Annie's Mailbox: Moving in with parents becomes a ‘miserable existence’
Dear Annie: Eight years ago, I moved in with my parents to help care for them. My dad passed away shortly after. My mother has some minor health issues but can get around. Annie, as the years have passed, it has become a miserable existence. There are no visitors to our house. I’m sure the reason is Mom’s chronic complaints. According to her, there is nothing good in her life.
My only sibling lives several hours away. Other than regular phone calls and an occasional visit, there is no help. For the past few weeks, my mother has had a major health problem and she refuses to go to the doctor. I told her this has gone on long enough, and she needs to see the physician. I thought some “tough love” would convince her. Instead, she yelled at me and cursed me several times. That was terribly hurtful.
Although I think Mom is showing some small signs of mild dementia, she has it pretty much together. Even so, I cannot fix her health issues if she refuses to see her doctor. I am stressed beyond belief and at the end of my rope. I have tried counseling, and although it helped with the frustration, it doesn’t solve the ongoing problem. Can you offer me some advice? – Stressed Daughter
Dear Daughter: The “mild dementia” may be the reason Mom is so stubborn and belligerent toward you. Is your mother eligible to see a visiting nurse? Check out vnaa.org to find out how to get a trained professional to come to your home and examine your mother. If the nurse says that Mom needs to see a physician, she may be more likely to listen, and it’s possible that the nurse can contact Mom’s doctor directly. Then, please check out the Family Caregiver Alliance (caregiver.org). The site offers support and information for caregivers, and can help you find respite care for yourself.
Dear Annie: Your advice to “A Daily Reader,” who didn’t like his smile, was wrong. The importance of a smile, especially a toothy one, is an American obsession. In Europe and elsewhere, the product of this emphasis is seen as insincere.
For many of us, our natural smile does not include showing teeth. Ever notice the huge smilers who show too much teeth and gums? It always looks a little odd to me. But if that is their natural smile, wouldn’t you expect that there are others on the opposite end of the spectrum?
No one’s smile needs to be “fixed.” – Aucun Afficher de Dents (No Teeth on Display)
Dear Aucun: We don’t care whether people smile or not. We care whether they are so embarrassed by their teeth that they avoid social contact. If that is the case, there are steps to take to remedy the situation so the person feels more comfortable. Being able to smile naturally can make a big difference in your life. We aren’t changing our advice, but “merci beaucoup” for writing.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.