Monday, February 15, 2010

Update - Dealing With My Parents

Wow. Thank you all so much for the outpouring of support and understanding. It really means a lot to me and I'm touched. Although this may sound selfish, I find it somewhat comforting to know that other people are struggling with the same issues I am (and even worse).

Anyhow, my posts in the near term will focus primarily on issues dealing with my parents versus my own finances.

The past couple of weeks have made me want to slam my head into the wall. Not only is it bad enough that my mother allowed my father, who suffers from dementia, to drive, she's been allowing him to handle their finances. She says my father, in a fit of anger and paranoia, took away the handling of their finances from her years ago. Ever since then, she took a "not my problem" attitude and let my father do what he did despite knowing that his dementia was getting progressively worse. She blamed his belligerence and intransigence for her failure to intervene. Again, this is an example of my mother shirking her personal responsibilities and blaming others for her problems.

I'll post my mortifying discoveries in a future post.
pounding head

I recently took a couple of days off from work to visit my parents' to get some financial and personal housekeeping done. The airfare + car rental + gas cost me $500+. Joy.

Anyhow, here's an update stuff my sister and I've managed to address since my last post:

  1. I made copies of my parents' executed durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney and healthcare directive. My mother has made it clear with her actions and words that she has no intention of being my father's attorney-in-fact or agent. That means my sister and I have to step up to the plate.

  2. I took my father to see his primary doctor. Before the visit, I had my father sign a limited consent form that authorized his doctor to release his medical care information to my sister and me. I gave the doctor a copy of my father's consent form and a copy of his medical power of attorney. I specifically instructed the doctor and his staff that all future communications involving my father should be with my sister or me.

  3. I drove my father to the DMV to surrender his driver's license and to obtain a state-issued ID. During the visit, he also surrendered his license plate, where he would receive ~$54 back.

  4. I then drove my parents' to see their auto insurance agent. During the visit, my parents signed a proof of loss and other collision-loss related documents. Their insurance company agreed to cover the loss of my parents' car for $12,506.15 minus $500 deductible minus payoff of car loan (est. $6,000). Looks like my parents won't have to worry about paying back the car loan. The insurance company is also dealing with the PD claim to the brick wall/store sign that my father plowed into. This claim is still pending.

  5. Got my parents a Reduced Fare ID so they can take public transportation for 50% of the regular fare.

  6. Toured an adult daycare facility with my parents. I told my father that we are planning to send him to such a facility to give my mother some respite care and to give him some "stimulation" that he claims he is seriously lacking in his life. My father seemed okay with the idea but my mother was clearly displeased. I've estimated that the cost will run approximately $72/day, including food and transportation. My sister and I are still crunching numbers as to how much my parents can afford to cover this cost until he qualifies for Medicaid.

And this brings me to our To-Do List:

  1. Go through my parents' finances to determine their assets and liabilities and their monthly income. This will help us determine whether my parents will qualify for Medicaid.

  2. Schedule a physical for both my mother and father so that they will be ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) certified. Fill out ADA Service Eligibility application so that they will both get priority treatment when they use the Dial-A-Ride service.

  3. Schedule appointments with my father's pulmonary specialist and neurologist and give them copies of his medical power of attorney and authorization to contact my sister and me.

  4. Contact my parents' CPA and ask for copies of their past tax returns. If not, contact IRS. Verify whether my parents owe back taxes and/or penalties.

  5. Apply for Medicaid and Medicaid Long Term Care System. Medicare generally does not cover for long term care costs such as nursing homes or adult daycare. Medicaid is a State and Federal Government program that pays for some long-term care services at home and in the community. Who is eligible and what services are covered vary from state to state. Most often, eligibility is based on income and personal resources.

  6. Apply for state/community-based subsidized or free programs that encourage senior independent living, such as S.A.I.L.

  7. Apply for volunteer-based programs that provide free transportation.

I am currently resentful, angry, disappointed, frustrated and ultimately ashamed of my parents. Please be aware that I'm not feeling this way because they are helpless, poor or ill. I feel this way because they seem resigned and content to do nothing, assuming that my sister and I will take care of them if all goes to pot. They have absolutely no incentive or motivation to try to make things work. In a future post, I will reveal what my mother said to me recently, which made my blood boil and steam come out of my ears.

I really want to take a "not my problem" attitude that my mom was all too happy to take over the years. But I know the longer I ignore this and don't take control, things will only get worse. And my sister and I will have to clean up my parents' avalanche of a mess.


moneymatekate said...

I am VERY impressed with what you have achieved and how organized & informed you are regarding what still needs to be done. And as frustrating as it obviously is to deal with your mother, you're pretty lucky to have a sister who is not only on the same page, but also actively resolving things along with you.

paranoidasteroid said...

I'm amazed at everything you've thought to do for your parents. I don't think I would have thought of half the things on your list!

Utimately, they are your parents, and hopefully stepping in now will at least keep themselves from digging the hole any deeper.

Jin6655321 said...

Wow. I must say, you are an incredibly strong, compassionate, and loyal person for taking on this burden to help your parents out. I can only begin to imagine how stressful this must be for you.

Ms. MoneyChat said...

wow hun, you and ur sister accomplished a lot! i just have to know, how did u even know to do everything that you did? i would have been so lost in the process, still researching what needed to be done. i think i'm gonna save this post so that i can have some references when/should i ever need to go down this path w/my parents. great job!

Sallie's Niece said...

How frustrating. It seems you have your bases covered for now. You might know a lot about the Medicaid eligibility laws already but maybe it would be a good time to set up a meeting with an attorney who specializes in that area? Good luck to you during this difficult time.

Jen said...

My Mom has early onset dementia. Luckily, she hated to drive and didn't try to get behind the wheel. I have been going through a lot with my parents, finally things are settling down a bit.

My Mom recently went into a nursing home and Medicaid made our lives miserable during the process. SSD was bearable.

If you need someone to talk to, I am there. I stumbled upon your blog as a Google reader recommenation and like it.

Revanche said...

Big big big hugs. You've accomplished A TON in those few days since the accident, I'm so proud of you and in awe. As I watch my mom slipping away, I can't really be proud of doing much but keeping them solvent. It's tough, know that I'm here for you.

Well-Heeled said...

Sorry to hear what's going on with your parents, but I'll just echo what everyone's said so far - it's AMAZING how organized and together you are given the difficult circumstances. Best of luck.

Money Funk said...

Wow, you got so much done during you visit. I am sorry that you are going through all this. But you are plowing thru it like a Yoda master. Keep your chin up. :)