Our expert says:
When I was younger, I remember my parents often used a term I haven't herd for years : they'd speak of someone entering or being "in his second childhood". This seemed usually to refer to men, for some reason. At a more advanced age one would more readily think of the possibility of an early dementia. But actually we all decline a bit in our comprehensive mental capacities as we grow older, and often grow less tolerant of our own failings. Indeed some folks show, as you seem to be describing, what seems to be a most alarmed reaction to events that suggest they are not as able or effective as they once were. And though it usually feels to their companion as though they are simply cross with you, it's actually more about being very cross with themselves.
And they can get trapped in their own response : having stormed off, slamming the door, and shut yourself away : it's hard to find a dignified way to come out again ! Let alone to apologise and try to put things right. This is where a tactful companion, even though thy may have actually been in the right, may need to be the bigger person, and try to devise a return to normal, without emphasizing the original spat.
And in the example you quote, it can be helpful to choose a time when the matter is not in contention, and as part of a friendly chat, perhaps mentioning that you also find computers can be confusing at times, ask what aspects of backing up copies of stuff onto a memory stick he finds the most puzzling. Maybe this could help find ways to make it easier for him to do it for himself.
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