Elderly Parent Sibling #4

Following the emptying of their nest and their respective retirements, my parents, both children of the Depression and, in our father's case, a combat veteran whose wounds apparently went beyond those physical in nature, whose behavior between both themselves and their children could only be described as troubled and in some sense angry, for some reason began, in their seventies, apparently in a voluntarily fashion, a hobby based on elective medical/surgical treatments.

During the early phase, my elderly parents routinely would have difficulties with one another and I, as one of the two children living the closest and the only single one, would be dragged in on a daily basis to act as a referee and help my father get around. Given their respective personalities and emotional makeups, they were doing the best that they each were capable of. I asked them both to get some help and resolve their differences, but nothing ever really worked. I asked for my sibling's help and they demurred.

Ultimately, 8 years and many surgeries later, my father died and my career was pretty much a mess. Throughout this phase my fellow siblings, most of whom lived within an hour or so of our elderly parents and had more than adequate personal and financial resources to do so, would show up rarely for brief visits, citing their dislike for our father, often deliberately attempting to cause and not prevent friction between the parents, chiefly by making disparaging remarks about our father to our mother, who, as time progressed, needed less and less encouragement to act in an unkindly fashion towards our father. She would routinely state that the only reason that "her" kids and their families wouldn't visit more often was because of my father's presence. Wrong.

Well, our father was buried but
the others never did start to come by to see our mother. They stated, when pressed, that they felt now that she was troubled and besides, they had their own lives to live. I ended up, by some default and some of my own choice, as the helper for our mother. Things went along as well as could be expected until, 6 years later, I began to plan on getting married. Our mother got quite difficult with me, as did some of the siblings, and I was completely alienated from the situation for almost 4 months.

During that time I was vilified by the others and wrongfully accused of taking financial advantage of our mother. One sibling went so far as to cause trouble with my employment which resulted in a prolonged period of unemployment and a near foreclosure for me. I was pretty surprised with how ugly they could and would get. I was also very surprised at how badly they screwed up our mother's medical treatment and to find out that they secured and abused a durable power of attorney, which they later would only relinquish after repeated demands.

One month later, I was notified that several of them were going on vacation together and that I would have to "fill in" for them. Well, over 3 years have gone by and our mother is in good medical health but they have never come back but for an occasional 1 hour visit or so. None of them, despite my request, would even go over dependably to look in our mother even one day every other weekend.

Well, our marriage plans went, understandably, out the window and I still am waiting for the others to come back and help out. I guess that I'd better not hold my breath.

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by: Anonymous

My mother is extremely negative too. Believe me I can relate.I have had 7 surgeries after I left home, and I think that she has helped me with one once. Yet, she thinks that she should be mother of the year. She told me, "I can hardly wait for you to get married so I don't have to bother with a birthday present." My father had to slip around to give me a present to avoid her wrath.

She believes children should earn their inheritance. A trip to Wal-Mart is difficult because she must check every date on every item and make comments about the high rate of sodium in most products. She constantly tells me how to do everything. I am suppose to call her but- only at a certain time and then she says that she is too busy to talk. Yet, I fear her death, which I cannot understand. I have been highly successful in my career and my financial affairs but can't seem to make much headway with her moods.

Dislike my Elderly Mother
by: midcenturymom

I truly dislike my elderly mother, and I frankly feel guilty about it sometimes, but mostly happy as a clam to live several states away.

My parents divorced when I was 20 and my father passed about several years ago (he was remarried). My mother is alone--she has alienated most everyone whom she could ever have classified as a friend.

My mother had always been an uninterested parent--highly critic and a know-it-all-giving unsolicited opinions and advice. The real issue is that when she was 58 (she's 76) she fractured her back and didn't get it taken care of properly. By now it's debilitated her-emotionally more than physically. She is not a reader or a deeply philosophical person, so she watches TV--mostly game shows--and listens to crazy, conservative talk radio.

She's very bored: she calls our house several times a day when she knows we are at work/school then hangs up when the machine cuts on. She know nothing of technology and that we can see that she has called 3-4 times each day.

She's painful to have to talk to on the phone: she incessantly laments her life and the choices she has made, she asks little about my children (her grand kids), and she seems to get pleasure out of making offhanded political statements that cause tension.

So that's where I'm at. Does anyone else have this kind of elderly parent?...I would love to hear how you handle it.

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