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Setting Boundaries with Elderly Parents

Judie Rappaport
June 12, 2014

Dear Judie,


After Dad (92) died, Mom (86) and I agreed she would live with me and sell her condo to pay for caregivers and other care. Last week she fired the caregiver and said, “now that I live here, you can take care of me for free and I won’t have to sell my condo.” I replied, “Mom, you always told me there is no such thing as something for nothing. You know I have my own health issues and cannot take care of you.” She tested me for a few days, then rehired her caregiver. She refuses to speak to me. Should I give in?

- Marilyn, Vero


Dear Marilyn,


No, don’t give in. We’re guessing this isn’t the first time Mom’s attempted to guilt/manipulate you into acquiescing to her demands. We’re also guessing you frequently gave in. Now your health is at risk and giving in is not an option. Setting limits doesn’t mean you don’t care about Mom. Gently ask her if she cares more about getting her own way than she does about your health? Be kind, but let her know you feel she’s trying to take advantage of you instead of thanking you for your “free” hospitality.


Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©


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Adult Children: How to Reduce Feelings of Guilt

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