Annie's Mailbox: Hire someone regularly to keep Mom's house clean
Dear Annie: I am concerned about my mother, a 66-year-old widow of 15 years. When my father was alive, Mom worked full time, kept a reasonably clean house and raised two children by herself. (My father was an alcoholic who was not around much.) I...
Dear Annie: I am concerned about my mother, a 66-year-old widow of 15 years. When my father was alive, Mom worked full time, kept a reasonably clean house and raised two children by herself. (My father was an alcoholic who was not around much.) In the years since Dad died, however, the house has gone to ruin.
The problem is, my sister and extended family convinced me to let Mom move into one of my properties. My sister cleans it once every six months. Each time, they remove 10 huge bags of garbage. By the way, Mom works full time, and her supervisors are always talking about how professional and neat her work area is. They even use her as an example when training new employees.
Now the property is infested with fleas. Mom says she doesn't notice them. I cannot get rid of the fleas until the house is cleaned. I work full time and have two children, one with severe special needs. I do not have the time or energy to take care of my mother, too.
I know Mom is depressed, but I cannot convince her to get help. My sister has also tried to talk with her. I want to evict her, but my family is against it. After all, she is my mother. But I cannot afford to have her ruin my property. I am struggling to get by on what little I have.
My uncle will be visiting soon, and he's one of the few people my mother respects. I was thinking of discussing this with him and having him invite himself to her house so he can see for himself. Maybe it would be a wakeup call. What do you say? - At a Loss
Dear Loss: We think anyone who can get through to your mother is worth talking to. Evicting her will make you the pariah of the family and will not solve the problem. It's possible Mom has some depression or early dementia. Right now, the best solution would be for the relatives to contribute to a fund in order to hire someone to clean her place every month (or more). Then make an appointment for her to see her doctor for an evaluation. You also can contact the International OCD Foundation ( ocfoundation.org ) for support and suggestions.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.