General Etiquette > Family and Children

We're in the Doghouse with Mom...

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Let her be angry.

If she tries to guilt trip you cut her off and end the conversation quickly. The only slack I would give her at this age is to let it go under the rug as long as she doesn't try to drag it back out.

it is difficult when family members get older,  i'm experiencing this with grandparents and their siblings.

the last remaining are in late 80's and 90's and have had health, mental and physical, issues become more apparent over the last couple of years.  He is 98 and was still living on his own (with a cleaner and weekly visits by us) up until early last year.  sadly he has alzheimers and now is back in the 1950's when he had his own business and sometimes you see him sat as if he is assembling or sewing something.  he does have good days when he recognises us and bad when he has no idea who he is let alone us.  We are lucky that he is in a lovely care facility and within 10 mins of us instead of over an hour away.  i know that he is going to join his late wife soon though, and sadly for my father as  (it is his uncle) it'll be farewell to the last of his mother's family of that generation. 
his personality can have days when he's not who he would consider as himself, and that's the nature of the illness sadly.

she has taken to her bed, not ill just decided to not get up.  and that breaks my heart as she is (i know i shouldn't have one but she is!) my favourite grandparent.  she spoilt us with love and home baking.  hugs and trips out, not needing to buy us things, we are the only grandchildren on that side of the family and the attention was the best thing.  i'm almost too sad to see her at the moment as i'm dealing with health issues and am not sure i could keep it under control long enough to visit.

sorry i got a bit rambly there, what i meant to say is don't feel guilty Thipu, parents and grandparents get older and we can only do so much for them and as you had only just gotten back from a long trip i do think she was a little OTT in her demand that you must be there for thanksgiving.  would it soften her if you sent her some pictures from your trip?  maybe in an album book (online printers? photobox in uk, not sure US)

I would let her be angry as well, just because she really expected you to pack up again after you've spent three weeks traveling. That's the last thing you wanted to do, especally on the same day you returned. Regardless of her age, I think that's a tall order to fill.

Thanks everyone for excellent advice. 

We have had experience with aging relatives.  Both of my parents lived into their 80s as did Mr. Thipu's Dad.  We know that when people of advanced age start going downhill,  it tends to happen rapidly. 

The place where MIL lives is known as a 'Continuing Care Community'. In the independent apartments, twice weekly 'maid services' keep an eye out to make sure the residents are capable.  Residents also get any medications they may need through a carefully monitored on-site pharmacy.  If there was any major problem with MIL we would be notified.

  When they are no longer able to live alone, residents move into assisted living in the same complex and, as far as they are capable, take part in all activities. 

When they really become frail, residents move into the 'Health Center' which is a true nursing home.  The community also has a special place for those suffering from dementia..

MIL has always been an expert on the way 'things should be'.  Also, bragging rights are important where she lives.  MIL would like nothing better to lead the parade of her two children with their spouses, her three grandchildren with their spouses and her six great-grandchildren into the Dining Room for Dinner. 

That isn't going to happen but that just proves to her that we are not 'good children'.  She will get over this in a week or so.  Next time we phone, she's likely to blow us off because she has a reserved time for WII Tennis but she will be cheerful when she does it.

Hey, may everyone have the same problems with an aging relative that we have.

Thanks again for all the thoughtful and


--- Quote from: Thipu1 on November 25, 2012, 10:23:15 AM ---We know that when people of advanced age start going downhill,  it tends to happen rapidly. 

--- End quote ---

In my experience this is not the case at all.  Sure in the very very end things accelerate but actually I have witnessed 3 grandparents on a slow steady years-long decline.  It started with small things, things we didn't even notice until retrospectively looking at the big picture.  Verbal filters go, food tastes change, interests and hobbies change or get dropped/repicked up, mood changes, etc.  These things happen over the course of years not months.

In many ways the rapid decline is much easier to deal with.  Please don't ignore the signs of a slow decline though.  When someone has a rapid decline you notice "hey mom can't walk anymore" with a slow decline its less noticeable to see "hey last month mom could walk 2000 steps a day, this week she can only walk 1900 steps a day."  The decline in not seen, but its there. Its especially hard to notice when there's help - a service to do her laundry, a van to drive to the grocery store, the option of the main dining room instead of cooking, etc - because there are no obvious symptoms of the decline.


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