Saturday, July 11, 2015

In which - surprise - Sly and Doris didn't make any plans for extra help after Sly's surgery, even though Doris can hardly walk

Primo: Their cleaning lady gave them a recommendation weeks ago of someone who could come in more frequently to clean and to cook.

Me: Oh good!

Primo: They haven't even *called* her.

Me: What is their plan?

Primo: My mom can hardly do anything. There were a few weeks' worth of clean laundry piled up. She rarely puts it away. There were two days' worth of dirty dishes when I arrived. She often just rinses them and puts them on the counter, which takes her longer than I take to put them in the dishwasher and leave everything clean.

Me: They need help.

Primo: I know.

Me: They know that you cannot stay there forever, right?

Primo: It seems that I'm going to have to make a plan (or push them to do so; I mean while I sit here, not just encourage them).

Me: You moving in with them is not an option, even if they think it is. Right?

Primo: Right.


  1. I think Primo needs to face the fact that Sly and Doris will not make plans for their care unless they hit bottom, to put it in 12-step parlance. They will need for their situation to get intolerable before they make any move to fix it, and part of the reason is because they expect Primo will always come charging on his white steed and slay the pee dragon.

    OK, that metaphor got out of hand, but I still stand by the premise. Primo may need to let them live with the consequences of their own inaction before they will decide to take action.

    It doesn't mean he can't facilitate that action, or that he has to let them endanger their health. But there's nothing shameful with letting them live in the filth they refuse to clean or have cleaned, as long as it's not a serious health hazard.

    This may sound horrible to some people, but those people are used to dealing with other reasonable people. Not Sly and Doris, who I recognize quite well. I am confident that they will keep not doing things as long as someone else does it for them.

    1. I know! I have suggested that perhaps The Smartest Man in the World could figure these things out, like how to hire someone.

      And you are absolutely right - they will not help themselves. Why should they?

  2. I recently found your blog and am enjoying it immensely.

    You and Primo are in a tough spot with his parents. A few years back I had to deal with this for my Mom. Here in Minnesota we have the Senior Linkage Line, where within so many hours of the initial call the state will send out a social worker to assess the situation and work with the family to come up with appropriate solutions. Perhaps the state where Primo's parents live have similar resources, maybe a Department of Aging. Best of luck.

    1. I didn't know about such services! I had done some research with their local council on aging and put together a list of very specific things they could do - Meals on Wheels (which they could pay for - they do not need to get them for free), hiring someone to do their grocery shopping and cooking - and they will not do it. They would rather

      1. complain and
      2. Buy takeout food that they complain about and return after it is half eaten. (Oh yes they did. They took back a salad they had almost completely eaten to the restaurant where my nephew works and he was mortified beyond belief.)

  3. I just wanted to say that I'm reading through your blog and really, really enjoying it!

    (But the real reason I'm not lurking like I usually do? I kinda noticed you maybe possibly left your real name in your post on 2nd August 2012....I'm not sure if that is something you'd like to know about. Sorry if I'm just bothering for no reason.)

    1. Oooh! Good catch! But that's still not my real name. Still, I changed it to be consistent. Thank you! (And I am very happy you are enjoying my blog!)

  4. As my mother is fond of saying, 'Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.'

    My husband's grandmother is in the same situation, only she's widowed. She really can't properly care for herself anymore -- especially in the personal hygiene department -- and she can't really take care of her (very small) house or clean up after her cat or anything else, but she is in denial that she's having a problem, and she's unwilling to entertain any kind of help, and she firmly believes her daughter and my husband should just come over more often and help take care of things. It's an unworkable situation, but I'm trying to stay out of it, because it's not my family, it's his.

    I have been reading your blog since you started it, and I just love it!

    1. Thank you!

      Oh man. Don't you just want to jump in there and take over? It must make you crazy.

    2. I really do! I want to just jump in there and make decisions, and having watched my parents care for their ailing, aging parents (all of whom, like your mother, had provisions and wills and trusts and directives and whatnot), I know I would make good, sensible decisions. I would say, 'If you want to live alone, your choices are to accept Meals-On-Wheels for food, and a personal home aide for bathing and cleanliness issues, and a cleaning service of some kind because your house reeks of cat urine and feces. If you are not willing to consider those conditions, the remaining choice is to choose an assisted living facility. You pick.'

      Because, realistically, those are the choices. But she doesn't see that, and not unlike Primo, my husband doesn't want to push the issue with her because she is unpleasant when she's not getting her way.

    3. I know! Why is it so hard to lay out options and tell someone to make a decision?

      But then, I don't have a mother who punishes me for crossing her.