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My sister is spending all of dad’s money

on herself….

I can't tell you how many conversations over the years I have had that started with this or some similar statement. I have learned to keep asking questions to drill down to what is going on before making any suggestions on what to do.

While it is true that sometimes a family member is taking dad's money and spending it inappropriately, they are often spending dad's money, but only on his care or his needs.

It is expensive to care for aging parents.

There are doctor's appointments that require co-pays, medicines that are not fully covered, special needs like adult diapers, walkers, wheelchairs, and special foods that are part of the care requirements. Items like these are often not covered by insurance and must be paid for out of pocket and should come from dad's money.

Misunderstandings and wrong assumptions such as these lead to families arguing, not communicating at all, and ultimately spending years with little or no contact.

Here is the thing, though. Arguments like these are often settled through transparency; let your siblings see how you spend the money by providing receipts, billing statements, and other documentation. Tell them when a big-ticket item needs to be purchased so they feel they are a part of the process and are not surprised when the bank account is depleted.

However, there are those times when transparency isn't enough, and the communication has deteriorated to just arguments or no communication at all.

And that is when you need me.

I can sit down with you and your family to understand the problems and expectations and then come up with a solution. Often just sitting and having a conversation while someone neutral facilitates is all that is necessary to find a way to open the lines of communication.

My goal is to preserve unity in families. Having taken care of each of my parents and ultimately losing them both, I needed to be able to lean on my siblings. I still needed to feel like I had a family. I know how important that was to me, and I want that experience for all families struggling with loss. When mom or dad are sick or have died, it is crucial to have the living family members by your side. They uniquely understand your grief, they share your memories, and they can help you make new family memories.

It breaks my heart to see family relationships destroyed, and it is my hope and goal to be a part of putting back together what seems hopelessly broken.

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