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.