I am seeking someone who can help my family plan for my elderly father’s care. He is currently in assisted living in Vermont but will run out of money in the next couple of years ….
— Far Away
I am seeking someone who can help my family plan for my elderly father’s care. He is currently in assisted living in Vermont but will run out of money in the next couple of years and will have to leave his assisted living facility. We would like someone with expertise about the different options open to him for when his money runs out to start planning for this possibility. He is physically quite well for an 88 year old, but he has significant cognitive issues and normal pressure hydrocephalus. I live in Seattle, but my siblings live in New England. We would love to hear from you.
Barbara: All those years when you were caregiving for Daddy, I always wanted to jump on the plane and come and be with you. It was so hard being far away.
Dearie: I know that’s what you wanted, but it wasn’t necessary.
Barbara: You always said that, but it still didn’t feel right. For me, I just wanted to be there. I wanted to know and see what was happening.
Dearie: I know. But you came when you could and you and I had many phone visits that were really helpful to me.
Barbara: Was I really that helpful? I just remember feeling that I wanted to make everything better.
Dearie: You were a good listener and you were there with me at the end when Daddy was in the hospital. Things changed quickly, decisions needed to be made, we weren’t sure what would happen next.
Barbara: We tried to plan, but I guess you can’t plan for everything.
Dearie: You only can do the best you can at the time. And I think we did. I know you miss Daddy.
Barbara: Yes I do. Should I tell this daughter not to worry. Not to hop on the plane.
Dearie: Yes, I think that’s exactly what you should tell her. And let her know that if her father, or her brothers and sisters want her there, if her father is in a crisis, then that would be the time to come. But for now, when they are planning ahead for his changes and needs, it’s ok for her to be where she is and work with her family on the things she can do from the distance. She has a life to live with her own friends and family. And that is as important for her to keep that going. I know that’s hard to hear.
Barbara: Oh, Mama, it’s such a tug on the heart. Looking back, I guess – I hope – we did the best we could at the time. Seems to me this family is trying to think ahead, but about different kinds of decisions. There are finances involved, choices about where he can live and his memory problems.
Dearie: We’ve been lucky, haven’t we, so far, money hasn’t been a problem for me but it’s always a worry.
Barbara: Mama, I’ve told you over and over, you don’t need to worry. You have enough if you ever need it for getting help at home or needing to move.
Dearie: I know you say that, but it’s still a worry and I try to be careful.
Barbara: I know you do Mama. I don’t mean to be stern, I just want you to relax a little.
Dearie: I know, sweetie, I’ll try. Just like you, all the children in this family are working together. I’m glad for the father. His kids care.
Barbara: Yes, that helps a lot and they know they need to do some planning instead of being surprised by a big change. It might not prevent all crises, but it is an important step. I wonder if they have been to a lawyer and completed their father’s advance directives with him.
Dearie: I remember doing that with you, it wasn’t fun. It seemed like an unnecessary amount of paper work, but you kept telling me how important it was.
Barbara: That’s right, because having signed those papers gives you guidance when decisions need to be made.
Dearie: I just want to let this family know they are doing a good job of taking care of their father. Says a lot about love.
Barbara: Yes it does, Mama.