Elder Law Practice of
Douglas R Jones &
Cynthia Orlicek Jones

This Family Gathering’s just a bit off…

As we get busier and busier, it seems like the good old-fashioned family gathering happens less and less. While that may seem like a dream come true for some people, it creates potential danger for some…

It seems like the holidays are a distant memory. As we are a month and a half into February, your next Family Gathering may seem like light years away, right? Until you realize that Easter is just around the corner. Then 4th of July will be here. Before we all know it, the kids will be starting school and we will be planning the next festive event.

Is your family getting together this year for any holidays? Did you guys get-together last year? I saw a quote recently from AAA that stated that nearly 51 million families traveled a couple years ago to Grandma’s house (or somewhere) for their annual pilgrimage. At the family gathering, they carve the ham or the turkey and visit. Sometimes they stay a day or two, then everyone heads back home.

Most families will enjoy their short trip and except for gaining a few pounds as a result of eating a third piece of pumpkin pie, they will be no worse for the wear.  However, other families may encounter something a little different this year at Grandma’s house. Maybe you noticed something peculiar, but weren’t really sure?

I can’t quite put my finger on it…

At their family gathering, some families may notice that Grandma is not as on top of her game as she has been in the past.  In previous years, her home would pass anyone’s white glove inspection – not so much this year. Maybe her award winning casserole won’t win any awards this year.  Maybe last year, she didn’t even recognize some of the grandkids and really appeared to be somewhat disheveled and confused.

After the dishes were cleared away, the kids gather on Mom’s back porch and have a conversation. “What is going on with Mom?” The out of town kids express disbelief; they can’t believe that it’s this bad. “She sounded fine on our weekly phone calls”. The local kids begin saying, “I told you so!” The kids talked to Mom individually and as a group to ask her how things were going and whether everything was OK.  They got the standard answer of “Everything is fine.”

The kids had an uneasy feeling that everything wasn’t OK, but they didn’t know where to start.  Should they just chalk it up to “Mom just had a bad day” and then go back home? The question of the day was, “What should we do next?” No one had the answer.

Next Step

Out of 51 million out-of-town family gatherings at Grandma’s house this year, how often do you think the above scenario will play out? The most accurate figure that I can come up with is, too many!

The even scarier part of noticing that Grandma isn’t quite herself is when the family finds out that Grandma doesn’t have any financial nor healthcare documents in place. Too many times we don’t notice the issues in our Loved Ones until it is too late, then we must take drastic measures.

I implore you to talk to your family members about creating an estate plan and a healthcare plan. At the next family gathering, you can share your concern and the proactive steps that you are taking to prepare yourself. Contact your local Elder Law Attorney right away. Arkansas residents, click the button below to schedule a FREE 10-minute phone consultation with one of our staff.

“If you live long enough, you’ll probably lose capacity to make decisions for yourself. Some die early enough not to worry… Have you planned for either scenario? Unfortunately for most people, the answer is no… We can help!” – Doug & Cindy

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