As a rule, I use these blogs to share my insights about caring for the elderly among us, here in Rochester and Monroe County. Often, that care responsibility falls to the next of kin… daughters or sons. We also know that sometimes there is no next of kin present or, the kin that is present isn’t up to the challenge. That’s when we bring in our Surrogate Son. That’s who we’d like to introduce you to here.

Ralph doesn’t work for us. But we wish he did.

Our Surrogate Son is a fellow named Ralph Ercolano. We’ve known him for more than a decade. We’ve worked with him for that long, too.

Like he, himself, says, “I do what a loving son will do. I just get paid for doing it!” That quip really tells the entire story.

To be crystal clear: Ralph does not touch his (or our) clients. He is not a ‘hands-on’ caregiver. (You need a license to do that in most states.) That said, though, Ralph jumps in and does all the tasks older folks need help doing. We’ve seen him accompany his clients to see their doctor, sit-in on the appointment (if asked to) and then e-mail his narrative of the appointment to the client’s family, along with the physician’s Visit Notes.

Ralph’s compassion informs his effectiveness. 

We have watched Ralph arrive in a client setting where the spouse recently died.

When no one else can, he helps the survivor make their way through all of the paperwork that accompanies a death, then gently makes sure affairs are settled to the personal liking of the surviving spouse. When necessary, Ralph will recommend legal or financial professionals who are as thoughtful as he is.

If you’ve been talking with your parent or loved one about getting a computer and learning how to use ‘that new e-mail stuff you kids use’, Ralph is up to the task. Your mom or dad probably doesn’t need a gaming computer to simply communicate with you. So, Ralph helps them find equipment that’s good enough to do the job but gentle on the wallet.

Ralph just knows helpful stuff.

He was on local radio and TV for years. He can even hook-up that confusing new TV/Cable box in no time… and then teach dad how to use it.

He spent 20 years in the financial services business, earning the CLU professional designation. (He sells no products.) He knows what to look for to ferret out financial misdealing and monetary hanky-panky.

He was the Board Chair for a local medical not-for-profit. So he knows his way around medical and Medicare issues that could end up saving your loved one lots and lots of money.

I’ve seen his work. It’s remarkable.

Do we like this guy? Yeah, we do. If you can’t be Johnny-on-the-spot to assist your loved one, he can. He may even get a better outcome than you might have!

So when you can’t be around to help your mom or dad or other family members, bring Ralph in. Yeah… he’s that good at what he does.

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