Gransnet forums


Frustrated with parents!!

(146 Posts)
Youcantchoosethem Sat 04-Apr-20 11:06:20

My parents won’t stop going out! They are both elderly, both have heart conditions - my father had seven stents put in last year, had several mini strokes and has high blood pressure and mum has angina and an irregular heart beat. They have a neighbour who offers all the time to do shopping for them, I have managed to get them a milkman shortly before all this kicked off, and have been very occasionally successful in getting an online shop. I live 150 miles away and an also vulnerable following organ failure a few years ago so can’t help directly, but phoning again this morning they are not in. Yesterday they “oh we just popped up to the Tesco express and the bank - didn’t need much” - and this is most days it seems! I know they find it hard to stay in but for goodness sake!! Finding it so hard to keep my temper with them! Just needed to rant...

How on earth do I get them to understand?! I have tried telling them the stories and the risks but it’s oh it doesn’t matter us just going up the road to the shop... we wanted to give the car a run so went into the town.... aghhhhhh!

Youcantchoosethem Sat 04-Apr-20 11:07:18

Also tried to get them to register as vulnerable with Sainsburys - they wouldn’t let me do it for them but mum won’t phone them....

eazybee Sat 04-Apr-20 11:22:00

You won't, unfortunately.
The older people get the more stubborn they become, particularly with their children, because that is what we always will be to them.

Exactly the same as my parents, no longer alive , but that is how they would be behaving; they see it as not being beaten, and carrying on. I tried the 'I am really worried about you' and I got 'well we don't interfere with your life'.

You just have to do all you can long distance for your peace of mind, then accept that they are adults and you cannot prevent them from rejecting advice.

M0nica Sat 04-Apr-20 11:32:11

What a difficult situation to be in, you really do have a problem here.

But ,I regret there is absolutely nothing you can do when anyone dear to you; parents, children, grandchildren, refuses to listen to advice and consistently ignores everything everyone says to them.

All you can do is keep reminding yourself that you did everything you could to make them realise the danger they were putting themselves in, hope for a lucky escape and if the worst happens, keep reminding yourself of just that - that you did everything you could and do not punish yourself with unwarranted accusations that you should have done more. No, you did, you really did, do everything you could.

If grown adults in their right minds choose to ignore all the advice they are given, even if they are very dear to you, you must accept that. There really is nothing more you can do. They must live, or not, with the consequences and, sadly, so must you.

But whatever happens, remember, you have done all you can do, there is nothing more that can be done because at the end the decision rests with them.

PamGeo Sat 04-Apr-20 11:42:34

This is exactly what my dad was doing, more than once a day whilst my mam never goes out due to her dementia and fears about falling. He said he washes his hands when he gets home as though that's all he needs to do, he even used the buses daily as he only drives when he's shopping.
The letter from the government finally made a difference and he now only goes out when necessary. I also got quite cross with him the day before the letter and told him he was being thoughtless towards the carers for mam. I said without them, mam would be in a nursing home and as they have so many people to care for they were putting themselves and their families at risk in order to keep them safe and he was just compounding their risks. It gave him food for thought as he went quiet on the phone, he likes the carers that come and I'm sure he hadn't thought about it from their point of view. Thankfully the letter arrived the following day so he didn't have to lose face and just accepted the advice from the government.

geekesse Sat 04-Apr-20 11:59:51

I understand the OP’s concern. May I just offer a different perspective?

I’m not especially vulnerable - I live on my own is a rural location and have always kept in enough food for a few weeks, which isn’t much if you live on your own. I stay home 23 hours a day and go for an hour’s walk each day round private grounds (not mine) so I don’t see anyone. As an introvert, this isolation suits me very well!

However, I’ve had lots of time to think. I’m going to die, one way or another, sometime. It may be COVID 19 or cancer or a passing car that gets me in the end. I don’t fear death, and although I have lots of good reasons to want to remain alive for the indefinite future, I’ve lived a full life to date, and I’ll have few regrets when my time comes. So I don’t fear catching C19. I’m not going to put anyone else at risk by being reckless, but I’m not going to go out of my way not to catch it.

Perhaps other older people might feel the same way, and see their children’s extreme concern to keep them free from C19 as unnecessary? Death, however it comes, is ultimately inevitable, and while they are alive, they may want to live fully, not hide behind a locked door in a persistent state of fear.

