Today’s Dear Abby column again advises about grief caused by failure to plan for long-term care. I have pasted it beneath my blog.
The son states he built a new house to accommodate his mother. When his mother became fearful of his wife, she was moved to an assisted living facility. I have two thoughts about this: how traumatic it must have been for the mother to move at that point, and what a saint the wife is for attempting to be the mother’s primary caregiver!
We can only guess how long the son and his wife provided in-home care for his mother there before placing her in assisted living, where she remained for 10 years. The son states his mothers 10+ years of long-term care need left him financially, as well as emotionally drained, so we have evidence the mother had little income and wealth and that her son and daughter-in-law subsidized the cost of her assisted living.
The son states his mother died in 2007 and five years later he is still guilt-ridden because he had to place her in an assisted living facility.
If this family had addressed responsible long-term care planning while the mother was healthy, perhaps the mother would have purchased reasonably priced long-term care insurance (LTCi). Her LTCi would have paid for appropriately trained home health care providers the mother would not be scared of. Mother probably could have remained at home in these circumstances. This probably would have averted the family discord described, plus much of the son’s guilt-ridden grief. It also would have averted the financial drain described.
Why people don’t want to have a conversation about responsible long-term care planning while they are healthy and premiums are reasonable is beyond me.
From Dear Abby’s July 9, 2012 column:
DEAR ABBY: My mother’s Alzheimer’s became apparent after she was in a car accident. I should have noticed the signs earlier, but I didn’t. Her body recovered, her mind did not.
I built a new house with a separate suite for her. My wife and I tried to care for her for a year, but I’m disabled and Mom was afraid of my wife. There was never a moment’s peace. Fearing for our collective health, I finally placed Mom into an assisted living facility. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life.
My children criticized me but offered no alternatives. I visited her as often as possible. Because I could no longer drive, I sent someone with gifts and treats for her. Mom died in 2007 after 10 years in the facility. The last few years she didn’t know me from a doorknob. Her disease left my wife and me drained emotionally and financially. I still feel guilty for not doing more. The look of fear on her face haunts me still. Is this normal for someone in my circumstances? — ONLY CHILD IN FLORIDA
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