DEAR ABBY: As a 65-year-old, I am no youngster. I have a big problem. I have a friend, "Manny," who is 74; his wife, "Alice," is 73. Every time I visit their home, Alice beats up on Manny. Not physically, but mentally. She cusses and yells and puts him down. I am considered a family friend, so she does not ask me to leave or step out of the room. She just starts in on poor Manny.
This is a terrible situation. Alice has driven away every friend Manny's ever had. I could go on and on. It makes me sick. I feel caught in the middle, and I don't want to be in the middle of a man-and-wife problem.
I don't want to tell Manny I can no longer be his friend because of his wife's behavior, and I also don't feel it's my place to protect him from his wife.
Manny has a lot of medical problems. He has emphysema and is on oxygen 24 hours a day. He also recently got a pacemaker. For obvious reasons, he's no longer handy around the house. I try to help, but sometimes I feel what's the point in visiting them? Any suggestions? -- BILL IN PALM SPRINGS
DEAR BILL: Take Alice aside and tell her you are worried about HER. She seems to be experiencing caregiver burnout. Perhaps if she gets additional help and some time for herself, she'll be more tolerant. If she refuses, tell her you have no choice but to report her to adult protective services for elder abuse.