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Choosing the Right Intervention

Judie Rappaport
February 6, 2011


There are two intervention "givens:"   

1.      The more help your mother needs, the more resistant she will be to

       accepting it.

2.      No good deed goes unpunished.

Preventive Interventions

If you look both ways before crossing a street, lock your doors at night, or refuse to eat spoiled food, you're intervening to prevent problems. For your parent, Preventive Intervention may include:

·         Estate planning to help protect your parent's financial future

·         Advance Directives to assure your parent's wishes are honored

·         Appoint Healthcare Surrogate to act when your parent can no longer

        make decisions

·         Appoint Durable Power of Attorney to make legal/financial decisions if

        your parent is incapacitated

·         Add your name to your parent's bank and investment accounts so you      have access to the funds your need for care if your parent becomes ill

For all the above, it's best to consult a Trust & Estate or Elder Law attorney in the state where your parent resides. 

Partial Interventions

As we age, it's not unusual to need help in some areas and still remain functionally independent in most other areas of life. Partial Intervention is often all parents need to age at home. These examples will help you create other partial interventions:

·         Providing transportation maintains Mom's lifeline to food, doctors, and

        friends-- all needed for independent living.

·         Assisting with yard work, internal disrepair (loose tiles, burned out light

        bulbs), can help prevent accidents.

·         Helping pay bills can prevent defaults on health/homeowners insurance

        and reduce exposure to exploitation and scams.

·         Making extra portions of family dinners for Mom can help maintain her


·         A home care worker can help Mom maintain her hygiene and nutrition.

Gently explain to Mom how accepting a little help now will help her remain independent in her home.

Total Intervention

If your parent is incapacitated (unable to make safe/sound decisions on her own behalf), contact a healthcare professional and an Elder Law attorney for guidance on Total Intervention.  Log on to to find Board Certified Elder Law Attorneys.

Do not intervene alone: ask for help from loved ones and professionals and always give yourself the credit you deserve for taking on this difficult job.  


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