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Beware Thy Neighbour

by Gary L. Black

Gary L. Black offers some sound advice to seniors.

Getting older is not always a lot of fun. The lawn looks larger, the leaves pile higher, paint chips quicker and snow gets deeper. You begin to think of alternatives to owing a home.

Your car is a guzzler and for unknown reasons is tougher to fit in the garage. You begin to think of a smaller vehicle.

The water was lower at the cottage this summer and the bugs were bad. Maybe that’s why no one came up. The drive gets longer and traffic is unbearable. You think about simplifying your life by unloading that cottage.

Often the thought process goes as follows: Most of the kids have their own houses, cars, sit-down mowers and snow blowers. The ones who don’t are too far away to be interested. That goes for the cottage as well.

All of a sudden these assets look to you like liabilities. Lately your next door neighbour has been raking your lawn, cutting it occasionally and blowing the snow. He’s been awfully good to you… actually as caring as the kids. Recently he mentioned how much he admires your big car.

This type of comment should sound a warning bell.

Your neighbour is likely a Samaritan… however he could be the proverbial wolf with a sheep’s suit on.

Advancing age, health issues, general aversion to stress all contribute to a vulnerability. Often these matters cloud one’s ability to make crisp rational decisions.

Don’t succumb to giving a “deal” to anyone. A Samaritan works for “thanks,” not for a deal.

The friend who admires your watch doesn’t need it. The caregiver who has a daughter with no shoes should consult the appropriate agency and not your wallet! The neighbour who looks good with your snow blower should buy his own.

Often seniors need a foil: someone who can be trusted to deal with these issues in an objective, practical and efficient manner.

Lancaster Brooks & Welch has been assisting seniors in these areas for over a century.

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