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home : columns : dear harriette May 25, 2016

2/5/2014 10:02:00 AM
Reader doesn't want to impose on her friends

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently lost my job and had to move out of my apartment. I currently live with my best friend and her husband. I am so grateful my friends opened their doors for me in my time of need. It has been six months since I lost my job, and my friend's husband is giving me hints that I should find a place because I am getting in the way of their relationship. The last thing I want to do is break up someone's home.  

I called my parents to see if I could move back into their house, and they told me no and I should find a woman's shelter to move into until I can get my life together. I had a bad experience in a women's shelter many years ago. I am hurt and disappointed that my parents made a suggestion like that. I have a couple of dollars saved up, but I do not know how long it will last. I used to work in the accounting department at a popular hotel chain, and I am ready to work and have my own place again. -- Nowhere to turn, Virginia Beach, Va.  

DEAR NOWHERE TO TURN: Comb your memory to see if you have any other friends who may take you in temporarily. If necessary, go to a shelter for a short time. Research to find the safest and cleanest ones in your area. Spend your days actively looking for a job, perhaps outside your field.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I read your response to "Worried Son" and was very disappointed. He does not want his mother to drive because she is in her mid-80s. He provides no evidence that she has had any driving problems except that she older, yet you do not even question him about that. People of any given age are not exactly alike. The lady may have many years of driving ahead of her.

No, I am not in my 80s; I am a 58-year-old woman who ran senior care facilities of various types for many years. Some children become "helicopter children" in trying to ensure the safety and welfare of their parents and give no thought to quality of life. Getting older is difficult enough without creating problems where none exist. -- Able to Drive, Chicago

DEAR ABLE TO DRIVE: I apologize for not making the point that you bring up. Indeed, there are many seniors who are perfectly capable of driving, living on their own and otherwise leading completely independent lives, sometimes well into their 90s. I happen to have quite a few of them in my life. My intention was not to be dismissive of those who are able to be independent.

In my research about older people and the safety of driving, I have found a few consistent warning signs for family members and elders themselves to consider as they evaluate whether it is time to stop driving. They include health concerns such as advanced arthritis that could make it hard to steer the car or turn your neck; advanced Parkinson's disease; diminished vision; Alzheimer's; and medications that could cause drowsiness. Review the person's recent driving record. Talk about fender benders and near-misses. For more ideas and information on this topic go to:

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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