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Annie’s Mailbox: Caretaking sister refuses help herself

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: My sister lives with my father. She is supposed to be helping him, but she has a problem with depression and self-medicates with marijuana and alcohol.

Do you have any recommendations as to how to handle her? She is so difficult to work with, and will not admit that she needs help. – Concerned Siblings

Dear Siblings: We’re not sure what you are looking to do. Is the drinking and pot use excessive? Does your sister neglect or abuse your father? Have you spoken to your father? Has he voiced any complaints? Are you willing to take Dad into your home to better care for him? Can you afford to hire occasional help for Dad?

It’s unlikely you will convince your sister to treat her depression by talking to a doctor or a therapist. You have tried discussing it, to no avail. Unless you are willing to remove Dad from the home, you have little influence on her forms of relaxation. If she is abusive or neglectful, report the situation to Adult Protective Services. And whenever possible, please take over so your sister can get a break. Being the primary caregiver is a tough job, no matter what shape you’re in, and it may be more stressful for your sister than you realize.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at AskAnnies.

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