DEAR ABBY: I'm facing a real dilemma with my aging mother. She's approaching 80 and is very set in her ways. She gets angry when anyone suggests she see a doctor, and yet it's obvious she's suffering a hearing loss. And lately she's been falling down a lot -- exiting a department store, getting out of a chair to answer the phone. A couple of weeks ago, in my presence, she fell face first into the mud while retrieving one of her cats that had leapt from her arms.
When I suggest she get checked by a doctor to find out why she's frequently falling down, she says, "There's nothing wrong with me. I just lost my balance."
There's got to be more to it than that, but she's stubborn and not easily convinced to pay attention to my opinions or anyone else's. I love her dearly and worry all the time about her seriously injuring herself in one of her falls.
Any suggestions how I can get her to see a doctor about this problem? -- LOSING SLEEP IN GLENDALE, CALIF.
DEAR LOSING SLEEP: Does your mother have a personal physician? If so, call him or her and repeat what you have described to me. Then schedule your mother for a thorough physical examination and referral to an ear specialist. Ask your mother's physician to call her and suggest it's time for a checkup. You should take her there to be sure she goes.
It's possible that her hearing loss and loss of balance are part of the same problem. Putting off diagnosis and treatment enables your mother to avoid facing the fact that there's a physical problem. Admitting that there is a problem is the first step in resolving it.