As I have mentioned before, my Mom is 92 and lives alone although 50 miles from my brother and SIL who visit regularly. She has physical health problems and mild dementia. She has hired a lot of occasional help (cleaning, yard work, driving) yet resists more help. We are challenged as to how to help her.
Lately my brother and I have been spending quite a bit of time on the phone figuring out how to team up to make sure she is taken care off despite her resistance. She says she is feeling lousy and in pain but has insisted that she go alone to the doctor. We know she doesn't give the doctor accurate info.
We are getting better at influencing her. What we have discovered is that I can convince her of things on the phone that she will refuse to do if presented by my brother or SIL. So we made a doctor's appointment for her and my brother took her and will continue to simply take her to her appointments rather than asking if he can go. We will keep comparing notes about what she tells us about her health.
The other things I do long distance is provide a less frustrated ear to listen to her and sympathize. I also read up on her ailments and provide my brother with info and suggestions.
We are also concerned about her handling of her bills. When I visit next week she will want me to file and shred paperwork which gives me the perfect opportunity to see what is going on. I am thinking we will set up online banking (we are both co-trustees on her living trust accounts) and convince her that my brother will start picking up her mail and taking the bills out as we want her to get her personal mail. She uses cash to pay her helpers and we are thinking that a separate checking account with a smaller balance might be the answer. I am thinking about how to get her to agree to all of this.
She did agree, at least in one phone call, to discuss her preferences under various scenarios for the future. I told her I wanted to write them down so we would all know what she wanted so we could try to make it happen if at all possible.
I am looking for ideas as to how I can help in additional ways. It is hard on the sibling who lives close to have so much of the burden. Ideas?