Monday, September 03, 2012

Alzheimer's Aunt, the continuing saga

In the past few days, things have continued to go downhill with my aunt.  She asked me to come over and cancel the newspaper.  But when I called and was leaving a message, she didn't know her cell phone number to have them call back.  She gave the house number, which is not working.  My cousin went over there to search for paid and/or unpaid bills but was unsuccessful.  Alzheimer's Aunt claimed to have seen an ATT bill but she couldn't read it and no one can find it.  She can't operate her cell phone. I took a photo of the buttons and blew it up huge in Photoshop, to full page size, but she can't seem to connect the button positions on the paper with what's on her phone.  She doesn't understand the pound sign (#) either.
We have made an appointment with the same wonderful elder care lawyer we used for my dad and grandma (and even my mom) for 2 weeks out to discuss what paperwork needs to be done. (If anyone is in CT and needs a great elder care lawyer I'll gladly give you her information.)
I was going to make an appointment with a geriatric doctor for basically, an emergency because that's what it's becoming, and now we find out that her health insurance from work ended a few days ago and apparently she has never applied for Medicare or Social Security so she has no income anymore (her golden handshake included a year's pay, which she spent on who knows what) or medical insurance right now.  She is supposed to have a pension from work, she doesn't know how much or how to get it, and she can't seem to manage a phone call to her place of employment and she insists on driving down there in person (which none of us want her to do).  The appointment now can't get made, meaning no solid diagnosis of what exactly is wrong with her can't happen either.  Her downward slide is very frightening.
I'm working on a plan to deal with her hoard.  It's going to have to happen.  It's a 3 bedroom house with a living room, kitchen, dining room and 2 bathrooms.  1 bathroom, at least two bedrooms, and the dining room are filled (not sure about the basement, but it's probably bad, along with the garage).  She wants to move to senior housing but she doesn't understand she'll have to get rid of 95% or more of her hoard--she'll get 2 rooms of space at a senior place--if she's lucky.  She might get a studio, which is one big room.  I'm  desperate enough to call in one of the Hoarding shows but I don't think my cousins will allow that.  Of course who will have to clean the hoard?  Oh, Bert doesn't work and she's so close, she can do it. Toxic mold?  Dead cats?  She can deal.
Apparently a few days ago Alzheimer's Aunt decided she needed to know how much money she had.  She walked uptown and went to every bank asking them if she had an account there and if not would they "go on the computer" and look up her balance and she was very angry that they "weren't nice" to her.  She is lucky no one called the cops and reported her as a crazy person.  Which, at this stage, for all intents, she is.
One of my best friends hasn't had a car in 2 months--she's a single mom on a single income and her engine blew.  I tried to get Alzheimer's Aunt to sell her car to my friend, who would gladly make payments (giving my aunt a small income, in cash even) but now she insists she'll drive again.  Which she won't.  Hopefully the doctor (when we can get her there!) will concur and then I can help AA with money (ending also her car insurance and car tax payments) and get my friend some transportation.
We took Alzheimer's Aunt shopping.
"What store are we at?" at the front door.
"Stop and shop."
Halfway through, "What store is this?"
"Stop and shop."
"This store is too big, I can't shop here, I'm too confused.  It's too crowded." (It wasn't crowded at all.)
Standing on the curb as we left the store "Where are we?"
The next day, "I need to go to the drug store, I'm out of so many things" like she hadn't just been in the grocery store.
I saw her last night and again today.  She had the same clothes on.  It's so very very sad.  Plus, to be utterly selfish, my grandma died 6 months ago, and my mom and I spent NINE YEARS between my grandma and my dad taking care of someone who wasn't quite right.  I simply don't have it in me to do this again.  If I believed in a traditional god, I would ask him, why me?  Do you really think I am this strong?  But the gods I do believe in work in different ways.  There is a purpose, but what it is I can't imagine.  Unless someone offers me a job based on my excellent blogging here. Hint, hint.

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