DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My grandma still lives in the house she raised my mom and uncle in. Now, she is alone there and when the bad weather hits, she is not able to shovel her walk and front porch so she can get out if she needs to.
There was a family that used to live right next-door to her and their teenage kids would always make sure Grandma got shoveled out. They would even get her car cleaned off — all free of charge.
There is a new family in their house now, with kids about the same age as the ones who moved out, and the first time it snowed after they got there, they knocked on my grandmother’s door and asked how much she would pay them to shovel her walk.
She was sort of hurt by this. Maybe she was spoiled, but what is happening to people these days that they don’t think about helping their neighbors?
Having good people next-door to my grandma was peace of mind for my family, but we don’t have much confidence in the new people. I don’t know what else she can do, but I want to say something to those neighbors the next time I make the drive to see Grandma. I guess that wouldn’t help though, would it? --- WHAT’S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?
DEAR WHAT’S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?: Although you’re clearly concerned, your approaching the neighbors may not make any difference.
Some communities have help available to seniors when it comes to clearing snow and other as-needed home maintenance issues, provided either fee-free or for a voluntary donation. If none of your family lives near your grandmother, you could check around to see if any churches, youth organizations, or senior service centers provide the kind of help your grandmother needs during the winter months.
If, however, the best she can do is hire the kids next-door, you might want to make sure everyone agrees on a reasonable and set rate, so there’s less chance of your grandmother being taken advantage of.