Dear Annie: My husband and I were close friends with another couple for 35 years. We took trips abroad with them, attended their parties and invited them to all of our special occasions.
About five years ago, the husband left the wife for another woman. He then retired and moved to a town 30 miles away.
We still see him on rare occasions. When we do, he makes a point of saying something snarky and belittling to us. He might make fun of what my husband is wearing, criticize our new car or bring up a disagreement he had with me on a trip 17 years ago.
We never know how to convey that his comments are hurtful and offensive. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle his behavior? -- A Longtime Friend
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Dear Longtime: This friend must feel guilty about his past behavior because he sounds defensive to us. He may think you are sitting in judgment and believes it makes his behavior more acceptable if he can drag you down to his level.
The next time he belittles you, simply ask him politely, "Why do you need to say nasty things to us?" This will alert him that he's not pulling anything over on you and it will also be a reminder to him for next time. He may have an explanation, but more likely, he will claim you misunderstood him. A polite inquiry will either force him to recognize that his comments are inappropriate and he will stop, or he will avoid you. Sounds like a win-win to us.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from "Marie," who asked where to find assisted living and nursing home facilities for out-of-state relatives. Your suggestion of medicare.gov was good. As a hospice nurse, let me give you more options.
1. The local county Office on Aging is set up to assist in these circumstances. They will send out a caseworker to assess the need and help find the best facility for the elderly person within their means. If there is any danger of neglect self or otherwise, this agency is able to call in Adult Protective Services, which can expedite placement, if necessary.
2. Most hospice organizations do not charge for an evaluation of their services. Hospice is not just for those in the immediate dying phase of life. By alleviating symptoms and promoting comfort soon after a determination of a life-limiting illness, a person usually lives a longer and fuller life in the time he or she has left. Hospices have social workers on staff to help with living arrangements, and thus can be a source of help for someone like "Marie."
The best way to avoid this situation is for all of us to complete an advance directive and a living will, and make arrangements for the time when we may be unable to care for ourselves, including filing the legal paperwork. Thank you. -- RN in Carlisle
Dear Carlisle: Thank you for the additional suggestions. Along with an advanced directive and living will, readers should look into a health care power of attorney so they are assured that their medical care will be handled by a trusted family member or friend.
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