Our parents are both in their early 70’s. Mom and Dad used to be very active. In fact, they were often so busy, I wouldn’t talk to them for months at a time due to their travel schedule. In the past couple years, they have had to give up traveling, because it’s too expensive. Their health care has gotten expensive. Also, they have been going through the deaths of friends. All of this has made them very unhappy.
Mom and Dad are looking to my siblings and our families to be their entertainment committee. We all have kids of various ages, and we happily include our parents in activities – when they will come. But now, they don’t want to travel to join the kids at their ball games, gymnastics meets and other events. They always have an excuse.
And mom has been complaining so much –‘You kids never call, I never see anyone any more’ and so on. I try to talk to my parents at least every other week, and the sisters who live closer do so at least once a week. One sister and I rent a cabin for a week and invite our parents to join us.
Another issue is that they still live in the huge house we grew up in, and it's way too much for them. Dad won’t move because he would have to give up his garden and will have to live with too many rules in a condo. He said, ‘You might as well just put me in a home.’
The complaining has gotten so bad that we all dread having any contact with them, yet we do it because it’s not worth the additional complaining we get if we don’t call. It’s such a change from them not having time to visit with us to now being their sole source of outside communication.
We have all had a wonderful relationship with both of our parents but it has gradually gotten worse the past couple of years. It seems that no matter what we do, it’s not right. We don’t know how to talk to them about this. When we try, they get very defensive.
We are concerned about their health; we are concerned about one of them having a heart attack mowing that huge lawn; but more than anything, they are both so unhappy. It’s like mom is angry that she is getting older and it’s all our fault. We just don’t know how to help our parents any-more.
I could relate to this woman, as most caregivers can. This is the message I passed on to her. I hope it helps some of you, as well: