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Tired Daughter
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi everyone! 

I wanted to let everyone know of a coping technique that I used recently to help deal with the frustration I am experiencing with my mother.  It reduced my anxiety by about 75%.  I have a Microsoft Word document I keep on the computer.  In it I have the following:  how often I am willing to help my parents, what I am willing to do for them, what I will do for them if they become more sickly, my career aspirations to go back to work when my son goes off to college (which will limit the amount of help I can provide for them), how to deal with their constant complaints, how to handle their almost monthly pushes to get me to promise to take care of them and not put them in a nursing home in the future, etc. 

I am going to review this document on a monthly basis, and add to it as necessary.  I started this document on the first of the year, and obviously it is working well!   When they call, or when I visit, I am more prepared. 

When my son and I visited last week, I almost made a game of it.  I told him everything they would say to me, and what type of "digs" they would get in about me and how I live my life. 

I laughed about it after we left, because I was right about everything!  I thought my Mom was going to miss one "dig", but she got it as I was going out the door.  My son and I were constantly rolling our eyes at each other (not in front of my parents) as they were making these comments (while we were fixing them a lunch that we brought over).  Having him there with me was a saving grace. 

Reply with quote  #2 
What an EXCELLENT suggestion!!  I think the next time I visit Dad I'll take along a score sheet.  I'll put, "Made rude remark about my weight"; "Told me my bottom is too big for his toilet"; and perhaps a couple of how disrespectful I am to him.  I'll bet I can check them off within the first 30 minutes. 
But then the gage of a great competition is "besting" your time.  The next time I'll bet he gets his digs in under 25 minutes.  And if I have the score sheet I can just start checking them off.
Yep, if you can't bet them at least make a game of it.
Reply with quote  #3 

Next Step- make Elder Visit bingo cards! 

Put one 'dig' in each square and next time you go with son see who gets 'Bingo' first! 

Winner gets a free ice cream/coffee on the drive home.

Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Tired Daughter,

That's a good coping strategy. What do you put for how you will deal with things? Is it like a game? I have done that with my mom; I have a mental list of all the things she accuses me of. Sometimes after she starts screaming at me and my husband, we retreat afterwards and I say to him, "Did I just hallucinate all that or did she actually say _____?" and then he confirms it. Sometimes I feel like I'm nuts but he keeps reconfirming that yes, he heard it too and I'm not just imagining the stuff.

Reply with quote  #5 

Elder Bingo is just what this made me think of, like buzz word bingo cards to take to meetings and seminars and check off every buzz word coming from the speakers' or execs' mouths.

I write down everything my father says. A card would save me time, but most of his comments are so amazing I would never think to put them on a card.

I love the Elder Bingo idea. A great stress releaser. And we could drive THEM crazy by laughing when they say something on the card. They'll wonder what's so funny. The comments don't have to be about personal digs. They can be any repeated comments our elders make that irritate or stun us.

Reply with quote  #6 

 Tired daughter, what a great idea.  I like the Elder BINGO too.  One thing I appreciate about this board, is people still have a sense of humor.

Reply with quote  #7 

Great Idea tired daughter.  I like the idea about Elder BINGO too!  One thing I appreciate about this message board is people still manage to have a sense of humor.
Tired Daughter
Reply with quote  #8 
OMG.  The Elder Bingo thing really made me crack up.  I thought my mom was one of the few that would put in "digs!"  It's kind of a relief to hear that other people are going through it.  I recently lost a lot of weight.  They never said anything when I was obese, but now that I am normal, my Mom tells me, "Don't get too skinny", and trying to push potato chips on me.  I'm just in the normal category according to BMI.  So, I am still about 2 pounds away from being overweight.  My mother is almost morbidly obese, and my dad is obese.  She also asked if I fed my son (who is super skinny, but that is his body type).  My son replied that he eats a lot.  I guess we are darned if we are normal, skinny or overweight.  We just can't win as a group!! 

