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This woman should divorce her family

divorce_cake_stockWSJ ¬†– April 22nd – A woman writes that her daughter is receiving her doctoral degree on the same day her son is getting married. Read the article here. They set the wedding date before they knew the exact date of “her event.” The daughter wasn’t consulted. And to add insult to injury, her role in the wedding involves tending the guest book.

Sue Shellenbarger, who has the job I’d love in my next life – writing about careers and ¬†family – consulted a family therapist and a wedding etiquette expert.

The etiquette expert says, essentially, let her vent and then “give her a hug and ask her what she thinks you should do. She may by this point be able to see that the wedding should go on as planned. If not, give her time.”

The expert does admit that “close siblings usually receive a bigger honor than tending the guest book.” (more…)

Stigmatizing “seniors” and singles in one sentence

In an article about seniors who show up malnourished in emergency rooms, NYT author Judith Graham suggests social isolation might be a factor.

“Who likes to eat alone?” she asks rhetorically.

More and more of us live in one-person households by choice. Some people like to eat alone and it’s time everyone realized that’s a perfectly appropriate choice to make.

If a room is filled with noisy conversation I won’t eat, period. Stress isn’t good for digestion and anyway I want to enjoy my food.

When you like living alone (and census data shows more and more of us do), you obviously like eating alone. We don’t need stigmatizing comments or rhetorical questions with an agenda.

Single People Die Younger

Single people die younger. According to this article, the difference might be due to a spouse who nags you to eat better or see a doctor. I think it’s also likely that you’ll get better care from doctors when a family member can advocate for you. Read the article here.

And here’s another article about positive effects of marriage on men’s health. Click here.

One thing that gets ignored is the way the health care system views single versus married people. It’s assumed that you’ll have a family member pick you up after outpatient surgery. The Family Medical Leave provides only for care of a parent, spouse or child – not even a brother or niece, let alone a friend. People can’t get off work to drive a friend home from the hospital, especially in the middle of the day with short notice. Additionally, we keep hearing that it’s important to have family members with you if you’re in a hospital; otherwise you’re far more subject to medical errors, neglect and even outright abuse.

Some people genuinely enjoy their own solitude and single status. In terms of aging, that’s a plus, because we’re more independent and less likely to mourn. But getting care becomes a massive invasion of privacy, with limited options for support.