Should I Always Take Her Calls?
My mom lives in assisted living. My two siblings live further away, but do talk to my mom often. I, though, am the ones she calls with errands, complaints, and the “take me out of here” calls. She sometimes calls several times during my workday. If I don’t answer, she will call immediately several times. My business requires endless meetings, so I cannot always answer. What should I do?
Signed, Pls Stop Calling So Often
Dear Pls Stop Calling,
When did we start being held captive by cell phones? Now that we can be reached anywhere, we have to answer to both our children and our parents. The kids only want to talk in text and the parents only want to hear your voice multiple times a day — but immediately when they call. There is not a great answer for you, except to be assured that you should not feel constantly guilty for not being always available and also for not wanting to be. You also have a life to live and business to conduct. But you can also remember when you were a teen, bored with nothing on your agenda and waiting for someone to call, which is perhaps how your mom is feeling now. With that said, here are some things to try.
- Is your mom actively involved in her community? With the pandemic (hopefully getting under control, it might take some effort to get her remembering how to get involved in the trips, the games and the social environment. Talk to the director at the care community.
- Consider hiring other help – there are home health agencies that can come in and socialize with your mother when you cannot if she is not getting enough from the community. Though, this can be expensive, it might help lower the phone calls.
- Arrange for the family to take turns on different days. Is this a possibility? Maybe others in the community or church family can do some visits, even short stops to drop off something can make a difference in a long day when someone is not knowing how to spend their time.
- Try a book on tape or having someone at the care community set it up for her. Maybe if she finds some ways to engage in her interests, she will find more satisfaction in her day.
- At the chance of sounding ruthless, I would suggest that you consider blocking her calls during meetings or parts of your day that you cannot answer if she won’t stop repeat calling during certain hours.
Caring Readers, do you have any other ideas?