Amy 12-24

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PEllen

Chicago, IL

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#1
Dec 24, 2012
 
Dear Amy: My siblings and I are all middle-aged, married and live relatively close to our parents. I was the last to marry, so during my single years I bore witness to my parents' continued hurt that my brothers and sisters all "forgot" about them in adulthood.

My parents were hurt that my siblings only contacted them when they needed money or a favor. They complained that the only times they ever saw their children was when the spouse was in tow or for holidays. Through the years, it seems my parents "take turns" being furious and not speaking to one sibling after another.

After I got married I went out of my way to make it a point to call them, have them over for dinner or stop in on occasion without my husband with absolutely no agenda beyond saying hello. After a few years of being "the good daughter" I realize that my parents have never called my home or invited my spouse and me to their home. Maintaining contact has fallen upon my shoulders. During my visits I still hear how upset they are with my siblings. Now, although I have tried my hardest to please them I am now on the "receiving" end of the silent treatment.

I do not want to be like my siblings and write them off, but I am at the point that I can understand how the relationships became this way. I am very hurt by how my parents treat me. I have tried to say something in the past, and it just makes their attitude toward me worse, so I have let it go. My parents are getting up there in years and not in the best of health. I am really in a no-win situation here and have no idea what to do.

Still the Good Daughter

Dear Daughter: The dynamic your parents have established requires that one child after another must be punished. You now realize that your behavior doesn't really make a difference in their treatment of you, and so I suggest that you only need to make one change. This will be internal; no one else is likely to notice it, but you will feel completely different.

You need to start to do what you want to do. If you want to visit your parents, then do so with joy. If you want to stay away for a while, then do that. Your folks may fuss and blacklist you, but they are already doing that. Your attitude will help to set you free. It will also make you less susceptible to your parents' machinations because you will see that it takes two parties to engage in emotional blackmail one to blackmail and the other to tacitly agree to it.

The goal is to liberate you enough to be authentic and truthful in your own life, while also being accepting and forgiving of them because you cannot change them at this point. I recommend the book "Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You," by Susan Forward (1998, William Morrow).

Dear Amy: With the holiday season here, I wanted to give some gift ideas for people living in nursing homes. Photo albums or scrapbooks are always appreciated; these should be labeled with who is in the photo and also the relationship to the person (helpful for those with memory problems and for reminiscing).

Greeting cards are helpful when they are addressed and ready to send. CD players with favorite CDs. Playing cards, lotions, ChapStick, gripper socks, soft blankets, smaller lap-size blankets, fresh flowers every month for the year, a magazine subscription or a treat of live musical entertainment.

I hope these ideas are helpful.

Long Term Care Nurse

Dear Nurse: The giving season doesn't stop today these suggestions are great.

Dear Readers: I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. I know this time of year can be challenging, sad and stressful for many but it is my fervent hope that each of us can reach down deep and recover some of the hope, light and joy that this season represents.

“This is SPARTA!”

Since: Dec 08

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#2
Dec 24, 2012
 

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LW1: "My parents...complained that the only times they ever saw their children was when the spouse was in tow"

That seems like an odd complaint.

What Amy said. Your siblings learned their lesson long before you.

LW2: "CD players with favorite CDs." WTF? When was this list written? 1985?
PEllen

Chicago, IL

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#3
Dec 24, 2012
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
LW1: "My parents...complained that the only times they ever saw their children was when the spouse was in tow"
That seems like an odd complaint.
What Amy said. Your siblings learned their lesson long before you.
LW2: "CD players with favorite CDs." WTF? When was this list written? 1985?
My parents are in their 80's. My Dad just got out of the nursing home after surgery so I have seen the level of functioning of old people. As a broad generalization I doubt any of thm could deal with much more than a CD. In addition, the cover art provides a visual prompt when they can't read well any more. Also, no one steals a CD player any more. MP3 players and better gets "liberated".

Don't mock. 40 years from now the modern version of Amby will be telling your kids to load up an iPod for you in the nursing home and they will say the same thing.Just start keeping your End of Life music list now.

The complaint that they only see a childwith the spuse is an effort to recapture the family before teh kids grow up or it means they don't like the spouse. OTOH always brining your spouse is often a good way to forestall your parents from trying to re-infantilize you. My mother has tried that for years. She is afraid of cats. I got a cat literally as soon as I moved out to keep her at bay. Same thing.

“This is SPARTA!”

Since: Dec 08

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#4
Dec 24, 2012
 
From my perspective, it is more practical to give the old folks an MP3 player. Don't have to deal with a collection of CD's taking up space. Don't have to deal with putting the cd's back in the cases. Don't have to take the extra steps of putting the disk in the player in order to listen to the music. Additionally, if you use some sort of cloud service, you can add music to the collection from your house and the old folks will have instant access.
PEllen wrote:
In addition, the cover art provides a visual prompt when they can't read well any more.
To me, this is the only area where a CD is of more benefit than an iPod. But by the same token, you could say CD's are too small to see. Need to get them a record player and a collection of vinyl. That being said, a Nexus 7 or iPad mini has a screen big enough to rival a cd case and roughly the size of a portable cd player.
PEllen wrote:
Just start keeping your End of Life music list now.
My list is....all of it.

“This is SPARTA!”

Since: Dec 08

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#5
Dec 24, 2012
 

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BTW, I like cd's. I like having a physical product. If I am spending money, I'd rather spend that money on a physical cd, which I could then make MP3's out of. If I buy music online, I only have the MP3's, but no disc. No liner notes. No nothing. Buying MP3's only wins out if the cost is lower.

“suffers from formicophilia ”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#6
Dec 24, 2012
 
1- Couldn't wade through all the drama.

2- Tonka, there's nothing the confused elderly love more than the latest technologically advanced gizmo.
dahgts

Chicago, IL

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#7
Dec 24, 2012
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
From my perspective, it is more practical to give the old folks an MP3 player. Don't have to deal with a collection of CD's taking up space. Don't have to deal with putting the cd's back in the cases. Don't have to take the extra steps of putting the disk in the player in order to listen to the music. Additionally, if you use some sort of cloud service, you can add music to the collection from your house and the old folks will have instant access.
<quoted text> To me, this is the only area where a CD is of more benefit than an iPod. But by the same token, you could say CD's are too small to see. Need to get them a record player and a collection of vinyl. That being said, a Nexus 7 or iPad mini has a screen big enough to rival a cd case and roughly the size of a portable cd player.
<quoted text>
My list is....all of it.
Have you ever tried to teach an elderly, maybe a little confused person anything about electronics? The letter writer was referring to a nursing home. MP3 player would be very difficult for them to deal with. At least CDs are a physical disc that they could put into a player. That would be about all. And before you say that there are some that could handle MPs..some could. My mom, before she passed at 90, used a computer, emailed, paid her bills, and made great greeting cards. But that was about it. She could not figure out how to manipulate the computer if something went wrong or was not exactly how she knew how to do it. And I've also helped a couple of other seniors to get started on computers. You have to have the patience of a saint. MPs, tablets, etc. fall into that same category.
Julie

Skokie, IL

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#8
Dec 24, 2012
 

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LW1: Your parents are toxic and likely always have been, which your siblings realized a lot sooner than you did. The intern's advice was fine.

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