Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Brother Feeling Depressed After Accident

DEAR HARRIETTE: My older brother got hit by a bus a couple of months ago, and he is now paralyzed from his waist down. The doctors say there is a possibility that he can regain motion in his legs and possibly walk in time, which is great news. It’s been hard to see him go through this; he has been depressed and negative, which is understandable. He used to be such a positive, happy person, and I want to get him back to that place, regardless of his current situation. How can I make him see that the more positive he is, the more likely he is to heal? -- Helping My Brother, Denver

DEAR HELPING MY BROTHER: As difficult as your brother’s injury is, the blessing remains that he is alive and that he may be able to walk again. This is something you can remind him of, especially when he is feeling down.

It is natural for your brother to feel a range of emotions now. The five stages of grief are often part of the healing process for someone with a spinal cord injury. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is too soon for your brother to have worked through each stage. If you can get him psychological support, that should help guide him through his emotions as he also gets help with strengthening his physical body. To get support, visit christopherreeve.org/get-support.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have recently signed up for a dating app, but I’m embarrassed about it. I’ve always wanted to meet someone spontaneously on the street or at a party -- never through an app. It’s hard for older women to find someone to date. I’m a bit uncomfortable with the whole idea, but my friends who are around my age -- mid-50s -- have been on it and told me I should give it a try. Do you think it’s worth a shot? -- Single Girl of a Certain Age, Seattle

DEAR SINGLE GIRL OF A CERTAIN AGE: Go for it! Many people meet potential dates through apps these days. I get that it seems impersonal, but you can definitely meet someone.

Be clear that you must vet the people with whom you match. Start by asking for referrals for dating apps that your friends have liked. Once you sign up, review the matches suggested to you carefully. Ask questions of any potential suitors to get a better sense of who they are. When you do go on a date, choose a public area where you will feel safe, but one that is quiet enough for you to hear yourselves talk.

Conversely, you can also expand your activity base. Choose to put yourself out there by participating in classes and other activities in your city that interest you and that attract people who share your interests. Many people meet at these occasions as well. I know a 70-year-old woman who just found a fascinating suitor because she decided to stop staying home and go out to explore the world. You can, too!

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)