Ag­ing par­ents un­aware of the risks they face

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN 360 BETS -

Dear Abby: My par­ents are both in their 80s, and I try to stay in touch with them as of­ten as pos­si­ble. Un­for­tu­nately, one is­sue I can­not get through to them is when to call 911 for help. Ex­am­ple: If Mom trips and falls, Dad needs to call 911 rather than strug­gle to help her up. One or both of them could be in­jured due to lack of strength or abil­ity.

Also, if a stranger rings their door­bell or calls on the phone and asks them ques­tions about check­ing ac­counts, etc., this per­son should be re­ported.

How do I im­press upon my par­ents the need to con­tact the au­thor­i­ties when some­thing is amiss rather than at­tempt to han­dle it them­selves?

— Art in Eas­ton, Pa.

Dear Art: Try­ing to par­ent one’s par­ents long dis­tance can be frus­trat­ing and emo­tion­ally drain­ing. Part of the prob­lem may be that when peo­ple in their golden years be­gin to slow down, they of­ten don’t re­al­ize that it’s hap­pen­ing.

Please im­press upon your fa­ther that when your mother falls there may be a rea­son for it that goes be­yond be­ing “clumsy.” She may have suf­fered a small stroke or have an in­ner ear im­bal­ance and need to be seen by a doc­tor. Also, when older peo­ple fall they can crack a bone, and be­ing lifted by some­one other than a pro­fes­sional can cause fur­ther in­jury.

These days there are more “sharks” swim­ming around out there than ever, poised to take ad­van­tage of the gullible and the vul­ner­a­ble. If you sus­pect that some­one has been

ask­ing your par­ents for in­for­ma­tion about their per­sonal fi­nances, the po­lice should be in­formed. Also, if you feel they need pro­tec­tion, then it’s time to in­volve a so­cial worker to help them. Your lo­cal Area Agency on Ag­ing or state depart­ment of health can guide you.

Dear Abby: Many years ago I made a con­scious and de­lib­er­ate de­ci­sion to leave the dat­ing scene. When­ever I tell a woman I’m not in­ter­ested or have made other plans, she be­comes up­set and an­gry with me. I try to be tact­ful and diplo­matic with women, but it in­vari­ably re­sults in ac­ri­mo­nious be­hav­ior to­ward me. I am ex­as­per­ated with the sit­u­a­tion. What’s your ad­vice?

— Nice Guy in New Jersey

Dear Nice Guy: Of course when a woman hears that you’re “not in­ter­ested” she will be of­fended. A com­pli­ment it’s not! And a woman who be­comes up­set and an­gry if you say you have other plans isn’t some­one you would want to be in­volved with any­way. Next time try this: “I’m sorry, but I’m not avail­able.” It’s the truth. Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. E-mail Dear Abby at www.

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