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How can I stop my loved ones from reporting what’s happening in a house we no longer own?

Dear Amy: A little over a year ago, working with my mother’s doctor, I decided it was in her best interest (she has dementia) to move to an assisted living facility.

With the help of my partner, I was able to keep his house vacant for about a year.

We have other elderly relatives in the neighborhood who kept us informed if anything needed special attention.

A few months ago it became clear that Mom would remain in an assisted living facility and so we decided to sell the house in order to fund her care.

Throughout the sale of the estate and the listing of the house, we kept loved ones informed so that they did not feel the need to maintain constant surveillance on the property. Fortunately, the house sold very quickly at a very good price to a lovely family. They plan to update and renovate the property.

A happy ending, right?

Well, my dear parents seem obligated to report every contractor vehicle, every landscaping adjustment, etc.

Amy, I said goodbye to home and try to hold on to the many good memories. I really don’t care what happens to the house now.

Although well intentioned, I don’t want reports on how they maintain (or don’t maintain) the property.

I’m sorry if my loved ones aren’t happy with the new owners, but at this point it’s out of my control.

How can I tell these lovely elderly parents that I just don’t want to know? I cringe every time I see their name on a text message or caller ID.

I want to spend the rest of their days enjoying their calls, texts, and visits, instead of dreading them.

Your thoughts?

– Move on

Dear Moving On: I think it is important that you decode the intention behind these calls. These relatives believed they were serving an important function in keeping an eye on the house during the year it was vacant. They may need time and a few gentle reminders to move away from this usual CSI hiding and reporting.

They may also, on some level, use this information as a reason/excuse to contact you.

I suggest you tell each loved one some version of: “I appreciate you looking over the house for us before we sold it. But since we sold it, it now belongs entirely to the lovely family who bought it. I think it’s great that they’re making this house their own. I’m happy to tell you that you don’t need to tell me what they do. I know it’s hard to see things changing, but I’m at peace with it.

And then you should ask them: “Can you do me a favor and not tell me about the house?” Instead, I would like to know how You are TO DO.”

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.