Needing some advice
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  1. #1
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    Default Needing some advice

    I'm hoping that some of you will be able to chime in and give me some advice. I have parents that are aging quite rapidly - esp my mother who is becoming more and more mentally unstable. She ended up in the hospital last Monday - totally confused - and it was determined that she had very low sodium levels in her body and sky high blood pressure....doesn't make sense but that is what it is. I am the only sibling living in the same town and have been stretched mentally to the max trying to care for them. My mom needed help initially with her food tray and so I was trying to be at the hospital during meal times. I have a few siblings living about 45 min away and one of them has been fantastic, taking time off work to be with them and give me a break. I would send regular updates each day and never heard from one of my siblings - that was until about five days later when I was blasted for being at the hospital so frequently because they said that is the nurses job. I had asked in one of my updates if they could be there for mom during a meal time so as to give me a break and then they sent this email to tell me I was doing everything wrong. Nothing like being kicked when a person is down - it was so hurtful.

    So what would you do in response to this. My hubby wrote a long letter nicely explaining the situation and trying to let them know that at least they could respond to my updates instead of ignoring everything. Now they acknowledge my emails but that is about it - I am not able to speak with them at this point because I am stretched mentally caring for my parents and I don't want to be 'kicked in the teeth' by them again.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Do what you feel is right. They will have to do the same. If they cannot be civil to you, then see if your helpful sibling or your husband can deliver the updates. If not, don't bother updating them. Having been in similar situations, I know you have to choose those problems you have the strength to deal with, and you have to set priorities because your emotional strength and mental and physical energy are limited and precious resources. Your parents are your priority now. You will drain yourself to the point of not being able to function if you have to take on everyone else's emotions, too.

    Be aware no matter what you do, you will be told it's wrong by someone. Ignore that, no matter how mean someone is to you. Trust yourself. You will be able to look back later and know you did the best you could in a difficult situation. You will also be able to look back and realize at the very least, you tried to do what was right, while they sat on their asses and criticized instead of pitching in to help not you, but your parents. That's on them, not you. You can't change them and their negative thoughts and behavior, you can only control how you react to it.

    Be kind to yourself and don't allow anyone to guilt-trip you. I'm sure your mom appreciates all you are doing for her. That's the most important thing.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Be kind to yourself and don't allow anyone to guilt-trip you. I'm sure your mom appreciates all you are doing for her. That's the most important thing.
    +1

    You cannot control your siblings. If it gets any worse, don't even provide them with updates.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Do what you feel is right. They will have to do the same. If they cannot be civil to you, then see if your helpful sibling or your husband can deliver the updates. If not, don't bother updating them. Having been in similar situations, I know you have to choose those problems you have the strength to deal with, and you have to set priorities because your emotional strength and mental and physical energy are limited and precious resources. Your parents are your priority now. You will drain yourself to the point of not being able to function if you have to take on everyone else's emotions, too.

    Be aware no matter what you do, you will be told it's wrong by someone. Ignore that, no matter how mean someone is to you. Trust yourself. You will be able to look back later and know you did the best you could in a difficult situation. You will also be able to look back and realize at the very least, you tried to do what was right, while they sat on their asses and criticized instead of pitching in to help not you, but your parents. That's on them, not you. You can't change them and their negative thoughts and behavior, you can only control how you react to it.

    Be kind to yourself and don't allow anyone to guilt-trip you. I'm sure your mom appreciates all you are doing for her. That's the most important thing.
    Thanks for the encouragement - some times it is just hard to know what to do. I have not reacted (only my hubby wrote a letter and spoke with them by phone about their email). On the one hand they say they write that email out of concern for my well being and at the same time criticize me for everything I do - it just doesn't make sense. But, as you say, I do have control over how I respond and I have simply not responded. I know this must bug them but so be it. My sanity is more important right now.

  6. #5
    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    My siblings were the same. My mom, my dad and my grandmother all got sick in a three year period and, out of four siblings, I was the only one who was free enough to care for all of them.

    When my dad had a heart attack, my siblings didn't even call me until they realized that the weekend was almost over and they'd all have to go back to work. I was living in another state at the time so they called - on a Sunday - to see how quickly I could get there to take care of things. My dad's heart attack had been Thursday night!

    When my grandmother had no one to care for her, it was me and hubby who took her into our house. A few months later she got so ill she had to go to the hospital and then eventually a nursing home. My siblings started to accuse me of stealing money from my grandmother (obviously that was my plan all along) so my sister flew out just to check on things and get me to prepare a detailed account of how my grandmother's money was being used.

    When my mother was sick, they yelled at me for going to the hospital so much. They accused me of wanting to become the favored child.

    It was all so stupid.

    I agree it never gets better. Just do what you think is right and I agree. I wouldn't bother with the updates. If they don't understand, they'll never understand. You can't make them be compassionate. Sorry.

    And no, my siblings and I don't talk much anymore.

