DEAR ABBY: My father is 80. In his prime he was a businessman with lots of contacts. Most of his friends and siblings are gone now. He doesn't take good care of himself. His hair is unkempt, he goes weeks without shaving, his pants sag, and worst of all, his fingernails are full of dirt. He doesn't get out much, so I'm not sure it's important to him.
My main concern is how to handle this with the funeral home when he dies. Is this something they would clean? I can't imagine putting anyone through that. It would also not reflect who he really is.
I have never been comfortable confronting Dad about his appearance as he is sure to have his feelings hurt. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. -- CAN'T CONFRONT DAD IN INDIANA
DEAR CAN'T CONFRONT: Is your father in good physical health? If he is, could he be depressed or becoming demented? Those could be reasons why he has let his appearance go. From your description, your dad appears to have become very isolated. Perhaps if you encouraged him to join a senior group, he'd be more inclined to fix himself up and visit a barber. But I digress.
If your sole concern is how your father will look in his casket, your concerns will be alleviated when you talk about it with the director of the funeral home you plan to use. Making sure a body is clean and presentable is standard procedure.