DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently noticed that my 90-year-old mother eats a lot of sweets. Specifically, she eats dessert every single day. She has even been asking my niece to buy cookies for her on a regular basis. This made me a little nervous. Diabetes runs in my family. Though she doesn’t have it, I feel like eating sweets every day can’t be good for her body.
My sister, who is the one primarily in charge of making sure my mother is OK and who lives nearby, told me to lay off. She said my mother’s doctor said she can eat whatever she wants. She is not diabetic. She is not overweight, and she is 90. She has earned the privilege of eating what she wants. Should I stop harping on this? I don’t live in the same town, so I don’t know everything that’s going on, but I also don’t want my mother to get sick in her old age. -- Hawkish, Boston
DEAR HAWKISH: Since you do not live in your mother’s town, you really do not know what’s happening on a daily basis. You need to trust your sister. You can absolutely ask her to give you updates on your mother’s health. Speak directly to her about your concerns about diabetes. The reality, though, is that your mother has lived for 90 years. If she is in relatively good health, this is a huge blessing. Don’t make the mistake of inserting yourself in her health management where it isn’t necessary. Daily dessert as part of a balanced diet may be just fine. Excess sugar and salt are things to worry about.