DEAR ABBY: Our 86-year-old father needs to go temporarily (about 10 days) to a rehabilitation hospital for physical and pulmonary ailments. However, our 86-year-old mother refuses to encourage him and "allow" him to go. This happened once before, and Dad will not stand up to her and do what he knows will help himself. His quality of life would improve if he went.
Mom says the hospital is "too far away," and it's "too inconvenient." My sister, brother, niece and nephew would arrange to take her to visit him if she chose not to go with Dad. Still she discourages him, and bitter family arguments ensue.
It is painful to see Dad suffer because of her decision -- and his lack of backbone -- regarding rehab. He wants to go, but can't stand up to her controlling nature. Should we siblings "butt out" and not try to influence him to do what we and the doctor know would be best for him? Would we be interfering in their marriage and the situation? -- FEELS FOR MY FATHER IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR FEELS: It appears that your 86-year-old mother is afraid of change -- even change for the better. Improving your father's quality of life is not "interfering." As caring children, see that he obeys the doctor's orders. Hold a family meeting, outvote your mother, take your father to the facility, and argue about it later when he's better.