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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Struggles With Sentence of Silence While Dad's in Jail

DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from the director of the Elder Health Program at the University of Maryland. She advised people to take responsibility for their own health care.

I work in a doctor's office, and you would be amazed at the number of people who call in for refills on their medicines and don't even know the names of them. They ask for "blood pressure pills," or "the little yellow ones." Granted, we have their medications recorded on their charts, but that won't help them if they're in an accident and unable to speak.

Everyone who takes medication, elderly and young alike, should write down the names and dosages on a piece of paper and keep it in their wallets. And every time the doctor changes the dosage or adds a new medication, the patient should make note of it on the paper he or she carries. Also write down any allergies on the same paper.

Help us health givers keep you healthy. -- JUDY G., ORMAND BEACH, FLA.