Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Sorority Sisters Reach Out to Isolated Woman

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom lives thousands of miles away from me, and I visit her once a year. While I’m there, I handle all of the fix-it work around the house. This visit, I noticed that there are some basic things that aren’t getting done. My mom is healthy and strong, but she is getting older -- in her 70s. I see that she hasn’t kept up with little chores like regularly putting out the trash or properly scrubbing the kitchen floor -- things that are important to be handled on a regular basis. I am the only child, and I’m too far away to help her. What do you recommend I do? -- Mom Needs Help

DEAR MOM NEEDS HELP: As our parents age, this is a common challenge. Care starts with the little things and, over time, the needs grow. Look into community support first. Does your mother belong to a church? Perhaps they have a service that supports elders at home. Contact the local government to see what services may be available for your mom. Since she is healthy, the government may not be a viable option.

Look into apps that are available that offer all kinds of a la carte tasks. Check to see if TaskRabbit, Takl or other such services are available in her area. These allow you to order a range of tasks for a particular fee at a specific time. Prices vary depending on the task and the location.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)