The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Remember the good times


DEAR ANNIE » I have had many odd symptoms over the years that got worse, and it has taken much research to finally get help. I have deficienci­es in vitamins D and B12 that require more than a multivitam­in. Doctors don’t learn nutrition in medical school and are unaware of what deficienci­es look like. Vitamins aren’t part of routine bloodwork. Please advise readers to request their vitamins, as well as their children’s, be checked when having blood drawn. If deficient, it is important to educate oneself on the possible cause, symptoms and where to get help. Deficienci­es don’t go away on their own and they have health consequenc­es over time. Thank you.

— Vitamins Can Be Vital

DEAR VITAMINS » Thank you for your letter. You bring up a very important point about nutrition. You can get many of your vitamins if you eat a well-balanced diet, but knowledge is power. Learning from your doctor what vitamins you are deficient in could really help your overall health.

DEAR ANNIE » I read with interest and sadness the letter from “Forgotten Daughter,” who believes her mom is developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease like their grandfathe­r had. I know this process firsthand. My maternal grandmothe­r had this dreaded disease, and now my mom has it. Like the writer’s mom, my mom showed signs earlier than her parents did. I agree with your advice that it is important to get the person to see their doctor. However, they should know that it is often difficult to get the loved one to agree, because they believe (or want to believe) there is nothing wrong with them. It is also important to see a doctor who is knowledgea­ble about dementia, or you can end up worse off than you started. Finally, as to the loved one telling the same stories over and over, and the defensiven­ess — these are parts of the disease that all caregivers and family have to learn to cope with. The one piece of advice that has been the most fruitful for our family and caregivers is not to argue. If she wants to say the same thing more than once, I have to practice the skill of patience, which is not my favorite — nor most people’s — but it comes in handy. Likewise, trying to be understand­ing when they get frustrated and working on not taking it personally.

Watching someone you love fall victim to dementia is a challengin­g and sometimes brutal journey. But there are good moments, too; good and tender moments of connection. These are what keep us (relatively) sane, and I wish many such moments to the letter writer and their mom. Thank you for being an advocate for good attention to dementia patients and their families.

— See It Firsthand

DEAR FIRSTHAND » Thank you for your wonderful advice. You clearly have experience with the disease and are handling it with grace. Best of luck to you and your family.

DEAR ANNIE » As a caregiver and a daughter-inlaw, I would just like to say your advice for “Forgotten Daughter” is spot on. This daughter is in a very hard position, but she should try to remember that our reality can’t be forced onto her mom. Sometimes, you have to live in her reality and pretend you have never heard that story or just go along with what she says. Enjoy every moment and story that you can, because when they are gone, you will wish you could hear them one more time. I have to remind my husband of this all the time.

Don’t regret not taking the time you have to build good memories now.

— Understand­ing Caregiver

DEAR UNDERSTAND­ING CAREGIVER » I love the idea of enjoying every moment, memory and story with those we love. Cherishing those we love each day is the biggest gift we can give to them and to ourselves.

DEAR ANNIE » I read the letter from “Frustrated Friend,” who was struggling with how to handle a “frenemy,” and my heart went out to her, as I have lived the exact same situation. You are perfectly correct in your response that this person is no friend.

I, too, never knew how to handle my frenemy because the insults were always spoken sotto voce or to someone else but always loud enough for me to hear, or, as “Frustrated Friend” says, “embarrassi­ng” because they were said “while in the company of others.”

You suggest, “Stand up for yourself the next time she insults you.” I would love to get some suggestion­s from you on how to handle this type of individual. How does one stand up to someone who is so passive aggressive?

— Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE » The best way to stand up to a bully (even a passive aggressive one) is to stand up to the bully directly. Let them know very directly that you don’t have time for passive aggressive games. If they continue to try to boss you around through passive aggressive­ness, it might be time to pack your bags and look for a new friend.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http:// www.creatorspu­ for more informatio­n. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@

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