Ask Goldie - May 2009

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

I have been troubled by a family situation for some time and decided to get your advice on the matter.

I am a widow in my early 70s and live by myself caring for a small home and garden. My life is busy with many friends and social activities. My family consists of one married son and three lovely grandchildren. We are often together and have shared many holidays.

So, what could possibly be wrong in such a happy situation? Well, this may seem a petty thing, but it is a sore spot in my life. My daughter-in-law is gradually replacing my life possessions. She says I need to modernize and is busy replacing furniture, dishes, pots and pans, linens, pictures, etc. I hardly recognize my home, anymore.

I have spoken to my son about this problem but he insists that she is just being kind and I should appreciate her.

What should I do?



Dear R.N.:

Well, obviously you need to act and soon, if you really want to keep your possessions.

You spoke to your son, but did not mention communicating with your daughter-in-law. If you don't talk to her, I'm afraid things will continue in the same manner. She thinks she is being kind so, please, enlighten her. Speak up for yourself. There is no law that you must suffer in silence.

The next time your daughter-in-law arrives, sit down with her and let her know how you feel. Only clear communication can clear up this problem. She has no way of knowing how you feel about your possessions unless you tell her.

Act quickly!


Dear Goldie:

I have been a widow for 15 years and I am managing my life very well in an apartment for seniors. My neighbours are friendly and we keep in touch daily. I go to an exercise class three times weekly and walk daily. My doctor says my health is very good.

My son and his wife and children, who are now adults, are my only family. He is urging me to go into a Senior Care Home, I think this is because they travel a lot and they would not have to worry about me when they are away. But I feel so well and do not want to leave my present surroundings.

I am not dependent on my son financially. Can he force me to move into a care home? 



Dear G.L.:

You are living independently and, as long as you remain well physically and mentally, your son cannot force you to do anything.

From your letter, it seems like your doctor might be able to help you in this situation. Make an appointment when your son can join you and talk about your condition. If he refuses, then ask your doctor to write a letter stating that you are in good health.

It is unfortunate that these situations arise in families as parents age. It usually occurs because a family member is too protective and becomes overly concerned about the parent's safety. Unless a professional person can intervene, the parent can lose the independence he or she is desperately trying to keep.

For your own peace of mind, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.


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