Dear Family Resource,
I have one sibling and we both live across the country from our parents. Mom is 87 and dad is 90 years old. For years my brother and I have had the same argument; I say mom and dad need help to stay safely in their home and my brother says we should leave them alone until they ask for help.
Our parents say they are fine but last week I visited them and the house was dirty, there were mostly frozen dinners and not much other food in the house and my mom’s driving made me nervous. My parents don’t have money to hire help so they say it is up to us. If my brother and I both contribute, we could get them help one day a week. What can I say to convince my brother that we shouldn’t wait to do something until there’s a car accident or they become malnourished?
Dear Anxious Daughter,
You are right in that it is always a good idea to have a plan in place rather than wait for a crisis. Now is the time to evaluate and take action, whether it is for now or the future. It may be a good idea to hire a geriatric care manager to evaluate and help get things set up as it will be difficult for you and your brother to do this from afar. A care manager can help determine if your parents qualify for state assistance and if so, how to get it started. Or if they do not qualify, a care manager can guide them to resources they can afford.
It’s a great idea to get a helper once or twice a week to assist with housekeeping and meal prep and to be a set of eyes and ears that can keep you and your brother apprised of your parents’ situation and needs. Let your brother know it is important to plan ahead and find out what options you and your parents have.