Mother no longer wears clean clothes
DEAR ANNIE:My mother is in her 80s, and I love her very much. At her age, she has earned certain privileges. And I understand we all have our little quirks that might annoy others.
The problem is my mom doesn’t wear clean clothes. It started out that she would wear a certain outfit a couple of times before washing. Now, however, every outfit has a spot or stain on it. She will wear a piece of clothing for a couple of hours, and then put it back in the closet. If it is a heavier piece of clothing like a coat and it has a spill on it, it might be months before it gets washed. My mother is in good health and is perfectly capable of washing her clothing. If she wanted to, she could even hire a housekeeper. That said, if she wants to wear dirty clothing, who am I to push my standards on her? The real problem, though, is that Mom has a musty and stale smell on her at all times. When I open her closet, it nearly knocks me over. I have tried talking nicely to her about this. I even buy air fresheners for the closet. But the next time I visit, I notice the air fresheners are gone. When I ask my mom why she isn’t using them, she says, "I can’t smell, so they’re a waste of money." Of course, money isn’t a problem.
I know this may seem like a trivial problem, but I’m not sure what to do. — The Nose Knows
DEAR THE NOSE KNOWS:It’s not trivial in the least. According to the National Institute on Aging, while a declining sense of smell can be a normal part of getting older, it can also be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Encourage your mom to talk to her doctor about this issue.