Caring for Seniors, Set Boundaries So They Don't Take Advantage of You

My mother-in-law is elderly. She recently needed hospitalization and therapy because she got dehydrated. And she is milking this illness just like she does everything else. She calls my third shift husband in the middle of his sleep for petty non-essentials. She talks non-stop about nothing when he is clearly exhausted. She hogs the show every time we have her over. If the focus isn't always on her, she pouts.

People have said "oh, she's just lonely." Well, I'm not ignorant. I know elderly get lonely. So do I. So does my husband. We sleep on opposite schedules. He's gone every night, 6-7 days a week. And furthermore, if she lonely, she better start appreciating what company and friendship she has. She constantly complains about everyone, us included. She's burned a lot of bridges and alienated a lot of folks. That we are the "only ones she has" doesn't mean she should take advantage of us.

We have provided her with the best care we can given that we have lives and jobs too. We cannot make everything perfect for her just as things aren't perfect for us. We have to deal with crazy schedules (he works nights, me days), plans broken by mandatory unannounced overtime, etc. Furthermore, she needs to be made to do what she can for herself. Her home care nurses, therapist agree. We should  not be waiting on her. She is also going to have to sacrifice her precious car which she is over her head in debt for and isn't even supposed to have given she's in subsidized housing. So it's time to set boundaries. Learn from our mistakes set boundaries with elderly people just as you would your children. If they require the same supervision, or just think they do, then you decide what and how much you can provide. Don't let them take advantage of you, unless you want selfish, entitled people running your life and making you miserable.   Our Phone Number is Not Your Private 911 Emergency Line
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