Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Have a Date!

It's official! Move-in Day at the Assisted Living Facility (ALF) is Monday!  We are beyond excited... although when I phoned my grandmother and asked, "How would you like to move to Southridge on Monday or Tuesday?" she replied, "Well, it don't matter..."  Oh, yes, it does.  In the words of my witty cousin Natalie, "Oh, yes!  Your 'good clothes' are labeled, and we're moving!"

We got official confirmation from the appropriate offices at Medicaid - in writing - so all systems are "GO" for a move-in on Monday.  My husband and I will start bright and early that morning, and with help from my sister, we hope to have Mam-ma settled in her new apartment by dinner time.

Mam-ma asked me... "Who's gonna help GREG move me?"  I told her, "I am!"  She replied, "YOU are!  Hmmpphh!  Well... y'all just beat all I've ever seen!"  Mam-ma doesn't think I am able to do anything "physical" or "manly".  I assured her that Greg and I have moved numerous times, and "we've got this down to a science!"  She just laughed.  She will not believe it... probably even after we have her settled.

So we are resting and relaxing as much as possible and preparing for a busy week... but one that will have tons of benefits, I'm sure.  Pray for all of us... especially Mam-ma as she makes this monumental move... and I'll keep you posted.

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Meanwhile, the mother of one of my dearest friends has been hospitalized with bleeding ulcers.  At 85, this woman has a number of health issues, and my friend is concerned about her present living conditions.  She said, "I don't even know where to begin to get help." 

I told my friend that admission to an Assisted Living Facility (which would be ideal) could take several months.  Meanwhile, her mother needs help now.  I recommended Home Health services, some sort of "life alert" device, and Meals on Wheels.  I gave her the contact numbers for these agencies.  I also recommended that she begin to get her mother's papers and finances in order.  She was astounded at the list of papers I suggested she assemble, and she made notes accordingly.  I pointed out that she will need these for any applications she makes... and, should something happen to her, these papers would need to be centrally located anyway for the person charged with her mother's care.

Here is the list of things I suggested she have handy:
  • her mother's living will - attached to the refrigerator door where EMTs and other official personnel can readily see it
  • a complete list of medications and information for her mother, known allergies, past surgeries and major illnesses, insurance contacts and membership numbers, contact information for next of kin, and notice of living wills, DNR orders, etc.
  • a copy of her Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
  • a copy of her mother's birth certificate
  • proof of life insurance, pre-paid funeral plans, and other policies/pre-paid items
  • a list of all physicians who care for the patient - and their role, i.e. primary care, cardiology, internal medicine, ortho, and more.
  • special notices, like "George has a pacemaker" - "Mary wears upper and lower dentures" - "Joan is blind in one eye" - "Pete can't hear without his hearing aids".  I pointed out to my friend that she needed to note her mother's bleeding ulcer, so emergency personnel would not misunderstand excessive bleeding... and her vascular dementia and numerous medications, which could cause slurred speech that might be mistaken for a stroke at first glance.
It would also be good to have a list of all checking/savings accounts - and account numbers, recurring bills - both those paid directly and those auto-drafted, and other recurring payments.  If Grandpa always makes an annual donation to his cemetery board, you need to know when this is done - and how much he pays.

My friend was astounded at all of the paper work that is required for even seemingly simple tasks and applications.  It can be daunting... particularly the first time.  I told her that "this is not my first rodeo," so I guess I have somewhat acclimated to the paper trail demands.  For me, the key is to try to maintain some semblance of organization.  Knowing where the documents are located and how to access needed information quickly is more than half the battle. 

I'm not surprised that my experience with my grandmother is already coming in handy to help others.  In fact, I had hoped that in some way, I would be able to utilize all of this "knowledge" to help others.  I just didn't know it would begin so soon!

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If you have experiences you would like to share that you feel can help others, please contact me.  This needs to be an interactive blog in order to be more effective.  I look forward to sharing your stories, your burdens, and your joys here.  Please come along for the journey!

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