1. Maisie

    My 76 yr old mother was recently hospitalized and was in the ICU. My sister flew into town for 36 hrs to visit her and has just sent a spreadsheet of all of her expenses during that trip which total 1,000, (airfare was $500). My sister is by no means poor, but expects my mother to pickup the tab for her visit, which was not requested by anyone. How does she tactfully reply that she doesn’t think that reimbursing her is her responsibility?

    • Alicia

      She simply says ” It was lovely to have you visit but I am not paying your bills. I do not pay expenses I do not approve in advance.” There is no reason to be in any way less clear then that. This is not unkind or untactful and daughter needs to have things told to her in a clear yet kind as manner as possible so that she does not try this in the future.
      I do hope your Mom is on the mend.

    • Alice

      A question about entertaining dinner guests. I am inviting to my home an immigrant family (the father is my student in ESL (English as a Second Language) studies and I have known his wife and two children for three years). What are my duties to “entertain” the young girl (age 11) and the young boy (age 9) before and after dinner. Should they be expected to join and/or tolerate the adult conversation? Should I suggest they might want to go to another room and watch TV, play music, share the one home computer? Should I offer reading material … of which I have plenty for their ages?

      • All of the above sound nice. Some parents want “adult time,” and sending the children to another room to read is entirely appropriate. Other parents may prefer their children sit with the adults to learn how to behave. Bringing up these options with the parents would be best. It sounds as if you are well prepared, and will have a nice evening.

  2. Jody

    My sympathies to you — it’s hard enough to have a parent in the ICU without the added sibling stress.

    I think Alicia’s advice is very good. Since your mother did not offer in advance to pay your sister’s expenses, I think that she’s not obligated to pay them now. The hard part may be if your sister presses the point in a solo conversation with your mother. Do you have other siblings or relatives that can provide support to keep your mother strong on this point?

    • Pam

      That is quite nervy of your sister. Did you send her a bill for gas money that you spend to go and visit your mother in the hospital? Your sister moved away, and regardless, it is no one’s responsibility to pay for her bills. I would just ignore it.

      • Joanna

        Your mother ought to respond by sending your sister a bill for the hospital visit she received after giving birth to her, LOL

        In all seriousness, were someone actually so nervy as to bring something like this up, I think I would say, “We are a family – and families should come be together in times of need because they WANT to. We don’t keep a running tab.” But of course, if the mom is 76, I’m sure the sister’s not exactly a kid. She must know this.

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