Elderly mom struggles to adjust to senior living

Published 8:08 am Thursday, August 4, 2022

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DEAR ABBY: My elderly mother spent her entire adult life spending her men’s money, and now she has morphed into an entitled, self-absorbed and vapid woman. She blew through her inheritance years ago with no regard for future needs. I have now moved her into senior housing near me. She wants to make friends, but the problem is that she thinks she’s better than everyone. She criticizes people’s dress and perceived social status. Although she looks like a frail old lady, she’s in denial. She also has bouts of crying and irrational concerns and demands.
Abby, my mother has a roof over her head she can afford, food, access to health care and family nearby. She’s just used to the constant go-go-go of her former country club life (which she never paid for). I’m recently retired, and her manipulations and the effect she could have on my marriage have me stressed-out. Please advise. — STUCK IN THE MUCK

DEAR STUCK: You are a caring, if frustrated, son. You mentioned that your mother has spent her entire adult life indulging herself and living the “country club life.” Change at any age can be difficult, but as people age, they can become less resilient, which is more of a challenge. I can understand why your mother might sometimes shed tears over her changed status and even be in denial about it. You didn’t mention how much freedom she has now, but she may have too much idle time on her hands. If she can’t find things in common with her neighbors, perhaps she could make friends volunteering for some of the charities or activities in the community. You would be doing her a favor to suggest it. However, if her crying spells increase, she might benefit from being screened for depression by a medical professional.
DEAR ABBY: I have been in a mostly online relationship with a man for years. He is a musician, and we met after one of his shows. We live a thousand miles apart and, since COVID shut the world down, we have seen each other only twice. We love each other very much and have developed our relationship via texting constantly. My problem is I’m not a wealthy woman, but I have been sending him more than $1,000 a month all this time so he can post his music on various websites. I’m not entirely comfortable with this. I have a strong aversion to being used, which is what it sometimes feels like. What do you think I should do? — OUT OF TUNE IN DELAWARE

DEAR OUT OF TUNE: Listen to your intuition. Tell the musician you love him very much, but you will have to stop sending him money because you can no longer afford it. It happens to be the truth. How he behaves in the months that follow your announcement will show if he is on the level or if you have been used.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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