Anyone who’s lost a parent knows that the aftermath is often filled with uncertainty about whether you handled the situation “correctly” – if there is such a word in that situation. Often, we wonder if we could have handled certain situations differently…or if we’d handle them the same way all over again.
In my last blog, you’ll recall, I talked about what I’d do differently, now that my Mom has passed away (two months ago) and my Dad is on hospice with terminal cancer. Today, after giving it some thought (a lot of thought!), I’d like to talk about what I’d do the exact same way all over again.
One thing I did right was the way I handled the finances and prepared for the long term care needs for my parents. It was a bit of a tricky game – I had to try and time who would die first. I wanted to put money in my mother’s name, and I wanted to move assets appropriately, which I was able to do. As an Elder Law attorney, I know planning opportunities and strategies. And I know about long-term planning and crisis planning.
I did my planning in advance. People have said about my Dad, “I never thought he’d live this long.” But we’re all living longer these days. Today, the life expectancy for a woman of 88 is actually another five years. We can’t assume that we’re going to die at eighty anymore!
So I secured the services of a Geriatric Care Manager who lived near my parents. These days, we’re all overwhelmed. And – talk about overwhelmed – just take a look at the over-worked, under-staffed, under-paid, and over-regulated nurses at your nearest hospital. If you could see their working conditions first-hand, you’d understand the need for a Care manager – and a patient advocate.
I tell my clients that you can’t go into the Medicaid or Medicare systems without an advocate …or you’ll come out very bloody.
You also need a Healthcare Surrogate, who can make decisions for you if you can’t. (And we’re not necessarily talking about being on your death-bed, here; it could be an accident, etc.)
Those of you who know me, know that I’m not very big on clichés. But there’s one I’d like to use here…because nothing says it better.
Those who fail to plan…are planning to fail.
My Mom and Dad, Part 5: What I’d Do The Same