Oh, anger, frustration and hurt. We will be moving later this year and want to move Mr and Mrs Mason senior with us as I’m sure I have blogged about before. Today we go to Parent Central with a couple of boxes filled with food Mr Mason and I have cooked over the last couple of days. Being elderly and as Mr Mason Snr no longer drives, they rely on a neighbour to shop for them. We have offered to do this online for them but we have been rebuffed. As they are eating virtually nothing but ready meals, such an unhealthy long term solution, we offered to make a range of meals for them so they can be frozen and then re-heated. We make macaroni and cauliflower cheese, sausage and mash with vegetables and onion gravy, Spanish chicken and rice, spaghetti bolognaise, pasta with tomato and bacon sauce and a bacon and mushroom risotto. There may be other things but I have forgotten, as usual. They are happy to receive them and it all gets stored into the freezer.
While both Mr Masons go to buy fish and chips for lunch, I chat with Mrs M Snr. She tells me she cannot wash her hair by herself and the woman who comes to set her hair has not been able to come this week. I offer to help but she says ‘No’. I wonder how she manages as they have a bath but no working shower. I offer to do any cleaning or other tasks but again, she says ‘No. We are just about managing but I don’t know how long for’. This gives me the ideal opportunity to say that we know what the solution to that might be but I get no response. Mrs M Snr makes much of being wobbly and unable to look after herself but will not accept help from us and within a few minutes of our arrival is walking around as easily as I am. After lunch, Mr M Jnr shows the details of a house we have been sent which has the potential to convert part of it into an annexe. He asks his mother whether she would prefer to live in an annexe or nearby in a bungalow. She laughs and responds saying we will have to wait and see what happens, how long she will live. This does not make sense except she is saying that she will not be moved, regardless of the fact that she does not step outside the door. Mr Mason Snr,being gregarious, likes to go out and about but it has become increasingly difficult as he is subject to the desperate attempts of a frightened woman to stop him going out of the house at all. This is not good for his mental health and he says he gets down at times. Gets down as in feeling miserable, not in the dance sense. If only.
Having been in hospital a couple of times in recent years, we are concerned that we will not be able to deal with any future admissions for Mr M Snr easily. We will be around 500 miles from them which is not a journey of a couple of hours. With Mrs M Snr not leaving the house, our idea is that she can live in a very similar bungalow to the one they have now but which will be much closer to us. This way, Mr M Snr will be able to go out and about while I have a cup of coffee with Mrs M Snr, thus allowing her to feel secure and giving Mr M Snr an opportunity to talk to people which is something he loves. So starved of this opportunity has he been that he has even invited men into the house when he knew they were trying to operate some kind of scam. This worries us.
We are offering to buy a house with an annexe or cottage in the garden and they can live there without contributing to it. They can sell their house and live wildly on the profits. We don’t mind. Or they could sell their house and buy a lovely little bungalow which would see them with a tidy profit which they could fritter away on puzzle books and lottery tickets. We do not mind. We want them to be near enough so that we can cook them some food, do a bit of cleaning, help with the shopping and help out with any of the hundred and one issues that arrive with day to day living. Did I say already that Mr Mason Jnr would actually like to spend more time with his parents? Another option which has been thrown down like a gauntlet is that Mr Mason Jnr’s cousin, who has recently moved to the area, would be available to help with anything that needed doing. Mrs Mason Snr brandishes this like a weapon in our faces. Apart from the fact that Mr Mason Jnr’s cousin has looked after both her parents and is now able to enjoy her life free of elderly dependants, we doubt she has been informed of the plan.
We are offering to spend time, help and generally be more together as a family in the remaining years we all have left. This is what we are choosing to offer. I wonder just where we are going wrong.
In these situations I always remind myself of being told that ‘old people need a lot of patience ‘. How true!
I hope it all turns out ok. It sounds like you all have a marvellous relationship.
It will turn out how it turns out and we’ve just got to be patient and wait. Yes, you’re right. Patience is SO important but hard to have sometimes
Thanks, Jet. We planted the seed over a year ago because we thought time would be essential in coming to such a big decision. Mr M Snr would love to come and said to us right from the beginning that he would be there like a shot. He craves outside contact and he is severely restricted in this so we worry about his mental health as well. We will leave it for now and just carry on with our plans.
I agree with ‘Jet Black’ – you are not going wrong, you are dealing with people who are used to being parents and caregivers, not the receivers of care however much they gripe and moan. My mum was similar although she accepted help she never liked it. My advice from that situation would be to continue to talk with them about the plans you have, make sure they both know that you want to do this as you think it’s the best option and when the passive aggressive complaints come ask “What is your solution to this situation?”
Yes, asking the question is always interesting. One solution she came up with was going into a home. The irony was we had just had a conversation about how she would hate going into a home so a lot is said in fear and I know she is just lashing out. Another solution was that Mr Mason Jnr’s cousin would help them out. Having just spent her life looking after her father and then mother, I am not sure she would enjoy taking on the role and am pretty sure she knows nothing about it. I find it all quite exhausting. Accepting food is the first active help they have accepted from us so maybe it’s the thin end of the wedge. Let’s hope so.
That sounds tough, but I do hope you’re not taking it personally. I doubt you’re “going wrong”. I just reckon change is hard for older people, like our parents, especially when someone else is creating it. Well, for many people… unless we’re lucky enough to get cancer and then everything changes constantly. LOL! They/she is probably just scared. I’d say just leave it as a planted seed and come back to it in a few weeks or months, unless you can find a way of getting them to think it’s their idea…? Where are you moving to?