Words of Praise

“I had the opportunity to read your book and loved it. This is a book I would be happy to give my clients, as I believe it would assist them in understanding the process. This is a wonderful book!”

- Christina Stone, JD
Attorney, certified specialist estate planning, trust and probate law
La Habra, CA

About the Book


Chapter 1: Great Uncle Pat

Chapter 2: Grandmother
Chapter 5: Scammers and Shysters alert
Chapter 8: Barbara, The Good Daughter
Chapter 11: Choosing a Medi-Cal Advisor


Barbara, the Good Daughter
Caring for the Caregiver

I love my job. I love my parents. I love my husband. Barbara is a slender woman with long, elegant arms and graceful hands. Barbara is the good daughter, the reliable child who assumes caretaking responsibilities because her two brothers will not. We are seated at a round table with stacks of her parents papers arrayed before her. She extends her arms and begins touching each pile of paper in rapid succession. But this is what I feel like I am doing, she says: I am just so busy trying to do everything.

She confesses that John, her husband, recently vented his frustration. I have a great husband. He cooks for us, has dinner ready when I come home. But the other day, taking care of my parents got to him. She tells of her husband confronting her needy father. He told my Dad You know, the world doesnt revolve around you. My Dad got all huffy. John was taking him to the doctor. John told my Dad I love you, Dad, thats why Im telling you this. But you only think about yourself. You dont think about how your demands to drive you here and there and do this and that affect other people.

Her father was miffed at John. He pouted for several days. Yet the relationship between the two men improved. Barbara observed: Coming from a non-blood relative, my father was better able to handle it.

Setting boundaries. As aging parents lose capabilities they become more willing to accept assistance from their children. They concede responsibilities because of their diminishing faculties; the children become parents to their parents. Yet the changeover seldom goes smoothly. Dad and Mom request help yet protest the loss of control. Emotions eddy and swirl as responsible children step forward to support parents who vacillate between appreciation and resentment.

With occasional help from her two brothers, Barbara and her husband provide almost daily assistance to her parents. John typically prepares enough food to feed both families. Barbara manages her parents checking accounts. As evidenced by her solo visit to our office, she seeks professional guidance to assist her aging parents.

She does the work willingly, but her resentment is rising; towards her brothers, her parents, her responsibilities at work. When she views her feelings objectively, she realizes she misses having free time. We dont fellowship at our church like we used to, she confides: And I just dont have time to exercise regularly.

Her parents have encouraged her to pay herself out of their funds for the work she does for them. But Barbara is apprehensive about taking any of her parents money. Occasionally she accepts cash for gas money. However, her desire not to take advantage of her position keeps her from accepting more.

When asked about vacations or get-away weekends for she and John, Barbara laughs wearily and states: We dont take vacations.

Well, maybe they should take vacations. A system could be established where Dad or Mom writes a check each month for $200 that goes into The Barbara and John Get-Away Weekend Fund. Barbaras eyes light up. Wow, a weekend away, she says dreamily. Then she confides that $200 per month was the exact amount her parents had suggested paying her.

Bingo. A compromise solution has been identified that minimizes the payment-for-work aspect and maximizes fun-and-gracious-appreciation element. Two hundred dollars per month would not come close to compensating Barbara and John for the assistance they provide. However, such appreciation payments would go a long ways towards reducing their resentment and also give her parents opportunity to express their appreciation.

Her intimate exposure to the need for extra income for long-term care services has made Barbara aware of the need to plan for she and her husband. She has begun investigating long-term care insurance.

Another Excerpt...Chapter One


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