How do I help my parents who need assistance at home?

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Both parents are in need of assistance. Mother (89 years old) has suffered several lite strokes and needs assistance with some personal care, dispensing medications, etc. My Father (90 years old) is suffereing with irregular heart beat, is very hard of hearing, has diminished eyesight. They both need food prep assistance, housekeeping, and even transportation. My Father is still driving, however, he is unsafe most of the time but refuses to give up driving. Their income is low (less than $2,000/mo) but my Father would be eligible for VA benefits if we could get application assistance.

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Yes, by all means take the keys away. Too many people had wished they'd done this sooner. He may not only injure himself and his wife but someone else too.
Start on the Aide and Attendance paperwork now. There is a lot of information to gather. I just completed Mom's a few months ago. It would be a very good idea to have someone who is knowledgeable to help you with it. The director at Mom's ALF suggested a great company and they paid for it. It can add up to 1,000.+ per month to their income. If they are not in an ALF, call one and ask who they use (they are usually indpendent companies and I do not think that they need to be in the state where your parents live) I tried calling the VA initially - got a whole lot of incorrect info and less than helpful people. They told me that Mom would not qualify because of her income level. What they failed to tell me is that they deduct for any care that she is paying for out of pocket - so then she qualified. If you get a good referral, these people will save you a mountain of time and grief.
In the meantime, they need in-home care. Hire privately or through an agency. Have them come by at least two times a week for personal care and two times for meal preparation. When Mom lived here I would make up big batches of dishes and freeze smaller portions for her. There are also meals on wheels - which varies in quality depending on where you live. Also there are meal prep. companies that charge by the week.
I does sound like your parents are good candidates for an ALF. I would highly recommend convincing them to move near you or your sib. There will still be things they need help with that an ALF will not provide. Also, take a list with you and ask specific questions about what they provide. The people you will meet at first are sales people....they will promise you anything. Get their services in writing.
good luck...this is so hard to do long distance
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Sounds like you need to get dad's keys. We had to do this back when. First we tried talking, then we hid her keys, and when she found the extra pair we hid them too. Then we disabled her car so it wouldn't crank.

With Moms diminished health she had no business behind the wheel. She was a danger to herself and to others.

Time to vamoose the chicken and make some hard decisions. None of it likely to be easy. I will keep you in my thoughts.
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The home health nurse that comes weekly (doctor ordered) says she does not think they are nursing home material quite yet, but not too far off in the distant future. She is going to see if she can get my Dad's doctor to refer him so she can have both as clients and keep a better handle on their situation. Right now only my Mom is the client. She is also going to work on them to take charge of my Mother's meds, but she will have to convince my Dad to let her take care of it. We discussed assited living places, but I know we have to figure out something more on financial means as they don't have enough at this point. They refuse to come live with either me and my husband (Colorado) or my sister (San Diego); we are both are willing. At this point to revoke my Dad's license would make more problems at this point, I'm afraid, as there is very little transportation in the small town where they live. Maybe we are just chicken. My sister and I have both been in touch with their doctor and he has ordered the home health nurse visits weekly. Thanks for your input. We will look further into the VA benefits.
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Who, if anyone, has durable and medical POA for your parents? If no one has either of these and your parents are still competent, that is the place to begin. Next, has their doctor seen them recently to evaluate them and the safety of them living like they are now? If they are not telling their doctor the whole story, know that you can and do not have to do that in their presence. Your dad's doctor should write a letter to the state driver's license to inform them that it is no longer safe for him to drive, and they will revoke his license. I think there are some articles on this site about getting VA benefits and that sounds like the direction to go. I hope this helps. Basically, it is time to take charge as the adult child.
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