Where’s the pie?

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

For the past three years, we’ve been host­ing Thanks­giv­ing at our house. My par­ents used to host it, but they are slow­ing down a lot, and I didn’t want them to have that bur­den. I work full time, and my wife and I have an in­cred­i­bly busy sched­ule be­tween work and the kids. To make the hol­i­day more man­age­able, our tra­di­tion is to do it potluck-style. We take care of the tur­key; the rest is left to every­one else.

It’s worked great for the most part, but the past two years, my un­cle Brian of­fered to bring the pump­kin pie and then seemed to for­get all about it, show­ing up at the house emp­ty­handed. My wife wants to just bake the pie her­self this year, but Un­cle Brian is again in­sist­ing we let him do it. In fact, he seemed pretty of­fended when we brought it up. He’s a bach­e­lor, 75 and re­cently re­tired, so he has a lot of time on his hands.

Would it be rude of us to have a backup pie ready in case he for­gets again? I don’t want to in­sult him.

— No Dessert

Though fam­ily is what re­ally cre­ates the Thanks­giv­ing spirit, pump­kin pie sure doesn’t hurt. I think it would be smart, not rude, for you to have one ready in case Un­cle Brian drops the ball again. To spare his feel­ings, keep it out of sight un­til you’re sure you need it. If he ends up bring­ing one, you can give the spare pie to a shel­ter or fam­ily who might ap­pre­ci­ate it.

The bigger con­cern here, though, is your un­cle’s for­get­ful­ness. Please en­cour­age him to talk to his doc­tor about his mem­ory prob­lems.

This is in re­sponse to the let­ter from “Scared of My Friends,” who wrote in about peo­ple driv­ing in their 70s when they shouldn’t. My son lives with me, and we share driv­ing. He is quick to tell me if I do some­thing wrong, but he has not sug­gested yet that I am a poor driver.

I think the prob­lem comes in for some peo­ple my age when fam­ily mem­bers don’t live nearby or if pub­lic trans­porta­tion is poor. In ad­di­tion, of­ten no one wants to con­front the el­der about los­ing that in­de­pen­dence. Of­ten, when fam­ily mem­bers are near or visit, they do all the driv­ing and never ride with the el­der, so they have no idea how bad the sit­u­a­tion is.

With most of my friends, I al­ways of­fer to drive, and they are happy to let me. I have added “blind spot” mir­rors to my car. Be­cause I am a reg­is­tered nurse, I have given driv­ing tests to my doc­tor to use dur­ing phys­i­cal ex­ams. They check cog­ni­tive abil­ity and re­ac­tion time (for ex­am­ple, walk­ing 10 paces, turn­ing and walk­ing back in 10 sec­onds or less), in ad­di­tion to the usual eye ex­ams, med­i­ca­tion ques­tions and flex­i­bil­ity tests. But so far, these have not been used. Al­though my state makes peo­ple older than 75 re­new their li­censes ev­ery year with an eye exam, that is the only re­quire­ment. I have watched peo­ple who are stum­bling re­new their li­censes with­out a ques­tion by the ex­am­in­ers. This is an is­sue that is not be­ing ad­dressed, not only by fam­ily mem­bers but by the DMV and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als. Who is will­ing to be first? — RN in Her 70s

Though fam­ily is what re­ally cre­ates the Thanks­giv­ing spirit, pump­kin pie sure doesn’t hurt.

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