DEAR ABBY: My mother is 80 and still lives by herself. She has had three strokes in the last two years, and her memory is very bad. She is also very stubborn and belligerent. She really belongs in an assisted-living facility; however, she refuses to go to one. She says she'll kill herself first.
I manage Mama's finances. I also make her doctor's appointments, transport her there, take her to the pharmacy, the grocery store, etc. I do all Mama's driving because she can't leave the block she lives on without getting lost.
Mother depends on me for everything, and she hates my husband of 18 years, who treats us both like gold. She would never admit it, but she hates him because he's physically disabled and it keeps me from giving her all my time and attention.
Mama tries to make me feel guilty by acting like she's completely helpless. There are a lot of things she could do for herself, but she refuses. I'm always stressed out over her, on top of the load I'm carrying with my husband and daughter. Have you any suggestions? -- STRESSED TO THE MAX IN TULSA
DEAR STRESSED: You are a conscientious, dutiful daughter. However, people can spread themselves only so thin without it beginning to affect their health.
If your mother's reasoning had not been already affected by strokes and dementia, she would realize that fact. The time has come to call her doctor and discuss what alternatives might be available in caring for her. Assisted living would be ideal, but only if she could adjust to it. If it would be too traumatic, perhaps a part-time caregiver could be hired through senior services in your community.