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by Abigail Van Buren

Last Sibling Left at Home Shows No Sign of Leaving

DEAR ABBY: I'm the youngest of five, and all of us are successful in our own ways -- except for our middle youngest sibling. She dropped out of college, had a bad breakup with a married man and has given up all hope and efforts to live a normal life.

She's 34, refuses to work and still lives with our parents. She trashed the vehicle our father bought and paid for, and walks around the house talking to herself, which I believe is for attention because I have had serious conversations with her. I've tried several times to be a sympathetic ear and encouraged her to find a job, but it's not working.

What can we do to help her get a job and move? She's a burden on our family, and it's depressing to have her present for family events she doesn't dress for or make an effort to receive other family members. If this continues, I'm scared of what may happen after our parents pass. What can be done for an adult who refuses to grow up and move on? -- HOPELESS IN GEORGIA

DEAR HOPELESS: I have another idea why your sister walks around the house talking to herself and can't motivate herself to be independent. She may be severely depressed or suffering from other mental problems. Talk to your parents and tell them they are not helping her by ignoring the fact that she isn't functional. They need to insist that, as a condition of staying with them, she talk to a mental health professional.

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