Elizabeth points out that their dad probably felt like the kids were ganging up on him. As a retired air force colonel, he’s used to being in charge of things and may have a lot of pride around these issues, even if he knows he’s not in tip-top mental capacity anymore.
Trevor points out that their mom might be helpful in talking to him because she seems more open to making a change. While she has always done whatever he told her to do, he is very protective of her and will listen to what she has to say about her own needs.
Elizabeth finally says, “Why don’t you let me talk to Mom and see how she is feeling about possibly going to an upscale retirement community? If we show them where they could go, they might be more willing to accept it.”
Trevor wonders out loud if they should figure out how their parents are doing financially and how they would fund the upscale retirement community. George says he knows their banker, Kim Dartmouth. While the banker cannot give them specific information about their parents’ finances, they can at least give the banker a heads-up that the siblings are concerned about their dad’s memory and decision-making.
When Mildred returns to the room, Elizabeth suggests they take a walk and learns that Mildred is feeling a little overwhelmed with the house and cooking for her husband every day. She knows nothing of their finances and wonders if she should know more in case something happens to him. She confides that she hasn’t told him any of this because he seems grumpier in his old age. Elizabeth is a bright businesswoman and gets permission from her mom to do a little investigation of their finances. Mildred seems relieved and discusses with Elizabeth how to bring up the subject to Walter to let him know how she’s feeling. Elizabeth changes her flights so she can stay over a few extra days.
Susie has disappeared, driving off after leaving the family meeting.
When Walter comes back in the room, George apologizes and says he was insensitive in the way he handled things. Walter accepts the apology and changes the subject.
Elder Care: What Happens Next?
The day after Thanksgiving when everyone has gone home except for Elizabeth, she does a little investigation. In looking through her parents’ bank statements, insurance policies, and other documentation, she discovers some rather large withdrawals from their home account that were paid to an individual.
Elizabeth asks her mom, “Who is Mary Stotzer?”
Mildred explains that she is someone from their supper club who has fallen on hard times. “I guess Dad felt sorry for her because she’s been our friend for over thirty years,” she said. When Elizabeth tells her mom the amount, Mildred asks, “Can we afford that?”
Elizabeth also discovers some large stock sales but can’t track where the money went. She suggests they get Walter’s buy-in on getting financial help or allowing Elizabeth to help them keep track of things. Mildred, for the first time in her life, realizes she can’t blindly let Walter handle everything.
Elizabeth calls Trevor and suggests that he refinance his business loan with a bank or other lender because their parents can’t afford to carry the note. Trevor reluctantly agrees. He doesn’t say anything but feels like Elizabeth is taking over everything. He calls George to complain.
Since George is in the doghouse with his dad, Elizabeth decides to call Tom Spencer, her dad’s longtime friend and former business partner, to see if he can help. This is a man whom Walter trusts, so perhaps Walter will agree to accept help.
Ultimately, Walter’s former business partner gets him to agree to get some help managing his finances and to get checked regarding his memory loss and confusion. Tom convinces him it can’t hurt anything, and he might even prove to his smarty-pants son that he got it wrong.