Get the Phone Numbers of Mom or Dad's Friends and Neighbors: This Could be Your Elder Care Companion

There may be more than one "free" elder care companion living in your aging parent's building or town. My Mom's friends and neighbors are very reassuring for us. Mom is in her 80’s and lives alone in her apartment about 1500 miles away.

She has a few good friends that she visits with every week. She also has a few people she knows in the building. Each of them kind of checks on each other regularly. She sees a couple of them every single day. They all know a little about each other’s families and activities.

I know some of them, have been introduced to some of them, and have heard about some others in conversation. When Mom comes to visit, or goes on vacation, she will ask one or more of her friends to watch “her stuff”- notice the apartment, get her mail, collect the newspaper and such.

A few years ago she had a canary as a pet and the friend would come in every day to care for it.

These people are very important to my Mom. They are Mom's friends and neighbors. But one or more can also be my elder care companion. Mom is very concerned about how they are doing. She gets quite upset when they are admitted to the hospital or have some other change in their routine.

My sister, who lives closer, has arranged with a couple of her close friends to get their telephone numbers and apartment numbers. This can be very helpful in the time of an emergency.

If we call Mom and she doesn’t answer and we call a few times and she still doesn’t answer and she didn’t say she would be out somewhere, then we can phone her friend. We can ask if the friend knows anything about this or would she be so kind as to knock on Mom’s apartment door to check on her.

A couple of her friends have a spare key to Mom’s apartment so they can let themselves in to make sure she’s all right. Her friends and neighbors always seem glad to help, although Mom sometimes seems a bit reluctant to ask them.

It’s reassuring to have this back-up in place and to have other people’s help with my caregiving.

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