March 22, 2009

Parenting your own Parent


Recently I had to place my father in a nursing home. A 4 day hospital stay did him in . The delicate balance between early dementia and Alzheimer's has now tipped over to Alzheimer's.

If you think you might ever become the "parent" to your parent I want to give you a friendly warning in reference to government agencies. It has been a nightmare the last 6 weeks and it continues.

Even though I became his financial POA and health POA back in 2006 Social Security, Pipefitters Pension and other do not recognize POA's. Now if he could say on the phone "my daughter has my permission" everything would be rosie. Now I ask you ... how would the guy at Social Security or the Pipefitters Pension know that the guy speaking those words was my father .... I mean can they see over the phone .... give me a break.

Two (2) very important documents are needed in order to file his taxes .... so far I haven't been able to obtain replacements. I guess I could write a note to the IRS and tell them to contact Social Security and Pipefitters Pension for those 2 forms because I can't get them .... hmmm that might not be a bad idea.

All I want is to have his mailing address change to my address .... that's it .... just to change the address. His checks are on direct deposit .... I don't want that changed ... just the damn correspondence mailing address. Oh and by the way filing a change of address doesn't work because the Post Office doesn't forward any Government type mail.

So here is my WARNING .... have your parent(s) speak those words over the phone while they still can do it.

This photo was taken in December 2007.

My father was residing at an assisted living home, able to take care of himself pretty much, did activities everyday, watch all types of sports on tv. In January 2007 he was diagnosed with early stages of dementia and needed help taking medications, doctor appointments, finances and the like. Also at that time his drivers license was revoked. Although he felt he could do everything on his own he did check himself into the assisted living establishment.

Fast forward to Friday, February 13, 2009. That morning he complained of chest pains, he walked out the door into the ambulance transport. It was first thought he needed a pacemaker but later it was determined his beta blocker was causing the problem. On Tuesday, February 17 I received a call that he was combative and although I had repeatedly told them he had dementia they said "he might have dementia". I had him committed to a local hospital's Daybreak Psych Unit; he had been there back in 2006. I forgot to tell you that in the 4 days he was at the 1st hospital he lost 4 pounds, was allowed to become dehydrated, they missed a UTI, he wasn't able to walk unaided or talk. So he spent 3 weeks at Daybreak and finally recognized me sometimes and could walk again.

All of these things pushed him over the edge and now he's closer to full blown Alzheimer's. On occasion he knows me. Presently he's residing at a nursing home.


Vicki W said...

I am sorry for all you are going through. This jsut goes to show that the more government gets involved, the more troubled our lives are.

Barbara Ann Beamer Jones said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara Ann Beamer Jones said...

I'm so sorry, Sandy! Although I have not yet experienced what you're having to deal with, I can understand your frustration with and heartbreak for your Father's situation. It seems sometimes that the fact that the person on the other side of the situation gets too often forgotten as being just that - a person with hopes and feelings, not just a case or a name on a list. I'll be thinking of you and praying that this will come to a satisfactory conclusion soon. Take care of you, too.

Crispy said...

Oh Sandy, my heart goes out to you and your dad. In this day and age you would think that the government would be more understanding and helpful.


Lady Beekeeper said...

I can't express how sorry I am that your family is going through this. What a situation. THANK YOU for the warning. I've lost my parents but if they were still living, I would certainly take your advice. You just don't think of things like this ahead of time, so often. I bet you've helpedsome people.

West Michigan Quilter said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your problems. Thank you so much for this information. My 91 year old mother lives with me and I've been wondering what I should do for future planning purposes. You are so right about that thing over the phone. Crazy. When I had her address changed I had to have her speak over the phone, but she didn't know what she was saying yes to. Crazy. Good luck to you.

Wilma Lee said...

Boy can I relate to your situation with the exception that my MIL won't admit that FIL can't function on his own. We live with them as they don't want to go to a nursing home, but if MIL goes first, FIL will be in a home fairly soon.Hope you can get all the paperwork taken care of.

Nancy said...

I have been through this with my parents. You might be able to get his doctor to verify the medical situation and the identity of the patient. Good luck with the bureaucracy.

Carolyn said...

{{{Sandy}}} I took care of my mom for several years and then she went to the hospital and then a nursing home. I can relate to some of the frustrations you are going through.
Sending prayers your way,

Brenda said...

My heart just breaks for you. I have tears in my eyes. It's bad enough to have to watch this happen to the people you love, but to have to fight for them with no help - it is..... the words I am thinking, I won't write. If his Dr. says his mental abilities are going, and you are the Daughter, that should be enough!!!!!!
I hope we remember your advice, and talk these words of wisdom, to save us from the heartache and headeaches you are going through.
Just like my friend told me after her parents died... seperatly, but not that far apart, what you need to know/do when someone you are looking after dies..... things you wouldn't even think of... So, here to is advice worth noting and doing something with. Thank-You. And please, take care of yourself during this extremely frustrating time.

Barbara said...

It sounds like your father can't handle his own money. Have you filed to be appointed as his representative payee with the Social Security Administration? That will make you the official contact for any SSA business. If he still gets checks, the checks would be made payable to you on his behalf. And, you would be sent any notices for his account. Everything would be sent to you, nothing would be sent to him.