Youcantchoosethem Sat 04-Apr-20 18:16:41

Thank you all there is only so much I can do and so pleased @pamgeo that your dad finally saw sense. Also thank you @geekese for your perspective too. That one has made me think. I know my father thinks that he is worthless after being hospitalised so many times last year and knowing he can’t do what he used to be able to do that has got me wondering if there is an element of the finality thought there then too. He is losing it more and more. The other day he couldn’t remember my daughters name and I know he gets frustrated. I did have a long conversation with mum again on the phone today whilst dad was resting and she has promised to call Sainsburys - will chase again later to see if she actually has. I don’t know - it is hard for them. Thank you again and keep safe x

MamaCaz Sat 04-Apr-20 18:45:36


I can see your point, but I can see another side to it too.

I think we all have a duty to, as far as possible, 'go out of our way of catching it', as you put it.
If we don't, we are increasing the risk of others getting Covid19.
Anything you either do or don't do, that increases your own chances of getting it, inevitably increases other people's risk of getting it.
Those people might be ones you come in contact with at the shops on any 'avoidable' trips out, or the medical staff you put at risk should you contract it and need medical care, or even the undertaker should the worst happen.

None of us is an island, and our actions, or lack of, do impact on others.

V3ra Sat 04-Apr-20 20:04:31

geekesse I'm sorry but I think the attitude you describe is very self-indulgent and irresponsible.

It's up to all of us to follow the government guidance, it doesn't actually suit any of us to have to curtail our activities at the moment.

But we do it for the greater good, and to support all the keyworkers who are keeping the country running by staying out of harm's way ourselves and not adding to their burden.

MamaCaz Sat 04-Apr-20 20:12:00

.'..go out of our way not to catch it...' is what I meant to say in my last post.

geekesse Sat 04-Apr-20 20:41:07

V3ra, I think you’ll find that my attitude and my actions with respect to my own behaviour are neither self-indulgent nor irresponsible. I keep absolutely to the government guidelines. I don’t want to be a self-appointed social vigilante who tries to enforce my interpretation of the law on everybody else. I can see a good reason why the OP’s parents are not wholly willing to comply with the OP’s wishes, that’s all.

V3ra Sun 05-Apr-20 01:00:12

geekesse I agree, and it's not your own behaviour I was criticising.

I just think that however much we might sympathise, and I do, we should not make excuses for other people blatantly flouting the government guidelines on the grounds that they are old, or young, or whatever.
We're all in this together and it's hard for all of us.

Tuppence15 Sun 05-Apr-20 01:42:20

I sympathise with your concerns about your parents. I have a different problem. My mother is doing everything she should. Staying in, shopping on line. But she is getting more and more depressed. She has no family nearby and can’t cope with not seeing anybody. I ring every day and the strain of listening to her crying and moaning about having to stay in is hard.
My DH got “the letter” and she seemed almost jealous. She implied that I would now get loads of help and free food. That isn’t the case. She just about finished me off today when she said we would all be gone by Christmas anyway.
This is all so very hard.

Hithere Sun 05-Apr-20 02:21:17

Unfortunately they are adults making decisions you do not agree with - I think they are yabu and you are right

However, with your choices, you also pick the consequences.
I hope they dont expect to help them if they get sick and they need anything.

May7 Sun 05-Apr-20 02:34:52

My parents have told my young DD that they will not go into hospital if they contract this virus. I think they were frightened of dying alone but they havent understood the implications of being at home with the illness . My DD was distraught and I was angry with them upsetting her particularly as she is our designated survivor in our action plan and apart from trying to work from home she is running herself ragged helping others were she can.. So I wrote them a letter outlining the circumstances of what they had planned and asked them to put it in writing that they didnt want hospitalisation. I honestly think they thought they would get sick a bit close their eyes and breathe their last just like In the movies. I pointed out to them that they have a duty to their grandchildren to stay alive and be part of their future. I said that the consequences of staying at home would be horrific as one watched the other one die knowing they would be next. Alternatively they could follow our plan which is to nurse the sick one as best they can until unable to cope and the dial 111 to be hospitalised where they would receive CPAP or ventilation or palliative care from experienced medics. Simple choice really. Very upsetting for me to write but they weren't listening to me. Not heard another word them on the subject so I hope they were listening. Too tired to keep playing these emotional games. Tomorrow theyd like a pint of semi skimmed so I think the pennies dropped

