DEAR ABBY: My elderly mother spent her entire adult life spending her men's money, and now she has morphed into an entitled, self-absorbed and vapid woman. She blew through her inheritance years ago with no regard for future needs. I have now moved her into senior housing near me. She wants to make friends, but the problem is that she thinks she's better than everyone. She criticizes people's dress and perceived social status. Although she looks like a frail old lady, she's in denial. She also has bouts of crying and irrational concerns and demands.
Abby, my mother has a roof over her head she can afford, food, access to health care and family nearby. She's just used to the constant go-go-go of her former country club life (which she never paid for). I'm recently retired, and her manipulations and the effect she could have on my marriage have me stressed-out. Please advise. -- STUCK IN THE MUCK
DEAR STUCK: You are a caring, if frustrated, son. You mentioned that your mother has spent her entire adult life indulging herself and living the "country club life." Change at any age can be difficult, but as people age, they can become less resilient, which is more of a challenge. I can understand why your mother might sometimes shed tears over her changed status and even be in denial about it. You didn't mention how much freedom she has now, but she may have too much idle time on her hands. If she can't find things in common with her neighbors, perhaps she could make friends volunteering for some of the charities or activities in the community. You would be doing her a favor to suggest it. However, if her crying spells increase, she might benefit from being screened for depression by a medical professional.