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Question
Posted by: sue | 2009/11/04

elderly parents issue

Hi Doc

I wrote to you some time back about my elderly parents - mom blaming me for them being in a retirement village and for being miserable etc.

My father has now climbed on the same bandwagon, and phoned today to tell me how dreadful the place is, no privacy, old bags on teh comittee that he thinks are incompetent etc etc.
I have two brothers, both living in Australia, both older than me, who do nothing to help with my parents in any way.
At the moment, I' ve just started my 9yr old daughter who has ADHD in therapy to help her adapt socially, as she is battling terribly - medical aid doesn' t pay, so I' ve drawn my life savings to pay for this as it is hugely costly.
My mother tells me that its a load of cr*p and that my child is a normal little girl and doesnt need therapy (my mom see' s her once a yr at Christmas time for the weeks annual holiday) - what I' m getting at, is that as a single mom with no financial help in the form of maintenance, I' m battling and stressing on a day to day basis, but trying to keep positive, but I find it so hard having my parents getting at me all the time (they live in KZN, we are in JHB) over the phone, about how awful their life is, and my mom telling me its my fault they are miserable etc etc - I feel guilty that I cant take on their issue' s, but I' m battling just to juggle my own.

What do I do here? They are my parents and I love them, but I feel like I' m sinking with all of this...

Any advice would help.
Many thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Misery is largely up to them and their choice, and if they had saved up to provide for themselves something they'd prefer to the excellent provision you have made, they could go to it. Not wishing to face up to their own failures, and unable to move, they choose to unfairly grumble at you.
Tell your father that he is very welcome to make any alternative arrangements if he wishes to do so, and that he is very welcome indeed to contact your older brothers and ask them to help.
Meanwhile, realize that for many old folks, who have not had the wisdom to provide themselves with hobbies and other constructive ways of occupying themselves, Grumbling is their hobby, and some are very good at it. You dont't need to accept any invitations to take the grumbles seriously or to feel guilty.
Look after yourself and your child ( nobody else will do this ) - and be very firm, that you have done the best you can, and they must make better plans as they wish, and get your brother's help if they please - but that you may not be able to continue to afford even this for much longer. Let them do the worying they deserve to do, having failed to make provision for themselves.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Sue | 2009/11/04

Thank you Cyberdoc and Maria for your advice - sometimes one just needs a bit of input from someone impartial. Much appreciated.

Reply to Sue
Posted by: Maria | 2009/11/04

You' ve done the best you can for your parents and now you need to concentrate on yourself and your daughter. It sounds cruel, but it isn' t really. Worrying about your parents if there is nothing more you can do about the situation is just worthless expenditure of emotional energy. I know, because I do that a lot too.

You need to look after yourself first, otherwise you will end up unable to do anything for anybody. So what you need to do, tough as it is, is tell your parents that unfortunately you cannot deal with their issues at the moment and that you feel talking to them when they are this negative all the time drains all your energy. If they are upset with you, and they will be, then so be it. You can contact the retirement village manager or social worker and ask that they let you know if anything serious happens to either of your parents, and then just don' t talk to them for a while. I' m not saying it will be easy, but it might just be what you need to do in order to save your sanity. Your parents are being selfish and while it is to some extent a normal thing for their age, you don' t have to put up with it.

Take care.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2009/11/04

Misery is largely up to them and their choice, and if they had saved up to provide for themselves something they'd prefer to the excellent provision you have made, they could go to it. Not wishing to face up to their own failures, and unable to move, they choose to unfairly grumble at you.
Tell your father that he is very welcome to make any alternative arrangements if he wishes to do so, and that he is very welcome indeed to contact your older brothers and ask them to help.
Meanwhile, realize that for many old folks, who have not had the wisdom to provide themselves with hobbies and other constructive ways of occupying themselves, Grumbling is their hobby, and some are very good at it. You dont't need to accept any invitations to take the grumbles seriously or to feel guilty.
Look after yourself and your child ( nobody else will do this ) - and be very firm, that you have done the best you can, and they must make better plans as they wish, and get your brother's help if they please - but that you may not be able to continue to afford even this for much longer. Let them do the worying they deserve to do, having failed to make provision for themselves.

Reply to cybershrink

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