Law News and Tips
Home for the Holidays
As I am writing this, Thanksgiving is around the corner. It is my wife's favorite holiday. Christmas has shopping. Easter has eggs. The 4th of July has fireworks, and possibly a trip to urgent care. But Thanksgiving is just about family getting together for a really good meal.
But sometimes the holidays can be a discovery for us. If we live far away from our parents, we don't see them on a day-to-day basis. On the phone they sound fine. They tell you all about what relatives and old family friends are up to. They talk about their latest doctors' appointments and what ills them. And they ask a lot of questions about you and your family. Everything sounds great, but sometimes it isn't.
No one really wants to admit to getting old. It’s a one-way street. When you're young, you heal and adjust. When you're older, there's only covering up.
So the holidays are a good time to check up on mom and dad. One of the very visible signs that things are not going well is if there is a mountain of mail on the dining room table. If so, then you can rest assured that the bills are not getting paid. Check the refrigerator.
If there is only milk in it, then there is a good chance that mom and dad are only eating cereal. I know the commercials tell us that cereal is a part of a complete breakfast, but the important word there is "part". It is only a part of breakfast, and breakfast is only one of a person’s daily meals. Cereal does not satisfy all your basic nutritional requirements no matter what mom and dad might tell you.
And look in their closets. Do they have weather appropriate clothing hanging where they can easily get to it, or does mom have out that cute little sun dress she really loves?
I'll warn you that if you look like you're snooping around when you are visiting, you might get a very heated reaction ... especially if they are trying to hide something.
So when you visit your parents for the holidays, you might want to nonchalantly:
(1) check the mail,
(2) check the refrigerator, and
(3) check the closets.
It might feel like prying, but it's important.
And while you’re at it, you might want to bring up the subject of powers of attorney, both financial and medical. At some point, someone will probably need to step in and take care of them. That can be a little scary, so you might want to wait until after dinner (and the wine) is settling in to bring up the subject. If you need horror stories to lead into the conversation, then maybe you can look at some of my old blog posts. Ignoring the issue is not a good thing to do. It only leads to trouble.
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