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PAY ATTENTION TO ELDERLY NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

SHARE PAY ATTENTION TO ELDERLY NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

DEAR ABBY: It happened again, and I am angry! I am the administrator of a nursing home. One of our residents passed away, after spending the last four years of her life here, and I just came from her funeral.

The minister said all the right things to her family who practically ignored her, but no mention was made of the fact that she spent the last four years of her life in a nursing home.We who loved her and cared for her during her last years have been denied acknowledgment that we are grieving, too.

When I watched her family file down the aisle at the funeral, I was astonished at the number of relatives she had! There was a son I didn't even know existed, living only 15 miles from here.

I counted daughters, sons, cousins, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - 46 of them. If each one had visited that dear lady once a week, she would have had company constantly. But did she? No. Hardly anyone came to see her. And those who did never stayed more than 30 minutes.

That dear lady died with all her mental faculties intact. She read her Bible every day, kept her room neat and dusted, and always had her hair combed before coming to the dining room.

Most families appreciate us, but many do not. Perhaps some day people will be more attentive to their elderly relatives living in nursing homes.

This may be too long for your column, and it may offend many, so I will understand if you cut some of it out. But if you print only part of my message, I will thank you from the bottom of my heart. - MARLIS FELBER, CLEARWATER, KAN.

DEAR MARLIS: I didn't cut a word. Your message needs to be heard, and only those who have reason to feel guilty will be offended.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to convey a message that is far more common than imagined.

DEAR ABBY: My ladyfriend and I have been serious for over two years, and I would like to marry this fine woman. She has a great personality and she's very energetic.

The problem? She is 52, and I am 32, stable, sincere, and I would like to spend the rest of my life with her.

She is concerned about what others may think of the age difference. I tell her that we are living in the age of openness and equality, and what other people may think does not bother me in the least, and it shouldn't bother her, either.

Abby, would you please tell this wonderful lady that it's her life - and mine, too - and nothing else should matter. - A YOUNGER MAN

DEAR YOUNGER MAN: Why your wonderful lady should need the approval of anyone to marry the man of her choice is a mystery to me. However, if she needs reinforcement from me, consider this my yes vote.

Most teenagers do not know the facts about drugs, AIDS, and how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It's all in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)