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Elderly parents

Parents just seem to have stopped bothering

10 replies

Poppetspinkpants · 27/01/2013 20:54

They've never been exactly socialites but it's getting worse.
For the last five years they've come to us for a day out on a specified Saturday near Christmas. Last year Dad hyped my DD1 for days about the forthcoming visit and then phoned on the morning and said that he wasn't coming after all. Cue one tearful 8 year old.
I commented on this to him later on the phone, didn't seem bothered at all.
DM was invited to a party by her SIL, wouldn't go even though she was offered a lift from outside her front door.
They've stopped going on holidays too, which they used to do at least three times a year.
Now it's DD2s birthday, they've always at least visited for a few days every 'birthday' since DD1 was small.
This year - excuse about snow (none round here) and a £20 note and card in the post. That's all.

It really feels like they've stopped caring. We're due to go up soon for their anniversary party and I really feel like not bothering either. As it is we've decided to stay in a hotel rather than with them.

I know it's horrible to say but I feel like I've lost my parents. Even though they're still with us IYSWIM.
I've said to DH that that's it, any parties we have now will focus on DDs and their friends and I won't bother inviting DPs again. I'm fed up of being let down.

I know it's horrible to say but I feel like I've lost my parents. Even though they're still with us IYSWIM.

Sorry but needed to vent.

OP posts:
discorabbit · 27/01/2013 20:56

how sad, how old are they though?

Kiriwawa · 27/01/2013 20:59

Are they elderly? Why haven't you gone to see them?

Poppetspinkpants · 28/01/2013 12:38

We do go to see them, but it's gone from being 50:50 to nearer 0:100. And several times they've rung us and told us not to come to visit for various odd reasons.

They're in their 70s, so I've had to accept that it's just a stage of life that they feel that they don't want to go far from home.
My MIL did exactly the same the year before she passed away.

It just feels like a door's snapped shut and we didn't see it closing. :(

OP posts:
Somethingyesterday · 28/01/2013 18:23

Poppet - you are not being horrible. I have seen something similar happening and yes, you do begin to feel you have rather lost your family member even though they are still there. It's hard to describe and not really something you can imagine until it starts to happen. We assume that we will have to respond to some physical failings in, say, elderly parents. But if it's their 'personality' that starts to fade - it's terribly hard to know what to do or even how to feel. I truly sympathize.

whattodoo · 28/01/2013 18:31

Are you sure there aren't any health issues you're unaware of? eg continence worries which mean they don't like to be far from a look.

And maybe they've stopped going on holiday because they struggle to lift suitcases?

Having said that, its horrible to suddenly realize age is catching up with them, isn't it?

But try to still include them in important family events, or at least try to find out the underlying issues. You'll all be be very sad if the distance between you increases.

countrydreamer · 19/02/2013 09:33

Generally, as people age, everything becomes more of an effort, more difficult, they find the rapid changes of the modern world confusing, and at the same time they are losing their daily energy, little everyday things tire them out, they get stiff and find every day chores hard work, their bodies won't work the way they always used to, they get more and more pain, life becomes more and more of a struggle.
So, it is probably not at all that your parents care any less about their family, it's just that everything is too much of a struggle.
It's not all about you, have some compassion, have some empathy. Yes it will probably in the future be you making all the journeys to them, that's the kind and necessary thing to do. Get real.
Generally, as parents age, their children take on the role of parent and the parents take on the role of the children, i.e. they are the ones that need the care, the concern. You are sounding like a selfish spoiled child. Time for a reality check. Time you went to visit them and see what they need, don't just nurse your hurt feelings, they probably need more support from you, possibly in the future from social workers, doctors etc. Wake up.

countrydreamer · 19/02/2013 09:47

poppets - warning - this is harsh but I suggest you need to think seriously about it - your parents are in their 70s, please make time in your life to see them regularly now because they may not be around for much longer, or if they are they may have deteriorated and not be the people you recognise, get your memories now, make sure your children visit with you so that they will remember their grandparents in the future. Time is running out, you cannot afford to delay with old people. You don't want to suffer from the Guilt that you could have done more to help them when they needed it, that you didn't see them whilst they were still relatively active, the guilt that your children don't remember them. They cared for you when you were young and needed it, now it is time for you to look out for them. You cannot afford to let life rush by, because you will regret it if suddenly one or both of your parents are not longer around and you didn't do your best for them.

amothersplaceisinthewrong · 19/02/2013 22:40

I think elderly people just suddenly get tired - especially in the frenetic world we live in, where a simple train journey becomes a nightmare because of crowds, etc etc. Deteriorating hearing can make conversation wearing too. And a group full of young kids at a party could be hell for them.

I think they are best visited in their own homes and little and often probably works best (although not always easy if you like me live miles away). My Mother has stopped coming to us as the 250 mile train journey is just too exhausting. We go up to her, admittdely not as often as she would like, and we go and get her and bring her to us and take her home for Xmas.

Chavvytastic · 19/02/2013 22:48

My ILs (mid/late 70's) have become more and more like this. I just think its a stage of life. I think of it as old age. You cannot put an age on it, some may be young and still in their 60's others into their 90's before the slowing down starts but I think elderly people just suddenly slow down and stop needing the excitement the rest of us enjoy. Going on holiday becomes a hassle, as do days out etc.

Its horrible to see. Especially with people you hold so dear like your Mum and Dad, but its not personal, its an inevitable part of life.

amillionyears · 20/02/2013 08:10

I think that until we get to old age ourselves, we dont really know how we are going to feel either.

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