Dear Annie: I have been taking care of my mother since I was 17 and she was disabled from a car accident and unable to work. I am now 47, and Mom is 72. Her health is getting worse, so my husband and I recently moved her in with us. My husband and I both work full time. I have caregivers who come in during the day when we are at work, and we take care of her at night.
Annie, I'm so tired. My husband and I can't go anywhere overnight. Our sex life has gone downhill, because we are both so exhausted. Mom has become mean and combative, which makes our lives miserable. She doesn't sleep much at night, which means neither do I. There are no other family members around to help.
I have tried to find a skilled nursing facility or other assisted living place, but am having a hard time finding one that she can afford. I want her somewhere safe, but I also want my life back. I know this sounds awful of me. Any suggestions would be helpful. — Drained and Frustrated
Dear Drained: Being a full-time caregiver is a tiring job, and you've been at it for most of your life. It is perfectly natural that you are exhausted and ready to find another place for Mom to live.
Most nursing homes will accept Medicare when Mom's money runs out. Please call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 for information about the available resources in your area. But first ask about resources for respite care for yourself. You deserve it.
Dear Annie: A good friend of mine has a very rude daughter. "Susie" got married two years ago and I attended the ceremony and gave her a monetary gift. She never thanked me. Within months, Susie dumped the husband and immediately got pregnant by another man. She had a baby shower, which I attended, and I gave her a nice gift. Again, no thank-you note.
Susie is getting married for the second time and I am invited to the wedding. I have no desire to give her yet another gift that will be completely ignored and unappreciated. What do you say? Do I have to give her something? — Thank-You's Still Appreciated
Dear Thank-You's: If you attend the wedding, you are under an obligation to give a gift, although it doesn't need to be as generous as the first one. If you do not receive any thank-you note in three to six months, it is perfectly OK to call Susie and ask whether the gift was received. You'd be surprised how often such things are lost or misplaced, especially when the gifts are brought to the wedding instead of sent to the bride's home. This includes cards with money inside. And thank-you notes can also go astray.
Of course, if Susie did receive the gift and is simply too rude to have sent an acknowledgment of any kind, she deserves to squirm a little when you ask her about it.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.