I am a fan of Washington Post writer and advice columnist, Carolyn Hax, whose column often appears in our Spokesman-Review. Today’s column addressed an older sibling’s feelings of helplessness when his younger brother received a cancer diagnosis. Ms. Hax advised the older brother to focus on what he could “count on and control.”
Ms. Hax’s sage analysis was:
1) “You can’t keep bad things from happening to you, but you can make the best choices available to you at any given time.” and
2) “You can’t keep bad things from happening to people you love, but you can be there so they don’t have to go through them alone.”
In elder law, some days are just about sickness and sadness. I often do not meet people at their best. People do not always respond well to crisis, particularly when it requires an adult child to step up and parent his or her parent.
However, my responsibility, and what I am trained to do, is to try to give every client (and family) peace of mind, especially when things are not peaceful. This might be about how to avoid bad things. More often, it is about what choices are now available. I provide legal solutions if there is a legal problem. Sometimes what the work requires is just the encouragement to walk the path with a loved one, no matter how long it will take, so the loved one is not alone. Moreover, to care for the caregiver along the way.
You cannot keep bad things from happening, nor often, can I. The reason people seek the help of an elder law attorney is to leverage not only our skills, but also our compassion. We help you focus on what you can count on and control. This is truly the ‘peace of mind’ business.