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Hard Issues

I spent the last 2 weeks in Pennsylvania, taking care of some family issues.  Hard issues.

When I was a kid, my parents owned an old homestead of 39.5 acres.  We had a year round creek, a “cow” pond, an old & dangerous barn, outhouse, chicken coop… stable by the stream.  And 5 acres of blueberry bushes.  That was MY favorite 5 acres! 
This property was old.  The house was built in 1811, on the foundation of a cabin burnt down during the French & Indian war.  I can tell you, history was really alive back in those old woods.

The next house “up the road” belonged to my mother’s parents.  And then when my grandfather passed, my aunt bought the house & grandma lived with them.
Everyone on this old dirt road canned their own produce.  They all had chickens.  Grandma had a cow named Betsy.  Each household baked their own bread.  In fact, I think we made everything “from scratch” except sugar & flour.

Our family has a strong tradition of military service.  My father was a Navy Corpsman with the Marines. We saw him as often as we could.   He retired in ’71.  It was nice to have him at home.

I remember pulling weeds in the garden & swearing that I would NOT be pulling weeds when I had my own house!  Yeah, right! I used to eat blueberries until I had an upset stomach.  Gluttony has it’s own price!

I’m telling you all this as a little background for a frank discussion on the hard issues I had to deal with: elder care. 

How do we provide for our aging parents or grandparents… How do you convince a stubborn family member that it’s time to give up some of their freedom & start letting others help them?  How do you convince your parent that they are no longer safe at their own home? I had to confront these issues.  They’re difficult for the whole family.  Add all the health issues, dealing with multiple medical organizations and then all legal paperwork that has to be organized before your family member passes is frustrating and time consuming.

Finding the services and facilities you require can make you want to pound your head against a wall! And, in the end, you hope you’ve done the best you can for your beloved family member. 

Do yourself a favor.  Discuss these issues with your elderly family members BEFORE you need the services you’re going to require.  Get a will made.  Discuss & complete your living will and your advanced health care directives.  Get the legal paperwork done for your relative’s power of attorney.  Add that person to the bank accounts.  Make your funeral wishes known & prepay for them!  Dealing with grief is difficult enough…. don’t make your family end up in a huge fight over what your elder’s wishes were! 

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