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Today's column

Posted by Robin Abrahams  September 29, 2013 11:22 AM

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... is online here. It's a three-fer, so I'm going to give you a whole Q & A as a sample:

Last year my mother had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass. From October to April I took time from my 60-hour workweek to take care of her--advocating with doctors, arranging appointments, paying bills, laundry and cooking. She has made almost a full recovery, and my only request was that she activate a medical alert service at home. The other day she cheerfully told me she had canceled it. I?m hurt and feel as I have all my life: that any suggestion I offer her is rebuffed. Is it wrong to ask your elderly mother who lives alone to have an emergency service?

M.A. / Beverly

Of course it isn't wrong to ask. Asking, however, may not be as effective as insisting or paying for it yourself. Your mother would like to believe that her decisions affect only herself, but as the past year has shown, that is not the case.

You are heading into a difficult phase of life and will almost certainly wind up taking over more responsibility from your mother. You need someone--several someones--who can serve as reality checks. Otherwise, every question of health and safety that arises will become a power struggle, while your childhood hurts and resentments swirl around like so many Dementors from Azkaban. (Remember, chocolate helps.) Doctors, social workers, relatives, neighbors--figure out who your network should be, and start cultivating those relationships. (Chocolate helps with that, too.)

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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