F Simple and Serene Living: preparing....a difficult topic 09 10
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

preparing....a difficult topic

I have been absent for several days. Spending time with my mom. Making preparations. 



I am like many women. Part of the baby boomer generation, I am now at an age where I have an elderly parent. There are difficult decisions to be made. Conversations to have that are not easy. 

My mom's recent emergency admittance to the hospital and the procedure to put in a temporary stent to bypass an extremely large bile duct stone was a wake up call. The first questions were "does anyone have a medical power of attorney?" and "does she have a living will?". Hmmmm!!! No to the first question and she has lost it to the second question. 

My mom will be turning 90 years old in August, and tomorrow I will be driving her up to Indianapolis to have electrohydraulic lithotripsy. They will hopefully be able to blast that stone away and have her feeling like her old self again. But, because of her age, it is a risky procedure. So, I knew it was time to have some difficult conversations. Time to prepare for what my mom wants to happen at the end of her life and what I need to have in order to help her. 

So yesterday we spent nine hours taking care of the important things. Believe me we were both physically, emotionally , and mentally drained at the end of the day. 

Here are some of the things we did.

Visited her attorney. He is an old family friend who grew up next door to me, which made things easier. He updated her will, drew up a general power of attorney, and a had her sign a new living will. He also gave us some advice and a referral to an elder care attorney. 

Met with her personal banker. We added my name to her account so that I am able to write checks for her if she is unable. We added my name to her lock box and then went through the lock box, removing old unnecessary papers and adding the new ones from the attorney. 

We then made the most difficult stop of the day. We went to the funeral home to prearrange her funeral and to take care of the expenses. 

I am the go to person for mom. I am the primary executrix of her will and the first decision maker on her living will. These are not things to take on lightly, but I know that my mom needs to know that someone is there for her. 

I know that there are many others of you who are facing these same conversations and decisions. Even though it is a difficult process, it is a relief to get these things taken care of. I think that it is also a relief for the elderly parent. I know that my mom and I can now go to Indianapolis tomorrow feeling that sense of relief and looking forward to what I hope are many more years together.  




 

43 comments:

  1. I know those were difficult things to do. But so important! One of my sister's is that person for my parents. Losing my Mother 4 yrs ago this coming Friday took a heavy toll on her even though she had prepared with the best interest of our Mom. My thoughts go out to you and your Mom. Having both my Dad and my husband's Dad with us, it is difficult having to deal with some of these things that you've mentioned. My husband is an only child and so these things rest on him for his Dad. He is having a hard time knowing when to have these conversations. His Dad will be 84 in November. For the most part he is doing well, but there are little things that pop up now and then. Not an easy thing! Hope all goes well tomorrow!

    Take Care!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. My heart goes out to your husband. It is difficult to know when to have these conversations.

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  2. Oh sweet girl, I have walked this journey-too early and too recent. Ten years before their extended illness and death, they made preparations so that we would not have to. That was a blessing. However, when they began to decline and it was necessary to talk about their living will and how they wanted to die and making me power of attorney for healthcare, that was another matter. It meant that I had to make the hard decisions and carry out their wishes when the time came. I lost my mom 4 years ago this past September and Daddy 3 years ago this month. They died 6 months apart. They were 78 and 79. That is so young. I will pray for you as you take this journey. It is not an easy one, but God always give grace. Prayers for her as she has this procedure. Treasure the time you have. The photo above is perfect. It resembles a road that is ahead. God bless you, my friend.

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    1. Thank you so much. The decisions are very difficult. I am sorry that you lost your parents at too young of an age.

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  3. All difficult decisions to make for sure. I'm sending a prayer for you both.

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  4. oh yes- I used to do the POA's for patients all the time. Some are easy and some are so emotionally charged that it leaves you feeling shaken.
    God bless you- I have been through this, too. Never easy- xo Diana

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  5. I have been through this too with my parents and in laws and just last summer when I was diagnosed with cancer my daughter went through it with me. Not an easy thing to do but something that has to be done. HUGS!!

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    1. Thank you, Beth. I hope that you are doing well, my friend.

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  6. Oh hugs to you and your very wise Mom for letting you take care of things that need to be taken care of and her still having the ability to make those decisions on her own before it comes to the time she would not be able to make them and they will be made for her. I admire your strength and wisdom to take care of this. I do know what this is like I have been thorough this and am still dealing with it. My Mom with her Alzheimers made most of her decisions also but my Dad passing away before her never thought it would be necessary. Yes wise decisions while you are thinking clearly are a necessary part of life easing your family's life just a little if the need arises that you have to just make a snap decision while not thinking clearly. Hugs to you and your Mom. Take care and I am sure all will turn out just fine. B

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    1. Thank you. My mom seems to be feeling much lighter today. I think all of this has been weighing heavily on her mind and even though it is hard for her to give up any control I think she is happy knowing someone is there for her.

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  7. Prayers for you mother. Will be waiting to hear how everything comes out.

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  8. I remember how difficult it was to do those things but you will be so glad you did it. It will make things so much easier in the future. Make sure you have your name on all her bank accounts (as joint accounts).

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    1. I do have my name on her account to sign checks, but as I have three siblings the lawyer advised us not to make them joint accounts.

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  9. I commend you for taking care of all of these things in short order. I won't have to do anything like this. But I know it still must be a daunting task. Kudos to you for being the sibling that steps up and gets things done for your mother. I doubt I'll ever have anyone do this for me. The baby boomer generation seems to be the last one that feels that caring for a parent is the respectful and dutiful thing to do. The generation behind us thinks it's someone elses job.
    Brenda

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    1. Things have definitely changed, Brenda and unfortunately, as my attorney friend said yesterday, most of us in this age range, do not have the assets that our parents accumulated.

