Here is a question and 2 different answers. Vote for which one you like the best, answer #1 or answer #2, and the reason you like it.
Family too busy to call Grandma
No one in my family will tell my grandmother the reason they don’t call her is she talks too much. We aren’t retired like she is, and our evenings are chaotic enough without a two hour conversation with her. Relatives ask me to relay messages on their behalf so they won’t have to call her. She’s always crying and telling me I’m the only one who is “good to her”.
I’d feel guilty if I had to tell Grandma the truth – but I, as well as the rest of the family, have had enough of her long, guilt-inducing talks and trips down memory lane from 1940. How can I get the point across without devastating her sensitive nature? – Captive Audience in Florida
Dear Captive Audience,
Could you imagine if you did not have to go to work, run kids around, cook dinner, or any of the other hectic life events we all do? How would you fill your time?
Growing up, I spent tons of time at my Grandmother’s house. Her house would be bustling with family and friends, good food, and we would all love to hear about her stories from the 1940’s. Time has gone by and people have moved on. We no longer gather at her house like we all used to. Her husband has been buried for many years. She, like your Grandma, is lonely. Her whole life has changed and she sits around with nothing to do and no one to talk to.
I find it difficult to spare two hours for a phone conversation, but there are things you can do without having to tell her the truth. If you were to tell her that everyone is too busy to talk to her, this would make her feel lonelier and more upset…no matter how gingerly you do so. She wants to know she matters and most importantly, she wants some attention.
Things you can do:
1. Take her to a local senior citizen’s center and encourage her to make friends and participate in their activities.
2. She spends time reminiscing of the past, encourage your family members to write her letters or draw her pictures. This will make her feel valuable and will give her bragging material for other senior citizens at the center.
3. Talk with your other family members and have them sign up for a time to sit down and call her. She is important to all of you, so take the time to talk with her. You could arrange it where she gets a call three to four times a week; but different people each time. Also, if she is feeling less lonely, she will not ramble on as much.
4. Plan get-togethers at her house or another family member’s house and bring her along.
One day your Grandma will be gone, so appreciate her for as long as you have her.
Dear Captive Audience,
The next time your grandmother tells you you’re the only one who is good to her; you need to tell her she’d have better luck with the other relatives if she limited the length of her phone calls to them. Encourage her to find other interests so she isn’t as lonely and dependent as she appears to be. To do so isn’t cruel; you’ll be doing her a favor because what’s driving people away is her neediness.
I don’t know what your grandmother retired from, but she should have retired TO something more than her telephone. Unless she lives in the wilderness, she should be encouraged to get out and volunteer.
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