Dad Couldn’t Live on His Own Anymore
My dad lives in Athens, Georgia. My siblings and I live elsewhere. As Dad started getting up there in years, we tried to stay engaged with long distance phone calls and periodic visits. Dad isn’t into the latest technology. There’s no Zoom or Facetime. Without any face-to-face contact, even over video, it was hard to know what was really going on. There were three clues that things weren’t going so well.
First, I work in finance, and I could sense that Dad was struggling to manage his money. Dad wasn’t one to share financial information with me or my siblings, but I could tell there were problems. Eventually, he let me take a closer look at his finances. Dad comes from a generation that values tangible assets more than intangible assets, and I discovered that Dad was taking his cash flow and investing it back into his house. He thought he was doing the right thing—building wealth—but it wasn’t the best move for him. When you’re elderly, it's not about the assets that you have, it's about your cash flow. It didn’t take long to see that he had insufficient cash flow. He was using all his cash to pay for home improvements that wouldn’t pay for themselves.
Second, Dad still had his driver's license, and he still owned a car. During one of my visits, I noticed that his car had several dents in the side. These dents hadn’t been there the last time I visited, and Dad hadn’t mentioned being in any fender benders. I became concerned that his driving skills were significantly diminished. To make matters worse, Dad lived out in the country. Going anywhere meant driving, and it was obvious that he couldn't do that anymore in a safe manner.
The final thing clue involved his prescriptions. When my siblings and I would ask him whether he was taking his medications, his answers told us that he was having trouble.
The situation came to a head about a year ago when I stopped in to visit. There were more dents in his car and there were other signs that he was having trouble living independently. Like a lot of older folks, he wasn’t forthcoming about the problems he was having. He told us what we wanted to hear, but we could see that things weren’t going well.
During the visit, it was clear that my dad couldn’t live safely on his own anymore. My siblings and I were able to convince Dad that moving to an assisted living facility might be the best way to preserve his independence. As we researched assisted living facilities in the Athens area, we asked the people we met for recommendations for an elder law firm. Dad’s estate documents weren’t in order, and we needed help qualifying Dad for VA Aid and Attendance benefits. The facilities we contacted gave us the names of two law firms. After meeting with both firms, we chose Kimbrough Law.
Initially, our engagement with Kimbrough Law was focused on getting the estate documents in order, things like the Will, Powers of Attorney, the Advance Directive. During that process, we were introduced to Mary Jo Johnson, a Kimbrough Law staff member who handled care coordination.
After we finalized Dad’s estate documents in December 2021, my siblings and I realized that we needed more help. None of us live in Athens and we needed someone local to serve as an advocate for Dad. In February 2022, we engaged Mary Jo to serve as our care coordinator. We have been very happy with our decision to retain Kimbrough Law. We are grateful for everything they have done for us. We all sleep better at night.