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Aged parents lockdown fatigue

(22 Posts)
Flippetyflipok Fri 01-May-20 23:22:59

Does anyone have advice on what to do about aged, should-be shielding parents (late 70s, mobile but one with health condition) who have decided the rules don't apply to them?

I'm not close to my parents, speak every few months maybe when I put DD on phone. At the start of the pandemic, they were still shopping, albeit in gloves.

Then my dad got a shielding /very vulnerable letter (he obvs knew he has health problems which mean if he got covid he has a v poor outlook). Seemed to underline it to them, and I helped them access supermarket deliveries, local groups (they live ~4hrs away), via email.

In the meantime, I've had covid symptoms and ongoing issues for >5 weeks, having tests (not virus ones sadly!) etc.. Parents have had little interest in my health, don't ask in emails how I am, haven't contacted us except DD's birthday and in response to an email. We've phoned them a few times, roughly weekly, more than normal to check they are OK, DH gets DD to chat, I tend to sulk in background. They've asked maybe twice how I am. This is "normal" for them but still pissed me off.

Last phone call, mum said something like "have you noticed how quiet the roads are when you go out", they'd had people round for "distant" drinks, been to a bloody veg farm, and dropped veg over to other friends. They are also still insisting they are moving house in June.

I didn't say anything at the time, my mind just boggled. I'm not surprised, but I don't know what to do. I can't imagine they'd listen to me. I guess I'd feel guilty if the worst happens that I didn't repeat the stay at home all the time advice. I'd emailed them a link to the govt "stay at home" site at the start of all this, and I am clear about what we are doing (wfh, only going out for food and exercise).

Has anyone successfully navigated suggesting sticking to the advice in a strained parental relationship context? Or do I just have to accept they are adults and making their own choices?

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Porcupineinwaiting Fri 01-May-20 23:27:32

Sad though it is I'd just leave them to it. The risk, for now, is falling and in time they're likely to pay the price(contracting COVID) for their choices. But putting your relationship on a bad footing wont change this.

There is no way they aren't aware of the guidelines and the reasons for them. If what they see on the news doesn't convince them, nothing will.

Flippetyflipok Fri 01-May-20 23:34:43

Thanks Porcupineinwaiting. Obligation and guilt are things I could without in lockdown!

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AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 01-May-20 23:42:32

Assuming they are of sound mind, and hence have capacity, there is nothing you can do.

I suspect some have decided that they could kick the bucket in the foreseeable future anyway, and so they don't want to spend a good proportion of their remaining time in isolation.

I have an elderly relative who is in her late 90s, and it's fairly obvious that if / when she gets COVID she will be unlikely to survive it. However, I still think there's a quality vs quantity of life trade off to be had; there's a good chance she won't see the end of social distancing even if she doesn't get COVID; she's always been a very gregarious sort of person. She has friends / neighbours / family / carers popping in, and to be honest I think that's the right thing to do for her.

Obviously it's less clear cut for someone in their late 70s vs late 90s, but I still think you have to allow them to make their own decisions.

fallfallfall Fri 01-May-20 23:53:20

what are the numbers in their town or village? how is their region doing regarding the curve? do they even know anyone who has become ill?
they have the right to make their own choice.

Flippetyflipok Fri 01-May-20 23:55:16

Thanks Avocados. They do seem to have own busy lives, although rural North and no other family members nearby. We're down south, so I also worry what happens worst case scenario.

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Flippetyflipok Fri 01-May-20 23:56:15

fallfallfall good point, few cases near them. Much worse where we are.

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Flippetyflipok Fri 01-May-20 23:57:00

Although I've been ill, they do know me!

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LilacTree1 Sat 02-May-20 13:30:06

It’s their choice

Don’t infantilise them.

Flippetyflipok Sun 03-May-20 03:42:09

Sure, but their choices also impact me. As an only child, parents have siblings but not close, I'd have to act if one/either got ill.

Or can I shrug and say, its their choice and leave them to it?

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Porcupineinwaiting Sun 03-May-20 11:14:26

In what way do you feel you'd need to act? You certainly dont have to expose yourself to the virus, in fact you'd be dumb to do so. The NHS has capacity if necessary.

LilacTree1 Sun 03-May-20 12:59:43

If they get the virus, you’re supposed to keep away.

HathorX Sun 03-May-20 13:07:37

If they succumb to the virus that is their problem, but what I'd object to is the selfishness of older or vulnerable people not complying with the rules - they know that if they catch it they are statistically likely to get very unwell and become a burden on the NHS. How dare they put our NHS workers at further risk, just because they fancy a trip out? What makes them so special?

I would be furious with them, and I'd tell them I think they are very selfish and lacking a conscience.

LilacTree1 Sun 03-May-20 13:13:55

Well they’ve paid into the NHS their whole lives

The NHS is meant to save us, not the other way round.

Goatymcgoaty Sun 03-May-20 13:16:13

I have a late 70’s parent with a cardiac issue. I’ve given up - initially I was doing some shopping for them only for them to then mention they “popped into Waitrose as part of their exercise”.

I’ve pointed out their underlying condition (apparently irrelevant as it’s not bad enough for surgery yet) and their age (also irrelevant as they see them self as having no relevant underlying issue like diabetes).

So I’ve given up. Am resisting attempts to get me to do stuff that bends the rules, and am limiting my involvement to dropping food over and doing welfare checks.

All you can do is broken record on the government advice, mostly so you don’t feel guilty if something happens to them.

LilacTree1 Sun 03-May-20 13:21:15

It’s taking the piss to ask for help based on the advice and not follow the advice

But keep in mind, it is advice. It’s not the law.

pocketem Sun 03-May-20 13:22:42

Leave them to it. Typical attitude unfortunately. Just don't come running if/when they need your help. They are taking their own risks and have to deal with the consequences

LilacTree1 Sun 03-May-20 13:23:22

Matt Hancock himself tweeted that over 70s aren’t in the shielding group

Suggesting he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing

I think all over 70s have had a shielding letter now!

LittleRen Sun 03-May-20 13:24:00

I imagine when you get to your seventies you realise you are probably around for another 10-12 years max, a lot far less. I don’t blame them for thinking sod this... life is short, especially when you’re 70.

Porcupineinwaiting Sun 03-May-20 13:27:41

That makes no sense to me @LittleRen. If I thought I only had maybe 10 years left I'd want to enjoy all of them. Not spunk them all on a couple of trips to Tesco.

pocketem Sun 03-May-20 13:30:21

I think all over 70s have had a shielding letter now!
No, shielding only applies to specific high risk groups. The advice for all over 70s was to take extra notice of the standard social distancing advice, but not the extreme shielding measures of not leaving your house at all

Topseyt Sun 03-May-20 15:33:21

Not all over 70s are in the shielding group. It depends on underlying health conditions, if they have any that are on the list.

My parents are in their eighties. My Dad has COPD and is in the shielding group. He had his letter advising him to shield in the first couple of days of lockdown. My Mum, who is very immobile with osteoporosis and arthritis now and often in extreme discomfort, did not get any letter. But if he is shielding then effectively so is she because she can't physically get out without him.

Their cleaner is now doing their shopping and collecting prescriptions for them instead of coming in to clean (I live several hours drive away).

OP, you can't force them. It is advice only and is voluntary. If they get it then they will probably have to contact their doctor if needed themselves, and/or call 111 or an ambulance. It would be best if you didn't go over there if that happens, hard though that is.

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