DEAR ABBY: How can I convince my aging, sick sister-in-law that her feeble husband's care is too much for her at this point? She can barely care for herself, yet she must help him eat, get out of chairs - everything short of chew his food for him. I have tried telling her she deserves respite care of some kind, to no avail. Have you any ideas how I can convince her she is literally killing herself and deserves some assistance? Their three daughters are no help.
- Relative Who Cares in Ohio
DEAR RELATIVE: The first thing would be to talk to the daughters and explain your concerns for their mother - because if she doesn't get some respite care, she could die before their father does and their father's care would become their responsibility. When they realize the effect it would have on their lives, it might motivate them to do something.
The second would be to do some research on part-time caregivers or senior day-care centers where her husband would be looked after. Then have a frank talk with her and explain that for her to be as effective a caregiver, she's going to have to take better care of herself.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 29-year-old single man who is hard of hearing. I would love to have a special someone in my life, but I'm shy. I have a hard time talking with the girls who live in my area. I can hear people pretty well unless they mumble or talk quietly, or face away from me when they speak. Any tips on dealing with impatient people?
- Frustrated in Wisconsin
DEAR FRUSTRATED: As people age, many encounter the problem you are trying to cope with now. Hearing loss is difficult because it is often subtle and can be extremely isolating for the person who has it. My first tip would be to avoid noisy places for meeting women, if you can. My second would be to be up-front about your hearing loss right off the bat. If a woman finds you attractive, she will find ways to accommodate the problem. If she doesn't, then she wasn't the right candidate for a relationship in the first place.