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Family Is Most Important

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Q. My husband and I are frustrated about our family's relationships during the holidays. For many years, we have hosted the holidays and been in charge of the details. We have done our best. We are a large family, and every year there has been a major blowup between one or two couples. Because of our aging and these disagreements, we know it is time for someone else to take over the families' togetherness. We would like to relieve ourselves of the stress and attend the parties without being responsible. Is that possible, and how can we do it?

A. Send out invitation cards that this will be your last year to be in charge of the family's celebrations. Your hope is that this will be the best year the family has ever experienced. Now that we are living longer, great-family relationships have and are changing rapidly. Great-grandparents, parents, siblings and stepfamilies face different challenges, which do not necessarily match each other's needs. Express your love, gratefulness and happiness that you enjoy as a family. This is also an appropriate time to express your thoughts that, despite differences that occur within all families, you hope that love and positive attitudes will continue to bond the family. We are all aware that perfection does not exist and that love, compromise, caring and committing to family is a legacy not to be discontinued!

Q. I am a widow in my 70, and my family and I know it is time for me to move closer to where they live.

I am in fairly good health and will need to find a new doctor. How can I do so?

A. It will be a joint effort by you and your family. Because of the confusion and unknowns about the status of our new health care costs and available options, it will take time for doctors and patients to sort out what is best for you. Here are some general questions to begin your search. Since you are not sure of the time of your move, I recommend you begin your doctor research as soon as possible.

Ask your existing doctor for a referral if he has one. Could it be possible you are now a patient group that has an affiliate where you will be moving to which you could transfer? Ask your family to ask their doctor if he/she is taking new patients. First, ask your current doctor if he can give you a referral to one where you are now living. If you have options, here is a short checklist to consider.

1. Discuss your current health issues and take your file with you. What is the status of your current health?

2. Do you prefer a male or female doctor?

3. If the doctor is certified, what is his specialty? They are more qualified to recommend treatment.

4. How physically close is the office?

5. In the event of an emergency who and how can you reach a substitute?

I hope these questions help you find a new doctor as you get settled in your new home!

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact him at deardoug@msn.com. Betty is an associate of Doug Mayberry, whom she helps with this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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