Dear Abby: Dad needs more than a chauffeur as his health deteriorates

DEAR ABBY: My father, who is 84, just had a mild stroke. The problem is he wants to drive his car. My sister says we should just let him, but I don’t think he’s capable of driving safely anymore. She says we can’t legally stop him from driving.

Dad has occasional dizzy spells and double vision, which started the day he had a stroke several weeks ago. He has also lost a lot of weight and has been told he needs to eat a heart-healthy diet and eat more. Dad has diabetes and high cholesterol. He has had problems with his memory lately, too, and not just age-related. He can’t remember details from doctors’ appointments, forgets to take his blood pressure a couple times a day and can’t remember what he is supposed to do for physical therapy.

I think we should be taking care of Dad now and driving him wherever he needs to go. I personally do not want him endangering himself or others if he drives. Please advise. — CAUTIOUS IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CAUTIOUS: It’s time for a serious family discussion about how to handle this. Your father needs a lot more help than chauffeur service. He needs someone to accompany him to doctors’ appointments, and someone to supervise or administer his medications. He should not be behind the wheel of a car, and I’m not even sure he should be living alone.

His doctor should be contacted about informing the DMV about your father’s health status.

He may also need assisted living if it’s financially feasible.

DEAR ABBY: I am 40 years old, and I have been eating a plant-based diet since high school. I’m in great shape, and my doctor is very pleased with my health status. For more than two decades, friends and family have worn me down to where I am running short on gracious responses when it comes to them challenging what I put on my plate. Many times, people feel the need to mention at work or at a party that I’m vegan (I don’t know why), and the room immediately is focused on me. Then someone always asks how I get my protein.

I usually try to keep the mood light, so I answer them. But I have grown tired of being questioned because more often than not, it doesn’t stop. They want me to go into detail about why I eat what I eat (or don’t eat). They tell me how they couldn’t be healthy or couldn’t give up cheese. I get stuck in the middle of a monologue that feels a lot like I’m being bullied and judged.

I don’t want to feel pushed around, but I also want to keep it light. How can I tell them I don’t want to discuss my eating habits without sounding rude? I don’t judge them and would like the same respect. — PROUD VEGAN IN OREGON

DEAR VEGAN: Sometimes it ain’t what you say, but how you say it. If you can muster a smile when you reply, “I came here to have a good time, not discuss my diet. Let’s change the subject,” it might end the discussion. Follow it up with, “What’s everybody watching on Netflix?”

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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