I’ve mentioned before that within the last couple of years my sister and I have taken our parents into our homes with me taking our father and Barbara taking our mother. This is something Iâ€™ve rarely mentioned online in the past but I feel like maybe I should talk about it more if only to give a little background on it so that when I do refer to the situation in the future everyone won’t be completely lost on what I’m talking about. I say that because it’s become such a normal part of our lives now that sometimes I’m surprised when others comment on it when I do mention it in passing. So even though it may take me several individual posts to tell the entire story, the plan is to share the entire sequence of events over the next few weeks.
It all started a little over a year and a half ago in the summer of 2004, when our parents, who’ve been married for sixty plus years, both started having health problems. At first, we thought it was primarily our father who was having some severe memory issues but it quickly became apparent that our mother was also having difficulties of a completely different nature.
I live in Kentucky in relatively the same community that my parents do but Barbara, my only sibling, lives in Missouri about 3 hours away. So, she came in to visit over the course of a couple of weekends to assess the situation with me. I should probably add here that Barbara has worked in nursing homes in various capacities from aid to administrator for about 25 years although she’s currently on disability so she brings that expertise into the mix.
We quickly realized that regardless of the medical issues, the first thing we needed to do was make sure all our parent’s important papers were in order so we spent some time during those weekends asking them and making note of where everything like bank accounts and insurance policies were. This was something that took both patience and perseverance to accomplish, let me tell you.
Then we hustled them off to a lawyer our father was comfortable with to make sure their wills, living wills and power of attorneys were up to date. We also made an appointment to actually meet their doctor in person and discuss our fatherâ€™s memory problems with them. It’s a good thing we did because within a matter of two months everything started going seriously downhill. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to make sure they know where papers like this are for important people in their lives. I shudder to think of the mess we’d have been in months later if we hadn’t taken this approach from the beginning.