DEAR ABBY: I recently saw a letter in your column signed "Lonesome Caretaker." Well, Abby, my longtime companion and I take exception to the term "caretaker" when it's used to identify one who looks after the daily needs of another. The term "careGIVER" seems kinder and much more loving and personal.
I have a terminal illness, and my longtime companion has now become my very loving caregiver. He does not take; he gives.After all, what do caretakers actually do? Trim your shrubs? Paint your house? Fix your faucet? They maintain objects or property, or look after cemeteries.
Regardless of how the dictionary defines caretaker, I would like to see the word "caregiver" used when referring to one who lovingly cares for another. Abby, you can do a great deal toward making people aware of the difference and set a precedent for change. - GARY IN CACTUSLAND
DEAR GARY: Thank you for pointing out the important difference between caregiving and caretaking. I learned something today.
DEAR ABBY: This is my first letter to you. It concerns my daughter and her husband. My wife and I allowed them to occupy our home for two years for $600 per month. (We could have rented it out for double what we charged them.) My daughter had her first child near the end of the two-year term, and they asked for a six-month extension, which we granted.
Her husband was fired a year ago and refuses to look for another job. He baby-sits while my daughter supports him. They haven't paid us a penny in the last six months.
I suggested they hire a baby sitter to come into their home. They told us they do not trust anyone else with their baby. I have contacted them three times asking for a plan by which they will pay us in the future and give us a moving date, so we can sell our home! Nothing is forthcoming except excuses. They say we are "harassing" them and are only concerned with receiving money.
Should I turn them out into the street? Should I sue for back rent? Our home is our only real investment, and we want to get on with our own lives. We love our daughter and grandson, but the problem is clear. Have you any suggestions? - IN A CORNER IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR IN A CORNER: Since you purchased the house as an investment for yourselves and not as a retirement home for your son-in-law, you need to talk with an attorney and get his advice on how to handle this. Unless your daughter can convince her husband to get a job, he will continue to be the baby sitter - at your expense.
They are blackmailing you emotionally because you are her parents. You are not villains because you expect them to act responsibly.
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