I’ve helped hundreds of families make those tough decisions. My law office has a good reputation as caring professionals. We have a heart, and we are there to help.
We have worked with the family members, their financial planners, their priests and pastors. We’ve worked with accountants and even other attorneys. These decisions are tough. How do we best help Mom and Dad, and how do we gently tell them when it might not be safe to stay in their own home?
I have been very pleased with myself. I have a good handle on this ‘senior care’ thing. Then it was my turn. With my own mother.
My brothers called an ‘emergency meeting’ on how to care for Mom. It seems Mom had fallen and, while there was no immediate crisis, it brought home the need to deal with this issue proactively. As the attorney who deals with these issues every day, I helped lay out a plan of action. I would do A, my brother Tim would do B, and Tom would do C. That was at Mom’s 80th birthday party.
I did A. And that’s where it stopped. I didn’t raise the issue again. My brothers had good reasons to not do B and C. And I had good reason to let things sit. These were uncomfortable discussions. “We’ll get to it later,” I thought.
Mom turned 85 a few months ago. And we’re only now getting to it.
There are so many considerations. Should a person live alone at 85? Why not? I am accustomed to the legal considerations, but the personal considerations. . .they are the difficult ones to deal with.
Should we let Mom stay at home? In a split level house that is fraught with potential falls on steps? Never mind that she is healthy, albeit more frail than she was at 75 or 80. And what business do I have in telling Mom what to do and when to do it? Dave Ramsey jokingly calls it the “powdered butt” syndrome. “When someone has powdered your butt, it’s hard to take advice from them about anything.” Mom was there when I broke my arm as a six year old. Who am I to tell her it’s time to make some changes?
In this blog, I hope to explore my own adventure, not as much as an estate planning attorney, but more as a professional who is dealing with these considerations on a personal level. Please add your comments or questions. I hope that by sharing my story, someone else, and maybe even someone else’s mother, will be helped.