve meat for the coming apocalypse. Never mind that he cannot lift the canner, has no idea how to use one and has enough food hoarded to see him through 5-10 years.

Now I do not believe there is an upcoming apocalypse. I am fed up with the waste created by the hoarding. I understand that best before dates are a guide line for quality, but 10 years old pancake mix is rancid no matter how you store it.

So yes, I understand about the gutters. Actually I am the one rabbiting in about repairs and maintenance.
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Reply to Tothill
Chriscat83 Aug 7, 2020
Tothill, thank you for making me laugh out loud! I do think humour might be the best medicine in this scenario. Maybe he would like to build a nuclear bunker too? Seriously though, I do agree with the suggestion that when our loved ones come up with these ridiculous or unnecessary demands, we give them a list of tradespeople who can deal with them, and leave them to it. I too am guilty of obsessing about gutters and other house maintenance tasks, as my long suffering husband would confirm. But the point is knowing when it’s important and when it’s just not. During the lockdown here, with everyone home and making the place like a pig sty, my mantra is that the state of the house and garden is “good enough” at the moment, and I am learning to live with that!
Because they are stuck in control mode and that is the only dialog they can remember. I need this, I want that. Sometimes I have already thought of that need or want and in the process of doing whatever. But one thing I'm sure-they never ever run out of things on that list, no matter how small or tedious or difficult. It seems important in their minds.
They are not going to change so you kinda need to do what you can and let the rest of the requests/orders go. Always easier said than done.
Good luck, be safe and be well.
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Reply to Rbuser1

Arimethea - Reading your post, I was upset at the ridiculous requests too until I read Alva's reply. I suppose humor is your best ally so that you won't lose your mind or your temper which will only raise your blood pressure.

Since ignoring and saying nothing doesn't work for you, how about coming up with a few standard replies that you can use, such as: "Yup, gutters were/will be cleaned last week/next week", then switch subject right away to get their mind out of the gutters. 😜
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Reply to polarbear

I don't know. At some point. The gutters? The GUTTERS!!?? I think I would be on the floor kicking and screaming with laughter.
But then, there is the problem of the gutters.
I wonder so much, at 78, where I will go when I completely lose it. Because even with it half lost I am a mess. I am certain I will be out there saying "The gutters! And the siding! I am SURE there is MOLD under that siding! Did you put out the garbage; what day is it. Is this our day to do the wash? Did you pay the phone bill? " I am such a control freak. I know that I would be on the last nerve of anyone caring for me. And then there are the complaints. I mean if my feet don't hurt then my knees do and if not them, then my hips and if not that it is the back.
It's hopeless. Be glad you are not in charge of ME.
I have pretty much told my daughter NEVER NEVER to take me in, to put me out on an ice flow for the polar bears. They are, after all, starving now.
It is hopeless to be in charge of any of us, think of it, when we are older. I say over and over on the forum that I am certainly no Saint. I could never never do it. I have always known my limitations. I loved the patients I took care of as a nurse, almost all of them elderly. I LOVED them. BUT, it was for 8 hours and I was payed a whole heap of money to do it.
Hang in there. Truly you are Saints, those of you who do the hands on care. And you remember what I always say of Saints. We shoot them full of arrows until they are dead. Then we pray to them for eternity to fix everything wrong. Bad job description.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer
polarbear Aug 7, 2020
Alva. I like your sense of humor. On a side note, you don't have to be put out on an ice flow for the polar bears. They are not starving. In fact, their numbers have increased from 5000 (est..) to 25000 today and still going up. I love that they're not going exctinct. So, you'll have to find some other ways to go. Feed the whales maybe? 😀
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