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Moved FIL into Assisted Living
Old 12-14-2010, 11:29 PM   #1
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Moved FIL into Assisted Living

Well, it finally happened. We have reached that stage of our lives when we start caring for our parents. I thought my dad would need some care after hurting his leg hunting, but he fought through it and is healthier than he has been in years.

My father in law, however, has dementia and he was checked into the hospital a couple of weeks back because he didn't know who he was. He figured that out after a few hours and we suspect he had not taken his medication. But the doctor took his driver's license and we had to drive up to Oregon 11 hours and help him out. At first it seemed he would be able to live on his own with a little in home care, especially after we discovered he was taking his twice a day medication once a day.

Anyway, we were there a week and on the next to last day his neurologist saw him and declared him legally incompetent. Wow! I don't blame him as I was DW and I were worried about him alone. Suddenly we needed to move him into assisted living. We thought he would freak out, but he took it in stride and told us he knew it was coming due to head injuries sustained as a firefighter. In some ways he is still very much there, but in others not so much. Luckily there is a facility a quarter mile down the road from his house and he knows the owners. It was an easy move.

Now we have to clean up his house and property. He was a serious pack-rat. Most of it is junk, but there is enough good stuff that we need to go through it all. He was lucid enough to grant my DW the power of attorney he had been promising to do for years, otherwise he would have become a ward of the state. If his lawyer hadn't been a friend and knew him so well, it might not have happened, though he answered all the questions well. We are going to liquidate his house, cars, etc. and invest it for him (and us eventually I guess since my DW is his only heir). It's not going to be much, but if he needs it it will be there. Luckily he has a great pension, a little social security and purchased long term care insurance that will pay for nearly all of the assisted living.

We have a daunting task ahead of us cleaning up his place and selling stuff made worse by the 11 hour drive. We are lucky that he lives on the Oregon coast, so at least we have some nice scenery to look at. We also have a family friend that offered to let us stay with her. Just needed to express all of this to someone besides my DW. She is taking it OK, but is questioning the decision, even though it was basically made by a doctor. My FIL has really gone down hill in the last few months his friends have said and at times is really confused. It is a sad thing to see.

We head back up tomorrow for a few days to begin wading through his things and to kind of strategize. Not looking forward to it, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Last year our washing machine flooded the house and we barely got it back together before Christmas. This year we are dealing with this. Thankfully the kids are old enough to understand and I am retired and have the freedom to do this. If I was working...

Anyway, feels good to vent.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
I am retired and have the freedom to do this. If I was working...
Imagine if you had to deal with this while still working...

Best wishes.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
Anyway, feels good to vent.
I'm sorry this happened so suddenly. Vent as much as you want! Some of us are waiting for "the call" and hoping to learn from your experiences before we have to wing it on our own...

If neurologists (and your FIL's friends) have rendered a verdict then there's little chance of appeal, but I've learned that some dementia symptoms can be caused by blood pressure medication, and other symptoms by poor blood flow through the carotids. Apparently the cause makes a difference in how treatment is handled.

The other thing I've learned is to check the mail very carefully, as well as vehicle trunk/gloveboxes. Hopefully this happened recently enough that the mail hasn't piled up too much, that he hasn't started squirreling away valuables, and that he's done his tax returns for earlier years.

I think other threads on this board have mentioned that every financial institution has its very own special little POA form that has to be filled out, and they don't care how many times or places or with whom you've done the others.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:05 AM   #4
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Dan,

Tough situation but one way too many of us have faced or will face at some point.

As bad as the situation is, consider yourself fortunate he didn't fight the move. It is really tough on everyone to have to 'convince' a loved one into assisted living when they don't want to go yet they really don't have any choice.

When we were going through something similar with my FIL we put our RV to good use as a temporary home base, and you've probably considered the same for yours. It was nice to have our own place to retreat to after a day of digging through a lifetime of junk accumulation.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:09 AM   #5
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Sorry, Dan. Hope that it is not too hard on you and your DW. Thank Gawd he gave the POA and did not fight the move. Hopefully he will have a long and happy life in the assisted living facility, especially as it is local and he knows the owners.

My FIL has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and he is mostly still all there, so far. His wife is a good 9 years his junior, so I imagine she will probably take the brunt of caregiving although we and the rest of the family will help when it gets to thet point. DW's mom never remarried. She is still going strong and has a family history of great longevity. We got the POA and executor papers (I am both) a few months ago, so she is thinking ahead.