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  10. I hope the lithotripsy goes well and is successful and doesn't cause your mom too much anxiety. I was in this situation a few years ago, being the kid who handled these things for my parents, along with being power of attorney for health care. But your mother is fortunate to have someone to do this for her. It always made me feel so sad that there are so many elderly out there who have no one to be an advocate for them.

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    1. There are a lot of elderly who have no one. I remember when My late father who had MS was confined to the VA hospital, There were so many men and women who never had anyone visit them. It was very sad.

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  11. Laura, you know I am going through so many of these same things with my Mom. It is so hard, but also a relief to have them settled. I am going to feel so much better having my Mom closer to me and being able to deal with her medical issues. Praying for healing for your Mom. Hugs to you sweet Laura, we are in a hard position but like you it's something I take on with much Love. Linda

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    1. Linda I know how relieved you will be to have your mom finally living near you. It has been such a worry for you. Thanks so much for the prayers.

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  12. Very wise, indeed. Isn't it a relief now that it is all taken care of. While my parents have already passed, my husband and I are in our sixties and really need to get this done as well. I don't want to burden my son with this, although he probably will be my designated power of attorney if my husband dies before me. My daughter is not a reliable source. Your mother is lucky to have such a thoughtful and sensible daughter as yourself. I hope the procedure goes well and your mom feels better afterwards.

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    1. Thank you, Lana. I am in my sixties, too so it is something I will have to begin to think of for myself.

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  13. Laura,
    I'm so sorry that your momma is still in pain but hopefully this surgery will make her right as rain again. I've been on the other side of those desks for many, many years and let me say most people don't think about these things until it is too late. It limits options that can be done for the family of the clients and sometimes wishes just simply can't be carried out because of physical or mental limitations. You and your momma have done the right things so now will just pray for her speedy recovery.
    Hugs,
    Donna

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I am hoping that she gets back to feeling like herself after this. Her parents both lived into their nineties and her only brother is 93, so I am hoping for lots more quality time for her.

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  14. bless you, laura. so glad you took these steps now.

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    1. Thank you. It has really been worrying me.

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  15. Laura, these are difficult steps, but I highly recommend to everyone to have things in place. My Mother, who is 87, many years ago set everything up to have me and my only brother on all of her bank accounts, investment accounts, power of attorney, medical information, EVERYTHING. She has a file folder that has her final wishes for a funeral, which is already paid for. There is no guessing, no hassle. About six years ago, she sold her home and moved into senior living apartments five minutes from my house.

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    1. Your mom sounds like a smart woman. I wish my mom had started earlier, as we would have been better able to protect her money. As it is we are concerned she will outlive her assets. My mom has moved into a senior living apartment, too. It is nice to know that she is eating well and always has someone there on call.

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  16. That is a lot to go through in such a short time but so important to do. I hope your dear mum's surgery is successful and that she will be feeling so much better after it. We have been through this with our mothers, now gone, and it is so stressful at the time but so necessary too. You will both rest easier. Blessings. Pamela

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  17. I've worked with seniors all my life. One of the things I stress is the importance of getting the things you mention arranged before they are needed. So many leave this undone and the level difficulty when coping with an event increases significantly. I went through this with my stubborn father in law. I was ready to throw myself under a bus by the time it was completed. The pay off, as you say, is peace of mind. Thank you for writing about this subject.

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  18. With the passing of my father 6 months ago, i can emphasize with you. Life is a challenge with peaks and valleys. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  19. You were missed, Laura. Godspeed .....

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  20. Laura - So sorry you are at this stage of your life. But, rest assured that what you two have done will make it so much easier when that time comes. I have three sisters and we were blessed in that Mom and Dad had every arrangement made and paid for several years before they both passed. It was still so hard, but you don't have all of that stress and anxiety of "what would Mother want"? Hopefully they'll be able to blast that stone. Be praying for you both.

    Judy

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  21. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that you had to take care of that difficult task. I know that had to be an emotional day! You're so smart to go ahead and take care of everything now though. I'm sure you mom is glad to have you taking such good care of her.

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  22. Laura, what a difficult and sad time to have to go through....we are there also. It's so hard, and there seem to be so many conversations that are difficult and awkward to speak about. But it's good to bring it out in the open.

    Jen

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  23. Very difficult things to do but how wonderful for your mum that she has you to help her and organize things. All the best to you both, blessings, Pam xx

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  24. Laura, I feel for you. But your mother and you must feel "lighter" that difficult things are taken care of. I hope you'll have both a wonderful time in Indiana. Hugs.

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  25. I, too, can relate to much of what you wrote. Best of luck to your mother through the lithotripsy!!

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  26. God Bless You Both. I have been through this. I lost my father last year at the age of 95. I am executrix and I am still struggling through settling his estate as my sister has unfortunately objected to every step my attorney has attempted to make. This could have all been settled by now if she would only cooperate. My heart goes out to you and my prayers to your mother.

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  27. Hi Laura! I hope that your mom is feeling much better now that it has been a few days since her procedure. It's good that you and she got all of her affairs in order, even though it is difficult to talk about. It gives her and her estate protection and peace of mind to you both. Hugs, Leena

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  28. Hi Laura...this post really touched me. I have my 89 year old Mom living with me and we are at that stage this summer. Sorting out the future, making sure what she wants is put in place. I'm not looking forward to it but it will be a relief for both of us when it's done. J

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