Life Advice



Ask Amy: Neighbors overhear verbal elder abuse

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your husband sounds depressed. Has he received upsetting news about his health recently? Has the ongoing pandemic triggered sudden concerns about his own mortality? Is he having a mid-life meltdown?

Sometimes, when someone wants to leave a relationship, they will create a smokescreen to obscure the real reasons they want to leave. “Everything you do bothers me” is a way of saying, “It’s not me, it’s you!”

You will feel better if you find ways to stand up for yourself and assert your right to be respected, even if he is in crisis.

I suggest telling your husband, “I want to work on our relationship. I want to help you through this. I know I can’t force you to stay in this marriage, but please don’t try to destroy my self-esteem in the process.”

Dear Amy: “Worried Sister” reported that her elderly brother physically attacked her, before he was moved to a nursing facility. Thank you for suggesting that she contact the social worker at her brother’s home before contemplating a visit.

Medical Social Workers can be found in nearly every medical setting, from hospitals, to nursing facilities, to home health and hospice agencies, and in some doctor's offices, as well.

They are an excellent resource for dealing with family matters, locating appropriate community resources, understanding psychosocial effects of health issues, and knowing about available financial resources.


And yes, they are a part of the team of health heroes facing increased risk during this pandemic.

– Retired Medical Social Worker in Nebraska

Dear Nebraska: Medical social workers provide an invaluable service to families during extremely stressful times. I’m deeply grateful to the social workers who assisted me and both of my parents.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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