For the longest time, I have thought that “Hospice” was an association you called when a member of your family was about to pass away. I think most of us believe that is their function. And, we believe that they provide counseling for the family.
Okay, yes, they provide those services, but I’ve learned that they are a LOT more!
Our lawyer recommended that we contact Hospice, so My-Sister-The-Nurse made the call. In twenty-four hours, Elegante Mother had a new chair that can lift her to her feet, a nursing bed with a table, and a seat for the shower. She had three nurses who oversee her care, who have organized her medications, and a doctor who visits once a month. EM’s caregiver has help bathing EM twice a week, and both a chaplain and a music therapist come once a week. Should she need it, a podiatrist will visit. Hospice provides her medication, and all this is billed through Medicare!
Our caregiver is effusive in her thanks for receiving all this help to care for EM. Em is responding to all the visitors, conversing more than in the recent past, and interacting more with the people around her. The change in her is noticeable, and for the good.
I may have written about this before, but I just can’t say enough about Hospice and their work! I’ve been sharing this with everyone who will stand still long enough to listen to me. This morning I spoke with my exercise class, who are all old enough to need this information. The Hospice chaplain who visits with EM is willing to do a short presentation for her Empty Nesters group at church, another age appropriate audience. But, you don’t have to have retired to need to know this information. If you are caring for a family member, or if a neighbor needs assistance, please make a call to Hospice. They can help in many ways, and you don’t have to carry the burden on your own.
“We have friends that are going thru this very thing. They have to prepay anything that their mother might use (such as the funeral / burial plot and storage units – she has a lot of stuff that she refuses to get rid of). Also WS’s family went thru this several years ago (gosh, has it really been like 10 years ago?) Medicare won’t kick in until everthing that EM has has been spent, so there will be nothing left for funerals and what not if they aren’t pre-paid. It’s not a pleasant thought, trying to get everything taken care of beforehand, but it is neccessary in order to spare everyone later down the road. ”
Bogie took a moment to respond to my comments about the need to step up to the plate and take care of things for my mother, and I wanted to share my answer to her.
Bogie, for the past year it’s been really tough. I’ve worried that I was missing things that needed to be done, or that I was handling things incorrectly. Most of us don’t know the legal issues involved in taking over responsibility for our parent’s assets.
I have to tell you that I feel incredibly better having talked to the lawyer. The CPA has also given me pertinent information. I think that once I have followed through on the information, I will be able to set my worries aside, and just enjoy the time I have with Elegante Mother.
And shouldn’t that be the way it is? I want to stop worrying, and just enjoy the time we have left.
Most of you who have come to read know that Elegante Mother is developing dementia. I’m at the point where I have to begin a series of tasks that I’d like to stave off.
Tuesday, My-Sister-The-Nurse, our brother, and I will be visiting the lawyer to discuss the subject of elder law in relation to Elegante Mother. Should EM outlive her liquid assets, we have to know what steps are necessary to ask Medicaid to take over her care. EM is presently living in a senior retirement village with 24/7 care.
Unfortunately, I think it’s also time to speak with funeral home personnel to determine what we need to do to set up funeral plans. We have been advised by a number of people that we have to have these plans and funding in place before we speak to Medicaid.
EM’s demise is not imminent. I think she may be with us for some time to come, and that’s why I have encouraged my siblings to gather the information we will likely need. I think we need to give her assets and her care the same diligence we would give our own.
It’s very difficult to be thinking about these subjects in relationship to my mother. It’s very difficult to be pragmatic when in my mind I’m thinking, “I can see you in there, come out and play!” I see the flash of intelligence, the quirk of humor, the raised eyebrow that was so EM, every now and then, but soon, even those brief glimpses will go. And it’s best that we be prepared.
I’m just coasting through the work that needs to be done in January to make us ready for tax period. I am responsible for Elegante Mother’s finances, and we will be doing W2s for household help (read: caregivers) for the first time. I’ve had to apply for an EIN and we will be doing quarterly reports. It keeps me busy.
I spent several hours on Saturday printing out letters to catalogs and charities, instructing them to remove EM from their mailing lists. I’ve sent about 35 of those letters now. Sunday, I entered debit card purchases, and deposits to the Quicken program for EM, and then printed out two reports to get an idea of what was spent, and how we spent it in 2009. I’m sure that I didn’t understand just how much work there would be when I agreed to take on the power of attorney for her.
Tomorrow, the CPA will visit, and we will work on all the documents that need to be sent before the end of the month. I’ve already organized banking and investment information, and I have most of the other data needed for both our personal taxes, and EMs. It’s a relief to know that I’m ahead of the game.
I plan to visit Elegante Mother on Wednesday, taking groceries. I’ll suggest that the caregiver take a little time to herself while I visit with EM. I don’t envy the caregiver her job; it’s difficult at best.
Thursday……I can hardly wait! I plan to get reacquainted with my sewing machine and finish the seams in two small projects that have been on the design board for months! YES! I love finishing up projects.
The spate of cold weather is breaking. We are expecting warmer weather (above freezing) toward the end of the week. I’ll be happy to have the chance to break up the ice on the front sidewalk before the next storms find their way in.
Happy New Year to you all!
In just a few hours Elegante Mother will celebrate her 93rd birthday! Isn’t that fabulous!??
My grandparents lived to be about 85. I never expected my mother to outstrip that goal, but she’s still going strong at 93. Her memory is failing, but she is able to get around under her own steam, and she’s doing well with her new caregiver.
We’re blessed that Elegante Mother is still with us. Send a prayer on its way for her to have more birthdays, won’t you?
I am SO pleased to tell you that we have found a new caregiver for Elegante Mother! She is responding so well that it’s as though someone flipped a switch! I have tremendous guilt that we didn’t act on this sooner, but we might not have found this treasure if we’d booted the previous caregiver sooner.
A number of problems cropped up recently when Caregiver #1 discovered that she was going to have to pay part of her taxes. I failed to withhold taxes from her check, so WE will pay the lion’s share of taxes for this bimbo, but she is angry that she will have to pay her own federal and state withholding. I have no empathy for her. She will tell you she is proud to be an American in one breath, and in the next, she will tell you “I no pay taxes; I have mortgage!”
The final straw occurred the morning she was to leave. I arrived to visit with EM so that she had company as Caregiver #1 left and then Caregiver #2 arrived. EM was practically comatose! She was hard to rouse, and when her eyes finally opened, she could barely focus on pictures of birds in the “Birds and Blooms” magazine I was sharing with her. When My-Sister-The-Nurse arrived and helped EM to wash and dress, EM was so shaky after the short walk to her chair that I thought we might loose her.
MSTN was checking the box we use to dispense medicine and she discovered that Caregiver #1 had been over-medicating EM. She was getting twice the appropriate dose of one of the meds.
I’m happy to tell you that as time passed, EM became brighter. A quick lunch helped to settle her blood sugar, and she began to take notice of what what happening around her. By 3:00 in the afternoon she was chatting with her new caregiver. They seem to be getting along famously!
We are so fortunate to have found someone that EM likes, who is able to care for her in the manner we expect. I hope this relationship will be long-lived, and that both sides will be content with the situation. It’s a relief to know that EM is in good hands!