09/12/2010DEAR ABBY: I work six days a week at a minimum-wage job. My boss is constantly finding reasons to hug or touch me. Last week he even tried to kiss me. I left work that night feeling violated and upset.
It's really hard to find jobs right now. I can't afford to quit or get fired. What do I do to get this man to leave me alone and still keep my job? Please help! -- GROSSED OUT IN TEXAS
DEAR GROSSED OUT: Tell the man you don't like what he's doing and to stop it. If he doesn't, be sure that every incident is documented, including date and time. If the company has a sexual harassment policy, you should follow it or go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or equivalent state agency office nearest you and file a claim. Your job will be protected during the investigation that will follow.
DEAR ABBY: My family and I recently spent time with my parents at their home in another state. After we returned, my 10-year-old son and his 14-year-old sister told me they don't like going to visit them. My mom loves us, but she is a negative and depressed person. She doesn't love Dad and doesn't bother to disguise that fact.
I mentioned this to a friend and she said I should tell my mother what my son said. She thinks it could make Mom "see the light" and change for the better. Considering my mother's depressed state, should I tell her? -- UNDECIDED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR UNDECIDED: Perhaps. But if you do, be diplomatic. You might begin by telling her you could see how "down" she was when you all came to visit, and that she could get so much more out of life if she sought professional help for her depression -- specifically some sessions with a licensed counselor. You could also mention that, while your father may not be her favorite person -- it would be better if it was not so obvious to the grandchildren, because they sensed the tension and mentioned it when they returned home.
If you broach the subject lovingly, she might listen and take steps to help herself. One thing is certain -- if you say nothing, nothing will change.
DEAR ABBY: I have been a social worker in two skilled nursing homes for the past six years. I often hear visitors approach patients with dementia and say, "Do you know who I am?" or "Do you know who this is?" It's like giving the person with dementia a test, one which the person will often fail. It would be more effective to approach the person and say, "It is so nice to see you. I am (whomever) and knew you (in whatever circumstances)."
Persons with dementia do not need to be reminded that they don't recall something. Most of them know it. Even relatives -- brothers, sisters, sons and daughters -- may need to introduce themselves to their loved ones. Rather than giving the person with dementia a test when you visit, set up the visit to succeed by making simple introductions.
Remember, people who have dementia can remember things that happened a long time ago, but they may not recall what happened in the last five minutes. Visitors should talk about the "good old days" and everyone will experience a good visit. -- P.B. IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR P.B.: Because increasing numbers of individuals are being diagnosed with dementia, I hope your suggestion will be taken to heart by my readers. In cases like this, the visitor should expect to be the one who guides the conversation. It's important to keep visits positive, loving and stress-free.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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