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DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m worried about my friend’s mother. My friend is turning a blind eye as her mother completely neglects her own health. She’s diabetic, yet I watch her continually make poor food decisions. I don’t understand why my friend lets it happen. My friend will even bring the unhealthy food into the house. Is there anything I can do? Sometimes I want to scream at them and ask if they can see what they are doing to her dear mother. It’s painful to watch. — Enabler Friend
DEAR ENABLER FRIEND: Diabetes is an insidious disease, and many diabetics struggle to adhere to a healthy diet, even when the consequences can be dire. Rather than judging your friend or her mother, ask how you can be of support. Talk to your friend about it.
When you go to visit, bring healthy snacks, like fresh fruit and sparkling water. Introduce healthy choices to them both. They may take a fancy to them over time. Offer to cook a meal for them sometimes. Make it a healthy feast that is tasty without being high in unhealthy fats and sugars. For ideas on a healthy diet for diabetics, go to: cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/meal-plan-method.html.
Resist the inclination to judge or nag. That won’t help the matter at all. Invite them to go for a long walk with you or participate in a different type of exercise. Gently encourage them to eat healthier and keep moving. But know that you cannot force them to do anything.
For more ideas on how to support your friend and her mother, go to: bit.ly/3Fm4yZC.
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my closest friends is having a big birthday, and when I spoke to him recently, he was unclear as to whether or not anyone was going to celebrate with him. He is getting older, but I know he has plenty of friends. I can’t organize a party all by myself, but I can ask around and try to pull something together. I know a few of his friends. How should I start? Or is it presumptuous of me to want to plan a party for him? — Party Time
DEAR PARTY TIME: Start with your friend. Ask him what he would like to do for his birthday and with whom he would like to celebrate. Manage expectations by letting him know you are doing some research and will report back. Then contact the friends that you know and ask them if they would like to participate in planning and executing a celebration for him. As the de facto organizer, you will need to keep records of the plans and assign people duties to ensure that whatever you agree to do actually manifests. Don’t attempt to do anything too big. Create an event that is manageable in size and budget. Identify a venue, date and time, and figure out how to reach the people you plan to include. Run everything by your friend. Now is not the time for surprises! Create a simple, loving activity that acknowledges your friend’s life. He will be forever grateful.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.