Dear Amy: One of my best friends just moved to a senior housing community after her husband died. She is 78 and in pretty good health.
Her daughter decided that she should give up her car since where she is living, she could just take Uber or a cab.
The place where she lives also has a van that takes people shopping, etc.
I think the daughter did this for her (the daughter’s) own peace of mind, since my friend drove all of her life for her business and has only had one small accident over the years.
My friend feels very uncomfortable taking a cab or Uber. I’m sure her daughter doesn’t realize this.
I don’t want to get in the middle of a family decision, but I think her daughter has made a big mistake to handicap her mother in this way.
My friend is now depending on others to take her places. She does take a cab once in a while.
By the way, money is not an issue.
Should I talk to her daughter?
— Concerned Friend
Dear Friend: I assume that your friend still has her driver’s license. If you are local, and available, you could guarantee her specific days and times when the two of you could go on outings. If you believe she is a safe driver, then let her drive.
Cabs and Uber or Lyft rides are great — and using the auto-billing is very helpful and handy, but these options may take some getting used to. You could accompany your friend on a few of these trips to show her how easy it is to use the app on her phone.
Many riders develop relationships with specific drivers and can make arrangements to be ferried around on an appointment basis (I do this myself with a couple of favorite drivers in different cities who have shared their contact information with me).
Your friend has changed her residence and surrendered her own car, but this doesn’t mean she has completely surrendered her life and choices to her daughter. Discuss all of this with her, offering up whatever safe options you see. Ask her first if she would like you to discuss any of this with her daughter, but otherwise, she still has the right to make her own choices.
Dear Amy: I have three grandchildren from two sons. Two of them have always lived many miles from me.
The thing that bothers me most about the “distant two” is that they never respond to my emails or texts, and never acknowledge receiving gifts/money in birthday cards.
One is a junior in high school, the other in seventh grade.
Of course, I realize their parents (divorced) are as negligent as they are, but at this age, I feel they bear responsibility, too.
So, the junior that I have not heard a word from for over a year just sent me a GoFundMe email to donate to a school activity! I want to do the right thing but am not feeling all that generous right now.
These two have been badly spoiled by the divorced parents and the maternal grandparents, and I see a sense of entitlement that I do not want to perpetuate.
How should I respond?
— Vexed Gran
Dear Vexed: These distant grandchildren have not been taught to be polite. They don’t seem to have any relationship with you outside of your gift-giving, and it sounds as if you have tried, mightily, to get to know them.
This GoFundMe request is an opportunity for connection. You could respond and say, “Hi, I received your request. This sounds pretty cool, but could you tell me more about it? And how are you, by the way?”
If you receive no response, then no, you should not donate. In my view, you should keep up your gift-giving (if you are able) until they are 18 and then stop. Your communications with them should be mature and tolerant. You should not scold them for not being in touch, but you should be honest and convey, “It’s very challenging to try to stay connected with you when we only have a one-way communication. I’m doing my best. It would be great for me if you would get in touch occasionally, too.”
Dear Amy: Regarding “Crystalized,” who set her table with expensive glassware … there is an old phrase: “If you can’t afford to lose it, you can’t afford to use it.”
— Not Broken
Dear Not Broken: I love it.