BlueBelle Sun 05-Apr-20 07:11:51

This is so complex as I can see both sides of the story I understand gekeese and admire her ability to have thought clearly and without sentiment about her decision and she seems to be taking every precaution to not pass anything on to the general pubic, so far so good.... but the big but comes if she or the ‘parents’ in question were to pick it up they could (and many people don’t have it badly) take up a hospital bed and a hospital respirator that should go to a young mum or a young nurse
Maybe there need to be a DNR type letter to refuse any treatment for those not really wanting to get better if they catch it If people are in their 90 s and being resuscitated how long will they have to live after ? Surely all that effort implements and beds need to go to younger people not old folk who have had their lives
So I think anyone in the older age group who are pragmatic about the way they die should make it clear they do not expect treatment

mumofmadboys Sun 05-Apr-20 07:41:29

It was said on the radio a couple of days ago that over 75's would not be ventilated. Grim

bikergran Sun 05-Apr-20 08:20:58

My dads the same 84 copd, heart problems and a few others.

Went to Tescos to "put lottery" on!

went to chemist for tcp!

Trouble is he has Parkinsons so difficult to get through to him

sodapop Sun 05-Apr-20 08:57:30

Yes Hithere is right your parents are adults making decisions you don't agree with. You can only give them the information, what they do about it is not your responsibility.
Having said that its very hard to see your family putting themselves and others in danger.

Youcantchoosethem Sun 05-Apr-20 09:22:37

It is so complex and worrying isn’t it. I’m so sorry to hear your story too @ Tuppence15 - it’s so tough on so many of us I know. Yes they are adults and have their own responsibilities and yes primarily worry about their health but I do also get frustrated that they will be part of the spread if they don’t listen.

Yes if either one of them gets it then they are toast. I don’t believe they should be prioritised to be fair if they get it. But who else will they infect on the way?

I have told them it’s a lonely death - I told them of one of my students who lost his father two days ago and couldn’t go to the funeral or be with him when he died. “That’s a shame dear” was the response but then completely ignored after. She did though to be fair phone Sainsburys as she promised but they ask for evidence and she said that’s too much trouble - she has loads of discharge letters from the hospital (dad was in 25 times last year!) and they haven’t had though the most vulnerable letter, not really sure why not, but hasn’t got a scanner or a smartphone, would have to go out to post it even to me so I could scan it, so that IS probably too much faff for them.

It so tough but know many are in worse situations and losing their loved ones already. So sad.

275men Sun 05-Apr-20 10:47:51

Call the police.

mrsgreenfingers56 Sun 05-Apr-20 10:52:32

Well glad not just my elderly mum who doesn't seem to grasp the virus problem and how serious. She is fine mentally and physically at 89 but all I get is "We lived through a war and had bombs dropped on us". I read her the riot act the other week but only ended getting myself in a tizzy, went to do the shopping and found I had left my purse at home. Oh how embarrassing at the check out! She wouldn't budge I was going shopping for her on a Wednesday instead of her usual Friday and said she didn't want anything, it wouldn't keep! She has a fridge and freeze, oh please give me strength! Grrrrrrrr.................................

sazz1 Sun 05-Apr-20 11:00:46

The best thing you can do is just stay in touch. You can't change them and keeping on about staying in will just cause friction, stress and bad feeling on both sides. Accept that they are adults and can make their own choices, however stupid those choices are. I speak from experience.

Caro57 Sun 05-Apr-20 11:01:33

Very difficult - would turning round to advising them to stay home so they don’t give anything to anyone else help?
Don’t beat yourself up - you can only do so much - which you are doing

Gizzy48 Sun 05-Apr-20 11:08:34

Geekesse, do you REALLY not get it? All this isolation and social distancing is not just to protect you, it's to protect others FROM you.

You must know by now that this virus has a 2-week incubation period. So this means if you catch it, you won't know for 2 weeks that you've got it. Therefore your attitude of "not going out of your way to avoid it" is also "not going out of your way to prevent infecting others". Or don't you care about that? Sorry, but I stand by those who describe that attitude as irresponsible. Or possibly murderous.