Annie's Mailbox: Feeling Stalked in the Midwest
Dear Annie: I am a 75-year-old man living in a retirement community. A woman in her late 80s keeps bugging me with winking eyes, mouthing statements like "I love you," and persists in staring at me and blinking, presumably flirting. My dining chair faces hers, and this is what I see at every meal. I also run into her in the corridors and on our elevator, and she always wants to touch my arms.
She conducts herself well, and I'm sure she considers herself a prize. She always wears her hair in a topknot surrounded by tiara-like jewelry. I think she needs a companion, but I don't want it to be me.
I have told this woman I prefer that she not touch me. I don't appreciate being embarrassed. Some of my friends here think it is hilarious, and they laugh when she is doing her enchantressing. I don't want to be unkind, but this must stop. -- Feeling Stalked in the Midwest
Dear Stalked: We admit that "enchantressing" made us smile. This woman is lonely and perhaps not entirely aware that her actions are so inappropriate. You can ask that your seat be moved in the dining room so that you do not face her at every meal. You can try to avoid using the elevator when she is there. You can enlist the help of a female friend to accompany you often enough that Ms. Enchantress finds you less of an attraction. But please be kind. It is not that difficult to be mildly friendly to this woman, saying hello and smiling when you see her, while maintaining a physical distance. We know she is annoying, but the situation is only embarrassing if you react that way. Try reacting with tolerance and humor instead. It's better for your health.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Exhausted in the Midwest," who stated the difficulties in caring for her bedridden mother. One resource not mentioned in your response was hospice. Most insurance and Medicare will cover the cost of medical equipment for the home, and hospice can supply disposable gloves, wipes and bed pads. Plus, hospice provides care for the patient and support for the caregiver.
When the time comes and the patient does pass away, the caregivers will know they have done all they could to meet their loved one's wishes to remain in their home and die a more peaceful death. One does not need to be actively dying to qualify for hospice care if a physician diagnoses a life-limiting illness. This allows a hospice professional to determine whether the patient meets federal criteria for admission. They would then be eligible for in-home care, which would relieve some of "Exhausted's" burden. -- Pennsylvania
Dear Pennsylvania: Thank you for mentioning hospice, as did several other readers, although "bedridden" does not necessarily indicate that death is around the corner. Read on:
From Florida: Local nursing/rehab centers can give her a list of reliable home health aide providers. Her church may have available items that can be borrowed, such as a shower chair. Medicare pays for walkers and wheelchairs with a doctor's prescription. A hospital bed (another prescription) and large, waterproof pads will cut down on laundry. She also can look into local services that provide visiting nurses. She should put a baby monitor in Mom's room and nap when Mom does. She also should get a joint checking account, a will, durable power of attorney and health care surrogate papers and copies, and keep Mom's Social Security number, Medicare card, list of up-to-date prescriptions and all other information handy.
Oregon: I would like to add that she should purchase long-term care insurance if she can afford it. If something happens to me and I need care, whether a nursing home, assisted living facility or in-home care, this insurance will help. It is my gift to my children.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.