It has been a while since I have produced a newsletter, and many people have contacted me about the reason. The reason is that I have been vigorously working on my mother’s care and her affairs. It is not that she has a huge fortune to manage, but there have been many issues that have needed addressing due to her advanced age and a reluctance for change. It has not been easy creating an estate plan that will allow her to thrive in any potential situation and handle her eventual passing.
My situation is not unlike many of you who are reading this message. I know many of my readers are or have been caregivers to loved ones who had extended illnesses and needed great attention. Caring for people who cannot take care of themselves forces others to place their lives on hold. Years can go by without resolution, and when the time is finally over, there is a lot of catching up to do. I know because I spent fifteen years managing my father’s assets and being a single parent. During that time, I did not have to deal with the medical and care giving issues that can accompany the end of life, but my father left his family with a complicated situation. These were tasks I chose to undertake, but they took a lot of time and a huge toll on my business and personal life. My mother’s situation is very different from my father’s, but it has presented unique challenges.
It is hard to give up your independence when you age and realize that you cannot do simple tasks that were once taken for granted. My mother is 94 years old and has been independent since my father passed away in 1992. It was her wish to remain independent for as long as possible. It was a desire that my brother and I honored with some needed concessions on her part. She agreed to wear a medical alert device which proved to be valuable because, in February, she suffered a major stroke.
It was a good thing that we had used good judgement in creating the necessary documents to act on her behalf in the event she could not act for herself. We had just finished the process of a new estate plan when she had her stroke. My brother and I have been able to navigate in tricky medical, legal, and insurance environments that could have easily overwhelmed us. We have been surprised and disappointed by a system that is driven by money and people ready to take advantage of tragedy for their own advancement.
My mother is lucky to have a family willing to fight for her because we have seen the neglect of those who did not have an advocate. For many families, it is not possible to be with their loved ones in need, and the stress of that situation is almost unbearable. We have seen family members who are heartbroken that they are unable to do more due to their circumstances or distance. Every situation is unique, but it always surprising for people when they must learn from total strangers that their loved one’s benefits have run out, and they must make a move. It can be terrifying. Fortunately, we were able to handle these issues seamlessly.
When a loved one is very ill or incapacitated it affects everyone in the family. No one is immune to distress, anxiety, and a feeling of being helpless to restore a person’s health. It is inevitable that, at some point, many of us will become dependent upon healthcare providers whom we do not know. My brother and I have found it is important to continuously review and ask questions about our mother’s care because we have her best interest in mind. No one loves your loved one as much as you do, and carefully considering the actions of others is only normal.
In our case, some people have become upset with us because we demanded better care, but our concerns have proven correct. My mother is currently in a safe place and receiving the necessary care she needs during this period in her life. Nothing is perfect, and we continue to be vigilant on her behalf. However, as one lady in the skilled nursing home told me, “You can only do so much, and then you have to let it go.” She is right, and we live with that in mind.
The moral of this article is just that, you can only do so much for your loved one in need. Planning and thinking ahead for your loved ones and for yourself is important. All of us will face these concerns in one way or another one day. Whether we are fortunate to pass away quickly or have extended issues during the end of life, there should be a sense of dignity and respect during the process.
It is our hope that our mother passes away peacefully. We will have done all that we could do for her. Our goal is to have peace of mind when she is gone. I feel comfortable resuming my work and catching up on my tasks, so I am starting up my monthly newsletter again. Thank you for your patience and your continued support of my work.