Tag Archives: alzeheimer’s

Elder Care Lawyers

 

As I mentioned in previous posts, I recently retained an elder care lawyer and I really wish that I had done this 5 years ago.  I thought of a lawyer as providing resources to help with estates, wills, probate, powers of attorney, etc.  I never thought about a lawyer helping me to navigate the financial side and helping to create plans to finance mom and dad’s future.  Even though it does cost to retain the lawyer, I feel that after what I have learned in the last 6 months, that I could definitely have saved part of their money and possibly their house if I had spoken to the correct person sooner.

I arranged for an initial conversation and agreed to pay a nominal consultation fee up front for that conversation.  I took every bit of documentation that I had for mom and dad and our meeting lasted approximately 2 hours.  We discussed, in detail, mom and dad’s financial situation, their living situation and what the future might hold.  I was immediately encouraged to hear that there were possible avenues with SSI, Medicaid and VA Benefits that I was not aware of.

The initial suggestion from the lawyer was that he take everything that I had given him and that we had discussed and he would go over all of it and then we would meet in a week to talk about a plan for the future that would consist of short term and long term goals.  Just the fact that someone had given me a glimmer of hope and that I would have someone knowledgeable guiding me lifted a great weight off of my shoulders.  I left that meeting with a renewed sense of purpose.

The next week we met again and the short term solution was to get mom and dad financially separated so that their situations could be viewed as separate entities.  That would legally allow mom to get benefits and slow down the drain from dad’s bank account.  The next step would be to get dad’s VA benefits to help supplement his current monthly income so that the little money available would last them longer.  These steps don’t take a rocket scientist to implement, but as most of you know, any government agencies and programs require convoluted, multiple steps to navigate through the process.  The lawyer quoted me a one time fee to help me through all of the processes and I readily agreed.  The fee was paid out of mom and dad’s account.

We have been working on the situation since November and we are slowly, but surely making some progress.  I have not quoted fees or exact processes here, as they both will differ depending upon where you are, the law firm that you choose and your particular situation.   I will very strongly recommend that if you are helping your parents, a spouse or your own situation that you speak with a reputable elder care lawyer for at least a consultation to see if they can help you with your individual situation.  As I said earlier, I wish that I had done this several years ago, but I didn’t even understand that I needed help or that it was available.  I think that is one of the hardest parts of dealing with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  There is a lot of information out there, but there is actually very little direct help and support.  It can be a very lonely and scary process if you don’t know where to look for help.

 

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Walk For Alzheimer’s

 

10672195_748599968521665_5968502991617183348_nToday was the 4th Annual Walk for Alzheimer’s in Fayetteville, NC.  I’ll be honest, I am not the best volunteer or supporter, but as you all know this is near and dear to my heart.  I signed up to walk a couple of months ago.  I put my fundraising goal at $100.  Within 24 hours, my brother-in-law, Ned had given $100. How wonderful, but since I had three months left before the walk, I raised my goal to $500.  My closest friends were wonderful.  I very much appreciate their support and donations.  As of last week, I was still $300 away from my goal. Jeff Wright with Southeastern Construction of Rockfish came into the office and gave me a check for $315 to put me over my goal.  With a few more donations from some coworkers, I raised over $600 by myself.    It is such a little thing, but there are times when you feel so helpless that any little thing that you can do to contribute makes you feel more in control.

   The walk was this morning and I met my business partner, Stefanie Baber, at King’s Grant, where it was held.  It was cloudy part of the morning, which did help a little because it was so hot!! It was wonderful to see so many people gathered to help raise money and to honor the cause.  It was also very emotional.  When we had the opening ceremony and they introduced a man that is currently residing in a local nursing home for Alzheimer patients and told his story, it made me cry.  I know what his wife and family are going through and I so feel for them.  Stefanie was sniveling also.  She was there to support me and to walk for her grandmother.  Next year we will become even more involved and volunteer to help plan and set up.

     There have been so many developments in so many horrible diseases that I can only hope that there will continue to be progress made towards finding a cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s.  If you have the opportunity to participate, please take a few minutes and show your support.  It helps to be around others that understand!

The Hopelessness

At the doctor’s appointment with my dad, when the horrible word “dementia” was first used, the doctor gave my mom and myself a book that he advised that we read. The book, The 36 Hour Day, is probably a wonderful book, but when I sat down the next day to begin obediently reading, I didn’t get very far. It may be a very realistic rendering of what Alzheimer’s and Dementia is like, but at that time, it was the scariest and most depressing thing that I had ever read. I need to pull it back out and try and read it again, two years down the road now and much more experienced with the disease. The next time that I visited dad, I took the book from mom and wouldn’t let her read it. She is naturally a pessimist and looks for the worst to happen. That book played right into her worse nightmares. She almost fell apart.
The doctor also made dad an appointment with a neurologist in Greenville to rule out any physical abnormalities of the brain as a cause. After a cscan, we met with the doctor and he showed me where dad had experienced lots of little mini strokes, which he considered fairly normal and not a contributing factor. The sad fact is that the definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is still at autopsy. Dad’s primary doctor had told us that there were drugs available to combat dementia and Alzeheimers, but in his opinion, besides being expensive, they would maybe slow down the disease by a couple of months at the most. When the neurologist brought up the drugs, mom and dad both wanted to have dad try them. I can’t blame them, how do you overlook anything that gives you any hope at all. At this point, I think that sometime soon in the future, I will have the doctor wean dad off of the drugs as there is not a lot that they can do now.
So, every six months, we go to the doctor so that he can check a few vitals and ask dad how he is doing. Mom, dad and I crowd into the little examining room and wait for the doctor. He walks in and looks at mom and dad and says, how are things? How’s it going? Invariably at the same time, dad smiles and says, everything is going good and mom shakes her head and says, terrible. That’s always been my parents, mom with her glass half empty and dad with his glass half full. And then the doctor will begin to ask mom to tell him what’s going on. So they sit there and discuss dad like he is not even there. The second time it happened, I asked them to stop talking in front of him like he was not even there. Because he is not completely gone yet. He still understands plenty. He knows why he is there and who we are. The doctor told me not to worry, he wouldn’t remember anyway. I told them that did not matter, if they wanted to talk about him to make a separate appointment and talk to their hearts’ content.
I have finally made my mom understand that despite everything else, we have to allow dad to keep his dignity and respect as long as possible. He has digressed rapidly over the last year, but we need to savor every hour and every day!