Not that very long ago, before phones with GPS, it was fairly common to become lost in a different city (or even a different part of your own city) and help was needed to become “un-lost”.
Even the great woodsman and explorer Daniel Boone had something to say on the subject. Daniel Boone, when asked if he ever got lost out in the wilderness, replied, “I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was once bewildered for about 3 days.”
So why is it that many of us refuse to stop and ask for directions? If we are in new territory, it isn’t shameful to not know our way around. Stop and ask an expert! That is the smartest and best use of your time.
Here in our office we are direction-givers. We help families navigate that time in their lives when advancing age and illness is causing them to lose capacity. They may be on a fixed-income but their expenses are anything but fixed! They worry about paying for medicine or housing or food but some have trouble paying for all three. Or they worry about where they will be able to live now that a spouse has died or their illness is preventing them from being independent. Many of these client meetings include the adult daughter, who is worried about them and also worried that she doesn’t have enough hours in the day to be their caregiver.
These clients have asked for help. They have stopped their busy lives and have asked for directions. We can help them save money, qualify for government benefits, protect themselves from elder financial abuse and provide for their families after they are gone. They are the smart ones.
But we also talk with families who didn’t stop and ask for directions. These families have become almost hopelessly turned around and have now come to us in the hope that we can somehow bail them out of their situation. They didn’t stop and ask for directions early on. They kept driving. They spent money they didn’t have or made some other financial decision that has turned out badly and now they need our help. I feel sorry for these families because if they had come to us earlier, they would have had some many options available. But they didn’t know. They didn’t want to stop and ask the experts for directions.
If you or your parents are approaching this time in their lives where you might need to become more involved in their care, don’t assume you know the way. Give us a call and ask our advice. We do this daily. Chances are we have already seen a family facing a similar situation as you are now facing. We can help.
William G. Nolan
Elder Law Attorney
Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning LLC
200 Office Park Drive, Suite 303
Mountain Brook, AL 35223