  7. #6
    Registered User lisaflex's Avatar
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    i feel your pain. been there done that. do what you feel you need to do. bottom line. limit contact with them. best wishes

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    I'm the youngest of 6. Out of all of us just me & 1 sister catered to my parents every need. We would do anything for them. The others were all wrapped up in their own families. Suddenly my sister was diagnosed with uterine leiomyosarcoma. She lived 2.5 yrs. from diagnosis. As she lay dying lots of words were said (very long story) and my family split up. My sis & I were closest and BFFs. She said some very emotional, touching, loving things to me on her deathbed that I don't think she knew the room was filled with other family who heard everything that was said. I had NO control over what she said - altho it was all true - it really hurt their feelings. My family didn't speak for years. Another sister and I stood by my parents. At the funeral I wrote quite the eulogy no holds barred I "let it rip" so to speak. I had siblings coming up to me apologizing for things they "didn't know." I had complete strangers approach me to commend me on a well spoken eulogy. Which let them all know how much my parents meant to my sister and that they should all be ashamed. Anyway. Most of us didn't speak for another 4 years. We now are all back to sharing holidays together, etc. but I can tell you that once my parents are gone I will never have another holiday spent with these people except for 1 sister. I know when the time comes that I was a good daughter who gave my best and will live with NO regrets. At best I hope my siblings take a good look at their own lives. Our children see how we treat our parents & grandparents and when we are all older it will come back to us. You will do what's best for your mom and live with no regrets - your siblings will have their own issues to haunt them. Kudos for your hubby for speaking up in your defense. I'm sorry they're not helping you out. I live it everyday and have just resolved to the fact I need to move on and take care of my parents. God Bless you thru this very difficult time. It's hard to see our parents age.

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    My Dmom has been in the hosp. 2x recently. Ddad passed Sept. 2013. They were ok together because what 1 dropped the other caught. Dmom insists she can live alone.
    Recently, Dbro took her to a clinic where they gave her strong anti-biotics. Her stomach gets bad and she cant eat so she drops weight. Her sodium then goes low because her heart isnt good and it then affects the kidneys (the "holy triad" are heart,kidneys,sodium) think of it as a 3 sided scale. When Dmoms sodium is low she is whining,beligerant and generally cant recall anything. Very dangerous because she will fight tooth and nail NOT to go to the hosp. I have recently explained to her I will now watch what she does not listen to what she says.
    The second time she convinced her GP to give her Sulfa drugs that worked last time. Too strong again it caused confusion,made her sick,dropped sodium. She wouldn't go again. I had to call Dbro. She will follow a male more.
    She will have issues unless they can get the pacemaker in which she fianlly stopped fighting.

    I don't know about your Dmoms' issues but realize sodium and potassium play a key role in mental function. AND that when you have heart disease they give you diuretics to keep the water buildup down (assoc. w/ a lower functioning heart). The meds then flush out the potassium and sodium again often resulting in yet another hosp. visit.
    Why are you feeding her? Is she shaky? Dmom was because of the low sodium.

    As far as siblings I have 1 who is in a bit of denial. We are not close. I thought we would co-ordinate over Dmom though. Wrong!

    Please just ask questions. Know that when some people go into denial they just aren't equipped. Try and forgive them. Do what you can.
    Dmom was out shoveling today. She hired a guy. He didn't show.I cant stop her. That's hard but its her life. Or death.

  10. #9
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    Thanks everyone for your replies. frugalwarrior2 I don't have to feed her but just be there to help with the tray the first days because she had a hard time maneuvering it and taking off lids, etc. Mom's doc appears to be on top of things - she has to head to the clinic for a blood test next week and then again the following week. I already made an appt to take her to her doc after the test results come in.

    My one sibling/his wife are also a bit in denial - they think everything is fine when they rarely see my parents. They have busy lives and I am totally fine with them not being able to help out as much but think they could have at least responded to my updates instead of blasting me for being there for my mom. Just strange.

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    Visited with my elderly mother today and she was emotionally spent. She struggles with fractures in her spine because of osteoporosis and rods/pins in her back due to a car accident many years ago. She is in chronic pain but soldiers on. She was told by a SIL via phone that there is no reason she can not travel to their place. REALLY? I am beyond frustrated that my mom gets such heartless treatment from those who rarely see her. She has a difficult time being in a car for any length of time but they will tell her how she is supposed to feel. When my mother told me this, it ruined my day - how do you deal with siblings like that....just ignore them I suppose and do the best for my mom....sigh...

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    They are prob just ignorant but i understand its frustrating.
    I had my Dmom all sold on the idea of givign her house to a rehabber or a charity like Habitat for Humanity. Dbro comes on and hires a real estate from another area and she lists it very high so that no one in the area will qualify for a mortgage certainly not HUD or FHA or any assistance. It is priced based on zillow not comps in the area. They have signed on for a year. So basically it sits while she pays 2 more tax bills and 12 gas/12 electric. Now a branch is hanging over the house so more money for maintainance. Its a sick house and has mold.mildew,lead paint and asbestos clapboard. IDK how it can even be sold that way. So apparently along the way I have been pushed out. We had a similar conversation about the car and Ds sold it for peanuts but initially it was a big money maker too.
    So my advice is do what you know to do and fight for mom.

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    Registered User pinetree's Avatar
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    I had to take over guardianship of my aunt when my dad passed.. The best thing he told me was if I had any trouble to call an Ombudsman for her. They only represent her and stand up for her, help her. She had a sister, well they kept her away from her abuse.. You can call one in any state, their numbers are usually posted on nursing home walls. They can also help you, help who you are taking care of, please dont be afraid to call one. My DIL had to call one for her Grandmother, with the money being abused..

    I use to do what I had to, and didn't listen to the others rants.. You are taking care of her, you need to do what you think is best. Notice they are not taking care or helping her. If need be get guardianship over her.. check into that before you do it, it might be different, now, but all I did was take care of her and her bills, etc. I wasnt responsible for her bill, tho she was turned over as a ward of the state.. pm me if I can help.

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    Kudos to you for caring for your mom. I'm sure she appreciates it.

    As for your siblings, screw them. Do what you need to for your family and for your mother. Let the sibling who helps out know you are thankful, but don't give the other siblings any more of your energy. (((hugs)))

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