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Carenotes

Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 05/01/08

I am a caregiver for my 81-year old husband who has multiple problems. He is on oxygen, has COPD, is type 2 diabetic, had a minor stroke 2 years  ago, as well as short term memory loss. 

My daughter-in-law seems to care less about us, never calls unless she wants something of me and when we are visiting them and our granddaughters seems interested during meals, but 8 out of 10 times always finds something else to do instead of joining with the rest of us.  I have a wonderful relationship with my other daughter-in-law as well as my sons-in-law and I really wish I could with her.  It would be nice if she was really interested and supportive of us. 

She seems to be supportive of other people because she says things about what she does with and for others.  Any suggestions?

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Name: Boots
Location: Washington
Email: jrodboots@msn.com
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 09:02 AM

Comments

It is heartbreaking isn't it. I think your daughter in law is afraid. Afraid to see her Father ill. Afraid of him dying. Everyone is different when it comes to dealing with things like this. I have been a RN for over 30 years and I am full time caregiver for my 89 yr old Mom with dementia and other medical problems. I have seen this happen in many families. My youngest sister living in another close by state rarely calls and never asks what she can do to help. I have asked her to send cards to Mom and have her children send cards and drawings but nothing appears not even on Mom's birthday or at Christmas. So I decided to keep the doors of communication open, act cheerful when she does call. She does not want to hear about Mom going downhill so I tell the good things. She went to pieces when Dad died last year so I know she will when Mom goes to Heaven too. Maybe that is what is going on with your daughter in law. I am glad you have such support from your other daughter in law and son in law! That is great!!!I am blessed with that kind of support to from my other sister and her husband. My prayers and thoughts are with you for sure!!!


Name:
Location:
Email: badams@texoma.cog.tx.us
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 09:49 AM

Comments

Some time we all go through some things that sound the same but different people, but I am also going through something like that with my niece I am just praying about it that is all you can do, God will work it out.


Name: Elizabeth
Location: Virginia
Email: ecbake@aol.com
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 09:56 AM

Comments

I am caregiver, 24/7 for my husband who has had five strokes in the past three and and half years. He too is diabetic. Can't talk, move his right side and many other problems. He is 78, I am fortunate to be ten years younger and still have pretty good strength and health. My suggestion to you would be to focus on the ones that will help you and care about you. You can't change a person no matter how hard you try and so much energy and emotions is wasted on trying. You might never know why they act this way but they do and will and will continue to. Not to be negative but realistic. You are blessed to have some that care. I have a son-in-law that you describe. From another caregiver...Elizabeth


Name: Sandra
Location: Oregon
Email: regentcourt2@rgnt.com
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 10:23 AM

Comments

I agree with Boots, but it also occurs to me that you may need to look at how your DIL responds to other family members--yours and hers. Even though she does things for other people, she may not have great social skills. She may never have learned how to respond in difficult situations. It seems to me that the best way to figure out what's up with her is to tell her what you've told us and then listen to what she has to say. You seem like a really positive person despite the burdens you are carrying, so I'm hopeful that you will find a way to frame the conversation so that she won't feel the need to become defensive. Good luck!


Name: lou
Location: Maxton
Email: yakl@roadrunner.com
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 05:05 PM

Comments

We had one like that in our family and there was nothing that could be done to change it. Just learn to live with it. Good luck.


Name: scrapiron
Location: virginia
Email: scrapiron07@gmail.com
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 07:23 PM

Comments

Your daughter in law was obviously not reared with good manners. Her lack of respecting her elders, and doing all she can for them will certainly show her children how to behave in her declining years. Also; what is wrong with her husband? Is he that afraid of the woman he chose to marry to allow her to disrespect his parents? Finally; it is what it is: Life. Let's all get through it together with kindness towards others, and forget the rest


Name: Kelly
Location:
Email: dutyfree1@verizon.net
Date: 05/01/2008
Time: 07:53 PM

Comments

Hi. I am sorry to hear that your daughter-in-law is behaving this way. You sound like such a sweet person. Why don't you have a private discussion with your son about his wife's attitude towards you and your husband? He should be the one to tell his wife that she should show a little concern about his parents and that she should be more respectful towards you. Why isn't he bothered by her behavior? Your grandchildren see how their mother treats you, so that is why they don't feel they need to treat you any better. You son should also have a talk with his children about their poor behavior, too. Good luck. I hope you can get the situation straightened out. You have enough stress and pressure trying to care for your husband. You don't need a self centered daughter-in-law at a time like this.


