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Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 11:00 AM   #1
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Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

I am pleased to announce that my FIL (retired brigadier general and corporate VP) has been placed into an assisted living facility. He thinks it's for a one month trial but he will never move back to his house.

Just in case anyone wishes to dump on me for my heartlessness, my FIL has moderate Alzheimer's and is incapable of almost everything but dressing himself. Because of the condition, he sees no difference in his abilities and wants to keep living in his home and driving.

I had originally written a long, morbid post. That is the reason for the literary reference to either Burroughs or Kipling (feel free to tell me which used it in one of their short stories).

I have summarized my objectives below and cut most of the blather.

- Keep your financial records in good order and easily accessible. You never know when you won't be the one accessing them.

- Realize you won't live forever and, at some point, you may be alive but not able to manage your own finances no matter how smart or powerful you once were. Have a Durable Power of Attorney. Review it reguarly.

- Don't wait forever to enjoy life. This shouldn't be a problem on this forum.

- Talk to your family about "what to do if you become disabled or die."

Here's something for everyone to think about. Many of you have already done what's needed but I'm willing to bet many of you haven't.

For those of you that haven't, you should consider what your children will go through trying to clean up the mess you've created. My DW has been subjected to extreme levels of stress and has suffered physically because of her father's lack of action when he was competent.


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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 12:02 PM   #2
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Living will, DNR.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 12:04 PM   #3
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Similar situation experienced here, but it happened more dramatically than Alzheimer’s. A fall that required brain surgery that had him hospitalized for months and now living at home with fulltime caretakers. Luckily there were other brothers and sisters to help her out, and he did a number of the things that you have on your list.

The one that was a real sticky situation for the siblings was that he had never told them what it was he wanted done if he was ever in such a situation. The guy fought on Guadalcanal and Saipan, lived through heart attacks and cancer, outlived his wife and I guess he figured he was going to live forever. While he was hospitalized, and it looked like that might be the case indefinitely, there were disagreements between family members about what the old man would want to do if he could make those choices for himself. It got close to being ugly a few times, and it’s only three years later that everybody gets along well. Sort of.

If you’re not the kind of family that can comfortably sit down and talk about such things, then a letter of instructions would ease the minds of those who have to make your decisions for you. It might even prevent some of the disagreements.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 12:24 PM   #4
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

2B, good for you. I hope I have someone like yourself with the fortitude to act on my behalf.


After going for 56 years thinking I was immortal, I got wisened up bigtime by health.

Immediately:
1.* Living Trust
2.* Pour-over Will
3.* Durable Power of Attorney For Financial
4.* Healthcare Directive

Whatever you choose and call them those are the "minimum" things you should get done.

Also, I created the following both in writing and on CD (stored in Deposit Box):
1.* Complete list of my accounts and how to liquidate them.
2.* Signature authority and key for safety deposit box to my brother.
3.* Discussed with him what I wanted done if incapacitated myself.

I even wrote him a narrative of the reasons for each item in the will.

So if I get incapacitated, he will go to my safety deposit box in Chicago for originals (he already has copies), no hassle, just sign in and take contents.* He will read what is on the CD and act on my instructions.* He will then direct my doctor regarding my healthcare wishes and use the Power of Attorney to pay my bills or collect money due.

He will become Trustee and executor of my estate.

Anybody see somethings I might consider to make it easier for him?

PS: My 76 year old mother absolutely refuses to discuss her wishes with anyone. She won't even acknowledge the possibility of her death. She is going to leave us with a horrendous ordeal.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 12:31 PM   #5
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldAgePensioner
After going for 56 years thinking I was immortal, I got wisened up bigtime.

Immediately:
1.* Living Trust
2.* Pour-over Will
3.* Durable Power of Attorney For Financial
4.* Healthcare Directive

Whatever you choose and call them those are the "minimum" things you should get done.

Also, I created the following both in writing and on CD (stored in Deposit Box):
1.* Complete list of my accounts and how to liquidate them.
2.* Signature authority and key for safety deposit box to my brother.
3.* Discussed with him what I wanted done if incapacitated myself.

I even wrote him a narrative of the reasons for each item in the will.

So if I get incapacitated, he will go to my safety deposit box in Chicago, no hassle, just sign in and take contents.* He will read what is on the CD and act on my instructions.* He will then direct my doctor regarding my healthcare wishes and use the Power of Attorney to pay my bills or collect money due.

He will become Trustee and executor of my estate.

Anybody see somethings I might consider to make it easier for him?

