Dear Amy: My father, who is 83 years old, was “picked up” by a woman of the same age at a senior center dance.
She moved in with him right away.
She started out as being nice, but then she started to make up stories, telling our father that my younger brother was stealing money.
She picked a fight with my siblings and ended up convincing our father not to have any contact with us.
She will not let me speak with him.
We are not able to communicate at all with Dad, and this concerns me.
This woman has told my father numerous lies, and I am very troubled that she may be stealing money from him. Any thoughts or advice?
— Worried in Oregon
Dear Worried: I agree that any time a romance takes place at top speed and then quickly becomes the cause of family estrangement is cause for worry. So-called “romance scams” are on the rise, and the elderly are vulnerable. One might assume that an elderly woman might not perpetrate a romance scam, and yet — why not? You might investigate this woman’s background.
You don’t mention your father’s health, and at this point you might not be aware of any health concerns because you have not had access to him, but he might be experiencing cognitive decline or other health problems that render him more vulnerable to her control.
In your state (Oregon) you can call to report your concerns about an adult being isolated or abused: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This is a statewide hotline to report abuse or neglect and the call goes to the Department of Human Services.
You could also contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to speak with a case worker to see if they can conduct a wellness check at your father’s home.
Dear Amy: My ex from over 40 years ago died last week.
I am 79 and I have a 50-year-old daughter with my ex.
The ex named his other two children as beneficiaries on his life insurance. He did not name my daughter as a beneficiary.
My ex and I were never married, but he did marry the mother of his other two children.
My daughter is hurt by this omission.
He was a troubled man with substance abuse issues.
I provided my daughter with a beautiful life. She is a successful person with a master’s degree and is well liked by everyone who knows her.
I say that we should not attend his funeral.
Do you think that we should attend, or should we provide the ultimate snub to him, as he doesn’t deserve our presence at this funeral?
What say you?
— Upset Ex
Dear Upset: I say that this decision should not in any way be in your hands.
Your daughter is a 50-year-old woman who has the responsibility to make this choice on her own.
You don’t mention anything about what kind of relationship she had with her father.
Generally, I do believe that attending a memorial service can help to heal even a complicated emotional connection. It is important to formally say goodbye — even if what you are saying goodbye to is a challenging part of your own fractured history.
Your only job here is to encourage your daughter to make the choice that serves her the best, and to support her choice. Attending this funeral will not erase her wounded feelings. But egging her on to retaliate will not erase her wounded feelings, either — in fact, I believe that an attempt to punish her father (even symbolically) could backfire and amplify her sadness and anger.
Furthermore — given your relationship with and attitude toward the deceased — I’m wondering why your presence at this service is even in play. Regardless of what your daughter decides to do, unless she expressly asks you to attend in order to support her, you should definitely stay home.
Dear Amy: I kindly disagree with your response to “Big Tipper.”
While 18 percent to 20 percent has generally been considered the appropriate amount for sit-down service, that same amount should not be considered appropriate for take-out orders, where people do much less service and take less time.
I also feel badgered and scrutinized when the credit card machine is thrust at me with the only easy options for tipping boldly labeled: 18 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent.
I generally tip roughly 10 percent for to-go orders. Even post-COVID.
— Obstinate in Oregon
Dear Obstinate: I understand the pressure to tip on the automated credit card reader, but one option is also “no tip.”
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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