Q: My parents were married for more than 50 years, and now mom is gone. Dad insists on living alone but seems unable to manage his household. I’m sure this is common but wonder whether there is a way to plan for living alone? A:
It is fairly common. Women generally find they know too little about their finances, and men are not sure about how to perform many household chores.
After many years together, couples work like a single unit, and with both participating, the household runs smoothly. No thought goes to which chores each performs until that chore doesn’t get done.
The little things make the big difference. Learn how to cook enough to survive, do the laundry and run the vacuum. Learn how to pay the bills, balance the checkbook and understand finances.
Even if the need to do these chores never arises, think how much you will appreciate what your spouse contributes to your household. This might just be the nicest Christmas present to give each other.
Q: I have a friend who is legally blind, and I do not know how to act around him, what sort of help to offer or what to say. Any suggestions?
A: I have a friend who is legally blind, and I asked her how she would answer your question. This is her response:
People’s concept of blindness has become an issue in my life. The most annoying comment is, “But you don’t look blind.” That makes me ask: What does blind look like? Is it wearing dark glasses, carrying a cane or perhaps stumbling around?
It could be all, some or none of the above.
My friends also ask, “What can you see?” It’s hard to describe. I can see a large object standing in front of me but not a stain on the front of my blouse. I have problems with colors, so if my purple socks don’t match my pants, it is because I was sure they were black when I chose them.
Believe it or not, I can see a car speeding toward me when I cross the street, but I can’t read the street sign.
My friends ask what they can do for me. The greatest loss is driving ability, and offering a ride is probably the easiest way to help a friend.
I would appreciate friends who called to tell me they were going to the shopping center and asked whether I would like to go. It is a downer when they call after returning home from an outing to tell me where they were and what they did.
Do not ask whether I have read the latest bit of gossip in the local paper. Save the article and read it to me. I have reading aids but cannot read without magnification.
When taking me out in the car, don’t grab, push, pull or help me into or out of the car. I don’t see well, but there is nothing wrong with my legs, feet or hands.
I have trouble reading restaurant menus. If someone does not offer to read the menu to me, I order the most exotic thing I can imagine. This, of course, results in people suggesting or telling me what is on the menu.
When shopping, I cannot read price tags or size tags, and colors also present a problem. Grocery shopping is difficult. I rely mostly on label recognition for my purchases. This sometimes leads to gastronomical discoveries.
I cannot see my face in the mirror, and that keeps me forever young. I also cannot see my friends clearly, so they never age or put on weight.
The moon never looks full to me: There is always a piece missing. Flowers are no longer perfect, but I remember their beauty. A hummingbird catches the corner of my eye, and it still reminds me what perfect little creatures they are.
I remember the faces of those I love and am fortunate I see enough to remind me to remember.
Treat me as the friend I always was and be my eyes.
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