My elderly father who had a stroke refuses to stop driving


DEAR ABBY: My father, who is 84, has just had a mild stroke. The problem is that he wants to drive his car. My sister says we should let him, but I think he is no longer able to drive safely. She says we can’t legally prevent her from driving.

Dad has occasional dizziness and double vision, which started the day he had a stroke several weeks ago. He also lost a lot of weight and was told he needed to eat a heart-healthy diet and eat more. Dad has diabetes and high cholesterol. He’s also had memory issues lately, and not just age-related. He doesn’t remember details of doctor’s appointments, forgets to take his blood pressure several times a day, and doesn’t remember what he’s supposed to do for physical therapy.

I think we should take care of dad now and drive him wherever he needs to go. Personally, I don’t want him to endanger himself or others if he drives. Please advise. — CAUTION IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CAREFUL: It’s time to have a serious family discussion about how to handle this. Your father needs much more help than a chauffeur service. He needs someone to go with him to his doctor’s appointments and someone to supervise or administer his medications. He shouldn’t be driving a car, and I’m not even sure he should live alone. His doctor should be contacted to inform the DMV of your father’s medical condition. He may also need assisted living if it is financially feasible.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 40 and have been on a plant-based diet since high school. I am in great shape and my doctor is very satisfied with my state of health. For more than two decades, my friends and family have worn me down to the point where I lack kind answers when it comes to challenging what I put on my plate. Often people feel the need to mention at work or at a party that I’m vegan (I don’t know why), and the room immediately focuses on me. Then someone always asks me how I get my protein.

I usually try to keep the mood light, so I answer them. But I’m tired of being interrogated because more often than not it doesn’t stop. They want me to explain in detail why I eat what I eat (or don’t eat). They tell me they couldn’t be healthy or couldn’t give up the cheese. I’m stuck in the middle of a monologue that feels bullied and judged.

I don’t want to feel rushed, but I also want it to be light. How can I tell them I don’t want to discuss my eating habits without sounding rude? I don’t judge them and I want the same respect. — PROUD VEGAN IN OREGON

DEAR VEGAN: Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. If you manage to smile when you reply, “I came here to have a good time, not to discuss my diet. Let’s change the subject”, this could end the discussion. Continue with « What’s Everyone Watching on Netflix? »

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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