For those that are curious, here is my document about my parents.  I deleted some of it which is a little cruel:

Taking Care of Parents



Goal:  The intention of this document is to prevent daily worry experienced from thinking about my parents’ future needs.  It is intended I will look at it every month, and take a few minutes to worry about them, rather than getting bothered about it every day. 


What I can do for my parents in the future: 


  1. During the school year, I can help out once/week with their needs.  All appointments, errands, calls, etc. will need to be completed during that one day, which will last only while *** is in school.  I will need to pick him up once the school day ends.  Any further care that they need will be provided by others, or an elder care manager will take care of organizing their appointments and needs. 
  2. If they can’t manage to take care of their house, they will need to hire someone to manage this activity and see that everything gets done.  Or, they will have to move into a small condo where the upkeep is minimal.  It’s like me living in a mansion, being unable to take care of it, and asking everyone to help me to do it, with the expectations that I will not be questioned.  Assisted living or a nursing home would be a much better alternative.
  3. If my parents have physical needs such as helping them out of a car, lifting, pulling, changes diapers, I will not be able to provide this.  I cannot do something like this for someone who weighs nearly twice as much as me. 
  4. During the summer, I cannot promise to do anything.  It will vary tremendously, based on if *** is working, in camp, or if we decide to go away for a month.  During this time, their care and the maintenance of the house will have to be organized by an elder care manager.
  5. If I or one of my immediate family members is sick, I will be unable to provide care for my parents.  Alternative arrangements will need to be made. 
  6. If my MIL starts to need help also, I will be able to help my parents every other week.  If my MIL goes into the hospital, my parents will have to find someone else or an elder care manager for that time period.
  7. When *** goes off to college, I will be working full-time.  I don’t know where I will be working, or my hours.  It will be advantageous to find a job in *** or one that requires lots of travel. At that point in time, my parents will need an elder care manager to manage them and their house.  I will be using all of my time to run husband's business, manage my household, and squeeze in all of my own personal errands.  I need to consider our own retirement so that *** (MY SON) will not have to worry about us in the future.  This is the best gift I can give him for his life.
  8. Everything is on my own time.  Appointments can’t be set until they consult with me to see my schedule and to make sure I am not working that day.
  9. They will not continue to try to ask me to help them a certain amount of time in the future.  If they do, I will tell them it is not fair to ask me about it now, since I don’t know how my life will be later.  If they are worried, I will tell them they can talk to or I will talk to an elder care manager. 
  10. I need to seriously consider moving out of the area as soon as husband retires from his job. 
  11. Offering one day per week is quite fair.  I have assisted them when they are in the hospital, provided meals during surgery, and have fixed their computer far too much.  I will not be taken advantage of. 
  12. I refuse to give much thought to their daily complaints about how lonely they are.  This is their personal choice to isolate themselves and not to have any friends.  I am not their sole source of entertainment.  I will listen to them with deaf ears.
  13. I will never promise NOT to put them in a nursing home or assisted living.  This is a very unrealistic expectation of an adult child. 
  14. They will not manipulate me, turning one day per week into two or three.  When I say one day, I mean one day.  If they are in the hospital, I will try to visit them most days of the week for an hour or so if I am able. 
  15. They or anyone else will never live with us. It will mean a shortened life for me, and an end to my marriage.  I will be miserable, and hate life to the fullest. 
  16. I will cease to count the years that *** (my son) has to go off to college to see the maximum time I will have to take care of my parents (I will be working when he goes to college).  I will enjoy life to the fullest during this time, because it will be the best time of my life.  I shouldn’t wish it away. 
Reply with quote  #9 
I would need more than the fingers on both hands to number the times dad has mentioned his "itchy, tingling ankles" the last week; of course he is trying to find "the cause". This is the latest complaint in a long line of many. He doesn't realise that for a 94 year-old he is actually doing well!
Finally after he mentioned the ankles for the umteenth time, and how they kept him awake, I said "well take a paracetemol!" This had obviously not occurred to him.Anyway I got some out and put them on his bedside table, and he's been taking them and getting relief. But he still goes on and on about it.
I could fill a diary with the trivial complaints he makes about his ailments - except he already keeps a diary! Has done for years - all it is, is an account of his ailments, must be fascinating reading!
Little things about dad irritate me - as I have mentioned before, he has Aspergers - one of the characteristics is an odd, pedantic, old-fashioned way of expressing himself. I have a mountain bike - he won't ask me if I have had a ride on my bike that day, he will ask if I have been on "the chariot". He always refers to the bike as the chariot. I said to him, it's a bike, call it a bike!!

