Dear Annie: I am an 80-year-old widow, and my doctor says I’m doing great for my age. I thought so, too, until recently. Some of my family members have begun to pop in – no phone calls beforehand, even though they all have cell phones, as do I. Last weekend while I slept, my son and daughter-in-law decided to clean out my refrigerator. While there were a few items I could have done without, the tuna salad I just mixed was what I planned to eat for lunch. Instead, the little plastic container had been emptied, washed, dried and left on the counter.
The following week, my son e-mailed to ask if I thought it was time to give “someone” power of attorney. To say I am disillusioned is putting it mildly. I live in a community of caring seniors, and there are wonderful people in charge. If there were ever any doubt of my ability to remain independent, they would be the first to notice. I take part in the activities, belong to a book group and am a volunteer for the Council on Aging. I know my children love me, and that is one reason they are doing these things. But it bothers me that they think my age determines my capabilities. Should I keep my disappointment to myself and not tell them how much this hurts? I have heard of this happening to others, but am shocked that it is happening to me. – Faithful Reader
Dear Faithful: Speak up. Staying quiet will only encourage them to continue, thinking you approve, and they will do even more as you get older. It is important that your family members understand what you are capable of handling so they can respond appropriately and not impinge on your independence. It may help to have them come to your next doctor’s appointment and hear it from a professional.