Elderly dad let himself go

DEAR ABBY: My father is 80. In his prime, he was a businessman with lots of contacts. Most of his friends and siblings are gone. He doesn't take care of himself. His hair is unkempt, he goes weeks without shaving, his pants sag, and, worst of all, his fingernails are full of dirt. He doesn't get out much, so I'm not sure it's important to him.

My main concern is how to handle this with the funeral home when he dies. Is this something they would clean? I can't imagine putting anyone through that. It would also not reflect who he really is.

I have never been comfortable confronting Dad about his appearance as he is sure to be hurt. I would appreciate your thoughts. - CAN'T CONFRONT DAD

IN INDIANA

DEAR CAN'T CONFRONT: Is your father in good physical health? If he is, could he be depressed or becoming demented? Those could be reasons he has let his appearance go. From your description, your dad appears to have become very isolated. Perhaps if you encouraged him to join a senior group, he'd be more inclined to fix himself up and visit a barber. But I digress.

If your sole concern is how your father will look in his casket, it will be alleviated when you talk about it with the funeral director. Making sure a body is clean and presentable is standard procedure.

Wants to talk after therapy sessions

DEAR ABBY: I met a man with whom I get along well. He is a physical therapist. We talk and joke during my therapy sessions. He makes them seem more like fun than work.

I think we could be friends if given the chance. When I have finished my therapy at the practice, would it be OK to ask if we could keep in touch? If so, how does one approach this?

He's married, but I'm not looking for a romantic relationship. I would just enjoy being able to talk with him occasionally.

- ON THE MEND IN GEORGIA

DEAR ON THE MEND: When your therapy is completed, tell him you enjoyed the sessions and how enjoyable conversing with him was. Then ask if you can talk occasionally because he has many of the qualities you would like in a friend. You have nothing to lose by asking.