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Mom is the first person in our life. Often, we are the last person in hers. There are many practical ways to show your elderly mom you care at Mother’s Day.

One-third of American women age 65 are expected to live to at least 90. We may not be able to care for Mom then, certainly not 24/7. But we can help her now to arrange for whatever type of care she might need in the future.

What more loving Mother’s Day gift could there be?

Check to make sure that your mother has a Medical Power of Attorney, attaching a letter outlining her values and priorities and a list of the people she wants to be able to call and visit whether she is at home, in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. (Read more about Staying in Charge of Your Medical Care.)

Help her look over her a Durable [Financial] Power of Attorney. Make sure that it provides for a backup, a successor agent, and for accountings to be sent to your mother’s tax preparer and the successor agent. Make sure that it allows the agent to handle your mother’s taxes, redirect her mail should she move, and adjust her assets to make her eligible for VA benefits or Medicaid should she need them. Make sure that it allows her agent to access her online accounts – and that that person knows how to find her usernames and passwords. (Read more about Durable Powers of Attorney and Gifts.)

Talk with her about what could be done to make her home safe and more comfortable. A surprising number of people do not have grab bars, shower chairs, levered faucets and door handles or other simple, low cost items which would help them stay home longer. Check for loose rugs and cords over which someone could trip. Make sure that light switches are easy to reach. Talk about whether a MedAlert or Siri or Alexa which could call you or 911 would make you more comfortable.

See that her medicine bottles are easy to read and easy to open. Note whether she could use Meals on Wheels, transportation to doctor appointments, church or activities at a senior center. If she is not exercising, introduce her to classes on YouTube or at the Y and consider buying her stretching bands and weights.

Talk with her about her interests and hobbies, activities and acquaintances. Years ago, she brought you life. Now you can bring more life to her years.


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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