Los Angeles Times

Fair share in mom’s care

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: I am the oldest of four siblings — 10 years older than my next sibling.

My wife and I are in our mid-70s. We are retired and live on Social Security, her modest teacher’s pension and a six-figure nest egg.

Two of my siblings have large incomes and considerab­le real estate holdings. The other brother and his wife have profession­al jobs.

All the grandchild­ren in the family are now adults and on their own.

The controvers­y involves my 100-year-old mother, who lives in the East near my siblings in an expensive care facility. We live in another part of the country.

My siblings insist that we share the cost in equal measure. We have offered to care for my mother in our home at no cost to them, but they have rejected the offer.

I believe contributi­ons should be based on individual circumstan­ces and ability to pay. The disagreeme­nt has caused a rift among us. Is there a solution?

Stuck in Stalemate

Dear Stuck: Moving your 100-year-old mother to another part of the country does not seem like a viable option for anyone, especially her. If she is happy and doing well where she is, she should stay there.

I agree with you that siblings should contribute to an elder’s care according to their circumstan­ces and ability to pay. When your siblings chose to move your mother into this expensive home, you should’ve made it clear at the outset that this was unaffordab­le for you.

Given your older age and more modest assets, you need to be careful with your own spending. Your younger siblings may not quite grasp how for many people retirement brings on an extreme drop in income, along with possibly higher expenses.

This is a “you can’t get blood from a stone” situation, but you should offer to be of service to your mother in order to share the burden with your siblings. You could offer to come to the area to be with her when your siblings need to be away.

Dear Amy: I’ve known “Stacy” for 10 years.

Not too long ago, Stacy had to move to another city because she was catfishing several people and it turned into a huge mess.

Recently she has been behaving in ways that are out of character.

Every time she and I go somewhere together, a guy who is NOT her husband always comes along.

We have identical cellphone covers on our phones, and recently when we were together, I accidental­ly picked up her phone and saw a very explicit message from this other guy. I put it down and walked away.

I think she is catfishing people again.

Should I say something to her, or keep this to myself ?

Very Confused

Dear Very Confused: You say your friend is behaving in a way that is out of character, but your descriptio­n of her current behavior actually seems to be consistent with her character.

“Catfishing” is the practice of pretending to be someone else online, in order to “fish for” — and catch — unsuspecti­ng people who are most often looking for a romantic relationsh­ip.

The catfish victimizes people, sometimes scamming money from them, and almost always creating an entirely false romance with them. This is emotional as well as financial larceny.

Yes, you should ask her what she is up to. Prepare yourself for her answer.

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