Dear Doug

    Doug Mayberry's lively question-and-answer columns seldom have anything to do with arthritis, bifocals or estate planning. Instead, they address real-life concerns of active seniors, such as dating and remarriage, coping with a husband or wife who flirts, dealing with adult children who meddle and even caring for parents.
    There’s nothing stuffy or stodgy about the answers he gives, either. Some are so poignant they’ll bring tears, some so spicy they’ll make readers blush. But all are straightforward and honest, offering practical solutions and advice that leads to successful aging.

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Ways to get the keys away from Mom

By Doug Mayberry
Copley News Service

     Dear Doug: My mom is 89 years old, and she is still driving. She still has her license, but she has had several minor accidents during the past year. My sister and I believe it's time to take away her keys, but we are very nervous about doing so. Is there an easy way to do this?

     A: No, it won't be easy, but from what you stated about your mother's driving record, it's definitely time to take the keys away -- for her own safety and that of others, too. I recall the day my brother called to tell me that our mother had run into a train. When I called to ask her what happened, she blamed the train.
     The best solutions to getting the keys to the car out of your mom's purse are to tell her the car is old and is no longer safe for her to drive, to ask the local police chief to have a chat with her, to ask the insurance agent to discuss the company's policy regarding older drivers with her, or perhaps even to ask her pastor to discuss with her why it would be wise to give up her car.
     Most of us fear the trauma of losing our independence and ability to control our own transportation. Your mother needs the assurance that there are solutions other than her having to do the driving. A big help could be a younger neighbor who would agree to do the driving for her and hold the keys.

     Dear Doug: The holidays are just around the corner, and my ex-husband wants to attend most of the family affairs. I have not seen or talked with him for more than 10 years, and I am uncomfortable about attending the events with him around. Should I skip the parties he attends?

     A: Certainly not. No doubt after all these years you have involved yourself with others who make you happier. Rather than ignoring your ex or being afraid of seeing him again, your attendance will prove to him that you have made a new life for yourself that does not include him. Maybe he'll surprise you by telling you he made a mistake by parting from you. If not, continue to enjoy your new life and hopefully he is enjoying his also.

     Dear Doug: I've just received the news from my doctor that I have an early case of prostate cancer. The doctor is recommending that I begin treatment as soon as possible. Our concern is that my wife and I have booked a 40th anniversary cruise, which sails in about six weeks. Should I hold up on the medical treatment or take the cruise first?

     A: You and your wife have a tough decision to make. The doctor wants to help you get well as soon as possible, and you both have been looking forward to the anniversary cruise. One of the greatest negatives in life is fear, and I believe you can overcome that by making a positive decision to make your anniversary party or cruise one of the highlights of your lives while not compromising your health care.
     Among the options, have you called your travel agent to ask if there is another cruise that is available earlier? Would a driving or flying trip to a vacation resort serve as a substitute for your celebration? Would a family anniversary party be more appropriate in your circumstances?
     The most important thing to remember regardless of which trip or party you choose is to make it an extremely happy event, enjoy every minute and accept your decision as the best one you could have made. Good luck and have a great anniversary.

Doug Mayberry lives in a retirement community in Southern California. Send your questions to him at [email protected].

(c) Copley News Service

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