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Dear Abby: Family visiting for graduation brings grandma with dementia

Dear Abby: My ex-husband is coming to celebrate our daughter’s graduation. He is bringing along his parents. I’m happy they are coming to show love and support for our daughter; however, his mother has dementia.

She’s difficult to deal with now, and my ex doesn’t manage the situation well. They take her to restaurants and hotels and allow very uncomfortable scenes to play out – like sending food back (every single time) or allowing her to accuse the housekeeping staff of thievery. Rather than rationally deal with the problem themselves, they put the staff in a very awkward position.

The poor woman has a mental condition. I have figured out techniques to deal with her. I am going to cook some meals for them while they are here, but based on my work schedule, that’s all I can do. Should I call ahead to the hotel and restaurants to warn them of the impending storm?

– Hurricane Insanity

Dear H.I.: When someone has dementia, there comes a point where they should be kept in familiar surroundings to avoid situations in which the person can become agitated. This may be what’s happening with your ex-mother-in-law when she finds herself in an environment she’s not used to.

The Alzheimer’s Association hosts support groups for caregivers and for families with loved ones who have dementia. Your ex might benefit by reaching out, preferably before he and his mother make the trip. He can contact the association at www.alz.org or by calling the 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Dear Abby: In 2009, before I was deployed to Kuwait, I was in a short relationship with “Donna.” Because I didn’t want her to worry about me while I was gone, I ended it and broke her heart. When I came home, Donna had moved away, and I lost her phone number when my old phone broke. Since then, I have not been in any relationships, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about and miss her and the inside jokes we had together.

I know Donna’s sister still lives here. Should I go and ask her about Donna, and how she’s doing and where she is now, and whether she’ll contact her for me? Or should I just keep trying to get over her? – Regretting It In The West

Dear Regretting: What are you waiting for? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. By all means, talk to Donna’s sister.