DEAR Janice, my mother, God bless her, won’t stop running away from her nursing home. She is mentally all there, in reasonably good shape (for an 85-year-old), and we only have her in there because I live in Glasgow and since my dad died, she felt isolated in our family home in Lochaber.

Despite all the Covid regulations on getting in, she has no problem whatsoever getting out. Whenever she is caught, the carers tell me, she just grins mischievously and tells them she “loves the chase”. It’s like the blinking Great Escape. I have been thinking of taking her in, but between my aviary and the lodger, I don’t know if I can squeeze in another body.


Dear Henry, I would think long and hard before inviting your mum to live at your home. For starters, she might not want to share with a lodger (stranger), never mind and aviary. And you should be aware that the continuous inhalation of bird dander can provoke asthma and allergies. Therefore, she would need a full health check before she came to stay with you.

Ask her if she is unhappy at the nursing home. Ask her if she would want to live with you permanently. You might find that she is perfectly happy where she is, and is just a mischievous old biddy who likes to keep everyone on their toes. Speak to the staff at the nursing home, although it’s not a prison she should be secure whilst living there. On a few occasions I caught residents trying to tailgate after me when leaving my parents care home, so it is a worry. After all, if she had mental health issues, leaving the safety of the nursing home would be a serious matter.

Sadly, so many elderly people living at home are extremely lonely and don’t see or speak to anyone for long periods of time. The nursing home, can not only provide routine, structure, regular meals and medication, but just as importantly, the company of other human beings. Could you provide all of these things 24/7? Take a step back and do your homework before you make a decision you might quickly regret and you’re the one wanting to run away!

Dear Janice, I’ve been married for two years and have completely gone off my husband. I want to leave him, but I don’t even know where to start. Help.


Dear Tracey, you have started, because you have made the decision to leave. You have only been married two years and one of those was in lockdown, so perhaps you haven’t given your marriage a proper chance. Let’s face it, last year would have driven the most loving of couples apart.

That said, I’m not quite sure how you can love someone enough to marry them, and within such a short period of time go completely off them. Have you spoken to your husband about this? Unless you’re an award-winning actor, I suspect he is picking up vibes that your marital rose garden has well and truly wilted.

He is most likely unhappy himself and living on edge wondering what the heck is going on, so it’s only fair and kind to be honest with him. But, if you have decided to move on, it is cruel to keep up a pretence with someone you don’t want to be with.

Have the chat and at least get your true feelings out there. You never know his reaction. Perhaps the mere hint of this conversation and he’ll disappear quicker than Houdini! Best of luck.

Dear Janice, my friend was made redundant during the pandemic lockdown. She said she was struggling financially, so it made sense when I was searching for a trustworthy cleaner for my home, to offer her the job. She was delighted, and admittedly she does a fairly good cleaning job. However, recently I have noticed some items and money missing.

I thought it was just my imagination but sadly I don’t think it is. Mr husband thinks I am being paranoid, but items can’t just mysteriously disappear. How do I approach the subject with her?


Dear Joan, with caution. This is a really sensitive situation. If you accuse her and you turn out to be wrong, that will be the end of your friendship. On the other hand, if she is stealing from you, that will change your relationship too. I really hope there is a simple explanation for all of this but you can’t go on wondering and putting her under suspicion.

It sounds callous, but I would leave a small amount of cash somewhere she can come across it. If it’s still there, brilliant. If it isn’t, then so long as you are 100% sure no one else has taken it, you have a problem.

Unfortunately when people steal and get away with it they become blasé, so they steal again and again. It’s rarely a one-off. Also, they become used to the extra ‘income’ and don’t want to give that up either. If the worst happens, you have two options, confront her with your evidence or, say you’ve decided you don’t need a cleaner after all, dismiss her, and clean yourself for a period of time until you find someone honest.