When we first noticed that our elder needed help, it seemed like a fairly easy thing to do. After all, she could stay in her home, and there was a living trust set up outlining who should handle which aspects of care. What we didn’t realize was that it takes a lot of help to make sure proper care is taken.
The first person involved is naturally me. My career is portable and while I am not a doctor, I understand more about medical issues than anyone else in the family. On the other hand, we live two hours away. I can’t be her constant caregiver, though I am down at least one week a month.
To make sure our elder has more consistent care, we’ve hired a professional caregiver. We found her and her agency via our elder’s insurance company. They don’t pay for it, but the need is such that it is worth the cost.
Because she can’t handle her finances, we’ve had to enact the power of attorney section of her living trust. This has been a difficult process due to privacy laws and other obstacles. The job of the POA is to make sure her bills are paid, including that of the caregiver. He is the third person needed.
The above mentioned obstacles have required the help of the attorney who drew up the living trust and durable power of attorney documents. One of the financial institutions has been very slow to tell us what they need. A phone call from her has sped things up, at least from snail to turtle.
The fourth person on the list is our elder’s pastor. Her doctor did not want to give her the news that she had dementia. That matter was turned over to us, and to be honest, no one would blame her if she didn’t believe what we had to say. We made an appointment with the pastor and we broke the news that way. The pastor has also been instrumental in finding transportation.
The last person on our current list of helpers is a handyman. Again, the pastor and church are involved in this. They have a list of volunteers that can provide needed services. They only charge the amount it takes to buy the parts. The handyman has already done some services, including the installation of a grab rail along our elder’s hallway so she has less of a chance to slip and fall.
When it comes time for your family to take up the reins and help out an elder, keep these people in mind. It’s a lot easier to have a plan set up in advance than to try and figure it out as you go along.