Jennifer Meagher RN is a Geriatric Care Manager and Registered Nurse. She had a 21 year nursing career at Genesee Hospital, which included 11 years as Nurse Manager. She was the primary evening instructor for a local Home Health Aide training program. She has been a geriatric specialist since 1998. She is a member of Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly, is the founder and president of Better Businesses Partners Serving Seniors, and is called on by local attorneys and physicians for her expertise. She is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Independent Consultants and Advocates | www.SeniorLifeGCM.com
I am 84 years of age. I’m not too old yet. I can take care of myself, but I don’t drive any more. All I want is for my daughter to buy me some groceries and take me to the bank. Is that too much to ask? I done a lot of nice things for her over the years. I let her move back in when her no good husband took off. When I call her, she puts me off. She gives me crap about calling her too much. She’s my own flesh and blood, giving me a lot of lip I don’t need and I don’t deserve. Bottom line is she don’t come when I call. She makes me wait until it’s convenient for her. It isn’t easy getting old. She’ll understand when she gets to my age. Is there something I can do to make her take care of me? Don’t I have rights? She’s an ingrate, that’s all.
Please reply and tell her what’s what.
Before I had a chance to respond to the above letter, a second one came in that I think you’ll find interesting.
My mother told me she was going to write you and tell you what an ungrateful witch I am. My mother’s name is Martha. If she wrote you, I want to tell you my side. My mother always talked bad to me, and about me, my whole life. She’s always called me an ungrateful witch. She’s my mom. She should know better than that. She calls me to take her somewhere every day. She likes to go after groceries three times a week. She likes to go to the bank every time a bill comes in. Then there’s the hairdresser, doctor’s appointments and just plain shopping. She likes to go shopping at the drug store and grocery when she sees a coupon she likes – she wants me to drive her around every day. I’ll do it for her but it has to be on Thursdays. That’s when I don’t work. I tell her that every time she calls and she gets furious.
In case she said so, she did take me in when my ex-husband left me. While I was there, I was her slave- I had to clean and take her everywhere and I had to pay rent. It was ridiculous. I don’t think I owe her an apology, I think she owes me one. I hope you can set her straight. She calls me ungrateful, but she isn’t grateful for what I do.
Dear Martha and Sherry,
I am going to write you both because it sounds like you are both out of focus here. Martha, you are the mother. This means that you should teach your daughter through example. When you disrespect her, you are encouraging her to disrespect you. You are disrespecting your daughter by demanding her attention rather than requesting and by calling her names.
Sherry, you felt the need to defend yourself. And you went there: you brought up how your mother took you back in and you complained about having to help out and pay rent – which only seems right to me.
Your two stories are night and day. You each feel the other is all wrong and you are all right. This is never the case. If you wish to have a healthier relationship, you need the help of a counselor. I recommend you speak to your doctor and get a referral to a relationship counselor. Then go. Do it. We only get to live each day just once. What you are doing now isn’t working. It’s time to try something different. It is time for compromise, respect and an attempt to consider things from the other’s perspective. It is time to learn how to have a better relationship before you run out of time and live with regret.
You must each give a little to get a little.
WHEN YOUR PARENT STOPS DRIVING
I often hear from adult children who want their parents to stop driving. They ask for help to “just make them” stop. I always ask the same question next. “When your parent stops driving, who is going to take her to the store and appointments and pick her up for family get-togethers?” Then I get the squirm reaction. I remind them that once the parent stops driving, her world is reduced to her home. And she must wait for someone to have time to take her, and wait for the ride to arrive. It isn’t easy to stop driving. But, if the driving is unsafe then giving up the keys is the right thing to do.
Here’s a list of services that can come to the house if your loved one is housebound:
1. Some pharmacies will fill a medicine box and deliver it every week.
2. Some podiatrists come to the house.
3. Daily Money Managers help with mail management, balance the checkbook and can help set up automatic payments for the bills, among other services. NOTE: They are not investors and they do not do banking transactions.
4. Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy.
5. Nurses, aides and companions.
6. There are many transportation services and the option of personal drivers.
7. A couple companies will size, fit and sell orthopedic shoes right at your home.
8. Some hairdressers and hairdressing services will come to the house.
9. Massage therapists can come to you.
10. A couple grocers deliver to your home or consider home delivered meals.
Visit my website and send me an email if you need references for any item listed.