Dear Heloise: Caring long term for elderly family members or friends can become emotionally and physically draining. If you have friends or family members who are caregivers, lend an occasional hand.

Here are some ideas for helping:

* Fix supper for the caregiver and/or the patient.

* Invite the caregiver to your home for supper, telling the person to “come as you are.” Require him or her to bring nothing, and don’t permit your guest to help with cleanup.

-- Kim in Mount Gilead, Ohio

It’s amazing how a small gesture can make such a big difference! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’m having mixed company coming over tonight. I am a man, and I don’t entertain too often. My question is about the bathroom: How do I set the toilet? Lid up? Lid down? Seat up? Seat down? Both up or both down? Help! -- Gary L., via e-mail

Oh, my — this question again! Why not make it the same for all? Put the seat and lid in the DOWN position. Make sure the restroom is stocked with extra toilet tissue, facial tissue, hand soap and hand towels. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Bonnie M. in Fort Wayne, Ind., sent a picture of her gorgeous Lab and shepherd mix dog, Martha Washington. Martha is a photographer’s assistant, and she is pictured behind a camera on a tripod. She seems to be saying, “Say ‘Cheese!’” To see Martha and our other Pet Pals, go to and click on “Pets” on the left side of the home page. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: As my camera’s photo memory cards keep accumulating, I was looking for a way to organize them. I was about to purchase a ‘memory card holder’ for about $10 when I realized that it was basically the same as a plastic weekly pill holder that I can buy at the dollar store. Mission accomplished, for one-tenth the price. -- Michelle in Florida


Dear Heloise: I faithfully read your column in my Englewood (Fla.) Sun newspaper. My hint is this: When washing dishes by hand, I always put my knives on the right side of the sink with points facing away from me so I won’t get cut picking them up. -- Linda Z., Rotonda West, Fla.


Dear Heloise: I enjoy working the puzzles in the newspaper. I bought a small dry-erase board to work them out on, and since the marker has a magnet/ eraser cap, it’s always with the board. Saves paper, and it is compact. You also could use the board to help children work out homework (e.g., math). -- Pati, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: Just a quick hint about all those various brushes (bottle brushes, toothbrushes for small areas) that we use for cleaning in and around the house. They really benefit from a trip through the dishwasher so they are ready for their next task. The toilet brush is excluded, though! -- Mary, via e-mail

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate