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home : columns : dear harriette January 18, 2021

10/10/2020 3:02:00 PM
Reader uncertain about involvement in father's health decisions

DEAR HARRIETTE: My father is in a nursing home, and he recently fell. He needs more care than this place has to offer. My sister, who lives in the area, has been handling things, but now we have to make tough decisions. She has been asking me and my brother to weigh in so that she doesn't have to do everything herself. I feel weird about that.

Since I'm not there, how can I really be of help? I can't see what's going on with him, while she has much more access. I feel like she should have full authority to do whatever she thinks is right. My brother, on the other hand, has lots of opinions. She seems to be OK with what he has to say. I feel uncomfortable chiming in. What do you recommend that I do? -- Daddy Issues

DEAR DADDY ISSUES: It can feel burdensome for the local adult child to have to make all the decisions for an ailing parent. Your sister has asked for your opinion because she values it and needs it. It actually is selfish of you not to share your thoughts, whatever they are. Your sister honestly needs your support.

Pay close attention to what's happening with your father. Do research when required. Learn as much as you can about what he is facing so that you can offer informed recommendations or thoughts when she asks. You can also be crystal clear that while you are happy to supply information, you defer to her in the decision-making, as she is the one on the ground seeing the situation play out in real time.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My employer recently informed us that we will not go back into the office physically until next year sometime -- probably not until midyear. I have an expensive apartment and have been thinking about giving up my lease and moving to my dream town. Right now, I live in Manhattan, and I feel like I'm too physically close to people to be safe moving about. So I just stay inside all the time.

Where I want to move is much less densely populated, and I know I can take hikes and fish and enjoy the outdoors without being too close to anyone. I can work from there, enjoy the great outdoors and save money without anybody being the wiser. I won't keep it a secret, but it doesn't matter where I live as long as I get my work done. Do you think it is smart for me to give up my New York City digs and go on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure? -- Making a Move

DEAR MAKING A MOVE: You are part of a growing group of people who are moving during the age of COVID-19. Many people have moved back home with their parents to save money and be quarantined together. Others have given up expensive homes to save money, and some -- like you -- are using this moment to check an item off their bucket lists. I say go for it! When the dust settles, trust that you will find the right place to live.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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