Dear Annie: My daughter and her husband are using a surrogate to have a baby. What do I do about a shower when someone else is carrying their child?
It is my daughter's first child, and she and her husband are in their late 40s. Should I make the shower for them as a couple? Does she not get a shower because someone else is actually pregnant with the child? I have no idea what is proper here. Please help. -- Grandma-To-Be
Dear Grandma: It doesn't matter who is carrying the child. Any new mother -- and your daughter will be one -- is entitled to a baby shower if someone wants to host one. Of course, it is better if the shower is given by friends and not immediate family, but these days few people pay attention to those rules. Couples showers have become more popular, since both Mom and Dad (presumably) are raising this child. Whether you do that or not is entirely your choice. Congratulations.
Dear Annie: I would like to know why frail, elderly people get to "choose to stay in their home" while the rest of the family runs in circles trying to meet their needs. This is like asking a 2-year-old whether he wants to eat broccoli.
My husband and I were stressed out and exhausted trying to care for our parents because they wouldn't leave their home. We all work full-time, so we took turns making sure they were OK in their old house. No one could get a night's rest, because the folks were up and down all night opening doors, turning on lights and once, even using the oven and going outside.
People are living longer, and when severe physical frailty or dementia sets in, the family suffers. Not only is there the stress of caregiving, but also there is resentment that they refuse to be more helpful and cooperative about their living arrangements. I think some of this stress can lead to elder abuse.
Why can't family and social workers sign these folks up for assisted living? I understand personal freedom, but where is the freedom for the rest of the family? -- Still Stressed Out
Dear Stressed: Seniors who are still capable of making sound decisions should look into continuing care facilities that allow them to live independently until they are no longer able to do so, and then will transfer them to assisted living or nursing home care. These are not always pleasant choices to contemplate, but the alternative often turns out to be misery for everyone. And once a parent has dementia, it becomes both difficult and debilitating to remove them from familiar surroundings.
Those who are adamant about remaining in their own homes should check out whether it is safe. Most people do not remain in perfect health and then suddenly drop dead. Does your home have stairs? Safety bars in the bathroom? Will you someday need to pay for a caregiver? If you become widowed, will the loneliness cause you to decline? At some point, each of us must decide whether staying in our home is truly the best decision, and how fair we are being to our loved ones.
Dear Annie: Getting It off My Chest moved out of state and is upset about relatives not visiting them. Here's the other side of the story.
Our family members also moved away. They expect us to travel because we are retired and they are working. By the time we visit four different states, we can't afford trips to any other locations.
Maybe Getting should look at how selfish they are. Their area may be beautiful, but how many times can we see it before it becomes boring? No one owes them a visit just because they didn't like cold winters or sticky summers. -- Burned Out Travelers
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.