I have a 95-year-old father who lives alone in a mobile home. How often should he be looked in on?


I live around an hour away but my sister lives only 10 minutes away. My sister and I don't get along very well. I call my dad more than my sister to find out how he is doing. I order his groceries on line and have them delivered to his home. My sister doesn't do much even though she is the oldest of the siblings. My question is how often should my 95 year old father be personally looked in on. I call him often and see him as often as I can, but I have a job and my sister does not. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

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You can't force someone to take on more than they are willing or able. Just because sis is the oldest daughter who lives closest shouldn't make her the de facto caregiver, your relationship with your dad is different than hers. I agree with Windy, if you are concerned look into other options.
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I'm going to go out on a limb and offer a different suggestion. Even if you and your sister don't get along well, you do have a common parent, and a common interest in his welfare, although you may each have a different perspective on his care.

I get the impression that your concern is in part an imbalance of attention and care between you and your sister. That's understandable, and I won't deny that being a sole caregiver while a sibling does nothing isn't a big irritation.

Since she lives so closely, can you identify something she CAN do that would fit within her abilities and/or limitations? Even if you don't get along, perhaps she could focus on your father, rather than on what YOU feel he might need.

Another option is to become acquainted ( if you're not already ) with his neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on him if he ventures outside, or perhaps just check on him. I've found that good neighbors are willing to do this.

I also have a lock box which emergency personnel or anyone to whom I give the combination can access if there's a concern about his welfare. My father lives alone as well. Every time EMS has been called, they've used this to get in the house while I drive out from about 30 miles away (a 45 minute drive during the day).

Does he get Meals on Wheels? If so, that's one check per day, but he also might develop good relations with the drivers, and they often pay a little bit more attention. I get feedback from our MOW staff whenever a concern arises.

In fact, two of them came to the rescue of my almost 99 year old father fell, and the driver and deliverer helped him up when he fell. Then they called the office and staff alerted me. Those people are literally a "godsend."

MOW also does a semi-annual assessment of recipients, so that's another source of feedback and impartial information on his status.

I believe MOW, as does the VA, have a sort of friendly visitor program by which volunteers visit and check on the elderly. Your county might have a similar program; I recall reading something about what our county might have but I was focusing on a specific service and didn't pay too much attention to any visitor programs.
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Unless he's one of those freakishly fit 95 year olds I would be looking in everyday. If sis can't/won't do it, look into hiring home care company for simple wellness checks. What's his health/mental/financial status?
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At that age, I'd like to have someone put eyes on him everyday. He may have issues that he doesn't report or not even realize. I'd try to hire a professional to do it.

I'd hesitate to rely on your sister. If a parent chooses to live alone at that age, it really requires a lot of diligence and daily on hands work for the adult child who lives close by. It's really not fair, ino. If she wants to do it, that's one thing, but, I don't think it should be expected.
Helpful Answer (6)

I would think that somebody should check on him everyday.

Don't be too hard on your sister. My sis lives well within driving distance of our mom and she hasn't seen her in a year. Some people just don't "DO" old.
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Let me tell you about some of the things you won't see even if you just stop by every day, and definitely not with just a phone call an occasional visit. If they are starting to lose memory, misplace things, eat things they shouldn't, have mood swings, I could go on. Don't tell yourself that you "know your dad" because you call him every day. When my grandma started to show signs of dementia it was a 5 minute episode in 2 days. If you're not there for the 5 minutes, she seems fine except that she's angry all the time for bizarre made up reasons. You can not, however, tell that the reasons are made up unless you're with her every day. So, my suggestion to you is to find someone who can look in on him Every day. I know you probably think that's robbing him of some independence, but it's necessary to catch the problems as they start, whatever they may be.
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I too was going to suggest Meals on Wheels.

You can also contact his local church (or temple?) and sometimes they will have someone that goes out visiting. My father was visited by someone on a regular basis even though he didn't belong to the church and was actually of a different faith.

When I lived alone, a bunch of us singles of varying ages, made sure everyone was called at least once daily.
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Linda5156, does your Dad wear an emergency life-line pendent? If not, time to get one for him if you think he will wear it daily. Some elders just don't like those things. Some like the safety, my Dad was so happy when he moved to a senior facility and got one to wear once he noticed other gentlemen in the facility wearing them, too.

As for your sister not wanting to help, and I am not taking her side, but some people aren't meant to be hands-on caregivers. Example, you wouldn't want a relative checking in on Dad and find that he has fallen, and the relative goes into a panic passing out.

And there are cases where the sibling wants to help but the parent doesn't want any part of it, as the parent prefers another sibling to do ALL of the caregiving not realizing the stress they are putting on that one grown child.
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I was also going to recommend Meals on Wheels. It was a lifesaver for both my mom and dad. Leave a key with a trusted neighbor and hide one somewhere outside. Get all the legal paperwork in order. DNR, power of attorney , etc. Most states these can be downloaded and filled out with a notory. You will need these. Be a signer on his bank account. My mom's branch banker even brought the form to the car for her. Hope this helps.
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Could you call him at approx the same time each day? Even a 1-2 minute call?
County/city/state social (senior) services?
Does he have a social worker? Can you get one?
In the Mobile home park - talk to staff/administration; post a note on their bulletin board asking for 'check-in' support;
High School-College kid - student come by and look in on him?
Non-Profit organizations and/or churches - ask for friendly visits.
I would focus on all types of networking.
Write up a little index size card of need and keep with you when you are out. You might find bulletin boards at a Safeway or hardware store - or talk to someone. You'll have contact info and short overview of needs ready.
Gena (Touch Matters)
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