Dear Annie: My mother-in-law has a serious medical condition, and her health is rapidly deteriorating. Unfortunately, her failing health is not something she is willing to deal with.
My husband and I live in a different state. When we last visited, we were shocked at how bad things were. Bills were unpaid because she couldn’t remember to get to them. Garbage was piled up because she didn’t have the strength to drag the bags to the curb.
There are no other family members in the area who are willing to check up on her. The kindest thing would be to help her transition into an independent living facility and arrange for periodic in-home care. The problem is, most facilities have an age requirement, and my mother-in-law is only in her late 40s. How can I find out more?
— Worried Daughter-in-Law
Dear Worried: First search online for a support group or national organization for your mother-in-law’s specific disability. And please do not assume that all of the facilities in your area are age-restricted. Ask. However, a better option might be a group home for disabled adults. You can search online or get a referral from Mom’s doctor, a local hospital or through a care manager.
Another possibility is to have an in-home health aide or visiting nurse come to Mom’s house to check on her. All of these choices depend on Mom’s finances and insurance coverage and what is available in her area. Call 2-1-1 for resources. You sound like a caring daughter-in-law, and we hope you can arrange this with Mom’s cooperation.
Dear Annie: Is customer service a thing of the past? I recently went to a drive-thru window. After repeating my order numerous times, I saw that the youth running the window was chatting with his co-workers. When he brought my order out, it was still incorrect, but he was more interested in continuing his conversation than fixing it. I finally became frustrated and gave up, and he yelled that I could scrape off the incorrect contents myself. I found this totally unacceptable, so I parked and went to speak to the manager. Meanwhile, the young man continued to make rude remarks about my order to his friends and then yelled that, yes, he was talking about me.
Last Friday, I went to the deli at the grocery store to order some luncheon meat, only to be told that the woman in charge was not cutting any more meat that day. When she turned her back on me, I asked the manager what time the deli closed. I was told that it was still operating for another hour.
Is it asking too much for employees to do their jobs? Why do I have to go to management in order to get decent service?
— Tired of Poor Customer Service
Dear Tired: Complaining to the manager is the proper way to handle this. Some employees understand customer service, but others have no clue and need to be trained. If management does not demand appropriate behavior, you won’t see it in the workplace. Forcing the manager to address these failures is the way these employees learn. Unfortunately, some of them take a very long time to get it.
Dear Annie: You’ve printed a few letters about handicapped parking. I definitely give a disapproving look now and then. Why? Because if you can walk into the store with no obvious struggle, you’re just not that handicapped. Many of us have physical problems, but that doesn’t make each of us special.
We all know that the handicapped license plate is abused. If Grandma isn’t with you, don’t use it. If you’re feeling good enough to go shopping today, don’t use it. Your foot hurts? Get over it.
— Salem, Ore.
Dear Salem: We hope you never need a handicapped license plate, because you obviously do not understand what it means to need one.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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