DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Norm," has become profoundly deaf. We can talk together in the quiet of our home as long as I sit right next to him and speak slowly. We use assisted-listening devices to communicate with each other in the car or at a restaurant.
Norm's hearing loss has affected us as a couple. We no longer have a social life. It's just too much work for anyone to communicate with us.
We are about to move to a retirement community where one meal a day is included in the dining room. I'm worried about how we will navigate the social aspects of eating with others.
Norm is well aware of this problem. He has proposed that he eat alone in our apartment while I go to the dining room and meet people, unencumbered by his impairment. Can you advise?
- Trapped in a Situation
DEAR TRAPPED: Before moving into the retirement community, make a point of discussing your husband's severe hearing impairment with the director, the nurse and/or their medical adviser because they need to be made aware of your husband's special needs in order to be able to accommodate him, if it's possible.
Advances are being made in this field every year, and it may help your husband be less isolated.
DEAR ABBY: My son took his own life last year. I am raising his small children because their mother is out of the picture.
How do I tell them how their daddy died?
- Grandma in the Midwest
DEAR GRANDMA: Tell them gradually when they start asking questions. If they ask why Daddy died, say he was very ill. When they want to know what the illness was, tell them he suffered from depression.
When they want more details, reveal them in an age-appropriate manner.