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Mom was told by her doctor not to drive until she has an evaluation by the DMV. That is a relief but of course it means my parents will need more help. My siblings and I willl be sharing the burden as best we can. My time is limited and my parents live 45 minutes away so I can't just pop over to pick things up or give rides so I am trying to be strategic. Here is what I have done thus far. Ihelped Mom sign up for elder transportation services but she did not like the inconvenience of making arrangements plus she was driving at the time so she has never used it. I will need to work with her on that one. I also called around about grocery delivery and they require a credit or debit card. My folks are maxed out on credit cards and have no debit card but I am trying to help them get one. My parents have a neighbor who is out of work and my Mom was thinking of paying her to run errands on occasion. I grew up with this woman and she is very nice. I will see if we can get the ball rolling on that. Meanwhile I will be planning visits with chores in mind.
Tuesday we have a case worker coming to a family visit I am hoping they will be helpful with services for my folks. The hardest part will be convincing my parents to allow services. Right now they just want us to do it all and they seem incapable of planning beyond the moment so it will be up to us to make plans and manage incoming help.

I would love to hear how people with limited visit time, make the most with the time and resources they have. Thanks!!

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ff, yeah, that's a tough one. My biggest hurdle was transitioning my mom from the $$ shampoo and cosmetics when we started paying for her personal items to stretch her money.
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Linda22, and what about if one of Mom's favorite brands has a new label.... me: "but, Mom, it's the same identical item".... Mom: "no it's not, it taste funny"..... [sigh].
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One of the hardest adjustments my mom had to neither of them driving, was errands. They'd run around town, paying bills, picking up an item here and there and have lunch. So the first big step was streamlining down to what actually had to be done in person, getting used to getting more need items at fewer stores (which meant being ok with different brands). For my mom, it worked best that I did it gradually. It also really helps to keep a box in the car for items for my mom as I get them.
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A social worker could be of great assistance for you right now. Your Mom and Dad could have visiting Physicians come into your parents home, so you do not have to take them to thier appointments. Once a Doctor comes in, he/she will set up what they need, such as a weekly visit with a nurse, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Aide, etc. Seniors are allowed these services and most times is covered by Medicare, if your parents are unable to drive. This could sustain them and give you some time to get with an elder attorney with regards to guardianship for your parents if the doctor feels it is necessary at this time. Educate yourself on the laws in your state protecting the elderly. Moving their assets in some states is punishable with jail time, irregardless of whether you are their legal Power of Attorney or guardian.
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Hopefully in time my parents will be willing to liquidate their stuff but right now they are still thinking they will be back in business "when Dad gets better". Of course that's not going to happen. This is why they refuse to let us help them sell the properties or their "inventory".
When the time comes that they are no longer in control we will be turning their financial management over to an outside guardian. This mess is too big and our family is too dysfunctional for us to tackle it.
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If there are things worth buying, contact a local estate sale company to help you get those properties cleared. Estate sales are huge now and can take off a surface layer of the more valuable things. It will also give some money to pay on that debt!
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So many helpful suggestions. Thank you! I feel better already. I will make sure the caseworker knows that we can't do it all and my folks need help. It's always good to be reminded about boundaries and I will heed the advice that debit cards can be a problem.
My parents financial situation is complicated and a total mess. Thats another whole story... As for their stuff, dealing with that will have that will go on the back burner. They own four properties and three are are all filled with "stuff". They were in the collectibles business. Some of what they have is quite valuable, mostly the silver, coins and stamps but the rest is crap, tons of crap. I can't even think of that without getting a headache.
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Help them get rid of junk. My mother is 95 and her house sits intact, 1500 miles from me. She is in a NH. I just saw my neighbors go through this and it took an estate planner 2 weeks, to get the contents of the house, ready to sell. You might not have to do that - but have them fill trash bags and get rid of "stuff."
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Tryingmybest, one thing that jumped off the page at me was that your parents were maxed out on their credit cards. I wondered about how to limit the cash outflow since they appear to already be under water. Do you have a plan in place to take over their finances and get their debt down? How much do they owe, and are they still charging?

The plans you talked about with the neighbor and food delivery sound fine. If your parents have a bank account, a debit card is an easy thing to get. I would worry that they would use the debit card in the way they do their credit card and wipe their bank accounts out. Is there a plan in place to keep that from happening? Using plastic can feel like you're not really spending until you notice you're broke. Is there a way to set up ACh (echeck) payments from their bank account to a store that delivers? I don't know how that works, since I've never used grocery delivery.

If your parents own their home, it would be nice if they would consider selling it, paying off their debt, then moving into a senior apartment where all the transportation, etc., is provided for them. It would lift much burden off their and your shoulders. But I know how older people can be about their homes. They don't want to leave them, even when it isn't working for them anymore.
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I think you are doing fine!

Are you going to be there when the caseworker visits? That can be very important. When the caseworker interviewed my mom in her apartment, she denied that she needed any help. She kept saying, "Oh my daughters can do that." Finally my sister spoke up. "Mom, we are going to continue to visit you. But when we do we want to play cribbage with you or sit and talk. We have limited time. We don't want to scrub your toilet, kiss you, and leave!" The caseworker is used to elders resisting help, but she really has to hear someone say "She cannot do her own laundry and there is no one else to do it."

I'd urge you to get as much help as possible for your mom, starting as early as possible. Don't let her get dependent on you for things others can easily do. Yes, there will still be chores for you, and you can plan your visits around them, but do get in plenty of "fun" time while you are there. Maybe you can take her to her hair appointment, get a manicure yourself while you are waiting, and then go to a flower show and out to lunch. You really don't want to remember the time with your mother in her later years as a time of scrubbing toilets and changing her bed linens!
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Tryingmybest, set your boundaries now, how I wished I would have done that years ago, as my parents also live alone in their own house and refuse outside services.

Six years ago I became my parents chauffeur, I thought an occasional trip to the grocery store every now and then.... never did I realize that Mom liked going to the grocery store every day, and not just one store but two or three others because one store would have a special on cereal, another had special on milk.

Then all the doctor appointments, eventually I was able to make back-to-back appointments so that when I took time off from work, it was one afternoon instead of two separate afternoons. But then there were doctors that each saw separately. And I had to go into the exam room with them because they weren't paying full time and attention to what the doctor was saying.

For the on-line grocery delivery service, check to see if the service does automatic withdrawal from checking or savings. The service I use does that and gives a discount if it is used.

If the neighbors does accept the job of driving here and there, it is very hard to eventually say no and that could cause hard feelings. You might want to save her for times when there might be an emergency and she can run over to your parent's house.
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