Reply with quote  #10 
Tired Daughter--the people on this board are soooo quick!!!  Immediately when I read your post I thought about the Bingo cards for the corporate meeting in that commercial, but so many here beat me to it!!!!!     I think your list is great.  I have a similar one in my head about my mom and have been telling myself I need to write it down--and tweak it from time to time.  Maybe now I will.  Thank you. 

And Rosie--I really, really think--the more I read posts from you--that my ex has Aspergers.  I'm not being funny here.  Seriously.  It would explain so much.  Thanks to you to for info. on a condition I would not know about otherwise.  --t.

Lynn from Oz
Reply with quote  #11 
(Oops sorry Mike. I pressed enter too soon )

Tired daughter I love your list. I would like to copy it and re-word it to say Mother rather than Parents. I especially agree with point 12. I get this over and over from my Mum - yet she will never go out with the senior citizens or with her carer.  Only with me!

Reply with quote  #12 
Tired Daughter, that is great, wonderful! Whatever coping mechanism that works for us, is a godsend.

I too loved the idea of 'Elder Bingo' since I just returned from a visit with Mom. Yup. She made every comment I thought she would make - and then some! She does not bash ME, luckily, or at least not directly - she knows better. I will walk. I do not take kindly to verbal abuse or jabs.

But she does take the opportunity to bash everyone else while I'm there, and make stuff up , and go on and on about every negative thing in her life. I think i WILL make up one of those elder bingo cards, lol! Then at my next visit, when I get a Bingo, I'm going to yell 'BINGO'!! My mom will be like "What?" and I'll say, oh never mind. For those of you unfamiliar with the game of Bingo, there is a game called "Coverall" where you try to dab every number on the card -- thus 'coverall' -- and you get the grand prize. So I think I would go for the 'coverall'!!! Heeeeeee. You guys are so bad.

I was also thinking: we could nonchalantly leave the card lying at our parents house... and maybe they would get the hint?!

Good list Tired Daughter... I'm a tired daughter too, this week.

Reply with quote  #13 

Tired Daughter- your list is wonderful.  Does this message board have a 'reference' section where it can be kept?  If not perhaps you can make it a new thread with a title that is easy to find.
Reply with quote  #14 

If your situation isn't so complicated that this works for you, great. Some of the stuff here is a bit painful and not the kind of things worth laughing about. I know, how heavy and how not with it or not fun. But it is true. Some people here are dealing with devastating situations that are very, very painful. And not joke material. No offense. OK?

Reply with quote  #15 
jk, I know you are new to this board. But what you said was very judgemental even though you added the "No offense". We do not judge on this board.

Also, we do not sugarcoat on this board. Many of us use "humor" (very subjective term) to deal with our frustration, depression, sadness, tiredness, anger, etc. MANY of us use humor. Some do not.

You will be seeing "humor" here and there on this board, over and over. If it offends you, which it did apparently, you may have to avoid reading certain posts.

But this is a pretty open and honest message board, and I hope it will always stay that way. Feel free to skip or ignore certain posts if you like. But I don't agree that you are should chastize anyone, or judge anyone. I think that crosses the line.

and now, I seem to be chastizing! But I hope not. I'm just trying to explain the "nature" of this message board at times.

Some like to sugarcoat, some like to just say what they are feeling, and yes, sometimes we go overboard on the comic relief. It's going to happen.
Don't take it personally, none of it is aimed at you or your situation.

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