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Friend's Physical Decline Is Hard for Couple to Watch

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been dining out with another couple about twice a month. We have not been able to entertain them at our home because it is not easily accessible and the man is in a wheelchair. Over the past several months his health has declined. His mind is sharp, but his body is weakening.

The last time we met them for dinner, we couldn't understand what he was saying, so his wife "interpreted." Also, when he tries to eat, the food falls out of his mouth onto a bib and from there to the floor.

Abby, we just don't know what to do. We really like this couple, but it is nauseating to watch him eat with food falling out of his mouth. Plus, the other patrons at the restaurants are starting to stare. We look forward to your advice. -- PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO STARE

DEAR PEOPLE: If this couple ever needed understanding friends, it's now. Because you are embarrassed to be seen with them in a restaurant, consider bringing a take-out meal to their home. Granted, watching your friend struggle is painful. But if he's going downhill as rapidly as you say, he needs your support more than ever, and so does his wife. And when he's gone, you'll know you did the right thing.

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