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ND Daughter

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 

Hello. 

I'm so glad I found this forum. It is comforting knowing other people can relate to what I'm going through.  

My husband and I live next door to my parents, and have been helping them with things around their house for several years now. Our providing assistance to them has drastically increased since my dad had a fall a couple of months ago. My dad now needs constant supervision due his brain injury, and my mom’s health is very fragile (she has already had a stay in the hospital since his fall). 

My parents insist they want to stay in their home, and yet in their current condition, it is not practical. Neither parent can drive at this point, and there are little to no services for the elderly where we live. We have tried to arrange home health care for them, but it has been inconsistent and unreliable. I counted up the number of hours my husband and I have helped them since my Dad’s fall, which on average has been 10 to 15 hours a day.  I’ve asked repeatedly for help from my siblings who live several hours away, but have only gotten assistance from them when it is convenient and suits their schedules. (heaven forbid they give up their vacation plans!) Since none of my siblings are willing to offer more help and my Mom tends to paint them a rosy picture of how things are, the burden of caring for my folks is falling on us.

After reading some of the posts in this forum, I’ve decided I have to start setting boundaries and taking care of myself. The difficulties of doing so is why I’m writing this post. This is the first weekend we have left Mom & Dad alone since the fall and Mom has already called five times wanting us to help her with something or just come over and give her a break from watching Dad. My mother makes every request sound like an emergency. 

Does anyone on the forum have experience or suggestions about setting boundaries with parents who live next door? I’m beginning to find excuses to be away from the house so that when my mom calls, I don’t have to say “no” to her again!

Thank you.

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Christa4

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Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #2 
So much of your post sounds all too familiar.

First, you can never do enough. So don't even try. Decide what you want to do and stick to it.

Your parents have made choices that are making life harder for them. It's inevitable that it makes your life harder, too, but you need to reduce the impact. It is an awful feeling to not have control over your life.

As an example, I've told my siblings I will probably accompany my husband on an upcoming business trip. This will leave my father alone without many resources while I'm gone. I've stopped asking siblings for help. It just leads to them being defensive and me feeling much worse. So in telling them of my plans, I'm keeping them informed, but not asking anything of them. My dad refuses to have any outside help. That's his choice. It makes things really hard for me, but I'm not willing to completely let it ruin me. My mental & physical health are suffering. If something bad happens while I'm gone, so be it.
It won't all be on me. It has taken awhile to get to the point where I don't accept all the responsibility for outcomes.

As caregivers we want to solve problems. The sooner you accept you are not a magician, the better off you'll be. Bravo for recognizing you need to set boundaries.

How sad that you dread being at home because you're on call 24/7. I well know that feeling and that's one of my biggest resentments. I've always enjoyed creating a retreat from life's problems in my home and now my home feels like a pit of never ending angst.

I'm sorry I can't offer real solutions. I do think you're on the right track. Your mother is crying wolf, training you to not respond to every demand.

Remember above all else, you cannot solve every problem.
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ND Daughter

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
Christa.

Thank you for responding to my post. I appreciate your encouraging words. You definitely understand my dilemma. 

My mom "crying wolf" is exactly what is happening. Unfortunately, my husband likes to swoop in and save the day whenever she calls. That's his choice, but then he gripes to me about being at mom's beck and call. Any recommendations on how to handle that?

Your comment about caregivers being problem solvers is right on target. That is so me! I try to remove myself from the emotion of the situation, but as soon as I hear the panic in my mom's voice, I immediately start trying to figure out a solution. That is what I've done since the moment my dad has his fall. I realize now that I overstepped the realm of responsibilities and caused myself too much stress.

Setting boundaries is what I have to do now.
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Christa4

Registered:
Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #4 
Sorry that I have been long to reply.

I believe in asking questions rather than arguing. This may apply to your husband. Why do you feel that way? Is there anything you can do to not feel that way? What will happen if you don't jump to solve every problem?
You know the answers to these questions, as do I. I'm guessing your husband isn't as far along in the caregiving process as you are.
I speak from experience on that concept, too.
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