OAP did you have an attorney prepare these documents of did you use software?
Living wills and health docs may vary from state to state so that may be something to check into.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

2b, good for you for doing the right thing. anyone who tells you otherwise simply doesn't know.

i've cut/pasted below a previous post of mine from an alzheimer's support forum. i think it might, in part, answer oap's question as to
Quote:
somethings I might consider to make it easier for him?
[is it totally ludicrous to quote myself?]

why is it that we are so detailed in our last wills, but not so detailed in our living wills? just because we lay down to die is no reason to lay down our lives. as long as there is breath, life lived should continue to stand at least as strong as material legacy left. but in our society, generally, this has not been the case. and so we see in message boards like this such incredible anguish as caregivers strive to decide correct courses of action on behalf of their loved ones.

in our living wills we stipulate only minimal end of life directives but we leave the details to burden others. we would never live our lives like that in health. (don’t tell me what to do, we’d say.) so why would we now let someone else live our lives for us? while in our last wills we take the time & effort to stipulate who will get the house, the bank accounts, the business, the family heirlooms, the cars, etc. in our living wills we dash off some dribble about tubes and maybe some drugs and we wipe our hands of our own lives.

we ought to maintain control of our lives even as we lose control of our ability to live them. we ought to leave caregivers with as much direction as is knowable. we should stipulate what sort of care we’d prefer, where we want to be cared for, what we want to eat, on what side we prefer to sleep. we should study all the modern medications and learn to understand side effects and we should list what we would be willing to endure and what chances we are willing to take. we should address issues involving life shortening vs. quality of life. we should provide as much detail such that even when under-considered or unknowable contingencies arise, caregivers will have abundant guidance for guilt-free decision making.

we take such steps to direct succession of our precious possessions; we ought to consider better the procession of our precious lives.

[/quoting myself]
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 04:42 PM   #7
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Anyone got any ideas of how to coax a least some info out of an elderly parent about their wishes? My mom just adroitly changes the subject.

Me: "Mom, have you given some thought on what living arrangements you would prefer when you need some assistance with day to day activities."

Her: "Son, do remember the name of Mr. Smith's youngest son."

Me: "Yeah, I think he went by the name, Evasive."

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 05:10 PM   #8
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

OAP,
Maybe she would be more comfortable with someone else making the decisions for her if, or when, it becomes necessary. I think her evasiveness may be a sign of her being uncomfortable discussing it for many different reasons. Might be that she wouldn't know how it would be paid for, or who would be responsible enough to make sure she was taken care of. It might be obvious to you that you or your good brother would step up to bat, but it might be some sort of insecurity problem for her.

L
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 05:12 PM   #9
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

2b you are providing the best quality of life for your FIL, and MIL. *Alzheimer's patients can be agressive. *This isn't a big concern when the patient is a woman (although they are a risk to other frail residents), but when the patient is a man at home they can cause serious injury to a wife.

Do not overlook the fact that your MIL may need to see an attorney who practices elder law, if for no other reason than to review their current documents. *If FIL is as bull headed as my father was in a similar situation she may need paperwork to see that his care needs are met. *

----

OAP, your Mother must have taken classes from my DD MIL. *My parents lived in the same community as my MIL. *We asked her to visit several retirement places and give us feedback, that my parents were going to need to move (today I would look at continuing care retirement communities). *Eventually it was necessary for her kids to 'just do it', but at least her new living arrangement was familiar and suitable (for my parents). *Do a little research on where her friends live, or are planning to move to - that helps. *Your sibs who live near her could work this type of plan.

Useful links -
Options: http://tinyurl.com/78tsl
Certified communities: http://tinyurl.com/mhw8f

And update that CD regularly. *Remember the days when we thought that those disketts would last forever? *


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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 05:16 PM   #10
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

OAP, How about if you get with your brother, come up with a plan and then let her know what you are going to do when the times comes. She'll either keep being evasive or she won't like it and that will prompt her to tell you what she really wants.

With or without prior instructions it's a hard thing to do.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 05:28 PM   #11
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

2B, you have to do what you have to do. My sympathy to you, and especially your wife. I was in her shoes a few years ago.
My mother's answer to everything was, "Oh, you know what I want." I had some idea, but no specifics. Finally, her doctor helped run interference ... she game him the, "Oh, my daughter knows .... " and he interruped with "If if we can't reach your daughter, then what? Tell ME, so I can put it in your records." That finally got through..
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 05:38 PM   #12
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

I hope he did more than put it in her chart. His notes may not be enough, or HE may not be available when decisions must be made.

