Since we have reduced our world to the limits of our house and our garden, we hear the girl screaming at her father at the top of her lungs, almost every day, very early in the morning.
While we can’t hear all of the words, she uses epithets and verbally sounds abusive.
He is visited by a home care aide several times a week. Despite the doctor’s visits, we think that we are perhaps the only people to know this behavior, apart from the father and the daughter.
Is there anything you would recommend that we can do to help them?
We fear that anything we say could make matters worse.
Concerned neighbors: Each state has a mandated Adult Protective Services (APS) office. APS is a social service program authorized by law to receive and investigate reports of elder abuse or vulnerable adults, and to intervene to protect victims.
Your county or city should have an affiliated agency that handles cases such as what you describe. Please call and report exactly what you know. A social worker will follow up.
The elderly caregiver in this situation is undoubtedly very stressed. Her father may be hard of hearing (which may require her to raise her voice). But no amount of stress or deafness justifies disrespect and verbal abuse.
You are witnesses to this abuse and you must make the call. A worker will assess the situation and, if they need more help or respite care, they may be able to benefit from it.
A search of the Internet will reveal the nearest APS office to you.
Dear Amy: I’m so sad. My husband says he doesn’t want to be in our marriage anymore. He states that my mood and the way I react to situations is not what he expected. We’ve been married for 22 years and lately he can’t seem to put up with me.
He had a difficult childhood and thinks he could die young. He says he doesn’t want to spend the time I have left.
I am so hurt. I always thought I would grow old with him. I thought we were going to have a lot of adventures together.
I have trouble sleeping and eating. Do you have any advice for me?
Sad soul: I’m so sorry you are going through this. Please, if possible, find a counselor to talk to. If your husband refuses, attend the sessions alone. Also talk to your most compassionate and understanding friend or family member.
Your husband looks depressed. Has he recently received disturbing news about his health? Has the ongoing pandemic triggered sudden concerns about his own mortality? Is he having a midlife crisis?
Sometimes when someone wants to leave a relationship, they create a smokescreen to hide the real reasons they want to leave. “Everything you do bothers me” is a way of saying, “It’s not me, it’s you!”
You will feel better if you find ways to stand up for yourself and assert your right to be respected, even if you are in crisis.
I suggest telling your husband, “I want to work on our relationship. I want to help you through this. I know I can’t force you to stay in this marriage, but don’t try to destroy my self-esteem in the process.
Dear Amy: “Worried Sister” reported that her elderly brother physically assaulted her before he was transferred to a nursing home. Thank you for suggesting that she contact the social worker at her brother’s home before considering a visit.
Medical social workers can be found in almost any medical setting, from hospitals to nursing homes, home health and hospice agencies, and some physician offices.
They are an excellent resource for dealing with family matters, locating appropriate community resources, understanding the psychosocial effects of health problems and knowing the financial resources available.
And, yes, they are part of the team of health heroes facing increased risk during this pandemic.
– Retired medical social worker in Nebraska
Retired Medical Social Worker in Nebraska: Medical social workers provide invaluable service to families during extremely stressful times. I am deeply grateful to the social workers who helped me and both of my parents.
2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency