Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Is it wrong to drop off a 1- and a 5-year-old at a senior assisted-living center for their great-grandmother to baby-sit in her room? My niece does this weekly, claiming she's giving my mother "quality time" with her great-grandchildren.

My mother is in the assisted-living center due to issues my dad is encountering. She's very independent and, of course, wants to help any of her family whenever she can. But Mom has an autoimmune disease that flares up with stress or when she gets tired. I'm concerned about her health and feel my niece is taking advantage of her. Of course, my sister sides with her daughter. They have told me to butt out.

I don't want to confront the management of the facility because I want Mom to feel as independent as possible there. I don't want them to not allow her to do something she really wants to do. I have safety concerns, though, and feel this is not right. What do you think? -- TORN IN TEXAS

DEAR TORN: I'm not sure what your safety concerns are, but if you think the assisted-living center could be legally liable, you should address them to the manager.

As to the baby-sitting being too stressful or tiring for your mother, leave it up to her to decide if it's too much. Some seniors find that feeling needed keeps them young. The way to gauge any negative impact on your mother's health would be if it causes a flare-up of her condition -- at which point her doctor should be notified so he/she can put a stop to it.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety

DEAR ABBY: Are parents of the bride required to foot the cost of the wedding (averaging over $25,000 in the U.S. nowadays) anymore? I understand they were years ago, when it was a part of her dowry, but in modern times I have heard of such a thing only in your column -- unless the family is rich and Daddy pays for everything.

I can't imagine asking my parents to pay for my wedding. My fiance and I are aiming for -- dress included -- $1,000 or less. Are parents actually expected to spend thousands on their daughter's wedding? It's their daughter and son-in-law who want it. -- JUST ASKING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

DEAR JUST ASKING: No. A wedding is a gift, and while it would be generous for the parents to pitch in, there is no requirement that they do so.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations

It's Election Day


The question now that really vexes

Is where we're gonna place our "X"es.

Voting, folks, should not upset ya --

Be glad we're livin' where they let ya.


Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)