Chat about Care-Taking: It’s Not Your Fault

“If only…”  Mom’s certain her life would improve – if only.

She loves to shop – but the traffic’s so bad and you can’t find a place to park and they’ve changed up all the lots and they don’t have the stores they used to have and she can’t find the brands she likes and all the styles are made for young people and nothing fits and the shoes all have those great big heels and the prices are ridiculous.  But if she could just find a nice outfit to wear to Sunday School and Book Club, everything would be OK.

She loves to go out to eat – but there’s really no where to go in her neighborhood and she’s tired of going to the same old places, but she doesn’t know what to get when she goes to a new one and all the places are so loud and she doesn’t want to stand in line to pick out her food and she doesn’t want to have to go to a salad bar and she just wants something light and they put so much food on your plate and it cost so much and especially when you have to valet park your car.  But wouldn’t it be nice if the family would all get together and go out for a meal.

She’s not ready to downsize – but fixing three meals a day takes up all her time and she worries about the yard and there’s just so much to do around the house and dad doesn’t do anything to help and she can’t find anyone to do any repairs – they just want to replace things when they do, she  doesn’t like what they put in and if there’s anything wrong you can’t get them to come back and she doesn’t like to deal with any big companies and you can’t trust these independent contractors and the housekeeper makes her nervous and it takes all day to go to the grocery store and besides everything costs so much.  But she’ll know when it’s time to downsize and she’ll let me know, but first she needs to have a few things done around the house.

There was a time I actually believed that if I could resolve whatever problem she complained about , I could make her happy.  I took her to every shopping center in town and carried things back and forth to the dressing room.  I researched the internet to find short-sleeved woven cotton pajamas with elastic waists.  I took her to pretty much every restaurant, cafeteria, café and diner in town.  I researched contractors, begged my husband to do things and even climbed up a few ladders, myself.   I ran myself crazy trying to please her.  Then I realized that all she really wanted was for things to be the way they used to be – and there’s no way that could happen.

With that in mind, I was able to sort through her wish list and ferret out the things I could do to help.  What I can do – I do.  What I can’t do – I just sympathize with.  For your own sanity recognize which of your senior’s requests are things you can do something about and which are just windmills for your senior to tilt on their own time.    Resolve the issues you can and listen sympathetically when they complain about the rest.  And remember, none of it is your fault.

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