Ask Gabby Gayle
Dear Gabby Gayle: I live in at home (barely), and I am doing the best I can to stay independent. I can see the day when I will have to live in a facility, if I last long enough!
My problem is my children. I have four married kids living nearby. I have all my wits about me. I love my kids and I know they mean well, but they nag at me. Maybe that is what I did to them 50-60 years ago! Every day they drop by or call me and question me, “Are you using your cane?” or “Mom, you need to do a better job of bathing” or “Mom you didn’t pull your pants all the way up!” or “You are going to fall if you are not careful.” I have a friend who says she is going through the same thing with her kids. So, I am writing you to get this message out to all kids who are supporting parents who are in a time of transition from independent to dependent. Here is my message: “I love you dearly, I appreciate your support at this difficult time of my life. However, when you nag at me to do your wishes, I feel frustrated as if I am the child and you are the parent. Just love me and talk to me about your lives. Let me be myself. Yes, I might fall. Yes, my behavior may not be what you want it to be. If you can do this, you will be letting me do things my way. That gives me that little bit of independence that I so cherish. Thank you dear ones.” Signed, Mom
Dear Mom: Your letter was well-written, I am sure many seniors in transition from independent to dependent will benefit from your wisdom. Facing dependence is a little like seeing a freight train coming, and you are trying to dodge it! It is a difficult time for families—the children and the parent. My very best wishes to you. GG
Dear Gabby Gayle: I am a few years into a second marriage. While we were dating going together I told my husband-to-be that I have a son who is mentally ill, but that he lives alone and is doing well. My son attended our wedding. It was not a problem, my husband said. However, now my son seems to be having a crisis of sort and is showing up here a few nights a week. He lost his job and I have been helping him financially. I can tell my husband is becoming irritated at this, but I have no idea what to do about it. This is my son, and he can’t help the way he is. I need your advice. Signed, Between A Rock and A Hard Place
Dear Between: Yes, you are in a hard place. I have seen this thing come between married persons—even in a first marriage. Open the dialogue with your spouse about the difficult place you are in. Surely, your son must have some professional psychological support. I suggest you tap into the professional arena so you have trusted help with your son, where goals can be established, etc. Mental illness within a family is a very real challenge for as long as the person is mentally ill. I’m afraid it is a life sentence, although professional help and medications can ease the situation. My heart goes out to you with good wishes for a continued happy marriage. GG
Dear Gabby Gayle: I have a comment about a guy I met on a dating site. This guy is ten years younger than I am, but I swear he is OLD! I am a very active 70. I exercise, go to activities, and I participate in life. He just retired and does nothing, no hobbies, no interests. Doesn’t even go to movies or plays. He watches football. Signed, Not Old Yet
Dear N.O.Y.: You can be old at 50 and young at 100. It is up to each of us how we will age. Keeping active is vital to staying young. I am glad you have discovered that! GG
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