A suspicious trip?

Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our 30s and live next to a very kind gentleman in his 60s, whose wife passed away four years ago. We get along very well with him and have been very generous in looking after him. He has always made his gratitude for our filling the void in his life very apparent.

He hired my wife two years ago to come over weekly to prepare meals, clean the house and do his laundry. He pays her well.

Recently, he asked us whether she would accompany him when he travels for three weeks on business to do those same tasks at the condo where he is staying. My wife wants to help him out while spending time in a city she has always wanted to see. I agreed to it with the understanding that they have separate bedrooms. I am not the jealous or suspicious type. However, my friends think I am being naive and this request is unacceptable. What is your opinion or advice? — Torn

Dear Torn: If you listen to the opinions of others, you will always flip-flop on your decisions and never be able to stand on your own two feet. A job is a job, and if she enjoys her work and wants to see a new city, I don’t see anything wrong with her going. People travel all the time for work with their bosses; it doesn’t mean they’re having affairs.

In the future, try not to let your friends’ opinions of your marriage dictate how you should feel about something. No one knows your marriage better than you and your wife, so allow the decisions that you make as a couple to be made only by the two of you.

Dear Annie: I would appreciate your comments on this situation. I have the power of attorney for my 89-year-old mother, who has early dementia and is homebound. Her assets should last for the rest of her life.

However, my 64-year-old sister and her two 25-year-old sons, who are living with my mom and are capable of working, don’t work, and my sister has been supplemented financially by my mother all her life, largely because of poor financial decisions. My sister continually whines to Mom about her woes that involve large sums of money. Mom is so softhearted that she wants to always give in to the requests. I continually share with Mom that she needs to keep her money for her care, but she responds as if she doesn’t care about her own future.

I have shared more than once with my sister that her drain on Mom’s money needs to stop. However, my sister has taken very few, if any, steps to stop. About two years ago, I sat with my sister and made a budget. I showed her that she could avoid wasting $1,000 per month if she would change her habits. This led to very little change. Any suggestions on how to be sure Mom’s money will last her? — Worried About Mom

Dear Worried: What your sister is doing may be a form of financial elder abuse and thus illegal. Having power of attorney, you’re in a position to act to protect your mom’s finances — and I suggest you act quickly. The best course might be for you to take control of your mother’s checking account. Consult an elder law attorney in your area. Bless you for looking out for your mom.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.