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by Abigail Van Buren

Sister's Slothful Lifestyle Is Cause For Concern

DEAR ABBY: My sister moved in with me after my husband died. I thought it would be good for both of us, and we could go places together and share household chores. At the time, we were both working.

When I discovered she would sleep all day on our days off and didn't help with the housework at all, I was very disappointed. She would clean her room only when I got upset with her.

Now she does almost nothing. She won't clean her room and she sleeps for months without changing her sheets. I am sickened by the smell of her and her room. She hasn't showered or brushed her teeth in almost two weeks, and it doesn't look like she's in any hurry to do so.

We are both retired now and could enjoy going places together, but she would rather stay up all night and sleep all day. I am at my wits' end. I have begged, threatened and shamed, but nothing works. I am a very clean person and like to have a clean house. Help! -- WANTS MY CLEAN HOUSE BACK

DEAR WANTS: Changes in behavior like those you describe should not be ignored. Was your sister always like this? If not, she needs to be examined by a doctor to determine if she's depressed or having some other kind of mental problem. She should also be seen by a dentist if her oral hygiene is as poor as you say it is, while she still has teeth.

The living arrangement the two of you have doesn't appear to be healthy for either of you. Before this goes any further, consult an attorney for guidance. You may need help in getting her out after all this time -- or help finding other safe living arrangements for your sister if she's unable or unwilling to do it for herself.

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