DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother had a health scare over the holidays, and it really freaked my siblings and me out. We weren't sure what was going to happen to her. At the same time, we know how private she is about things, so we didn't tell many people what happened. So far she is doing OK, but she is not 100 percent yet. Now I'm wondering if we should have told more people. Only one of us lives in the same town as my mom. If her friends knew about her health condition, it might make it easier on my sister to care for her. Do you think we should broaden her support group by filling them in on what happened? -- Seeking Support, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SEEKING SUPPORT: In a word -- no. Unless your mother gives you permission to share her personal health history with her friends, you should not do so. Since you are concerned, it is perfectly fine to discuss the matter with her to see what makes her comfortable and to get a sense of what kind of support she believes she needs. But I would start by talking to your sister about what she feels she can manage in caring for your mother. If possible, you and your siblings should speak to your mother's doctor to learn what the recommended course of action is for the family and other potential caregivers. With all of this information, you can make an informed decision -- with your mother's blessing -- about next steps.