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Friend With Early Dementia Avoids Helping Around the House

DEAR ABBY: My best friend of 50 years was recently diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's. Because her memory was beginning to slip, my husband and I moved her in with us. She pays us rent and contributes to meals.

The problem is, she has told friends that because she pays rent she shouldn't have to help around the house. My husband and I both work. It would be nice if she would cook us dinner occasionally or do the dishes. I have asked, but she always has an excuse. I don't know how to tell her we are not a bed and breakfast. She has the ability to help. Advice? -- HELPER NEEDS HELP, TOO

DEAR HELPER: I hope you realize that as your friend's dementia progresses she will no longer be able to help around the house, and it could actually be dangerous for her to cook. It would be better for all concerned if her family would start looking at dementia care facilities for her, the earlier the better so she will have time to adjust. Some of them offer graduated levels of care to meet the patient's increasing needs. Please consider it.

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