Proper care of Mom should be primary concern

Dear Annie: My sister is the caregiver for my mother, who lives in Florida. I live in Illinois and call Mom every day. Mom kept falling down, and my sister, who has difficulty lifting, would have to call the police to help pick her up, so she finally put Mom in a nursing home. The problem is, she never told my brother or me.

We feel she is wrong to have done this. Our sister had Mom sign over power of attorney. When my brother and I went to Florida to contest it, we lost. Since it costs us a lot of money to travel to Florida, we are limited in how many times we can visit Mom. Our sister controls everything and won’t give us information about Mom’s medical condition or bank account or anything else. When we call to see how she’s doing, Sis hangs up on us. We discovered she had moved her family into Mom’s house and she refused to let us in the door. She said, “See my attorney.”

Sis has often said she can’t stand our mother, so I think she’s only after Mom’s money. I don’t think she cares about our mother at all. What can we do? Illinois Daughter

Dear Illinois: We know you are concerned, but your sister has been the primary caregiver for your mother for many years and your distance may have kept you from understanding some of her decisions. Instead of being sympathetic, you felt marginalized and became antagonistic, and your sister responded by being autocratic and inaccessible. Since Mom is in a nursing home, we assume you have checked it out and she is receiving good care. If your sister has taken over Mom’s house and bank account with permission, consider it her “reward.” If you think she is stealing money that Mom needs for her care, you should notify the National Center on Elder Abuse ( at (800) 677-1116.

Dear Annie: I have my hair done by the owner of a beautiful salon, who, by the way, charges more than the other operators. I feel a little embarrassed tipping her and so, a few times a year, I send her a nice plant. This is also the case with my manicurist who owns her salon and is a personal friend.

I have seen others tipping my hair stylist and manicurist on occasion and am wondering what is the right thing to do. Sue

Dear Sue: The owner of your (or any) salon is usually not tipped because there is an assumption that she charges more than the other stylists or manicurists and also receives a percentage of their earnings. Yes, she has more costs, but her fees should compensate for that and patrons should be willing to pay more for her services. You are handling it properly. That said, however, many patrons tip the owners anyway, and many owners like it. The choice is yours.

Dear Annie: I feel compelled to respond to the letter from “Pensacola, Fla.,” who wanted to take his wife on a trip for their 25th anniversary, but she preferred to use the money for their son’s car insurance.

There will always be bills to pay, but there’s only one silver anniversary to celebrate. Five years ago, my husband and I, after much scrimping and saving, celebrated ours with a long-anticipated trip to the Caribbean. It was the best vacation of our lives. Shortly after our return, my husband went to the doctor for back pain that seemed to be getting worse. He was diagnosed with cancer. We were able to look at each other and say, “If the worst happens, we have no regrets.” Within six months, he was dead.

Marriage is the foundation for your children. Putting one another first is the way it is supposed to be. I was blessed to have this man in my life for as long as God allowed, and have many happy memories. I hope “Pensacola” and his wife reconsider. You never know what’s around the corner. Ohio Widow

Dear Ohio: Those special vacations can create loving memories. Our heartfelt condolences on your loss.

Creators Syndicate