My friend's aged father became ill when his doc was on vacation. The hospital took heroic measures for what was obviously a terminal situation, even 'tho his kids told them not to do that. The problem was that none of the kids had a POA for health care or a copy of his health care directive.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-10-2006, 06:22 PM   #13
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Well, here's a good example. My very good friend (he's 63, retired) and his wife live in Michigan. Her mother and step-father lived in Texas. The step-father recently died at about 87 or so and the mother was 86 so something had to be done.

None of her 11 children did a thing. She sat in Texas by herself in a big house all alone. Well, Tom (real name) got his Jeep, trailer, and headed to Texas. Talked her into moving home to Michigan, she agreed, and he proceeded to clear her house out, put it up for sell and after nearly a month, he had her back to Michigan.

She demanded to move in with a sister against Tom's good advice of assisted living. Well, Tom does everything, moves her in with her sister and guess what, about a month later she has squabble her way out of that home.

Now he has to find assisted care living for her, and she now seems settled. Seems to like it after about 4 months there.

But guess what, now about half of her 11 do-nothing children are accusing him of usurping, up-to-something, left-them-out, and he is now considering moving away from the whole mess. Actually has his home of 30 years up for sale.

No good deed goes unpunished. And it was not even his mother, it was his MIL.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-11-2006, 12:20 AM   #14
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
I hope he did more than put it in her chart.* His notes may not be enough, or HE may not be available when decisions must be made.

My friend's aged father became ill when his doc was on vacation.* The hospital took heroic measures for what was obviously a terminal situation, even 'tho his kids told them not to do that.* The problem was that none of the kids had a POA for health care or a copy of his health care directive.
Well, fortunately, it never came to that. She passed quite peacefully in her sleep ...*
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-11-2006, 05:07 AM   #15
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
Do not overlook the fact that your MIL may need to see an attorney who practices elder law, if for no other reason than to review their current documents. *If FIL is as bull headed as my father was in a similar situation she may need paperwork to see that his care needs are met. *
My MIL is already in skilled nursing. She has Parkinson's and has serious dementia. She fell a year ago and broke her hip. My FIL is now in the assisted living side of the same facility. One of the goals was to get them in the same place. He now can visit her by puttering down the hall from his side to her side. That has gone a long way to keeping him quiet about the move.

What has amazed me is that he seems perfectly happy. We went through several months of my wife "discussing" and "convincing" him of the advantages. He would always refuse to consider it and ended every conversation with "I want to stay in my home." I told the assisted living facility to get the "elephant dart" ready because I expected him to be angry and possibly try to walk out. My wife told him the night before that he was being moved the next day -- no discussion. The next day he saw his room. We had moved "his things" from the house while he visited his wife. He loved it. It must have been all those hot 70 year old babes he saw in the dining room.

DW has the POA (medical and durable) for both of them. Neither had a POA or a will 5 years ago. It was only at the urgings of me (annoying SIL) that they got them. Whenever my wife complains about all the crap she is going through, I ask her how much more fun it would be without the POAs.

We're debating whether to get guardianship. Her mother is in poor condition but could live a few years. My FIL can't remember what he had for lunch but is otherwise in great shape for 85.

We're going to sell their house soon. If we don't, we'll run out of their money in about a year. That will be the big simplification. We're not sure if we should move all of their assets into a trust. They should have enough for both of them to live for ten years. One could live forever on the pensions and SS.

DW intends to find an elder care attorney and see what is best. When life settles down to writing one check a month and watching their investments, we will reclaim our lives.
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-11-2006, 08:15 AM   #16
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

2B,
sounds like you and the DW are doing a great job. I hope you both feel good about how it's working out. Nice to see happiness for the FIL amidst all the ravages of old age.

What a wonderful world it would be if we could all just go peacefully in our sleep on our last day of being happy to be alive.

But it's great to hear stories where good family help when life can't be perfect. And here's a toast to happiest of times for you and the DW and soon.

It's only 6:15 here in SF and I am going to have a snifter of Brandy and then I'm going back to bed for a few more Z's.

Cheers
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself
Old 06-11-2006, 01:02 PM   #17
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Re: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself

You and your wife do great work!!!

My Mom is in exactly the same situation as your MIL.* It is true that your FIL can get a lot of attention from the lady residents.* There are some things that memory loss doesn't effect. ** In my mother's digs there have been a couple elderly male former executives, one of which forgot his sexual harassment training.* His MD changed his meds to cool his jets.
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