Monday, January 11, 2016

Q: My mom lives on Vashon and I live in Olympia.

I try to get up there a couple of times a month but I don’t always get to see mom as much as we both would like. I’m concerned about her. She is still very active but she seems to be spending a lot of money on home maintenance issues. I do what small repairs I can, and her house seems in good shape, but I balance her checkbook every month and there seems to be a lot of unusual expenses. I’m sending you some of the bills to take a look. You helped her buy the house and she trusts you.

 A: I’m happy to help and glad you sent the bills. I believe your mom is being taken advantage of. You might want to suggest for her to allow you more oversight of her expenses. An example is a company that is testing her drinking water every month. There is no need for that since she is connected to one of our larger water companies and they are required by law to regularly test the water for bacteria and nitrates. Even those of us with private wells rarely check our water quality more than annually.

Another thing I noticed is a monthly spraying for wood destroying pests. She has a split level home! It’s a solid cement slab with four foot high cement foundation walls. No wood destroying pests in beams or posts on that house! The siding is well off the ground so there is not even wood contact with the dirt to encourage wood destroying pests.

She also paid a contractor from Seattle a tidy sum to wrap all of her plumbing pipes so they wouldn’t freeze. It’s a fully insulated house with no pipes exposed to the elements! No need to wrap pipes. She also heats the house at all times so freezing pipes seems very unlikely.

It’s such a shame that many unscrupulous people take advantage of the elderly. I hope you can intervene and get rid of some of these expenses.