Dear Annie: I’m 70, and my friend “Martha” is 72. We live in the same senior apartment complex and have known each other for about nine months. I’ve helped her a lot, taking her to doctor’s appointments, walking her dog after eye surgery, etc. She went to Texas for Christmas with her daughter and son-in-law.
A couple of days after Christmas, she texted me that she and her daughter were both really sick. Four days later, she asks if I can pick her up from the airport the next day. I asked if her family had been tested for COVID-19. She said yes. I asked if it was positive. No answer. I then said I would not be around her for 10 days. I watch my 8-month-old grandson a few days a week. I’m pretty upset that she would possibly expose me to COVID-19. We are both vaccinated, but unless she has a negative test on the day she comes home, I don’t trust her. Am I overreacting? — Trying To Stay Healthy
Dear Trying: We’re all probably sick of the word “unprecedented,” but there is no better way to describe the times we’re living in. With a new virus comes a whole new set of rules and etiquette.
When it comes to managing the risks of getting sick, everyone seems to have a different view. But one thing is for sure: Communication and honesty are of the utmost importance for making informed decisions. If your friend can’t even respond with her test result, then she is at best not giving you the information you need to make a decision and at worst putting you and your family’s health at risk.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to your advice to “Tired in Ohio,” who is frustrated with an elderly relative who won’t go into an assisted living facility. I work with elderly people, and, unfortunately, this is a common problem.
I agree, this elderly lady is very fortunate to have family to help her. However, unless there is a mental impairment of some kind, people do have the right to make bad decisions for themselves. This woman can continue to choose to live in her unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
If her family believes she is incapable of having the insight necessary to make any decisions, then pursuing guardianship or power of attorney over her is the best course. They also should consider making a call to Adult Protective Services if they believe she is in a dangerous situation.
Oftentimes, Adult Protective Services involvement becomes a huge wake-up call for the person involved, and they can help put the person and their family in touch with any resources that might be available in the community. Every county has an Area Agency on Aging, and these agencies have a wealth of information for elderly folks. — Hoping This Helps
Dear Hoping: Thank you for sharing these resources; in fact, many other readers did, too. May they serve to help this family and others navigate what can be a difficult but, at times, necessary transition.
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