Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not All Fun...Make Plans Ahead Of Time

While I may seem to convey that everything was perfect and my mom was able to do so much and I truly wish that was the way it was. I was ecstatic that my mom seemed to recover so quickly and came home from Hospice House so quickly, but I am sad to report that it wasn't all fun and great things.

When you have a loved one whether they are an aged parent, grandparent, a family member dying of cancer, the best way to deal with what you want to do is prior to it coming up. I am 53 years old and while I am not in terrible health, I have had some health issues recently which have made me think of things to come.

Here are some suggestions:
1-Make a will and keep a copy in a safe place and give a sealed copy to someone you can trust that will carry out your wishes.

2-My mom and her husband have had their cremations paid for, for many years...make those plans, get a pre-paid funeral service.

3-Ensure you have enough life insurance to cover the surviving spouse or loved ones. My step-dad will loose over $600 per month when my mom passes on and for a retired person on a fixed income, this is huge. Will your loved ones be protected or will they be put out in the cold?

4-Get skilled nursing insurance. I love my mom and know I did all I could to help her, however, there are many things to do on a constant basis and some things are worse than others. (I will list her daily schedule soon).

5-Find out what your insurance pays in case of cancer, what does medicare pay for, your supplemental insurance pay for? My step-dad paid $189 for an ambulance fee because Medicare only pays for so many trips during a month. I advised him to at least bill his supplemental to see if they would cover it.

6-With HIPA laws, ensure someone in your family has the ability to contact doctors and care providers on behalf of your aging parent.

7-Get help! Don't be afraid to ask for help from neighbors, church family, family, friends, etc. . If someone volunteers to help, take them up on it.

8-If you can provide meals to help, provide them. There are Meals on Wheels for seniors and shut-ins and many large cities have places that prepare meals for a cost and you can purchase these frozen and give them.

9-What family members are willing to help? Can you divide care between family members? This is a HUGE issue!
Hospice is a wonderful organization and I cannot say enough wonderful things for what they have provided to our family in the terms of truth, compassion and care. In my moms case, they provide all her medications, a home health nurse for bathing, bedding and clothing changes three days per week, volunteers to sit with my mom when my step-dad needs to go to the doctor or shopping and a registered nurse two times per week to check her oxygen levels, any medical issues, blood pressure, etc.
Hospice is also there to keep reality in check. One of my moms nurses who was so great, was Dave. He was great because not only is he compassionate, not only did he contact my moms doctor to get rid of a minor medical issue, he reminded her compassionately why she had Hospice coming out...because her doctors believe she has less than six months to live.
The other thing is the fact that the Hospice where my mom is, has a wonderful Hospice Home that is set up like a home with the exception of the reception area, you forget the people in there are ill.
There is a living room with comfortable furniture (no industrial furniture), a piano, a large fish aquarium (not a fish tank), a television, VCR and movies. In my moms room there was a rocker/recliner with massage, a sleeping couch, a television and VCR and a door that opened to a wonderful enclosed patio and two large windows she could look out.
Tomorrow, I will go into more detail on moms care! It will not be for the squemish!

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