Dear Annie: I am a 20-year-old college student and live at home during the summer with my mom and stepdad.
The problem is, my stepdad makes me uncomfortable. He is a porn addict. He leaves girlie magazines all over the house and downloads porn on our home computer. As if that isn’t awkward enough, he is always looking at my body. He also checks out my sisters. It is so unnerving that I refuse to wear shorts around him.
I can’t go a day without worrying that he is ogling me. What can I do?
-- Not So Home Sweet Home
Dear Not: What a charming father figure you have. Is your mother aware that her husband checks you out and makes you uncomfortable? She should know.
In the meantime, spend as little time around him as possible. Don’t sunbathe in the backyard. Go to a friend’s house or to the local pool or beach. If you catch him staring at your body, confront him directly and tell him to stop. Also, talk to your sisters about his behavior and make sure they are OK. Don’t be afraid to speak up on their behalf.
Dear Annie: My grandma is 84 years old and still able to live independently. I spent time in her home a few years ago and discovered that she no longer showers because she is afraid of slipping. It also is too hard for her to step over the lip of the bathtub. Instead, she cleans herself with a rag and soap.
Grandma has a distinct body odor that is getting progressively worse, and it’s hard to be close to her. I think she’d want to know this, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. Is there any way to politely tell her?
-- Trying To Get Granny To Shower
Dear Trying: There are kind ways to tell her. Grandma likely doesn’t notice her body odor. You need to let her know, nicely, that she needs to be more thorough.
You can offer to help her shower; you can contact the Visiting Nurse Association or hire a nurse’s aide to come regularly; you can discuss the possibility of remodeling her bathroom to make it more accessible; you can look into a transfer bench that lifts her into the tub area; you can bring her to your place if it has a shower stall or even to your local health club.
Also, please check to be sure her laundry is getting done. (Offer to do it for her.)
Finally, your family might want to discuss with Grandma the possibility of moving into a senior facility that is set up to alleviate such limitations.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Depressed in Hiding,” the 16-year-old girl who is depressed and anxious and has resorted to self-harm. She is afraid to tell her parents because she believes they will hate her.
My heart goes out to her. I, too, have battled depression and was afraid to seek help. It’s too easy to feel that no one will understand and they might even be angry. But the truth is, admitting you need help is one of the most powerful things a person can do and is the first step in getting better. People DO understand.
If she is having suicidal thoughts, I strongly suggest she ask her parents to bring her to the local emergency room, where she could be seen by someone right away. Sweetie, you are not alone!
-- Sherry in Montreal
Dear Sherry: We appreciate that so many of our readers wrote to support this young woman and offer words of encouragement.
To all of our Muslim readers: Happy Eid.
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