Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Mom refuses to discuss her health problems

 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My Mom just turned 70 and has been overweight for a long time. She has a bad knee and refuses to discuss surgery. This has been going on for years and her mobility is decreasing, while she takes baby steps toward weight loss.

I’m really concerned that she will lose her independence within the next two years. Any tips on approaching this subject with her? My siblings and I have tried in the past and she gave us the silent treatment.

Stubborn Mom’s Child

The simplistic answer is that you can’t do anything for your mom that she doesn’t permit.

But since her mobility problems are on course to become your problem, I urge you to talk to an elder-care specialist about ways you can prepare.

You don’t mention money, but if your mom hasn’t socked away enough to pay for necessary accommodations, then that’s going to add another complication to a list that already includes your mother’s weight and bad knee, her emotional limitations (silent treatment?!), her relative youth should she lose her mobility in the near future, and the fact that you and your sibs might need to step in if she can’t take care of herself, yet aren’t being allowed any say in the path that takes you all there.

The U.S. Administration on Aging offers an online Elder Care Locator: http://1.usa.gov/dyLW1c. Have a look, see who serves your/your mom’s area, and get started on a comprehensive plan.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

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