Dear Annie: I am 69 years old, and my lovely lady friend is 65. We’ve only been dating for seven months, but I love her very much. However, a few things about her drive me up the wall.
We live apart, and that is fine — she stays with me for a week and then goes home for a week. Here’s the problem. She is an impulsive shopper. She never leaves a store without picking up something, even though she doesn’t need it. Secondly, she is a terrible procrastinator, changing our meeting times constantly. Finally, and worst of all, she is a huge risk taker. She tries to impress everyone and acts as if she is still in her 30s.
Recently, in the middle of a freezing snowstorm, she told me she was going to the gym. I said, “Are you nuts?” Her comment was, “I am a good driver and know how to handle the snow.” A few months ago, we were at the ocean, and she decided to see how far out she could swim. The lifeguard finally had to whistle her to come back in. She told him, “I know what I am doing.” She once tried to hand-feed a raccoon. She now wants to try skydiving and zip lining. I reminded her that she is 65 and needs to be a little more careful. But she gets mad at me when I say things like that, commenting that she’s been doing these kinds of crazy things all her life.
I am really afraid that one day her luck is going to run out. How do I address this situation without upsetting her? Or am I being overly protective?
Dear Worried: Please do not assume that age is a factor. Plenty of 65-year-olds are perfectly healthy and extremely active. Unless your friend has a physical condition that limits her zip lining and skydiving, don’t upset yourself over it. Hand-feeding a raccoon is simply idiotic, however, and some of her behavior indicates that she lacks sound judgment. If that’s a recent development, she should see her doctor. Otherwise, we suggest you stop reminding her how old she is. She seems sensitive about it and is likely to overcompensate.
Dear Annie: I am a caregiver for my husband, who was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia three years ago. Before that time, I had never heard of Lewy body dementia, nor did I know that there are actually four distinct dementia classifications: Alzheimer’s, Lewy body, frontal lobe and vascular.
At this time, there are 1.3 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which is the second most common progressive dementia and is believed to be under-diagnosed. These individuals are drug sensitive, and the incorrect drugs can cause full-blown dementia.
Anybody who shows signs of dementia should see their primary care physician and request a referral to a neurologist for proper diagnostic testing — the sooner, the better.
Dear Trinidad: Thank you for calling this to our attention. Aside from the familiar cognitive symptoms of dementia (which are also common to Alzheimer’s), Lewy’s includes visual hallucinations, as well as movement disorders that may be related to Parkinson’s. The earlier it is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin. Those who wish to know more about Lewy body dementia can contact lbda.org.
Dear Annie: After reading “North Carolina” and “Less Generous,” I realized that we have become too busy to say thank you.
Children raised by loving, considerate parents have no time for them; grandchildren don’t visit grandparents or acknowledge gifts. I fear that decency and values are slowly leaving the younger generations. If changes aren’t made, it will be a sad world to live in. The future is up to them. May those who still possess good manners be a significant influence on their peers to prompt change.
— Parent in Conn.
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