out options on husband
Annie: I’ve been married
to “Ned” for 25 years, and each year it seems to get worse. When we
married, he told me I could do whatever I wanted with the house, but he never
said I’d be the one paying. The house was barely furnished, the bedding had
holes in it, the carpet was a mess, and the curtains were stained. I replaced
all of that, but Ned wouldn’t contribute a dime.
Aside from being cheap, he never mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or cleaned
the garage. He only wanted to fish. I did the maintenance as long as I could,
and now we pay someone else to do it.
Here’s the current problem: Ned has dementia and doesn’t realize that his
kids have control of his money.
His kids have told him he can drive to get his mail. Of course, he then drives
all over town. He’s been in three accidents already. I saw a lawyer to get my
name removed from the car title in case Ned injures someone. I don’t want to
be financially or criminally responsible.
I don’t know how much more I can take. I spend all my money on the upkeep of
the house. What can I do? — Second Wife
Wife: Please notify your
police department or the Department of Motor Vehicles that Ned has dementia and
should not have a driver’s license.
Ned’s doctor can help.
When Ned is in an accident, do not repair the car unless you need it yourself.
Let his kids fix it, or allow
the car to become too damaged to run. Talk to your lawyer about Ned’s will.
Does he have a health care power of attorney? Who owns the house? Can you stay
there if Ned dies? You need to sort this out and see what your options are.
Dear Annie: My mom is in
an excellent skilled nursing facility. The staff is great, but they sometimes
say things that are not helpful.
Last month, a staff person said, in front of residents and visitors, “Your
mom really wants to go to church. She cries about it.”
I was embarrassed and said, “Fine.” By Sunday, however, Mom said she
didn’t want to go. This is how it is with her for every occasion.
When I do convince her to go, she procrastinates and we arrive late. She then
falls asleep and later complains that she didn’t have a good time. Part of
this is dementia, but it’s also her personality. She has always been a
What Mom really wants is for me to be with her 24/7. She has even suggested
that I sleep on the tiled floor next to her bed. The staff
members don’t see this. So, please do not humiliate the adult children. This
public berating, no matter how sweetly delivered, leaves my mother unhappier
than before. If you need to consult with us, please do so in private. — Her
Daughter: All such
suggestions should be done privately. Please cut this out of your newspaper (or
print it from the website) and bring it to the nursing home where the staff can
see it. They mean well, but this is not appropriate.
Dear Annie: I read the
letter from “Uneasy About Switching,” who wants to change hairstylists. I
am a hairstylist, and I have realized over the years that we can’t possibly
I have had clients I treasured and thought were “forever clients,” but when
I couldn’t accommodate them due to scheduling, surgery, etc., they went to
someone else. It hurt my feelings until I realized we don’t “own” anyone.
In fact, I, too, have switched who does my hair over the years. But I would
appreciate being told why. — A Hairstylist Who Understands