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Showing posts from July, 2017

M-I-C...K-E-Y.....MOUSE

When I started as a social worker in a nursing home many years ago, Alzheimer's Disease wasn't as studied as it is today.  There were many in the nursing home diagnosed with "probable Alzheimer's" or "senile dementia" but we had no special unit, programming, or training for these patients.  They were mingled within the general population of chronically ill and, as this was a time before assisted living was prevalent, Medicaid recipients with no where more appropriate to go.

As the Social Services Director I also served as the Admissions Director and met with all families as they brought their family members to the nursing home under a variety of circumstances.  One family member, Anne, came to meet with me as her mom was admitted to the nursing home.  Her mom had been found walking far from her home, again, and was not able to tell responding police where she lived.  Anne and her mom, Shirley, had been estranged for a number of years for a number of rea…

Respect the Stuff

I'm currently working with a sweet couple, married over 60 years, who spent their lives in service to our country.  In their extended travels with the military, they lived in several foreign countries and their spacious home is filled with beautiful pieces of furniture and art.  Recognizing that they were in need of a little more assistance with managing day-to-day life, they contacted me to help them find the right assisted living facility.

As we toured beautiful facilities that would be perfect for their needs, they grew more and more disappointed with each option we explored - the apartments were "so small!"  After briefly touching on the concept of downsizing, of bringing just what you need, and letting go of the furniture that remains, I knew I had lost them.  They simply cannot bring themselves to part with these items that help define their life together.  The search stopped and they remain at home, with a growing village of providers trying to help them manage da…

Who's in charge here?

My automatic response to "Who Is In Charge Here?" is typically - "The Senior."  (Unless you are standing in my home, in which case I would point to The Pug...)   Whether they are making the decision in current time or through decisions discussed and memorialized in the past, the one in charge is the senior loved one.

This goes back to planning.  Families must engage their senior loved ones in a conversation about their wishes and goals.  We need to have tough conversations sometimes - mom and dad want to stay at home "til they come out feet first!" - and we cannot bend to agreeing or promising that this will happen when we just don't know how life is going to play out.  If a plan is created and financial planning shows that it is an affordable option, well, then - it is just that, an option.  If the financial plan does not support the expense of staying home, a conversation must be had regarding other options.  Assisted living?  Moving in with family?…

Failing to plan is planning to.....

Today, I spoke to a woman who is in the middle of crisis.  She briefly explained how her mom had been in an assisted living facility, but had run out of funds so now mom is at home with her.  Mom has a very small amount of money from social security and another small stipend, both totaling just over $1,000/month.  She had to get off the phone quickly as she was babysitting her granddaughter and her mother was calling for assistance.

This is a situation that used to surprise me.  For the last couple of years, it has been the story that precedes the words, "Can you help me?"  The short answer is probably not.  The long answer involves a series of solutions that should have been sought out quite a while ago.  Waiting to make a plan is one of the most common pitfalls I run into.  If you are planning senior care when you are out of money, it is too late.  If you are planning senior care when your loved one is 80, it may be too late.

Even those who believe they have planned adequa…

First run....

Learning something new is a challenge.  This blog will be my current challenge.  Thank you, CW, for the words of advice and for kindly cajoling me to embrace that which is social media...

In my daily work, I encounter family members who are challenged by their current circumstances - caring for an elderly parent or loved one.  A lifetime of shortcomings and celebrations flood our  memories as we look at our parents in the twilight of life.  This is a light in which we've never seen them before; it's breathtaking in both a beautiful and devastating way.   Some daughters dwell on not having spoken to their mother for years and find themselves in the impossible situation of understanding their mother's needs; some sons struggle with seeing their father in declining health and firmly believe that dad will get better.  On occasion, there is the poignant circumstance where the adult child and parent enjoy a strong relationship and work together to find the solution to the care n…