Q: My wonderful widowed mother is every salesman's dream. When my father was alive, he managed the maintenance and caretaking of their home.
He chose when to paint, when to purchase a stove, and in effect, made the final decision as to how they spent their money. He was thrifty and sought value for their expenditures.
Now mom gets frustrated and often regrets her decisions because she feels she puts too much confidence in salespeople and pays too much for goods and services. I believe she is right, but now she needs to learn how to shop on her own. I do not live locally.
She does not have much cash and probably does overpay. She usually chooses the first quotation she receives. How can I best help her?
A: Homes need regular maintenance and monitoring, and it is a challenge to find a knowledgeable, reliable and honest individual who is frugal and knows how to keep things repaired.
Tell her that wise spenders anticipate and know that getting at least two price quotes for every expenditure will give him or her more objectivity. Hopefully, you could help her by checking out the websites for the best deals.
She will learn the lowest price is not always the best choice and that the quality of work and the time required to get things done are important factors. Some retailers offer a match price option.
Perhaps you can help her find an apartment management or housing management company to guide her. Remind her that all of us become smarter after something happens!
Q: As teenagers, when my sisters and I visited with our grandparents, we learned more about their childhood as they shared their memories of growing up and how ideal and happy those times were.
They say they knew their neighbors well, shared many good memories, and knew whom they could count on in the event of emergencies.
We get a little depressed when they tell us we will not have the same positive life experiences they had. We love them, and they may be correct, but we are living now and will have to deal with whatever happens. How can we discourage them from sharing negative news?
A: Attitudes and actual changes change the future. One major difference is that elders experienced changes slower because information took a lot more time to become known.
Now, within minutes or less, we receive updated reports about terrorists' actions, financial markets in disarray, war possibilities, airline crashes, suicides, and other terrible events via the websites and other media that affect our outlook.
Sometimes elders go into shock at the horror of negative news that younger individuals simply accept as normal. Negative news sells best!
Grandparents want to be a part of your lives. Explain to them you want to focus on a positive future and you would like their advice on how they did handle their lives when things went wrong.
Depressed grandparents are often in denial that things were as great as they actually say they were. Steering them in a positive direction will open up communication and bring your family closer.
The reality is that actual events are not predictable. The past is a matter of record, but the future is up for grabs.
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at email@example.com. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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