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Annie's Mailbox

When Mom acts like a child

August 27, 2011

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Q. My mom has become a handful. I am a grown woman, and I feel like I’m raising a teenager.

Mom had some financial problems and came to live with me 18 months ago. She helps with some bills when she can, but mostly, I am supporting her. I am very organized, and she is a slob. I cannot get her to pick up after herself, and if I ask, she gets defensive and it escalates into a fight. My house is crowded with her junk, and she won’t part with any of it. Every time we argue, she threatens to leave and tells everyone, including her parents, that I am a horrible daughter. Then my grandparents call and chew me out.

I can’t go anywhere without her tagging along, including out with friends. My friends are very understanding. I love my mom and don’t want to kick her out onto the streets, but she is impossible to live with and unwilling to compromise.

ARIZONA

A. Your mother seems to have some mental health issues and possibly a hoarding problem. We think she could benefit from therapy. Please make an appointment for her to see her doctor for a complete physical, and go with her. Then ask the doctor for a referral to a therapist. Tell Mom that getting help is a requirement if she wishes to remain in your home. You sound like a loving daughter. The next time your grandparents chew you out, tell them they are more than welcome to take Mom in and care for her if they don’t like the job you are doing.

Q. I’m a 65-year-old single woman, retired on a comfortable income. I have everything one could want except for friends and a social life.

I have taken courses, done volunteer work, and joined groups that interest me in an effort to meet people, but no relationship progresses beyond the acquaintance stage. People never take the next step and invite me over or include me in their activities. I have taken the initiative on many occasions, but it’s seldom reciprocated.

I have one friend who lives nearby, but I have to make all the effort to get together. Senior groups are 10 years too old for me. All I ask is to have someone with whom to enjoy a dinner, go shopping, or take a trip. I understand that people are busy, but I do so wish to be included sometimes.

LONESOME

A. You may be one of those people who needs to make the greater effort in order to have the social life you want. It helps to make yourself an interesting companion that people want to be around. Consider traveling to foreign countries with various groups, including the Peace Corps, which has a senior division, or Elderhostel. Closer to home, try the Red Hat Society (www.redhatsociety.com) at 866-386-2850.

Q. I read the letter from “Modest in Iowa,’’ who doesn’t want a male nurse touching her.

Five years ago, at age 55, I was hospitalized and completely helpless. A male nurse showed up to help me take a shower. I was so upset by my hospitalization that I couldn’t even argue with him. And as time went on, I realized that he was a nurse like every other, male or female, and totally professional.

Would her boyfriend refuse the care of a female nurse?

SENIOR WOMAN FROM PENNSYLVANIA

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate,5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.