Name: Jess
Location:
Email: jess_eginoire@mchsi.com
Date: 05/02/2008
Time: 07:25 AM

Comments

I guess I am a little shocked by any assumption that your DIL doesn't care. She may feel like a third wheel. I know when something is going on with my husband's family, I always take a step back to let HIM spend time with his family. Just as I expect him to do the same with mine. It is really hard when family is sick and there are things that you cannot control. Instead of just assuming she doesn't want to participate, ask her to join the group (do it privately, try not to embarrass her). Everyone is different, and maybe just maybe she is a person that needs alone time or sees you visiting as a time for you and your husband to spend quality time with your son and grandchildren. Afterall, you didn't raise her, you raised her husband and she could just want you all to have time together. You could ask your husband about it or you could ask her. If after years of giving you all time together she doesn't feel comfortable just joining in...she's not going to do it on her own.


Name: James Heffley
Location: Rockville, Md
Email: heffleyjr@att.net
Date: 05/02/2008
Time: 02:05 PM

Comments

"she seems to care less about us, never calls unless she wants something of me". Anything ring a bell here? I say a lot of things only I do them. Do a survey and see if she really does do the things she says she does. Iím a seasoned citizen at 66 and a seasoned caregiver after 6 and one-half years. If they care, they help. If they donít care they only take and/or ignore because they donít share ďtheir timeĒ which is what a caregiver needs for themselves. She could give you an afternoon off and come over and sit for you while you take a nap or go to visit one of your friends or other children and/or grandchildren ďALONEĒ. You need to try to find some respite care and get a break. You will always feel guilty but you need to get a break weekly if not more. Sounds like you have some support but you will not get "any" from her. Just accept her disability and move on.


Name: nvcongrandma
Location: Las Vegas
Email: bvoelkening@cox.net & bvoelkening@comcast.net
Date: 05/02/2008
Time: 11:06 PM

Comments

I appreciate all your answers. My DIL is a pr person who is always dealing with others, is not shy, welcomes her family at any and all times, remembers their special days as well as those of her friends. She is certainly not afraid of my husband's dying as she does have a sister who has a brain tumor and is very interested in her so Boots idea is far from the reality of the situation. Her skills are great with her family with ours she tolerates us but makes no attempt to contact any of us unless she needs something. I on the other hand always inquire how her sister is and how things are going with her. Elizabeth your suggestion that energy and emotions are wasted on her is probably most accurate . Our son always stands up for her, cannot see that she does anything wrong -she wouldn't stand for it. In the past when my husband wasn't as sick she was the same and I have spoken to both of them and all either does is get defensive and she as a pr person has a wonderful command of the language and can put anyone in their place. She also thinks nothing of changing plans with us if something better comes along all of which as you say is a bad example for our granddaughters. Why our son cannot see what is happening I do not know. Thank you all for your interest and comments which will give me food for thought.


Name: Kathy
Location: NY
Email: kgraham1@optonline.net
Date: 05/04/2008
Time: 11:46 AM

Comments

Count your blessings. An old adage, but so important. Enjoy all the support you do have. Remember all the good days there have been. Being a caregiver is an emotional and physical drain on anyone, but you have a lot more to be grateful for than you think. Think about them.


Name: Terri
Location: Oregon
Email:
Date: 05/07/2008
Time: 11:09 AM

Comments

I agree with Elizabeth who said "focus on the ones that will help you and care about you." It sounds like your DIL has a lot on her plate right now with her sister's cancer, and so maybe she can't handle any more stress right now? I'll briefly share my own perspective. I love my mother-in-law, but she and my father-in-law only seem to talk about crises and health worries, so it is always stressful when they call. Both my sister and I have cancer ourselves, and that's as much as I can handle without worrying about others I care about. Love may be limitless, but the ability to handle everything that comes our way is finite. Hopefully you can forgive your DIL for her emotional absence and appreciate her for who she is and the love she gives to your son. Take care.



 







 

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