Now I just have to get my parents to get off the dime. Their will still refers to minor children (the youngest is 31).
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:58 AM   #6
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So sorry to hear this but unfortunately a lot of us are at that age . When my FIL died we just removed anything that was valuable and let auctioneer's do the rest . We probably could have gotten more money doing it ourselves but we were both working at that point and did not need the stress. My Mom is 94 and my sisters & I have been watching over her since my Dad died 31 years ago . In the meantime we have gotten older and my sister's husband has serious heart issues so it's becoming harder & harder . She has a phobia about nursing homes so I can in vision trouble in the future .
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:25 AM   #7
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I share your pain. Three weeks ago we moved my Dad into the hospice care center as he continues his battle with mesothelioma. He agreed that this was the best option and he tried very hard to make everything as smooth as possible for me and my brother. Several months ago he finalized his estate plan, gave me his POA, and fortunately, he has been purging his house for several years. Still, it's not easy facing the end of this journey, but we are blessed that he is not in pain and has no dementia.
As I will be the personal representative of his estate, I have started accumulating the needed documents that I will need for eventual probate...and Dad has been very cooperative in telling me where to find his Army discharge papers, deeds, titles, etc. He even wrote out a list of "who to contact" for pension questions, insurance policies, friends to notify, etc.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but blessedly Dad has done his best to make it as uncomplicated as he can. And thank heaven for hospice...the staff and volunteers are truly angels on earth!
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:49 AM   #8
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I'm so sorry to hear this Dan. As difficult as this is, at least your FIL realizes this is the best course of action. Thank goodness he gave the POA and has sufficient assets and LTC insurance to provide for his needs. He's blessed to have you and your wife helping him through all this.

Clearly, the place he moved to is best for now - familiar area plus he knows the owners. As his condition progresses, this may not be as important to his care. From the many years my MIL was in assisted living/nursing home care, I learned frequent visits were essential. Not only to comfort her, but to keep an eye on her condition and how she was being cared for.

Since you mentioned your wife is his only heir, I assume there are no other family members to help. Eventually, the long trip to see him will become more burdenson. It might be a good idea to do some research on facilities closer to where you live. The good facilities often have long waiting lists.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:53 AM   #9
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MIL is doubly incontinent, bedridden, and "barely there" aged 84, after a series of strokes. FIL is 89 with a weak heart and occasional brushes wtih skin cancer, and caring for her at home. It's killing him. DW and BIL have decided that if both ILs need to move into care, that they cannot be separated. That's going to be tough, because MIL needs 24 hour nursing and FIL doesn't - yet.

DW told me that she was present when she could see that MIL was clearly having yet another one of the mini-strokes which have been eating away at her for 6 years now, and she found herself wishing that MIL would go right there (FIL will probably die first, if only from exhaustion). When MIL has to go to the hospital (4/5 times a year now), there's a big fat DNR on the bed. All very sad.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:41 AM   #10
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Dan, you have my sympathies -- I know it's a difficult time for all of you. I hope your wife's experience is the same as mine when my physically distant father moved into assisted living. He started eating better, getting meds on time, and interacting with other people. I felt very reassured knowing that there was someone there who would quickly know if something was going wrong.

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Old 12-15-2010, 11:56 AM   #11
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Another who is sorry to hear this. However, glad he was able to transfer to the facility without anything really bad happening.

We are going thru this with MIL at the moment. She needs to be in a nursing home but refuses, she prefers to live at home and constantly be in and out of hospital causing never ending dramas.

I think it is hard for anyone to admit that are no longer what they were and they are shuffling closer to the exit door to the sky.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:03 PM   #12
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Wow! Thank you all for the kind words and advice. We just returned home. FIL is doing well in his new home, but he is definitely not able to live on his own. You can tell he is working hard to express a thought, but it's getting jumbled up somewhere along the way. He is frustrated by it, but only in passing and then he moves on. Sad to see, but I keep reminding myself and DW that this is the way of things and possibly nature's way of easing us into the inevitable.

On the clean up front, we both were overwhelmed on Thursday and rallied to clean up two rooms on Friday. What we found out is that his ability to overestimate/value his posessions has no limit, he has sold many of the possessions he has told us about and showed us in the past and that the sheds, closets and such full of stuff at 95% junk and trash. We are going to ask a friend of his that has a ranch and runs a kind of halfway house for misguided young men if we can hire them to help do the clean up. If not them, maybe 1-800-GOT-JUNK or the like. We think there may be some stuff of value in the piles of trash, yard debris, and garage sale junk, but not much.

