Tuesday, May 08, 2007

125 death is all consuming

My mom and I finally met with an elder-care lawyer yesterday for advice on how to proceed with the inevitable; putting my dad in a home, having him die, what happens to the house and my parents' life savings.
It's not pretty.
I am so ANGRY about this. My parents worked hard their whole lives, saving money when they could, making their home nice (it's no mansion, but it's a decent place, bigger than mine), only to have everything consumed by this disease and the slow way it is killing my father. It's not fair. It's not right.
It's not about me, either. Yes, I did have it in the back of my head that some day my parents would die and I'd get their house, which I could sell for a nice chunk of change for my own retirement (given my mom's family's longevity, that's truer than you'd think--my grandma's still going at 89 and my mom's barely at retirement age). Of course that would be great, not that I ever want someone to die so I can get their stuff--that's just morbid. And my parents wanted me to have everything they worked for once it wasn't necessary to them anymore.
But that's all gone now. There will never be an inheritance for me. Just documents to sign, information put into my brain that I don't want to know. I don't want to make medical decisions for my parents, I don't want know anything about living wills and medical powers of attorney. I don't want to plan and pre-pay for my parents' funerals. I want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand. I don't want to be told that once I have these powers that I can't leave the country because if I'm not available the power that I don't want in the first place will be taken from me if there's an emergency while I'm gone, and my parents' wishes won't be respected if I'm not right there to force someone to listen. So this goddamn disease is not only stealing my father's brain and life, my mother's peace of mind and her home, but my experiences swimming with sting rays in Grand Cayman and climbing pyramids in Mexico.
The cost of Alzheimer's? Everything you ever owned, everything you ever thought you would get, and things you never even thought about.


Anonymous said...

Bert, anger is the right reaction. The reason I'm blogging is that I'm still searching for the silver lining. Take care of yourself...

Marvel said...

Not to add to your load but please, PLEASE get guardianship papers for your parents and for your grandmother, too. Also, a lawyer could handle POA duties temporarily if you were out of the country. If you don't want a lawyer, find a trusted friend or relative.

It may have been brought up by the attorney you have but it wasn't in our case years ago when POA, Will, etc. were made. Now we have to petition the court to gain guardianship of Grandma because even though she is very much demented, she still has all her legal rights as an adult. In our state, guardianship must be assigned by the court. For example, for her to be placed in a care facility or to make other decisions in her best interest, but against her will (which changes from moment to moment). We asked why she couldn't just sign guardianship papers now, since she still has all her rights. We were told by the new attorney that it would backfire because we KNOW she is not fully competent. Talk about a catch-22 and an added expense!

If she would agree to care this wouldn't even be an issue. However, she insists she can take care of herself, her son is just a liar, not to mention that she doesn't even have a local doctor.

I feel your frustration, anger, sadness and loss.


Anonymous said...

Your post brings up the dawning truth that most of us haven't thought about yet. Alzheimer's has been pegged as a disease of the elderly, you won't have to worry about it til your older, a senior citizen. Not so. This disease is hosted by our parents, but the consequences and effects of it are realized by their children. The full emotional and economic devastation of this disease is OUR future. Pretty scary.

Mauigirl said...

I hear you. I lost my dad two years ago to Alzheimer's. He was in a nursing home the last year of his life due to having fallen and broken his leg when he got up in the middle of the night. Of course no money was left afterward, and they had a reverse mortgage on their house anyway, which my mom had to default on by declaring bankruptcy. Now she is living in a senior citizen apartment building (which is down the street from me, which is great) but the house sold at a sheriff's sale and there is certainly no inheritance, not that I was counting on one anyway. Now my husband's mom has Alzheimer's so we're going through the same journey all over again with his family. We are both only children so it's very hard. You have my sympathies and empathy.

Kay said...

All the posts are so on-target. The loved one has the disease, the family has the stress. My Mom slowly passed away - - 5 long years. I had all the legal stuff done, but there were times when I made the right decision and the medical world looked at me as though I was a monster. Long journey - - for you and your Mom. A long journey of recovery as well once your father is no longer living in this world.

Anonymous said...

Please see a lawyer soon, someone who specializes in trusts and estates or elder law. You can save your parents' home if it is deeded over to you now. Your mother can live there for the rest of her life, or until she goes into a nursing home, if necessary. You can preserve most of your father's estate but you have to get a good lawyer. It's not about getting your parents' "stuff," it's about preserving what they're saved all their lives for.
My husband is a lawyer and we were able to save most of my father's estate after he got dementia and had to go into a nursing home for a year before he died. Too many people lose everything when Alzheimer's strikes. It doesn't have to happen.
Good luck. Your blog is awesome.