Sequoia Senior Solutions Blog

Comments & Discussions Pertinent to Seniors and Their Families

Asking the Hard Questions or Not Asking–A Case Study

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Last week I published information on finances from a CNNMoney article suggesting that people be aware of their parents’ financial situation before an illness or sudden death occurs. I received comments that this was a hard issue to bring up in to one’s family. I have asked a caregiver, Ann Mullen, who has had several of these experiences to share what she has learned–Stanton Lawson.

Ann Mullen: One thing that I learned as a Baby Boomer was that family finances were the business of the male head of the household. I didn’t think anything of this until I was in my early thirties and my father died unexpectedly. My mother was at a total loss. She had never even balanced a checkbook, let alone been in charge of the different sorts of accounts suddenly thrust into her lap.

I was a long-distance caregiver for the two years my mother lived after my father’s death. My brothers, on the other hand, were close by and took over the male role as much as they could. While my mother didn’t need the huge house she was left with, she could not bring herself to move. I believe that she was unable to make the decision or any decision because my father was not there to do it for her.

I was a close-by caregiver for several of my husband’s relatives. His aunt had a different problem with finances. She had enough and to spare, but she wasn’t willing to ask for any help with what to do with it. She would tease my husband with hints of what she had. It was almost as if she were trying to strike out at a male because her deceased husband probably kept her in the dark about money until his untimely death.

Now we come to the reason asking in advance of a problem is difficult. Our generation was part of a multitude of previous generations that was run by the fathers, the males. Even though women have been liberated from much of that and are also most likely to be the ones care giving, we are still not easily given financial information by the males. They were taught to hold their cards close to their chests.

It’s hard to ask. But it’s harder still not to know how to take care of the money properly in the first place. We have to ask the hard questions to our men and elders or we will have a harder time later. If we do not ask, they could suffer as well.

Stanton Lawson is the Co-Owner of Sequoia Senior Solutions. Sequoia’s mission is to ensure a better quality of life for their elderly clients and their families, by providing dependable and affordable in-home care. Sequoia’s focus is to keep you or your loved ones at home and avoid:

  • Loss of friends and possessions
  • Loss of independence and freedom
  • Loss of spirit which is drained by the battles of daily living

Sequoia Senior Solutions, Inc. services Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Solano, Mendocino, Lake Counties. The main office is located at191 Lynch Creek Way, Suite 102, Petaluma, CA 94954. Email  Tel: (707) 763-6600 Fax: (707) 763-6607,

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