We aren't going back until the weekend before the Superbowl so we get a little break. The whole experience (not to mention the time we have to discuss it on the 11 hour drive) has got us really thinking about downsizing and planning our affairs. We don't want to leave our kids (in 40 years or so, hopefully!!!!) with a huge mess to clean up. Thankfully, my dad and mom (divorced) both have straightened out their affairs and have reasonable personal possessions. DW's mom (also divorced from FIL) has already made a move into a frineds house due to her poor financial situation and we already cleaned up her life. It was a s bad as my FIL, just not as much. We are thinking that cleaning up after yourself, so to speak, is the least you can do for your kids.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:30 PM   #13
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Thanks for the update Dan. Many of us are either in your situation or contemplate being in it soon. You are your DW are good people.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:51 PM   #14
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I'm sorry too that y'all are having to go through this.

Not long ago, my daddy and I had to put momma in the nursing home since he is no longer able to take care of her. She's in the late stages of Alzheimer's. Fortunately she has adapted to her new surroundings; daddy is getting used to living alone and is dealing with it pretty well.

A couple of times I've started to mention to daddy that perhaps we should 'tidy up' their house. But when I do, he says there is no need. I suppose he wants things left the same way as they were when momma was at home.

Even though I'll have more to deal with when both of them are gone, I have to respect his wishes.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:15 PM   #15
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I wish you all the best.

Its a tough situation & we will be going through it some day with my in-laws. And they're ornery too!
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:12 AM   #16
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FlyfishNV, oh how I feel for you. The blessing is that he is now living in safety where he is comfortable.. and he is financially prepared. Not many are in such a good situation.

Cleaning out his stuff is exausting but there is an end to the process and, assuming the home is well situated and in decent condition, a well priced home on the Oregon coast won't linger long.

I live in a building with two units in estates that are up for sale. In once case the heirs were confident that the RE market slump didn't apply to their mother's place. Well, it has been on the market now for well over a year and they finally dropped the price big time... keeping it is eating up their inheritance.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:43 AM   #17
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Sorry Dan. My mother just made 83. Lives by herself in Madrid and thatīs what she wants, and doesnīt want to hear about in house help, let alone old age homes. We are 9 siblings, thank God....
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:02 AM   #18
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You have my sympathy... I went through it.

If he is in a NH... keep an eye on it! If he does not have someone in his area to look in on him... consider moving him to your area. Unfortunately (once you weed out the really poor NH that are managed badly)... the better NH seem to have problems also.... especially if the patient need a lot of hands on help. The dirty secret (often understaffed and the staff that does the grunt work may avoid the work)... It all depends on how it is managed. Often there are nurses doing the management. Unfortunately, they may be good nurses.... but often are lousy managers. They have to keep staffing levels to a certain minimum, hiring qualified people is difficult, hiring willing people even more difficult! It is a powerful incentive to overlook all but the absolute worst slackers. Show up at different times (random and unannounced) and observe you family member and the care of others.

I know you are stressed out and don't need advice that further complicates and already complicated situation. But I will say it anyway... just in the odd chance that you have not had an opportunity to think through some options.

Hiring in-home care for the loved can workout (assuming he has some assets to spend down)... but someone ( a family member) would have to keep a close eye on things and oversee the management of it. It is a lot of work... If you do this, have him evaluated by the Hospice people... they can help.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss how we approached in-home care. We learned through the school of hard knocks. While our situation may be a little different... much of it will be relevant.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:20 AM   #19
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We are also facing this soon with FIL. For now he's still living in his house but needs a lot of help maintaining it. I foresee that within the next 18 months the inevitable crisis will come and force a family decision. The others are ignoring it for now.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:32 AM   #20
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... The others are ignoring it for now.

I'll say it (based on my experience).... Probably hoping someone else will deal with it!


IMO - it is best to be proactive and get everyone on-board with a plan before it is a crisis. Getting a commitment to help out before thing get bad is easier than after it. Once a commitment is made... most will feel obligated to stick by it. Someone almost always takes the lead. If you have another responsible sibling... work with them to form the common goal now. It will be easier to get people to share responsibility if there are two.


Unfortunately you will probably have at least one sibling that will be long on advice and short on help!
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