When Is Enough, Enough?

December 1, 2014 7:40 PM

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Your 90-year-old mother insists on remaining "independent" in her own apartment. She needs you to take her to the doctor, to arrange for extra help following medical procedures, to fill in when there is any kind of gap in her ability to keep afloat with daily life tasks. Sometimes you have to take off from work on short notice because of a crisis here and there, such as a tumble on the living room floor from a transitory but severe episode of dizziness. This precarious truce with the inevitable has been going on for longer than a decade, but disability keeps encroaching and the rescues are becoming more stressful and frequent.

The key elements of this kind of scenario are all too common: an adult daughter who dwells near her mother is living in what feels like a protracted state of servitude, a thralldom from which she cannot be released except through her mother's disappointment or death. She cannot go out of town withou...

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