wife may be dysfunctional, so make sure their kids are safe
Dear Annie: My wife and I are
caught up in our son’s dysfunctional marriage. “Martin” and his wife have
three children together, and he has an older child from a previous marriage.
All of the children are wonderful. They do well in school. But their mom and
dad hate each other, drink too much and fight constantly.
Martin was recently fired after several incidents at work, some of them
physical. They lost their home and now rent. They each accuse the other of
being crazy and stupid. One sleeps constantly. They do not communicate in any
way. They have given up hope of ever being happy or ever achieving anything.
We listen to them and can’t decide who is right or wrong. We think they are
both at fault, but we have no idea how to help them.
Divorce is out of the question. They’ve been to counseling and thought it was
a joke. We’re getting too old for this. — Usually Have an Answer
Dear Usually: There is no definitive “right” or “wrong.” Your son
and his wife have an alcohol problem and other issues that they are not
addressing. No one should endure such an unhappy life if things can be done to
make it better.
Please urge them to go back to counseling for their children’s sake. If they
didn’t like the first counselor, they can look for someone who is a better
fit. They can go separately or together.
They also should look for a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the kids can
check out Alateen (alanon. alateen.org).
In the meantime, please offer to take those children into your home as often as
possible so they have some semblance of stability.
Dear Annie: My widowed mother is 79 years old and has been diagnosed
with mild dementia that is getting progressively worse.
She lives alone, and I am 10 minutes away.
Here’s my question: What is the best way to care for my mother? When will I
know the time is right to place her in a nursing home? What kind of facility is
I have a sister, but she has nothing to do with me. I feel alone and naive
about Mom’s care. Do you have any suggestions? — Doing It Myself
Dear Doing: A lot of this is
dictated by finances.
Can your mother afford round-the-clock care in her own home? That is often the
kindest solution. Is there an affordable CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement
Community) that offers independent living, followed by assisted living,
followed by nursing home care as needed? You can contact the Eldercare Locator
at 800-677-1116 to find resources in your area. Or, if you can afford it, you
can get help navigating your options by hiring a private care manager through
the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at caremanager.org.
Dear Annie: My heart goes out to “A Regretful Grandma,” who grieves
her grandchild aborted 40 years ago. Your advice to seek grief counseling was
excellent, but many counselors are not trained or sensitive to this particular
kind of grief.
I would like to let Regretful Grandma and others know about the National Office
of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing (noparh.org)
at 800-5WECARE. They offer both secular and religious resources and referrals,
and their website has a page just for grandparents. — Reader in Baton Rouge
Dear Baton: Many readers wrote to
us with referrals, many to Rachel’s Vineyard, and most of which are religious
in nature. Thank you for helping.