Rob Romasco: Hello and welcome to today's live chat on important family conversations! Thank you, everyone, for joining us today! And thank you all for all the questions that are coming in. We'll try to get to as many as we can.
AARP: We're so happy to have Rob Romasco, AARP’s president, with us today to answer your questions. The holiday season is a time for family gatherings.
Though visits may be short, it’s a good time to connect with family members, especially older parents and relatives, to assess how they are doing and what they might need.
Every family should talk about a caregiving plan for aging loved ones, if you live near or far; President Romasco will provide tips for getting the conversation started.
Rob Romasco: Let's get started!
Comment From Fe: I am the caregiver of my mother. She has lived with me for the past five years. She has a provider who comes for five hours during the day, but I need more help. I am feeling overwhelmed because I work all day and then come home and have to take care of her and my family. I am wondering who I could contact to get additional help (providers) to come in the evening to assist me. We live in Texas.
Rob Romasco: Hi, Fe. Yes – that does sound like a lot for one person to handle, and while it’s hard, I am sure your mother appreciates all you do!
Here is a great link to where and how you may find local resources for evening help: www.eldercare.gov. There is also a hotline to call if that’s easier: 800-677-1116.
Comment From Beth: My father-in-law is over 80 and still insists on driving eight hours to visit us at the holidays. His hearing is poor and he can't read road signs any longer. We are concerned about his safety while driving. How can we ask him not to drive without offending him?
Rob Romasco: Because driving represents independence and freedom for most older adults, the idea of limiting it or giving it up can be deeply emotional.
I recommend preparing yourself to approach this sensitive conversation by taking our free We Need to Talk online seminar. The seminar will give you some helpful conversation starters and other insights that can help you through this difficult topic.
Your father-in-law will be much more likely to listen and respond positively to your concerns if you have done your homework, so it will help if you’ve done some research about alternative transportation where he lives.
Since he drives long distances to see you, and it may no longer be safe, you may want to offer to purchase him a plane ticket or drive to where he lives, so he doesn't feel like he's missing out on quality family time during the holidays.
Comment from Guest: How do I get assistance with any type of food stamps program? Where do I get info?
Rob Romasco: Food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, are a critical nutrition benefit for those who qualify.
In order to see if you or someone you care about is eligible, visit AARP’s Benefits QuickLINK SNAP Map.
This confidential tool will screen you for eligibility and let you know which nutrition programs might be available to you, as well as how to apply in your state. You can also use Benefits QuickLINK to screen for other benefits that help save money on health care, medication, utilities and more.
If you or someone you care about needs emergency food assistance, there are resources available for you. Call the National Hunger Clearinghouse and Hunger Hotline at 866-348-6479 (866-3-HUNGRY) or at 877-842-6273 for Spanish (877-8-HAMBRE) if you need food today.