DEAR ABBY: My cousin, "Carol," lives with my Grandma "Lil." Carol is 30 and unemployed. She's a sponge who has lived with all of the members of our family in the area -- even me when I was 20 and had my own apartment.
Grandma Lil has noticed that periodically some of her pain medication has been missing. An expensive watch also went missing. When my grandmother asked Carol if she had seen it, the watch mysteriously reappeared in her jewelry box.
Last week, Grandma Lil was too sick to attend church and asked Carol to please pick up some medicine for her. Carol replied, "Not today," and walked out the door. After several other arguments, Grandma Lil suggested that Carol start looking for somewhere else to live. Carol said, "What do you care? You have enough money to pay for two people."
I'm so angry I can't see straight. Carol needs to be removed from the house, but I'm not sure how to do it. We don't have any proof that anything has happened, but my grandmother wouldn't lie. Is there any organization I can call to get help? Would this be considered elder abuse? -- WORRIED IN NEBRASKA
DEAR WORRIED: It could, indeed, be considered elder abuse. Because your grandmother seems to be unable to get cousin Carol to leave, your local department of aging should be contacted so your grandmother can get the help she needs in getting her emotionally abusive -- and possibly thieving -- granddaughter out of her home. The department on aging offices are listed in your telephone directory under the heading for government offices. Please don't put it off.