A client called me today in utter frustration! He had moved is mother to a lovely assisted living community. He made sure to choose one that had lots of activity going on so mom would stay busy. But every day he received calls from mom complaining that she was bored, wanting him to come over and "do something "with her.
Not only had I heard this story before but my husband and I are living it. Mom has a different excuse for not going to each activity we suggest. She just does not want to participate in anything the community has to offer but wants constant attention from her son. My husband is working but since he works for himself she feels like he should be able to visit every day. Here are my suggestions to help you keep your sanity:
- Establish a routine- Set a schedule so that mom knows when you are coming to visit and what you will do. Ex: Wednesday is shopping day. Every Wednesday she knows that you will pick her up and the two of you will go shopping.If there is anything she needs you will be able to get it on Wednesday. Make sure you show up at the same time every week. Another idea maybe dinner out every Thursday! You choose what to do according to what interests your mom. The key here is to be consistent. She needs to be able to count on you.
- Set Boundaries- Let mom know that when you are busy working you will not be able to answer her calls. She can leave a message. If all is says is that she is bored you can choose not to return the call. This may seem a bit harsh but when you are getting multiple calls during the day about something you cannot fix you have to set your boundaries.
- Make Regular Calls- It is tempting not to call mom because you don't want to hear her complain but if you set a regular routine to call her every morning ( limit the time to 5 to 10 minutes) and then again for a few minutes in the afternoon she will begin to look forward to your chats and hopefully will refrain from calling several times during the day to complain. :-)
Author of Help! My Parents Are Aging
Life Coach and Eldercare Advisor