Caring for aging mother is causing family strife

Dear Annie: My family is dealing with an aging mother. Since my father died, she has moved often. Every place she moves to eventually has some issue, and she starts complaining. Soon she is driving me crazy about whatever it is. Even after the problem is solved, she’ll find something else to focus on.

I have tried to get her interested in senior activities or exercise programs, with no luck. I have refused to participate in the past two moves, as it is difficult at my age and doesn’t resolve her issue. But my siblings keep moving her. They get angry with me and say mean things, and the family gets very divided. I’m looked at as the troublemaker because I won’t participate. They don’t see this as a chronic problem.

How can I be part of this family, or at least be close with my mother, and still deal with this chaos? — Unmoved by Moving

Dear Unmoved by Moving: When a family unit has become dysfunctional, doing the right thing means bucking the system. Setting boundaries as you have — making clear that you’re there to offer support to your mom but not to enable her compulsive relocation — is exactly what you should be doing. But it’s only natural that you’d face resistance from your siblings. As much of a hassle it is to repeatedly help move your mom into new places, it’s in some ways easier than confronting the real issue. Just keep reiterating this to your siblings and hope that they’ll come around eventually. And in the meantime, continue to be there for your mom and encourage her to try new activities, even going with her to them the first few times.

Dear Annie: You have dealt with thank-you notes before, but not when it involves a charity. This past Christmas, I made all of the charitable donations to local organizations. The checks ranged from $100 to $300. I was surprised when I received only one thank-you note from an organization.

I think these are all good organizations, and I will still give to them. However, next year, I will recognize the organization that took the time to send the thank-you with a larger donation. — S.G.

Dear S.G.: Try to look at it this way: The money they don’t spend on postage for thank-you notes is money for working toward their goals, goals you believe in and set out to support in the first place. Try to let the knowledge that you’ve done a good thing be gratification enough.

Dear Annie: So often, I see articles on the problems people have because of hearing loss. I recently read an article that explained that hearing loss actually contributes to dementia.

A friend told me recently that the stigma of hearing aids is silly, as no one thinks a thing about eyeglasses or even wigs. Additionally, with technological advances such as Bluetooth and minute apparatuses, no one can see the new hearing aids at all.

Maybe this information will help convince those with hearing loss. — An Aging Adult Facing Reality

Dear Aging Adult: Thank you so much for your letter on this incredibly important and relevant subject. According to the Better Hearing Institute, it’s common for people to wait to purchase their first hearing aids for as long as 15 years from the time they know they have hearing loss.

Cost is no doubt a hindrance for many. According to the AARP, a single hearing aid can cost between $1,200 and $3,500, and 80 percent of wearers need two. There are nonprofits that help people with limited incomes afford hearing care. For more information and options, go to https://www.aarp.org and search for “Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids? Financial Help.”

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Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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