DEAR ABBY: My mother is suffering from an Alzheimer's-like dementia, and her personality has changed greatly. Mother has gone from being a conscientious and polite woman -- most of my high school friends called her "June Cleaver" -- to losing the checks and balances that prevent her from saying whatever comes to mind.
Specifically, my mother can be very unpredictable in restaurants. She has, several times, while the hostess has been walking up to the table, demanded in a loud voice that they "turn off the damn music!" No matter what we say to her, she does not understand that this behavior isn't acceptable. What can we say to people in a situation like this that doesn't denigrate my mother, but will help them understand the situation? -- TORN IN FRAMINGHAM, MASS.
DEAR TORN: I know this situation is painful, and you have my sympathy. You should quietly inform the host or hostess of the truth, that your mother was not always like this, but is suffering from dementia. That's not "denigrating." It is the truth. That way, they won't assume that your mother is rude and demanding; they will understand that she is not responsible for what she's saying.