Dear Annie: My son is 25 years old with a college degree and an excellent job. The sad thing is, he is depressed. He won't go for treatment. He goes to work, comes home and sits in front of his computer.
I have spoken to professionals myself, but they all say the same thing: He is an adult and must get help on his own. But he doesn't think he is sick. Meanwhile, he complains that he can't find a girlfriend, while his friends are all in relationships or married. If we suggest he join a group, he won't leave his room. He says he'll end his life.
We are so worried about him. He is our only child. We are totally lost and don't know what to do. Could you please help us? — Sad Mother
Dear Sad: This is so difficult for a parent to deal with. The doctors are right that your son must want their assistance. You can listen to him, show compassion and let him know that a professional is trained to help him sort through his feelings. In the meantime, please phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (suicidepreventionhotline.org). Someone there can help you.
Dear Annie: I have the responsibility of watching over two older relatives when they are no longer capable of taking care of themselves. Right now, I spend a great deal of time in their company, and it's not a problem.
So what is? This couple likes to drop in uninvited to social events (especially when food is served). They recently attended a wedding because they wanted to be part of the bride's special day.
Should I tell them that they are behaving in a way that is improper and impolite, or should I just let them socialize while they are still able? — Embarrassed
Dear Embarrassed: If you are not currently the caregiver for this couple, and they can manage on their own, this is not yet your problem. Please don't treat them as if they are incompetent, even though, yes, they are behaving inappropriately. They'd hardly be the first ones to crash a wedding. However, if you believe wthey no longer understand what constitutes appropriate behavior, you should let them know and then suggest they make an appointment with their doctor.
Dear Annie: I read the recent letter from Being Prepared, the woman who had no spouse, no children, no church and no close friends. She had cared for her mother and wondered who was going to care for her. May I make an additional suggestion?
I live in Arizona, where a lot of people have retired but their children are not here. Often they lose a spouse and are on their own. I have become a campaigner to make sure my friends and neighbors provide one another with pertinent information. I have given the names and phone numbers of my family members in other states to several neighbors. I have talked about the fact that if my garbage doesn't go out one week, they should check on me. I let them know when I am going to be traveling.
I also include the names of my pets and their vet, contact information for my doctor, and a copy of the card that shows I am giving a whole-body donation at my death. Also, our fire department provides (at no charge) a File of Life, where all of this information, as well as medical information, is listed and hung on the refrigerator. My doctor provides advance directives at no charge, and they are perfectly legal. It's not necessary to spend a fortune on attorneys, unless, of course, you have a fortune.
I encourage everyone to make their plans known. Even if you write it out in your own hand, it gives the authorities some direction. — M.D.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.