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Transcript: Chat With AARP President Rob Romasco on Caregiving

Missed the Dec. 11 conversation? Read the transcript

Comment From Guest: If I am looking to approach my Dad about his driving, how do I start the convo?

Rob Romasco: Successful family conversations begin with good preparation and caring communication.

If this is your first time broaching this subject, try using a simple conversation starter, such as "Did you hear about the car accident in the news today?"

Headline news about accidents can provide an opportunity to explore your dad's attitudes about unfit drivers and the question of who can help them decide when to relinquish the keys.

Or try, "How did Granddad stop driving?"

This opener may provide an opportunity to reveal personal feelings about driving and family intervention.

Keep in mind that hearing sensitive information from the right person can make a big difference, so be careful in selecting the person who will initiate the discussion with your dad.

Keep in mind that research indicates that 50 percent of married drivers prefer to hear about driving concerns first from their spouses. Doctors are a close second, followed by adult children. You can learn more by taking our free We Need to Talk seminar online.

Comment From Susan: I am my mother's caregiver 24/7 in San Antonio, Texas. She goes to a senior center four times a week and loves it. How do I get my five siblings to come down here in Texas from Milwaukee to care for her so my husband and I can take a trip for a week? I am getting every excuse in the book from them!

Rob Romasco: Susan, getting family involved can be challenging and by the sound of it, you definitely need some time to take a trip with your husband.

One of our caregiving experts, Dr. Barry Jacobs, recently did a chat and covered a similar question.

His advice – write your siblings an old-fashioned hard-copy letter and mail it to them.

Request help and give them a list of specific things that would be helpful – coming to stay with her, paying for certain expenses or help so you can be away, etc.

Tell them the stakes are high and as your mother’s full-time caretaker, you definitely deserve a break and some help from them. I’m hopeful they respond in some way!

Dr. Jacobs also did a recent blog post about this very topic. Hoping this will give you some tips.

Comment From John: My mother is on a very limited income, only receiving her Social Security checks, and I've been without work for nearly a year, so I'm not in a position to supplement her income. Are there resources you can share to help me help her with supplemental food and meals?

Rob Romasco: Hunger is a real risk for older adults. Many programs exist to help support people through tough times. We encourage everyone to screen themselves and their loved ones for eligibility.

Benefits QuickLINK screens people of all ages – and is open for anyone to use regardless of membership – for programs that may benefit them. Use this free tool to complete a confidential prescreening for eligibility and to learn what nutrition programs you may be eligible for – as well as how to apply in your state.

It also guides you to information about benefits that can save money on health care, medication, utilities and more.

Next: How can I find kind people who would simply visit my mom in her home? »

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