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Dear Abby: Caregiving wife is filled with anxiety

Dear Abby: I am the 24/7 caregiver for my husband, “Earl.” We were both widowed before we married nine years ago. His daughter, “Mindy,” hasn’t had contact with her father for six years.

Recently, Earl had a serious health problem resulting in a colostomy bag. I take care of everything. When he called to tell Mindy, her husband answered the phone and said she wasn’t home. When my husband told him about his health, the son-in-law said, “OK” – nothing more. Then Earl invited the whole family to come here. Again, the response was, “I don’t know.”

After Earl hung up, I said, “I think it’s time Mindy came here to take care of you.” (Six years ago, she told my husband, “Dad, if you die first, I’ll get that woman out of the house in three days!”) Must I wait for this to happen or should I just pack my stuff and move out, leaving a vulnerable 88-year-old man alone? Mindy will put him in a nursing home and sell the house to pay off some of her credit card debt.

Earl says, “Don’t leave me, I need you!” Well, what about me? Where is my life and my security? I’m getting older. If he lives 10 more years, it will take a toll on my health, and I’ll be moving?

Should I seek compensation for my caregiving? I pay all my own expenses. I don’t pay rent. That was the main concern from his relatives when we got married. I was a widow and had a job and a condo, which I sold. I put the money in the bank and used cash to pay for a new car, a computer, a wheelchair for my husband, etc.

Don’t I have to plan for my own future? Or should I leave it up to God and hope that I die before my husband?

– Worried Wife in Florida

Dear Worried Wife: You’re right to be concerned about your future. That’s why, before making any decisions, it is important to consult a lawyer and learn your rights as a wife in the State of Florida. You shouldn’t have to worry about being thrown into the street because the daughter is looking to cash in. If you love your husband, your place is beside him for as long as God allows.