DEAR HARRIETTE: I am scheduled to travel for work for about a week. I travel for my job, but I have tried to scale back now that my mother is older and has some health issues. This upcoming trip is mandatory. I want to set up a support system for my mother while I am away, but I don’t have any family in my hometown. Do you think it would be all right to speak to a couple of family friends to keep an eye on her? Should I hire someone? -- Help for Mom
DEAR HELP FOR MOM: Evaluate how stable your mother’s health is. That will let you know if you should have medical support on hand, or if friends will be enough. Think about who in your network your mother would trust and who is capable of helping her in ways that will make a difference. Once you identify a couple of people, call them and check in to see if they are willing to help you out. You want to make sure that whoever you choose will be responsible and responsive.
If you cannot find the support you need, see if your mother’s insurance will pay for a visiting nurse service. If not, find out what it will cost for you to arrange for support. You can ask your mother’s doctor or at a local hospital or health center, and you can call her insurance company for referrals.