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Update on Aud

June 17, 2011

I went up to see Mom last week to take care of some business. Charlie had to work, so I went up by myself.

I managed to do a bit of decluttering, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. What we did, however, was good: ridding her of piles of unread local weekly newspapers (that which we used to call The Citizen’s Outhouse when we were growing up) and Better Homes and Gardens.

We kids decided to go in together on a big gift for her birthday, figuring that a new flat screen television would be easier for her to see. Plus, the small footprint meant that I could rearrange her living room and put the TV closer to her chair. So that was almost another whole day, from buying the TV for dismantling the old one, moving furniture and setting up the new TV.

The business part of the trip was for a consultation with a trust attorney, to make sure the paperwork for her trust was okay. There were a couple of smallish problems, so it was well worth the time.

We also made a couple of lengthy trips to the bank, one to look in the safe deposit box that hadn’t been opened in five years or so. Did you know that when a box renter dies, it generally takes a court order to open it? This is true even if there’s a deputy listed on the box, or if there’s an executor, etc. A power of attorney isn’t valid for a safe deposit box, since the bank wouldn’t know if the document had been rescinded or changed at a later date. The bank manager told me, unofficially, of course, that if something happens to Mom, to come to the safe deposit box right away, before it becomes known that she’s passed. Once they’re aware of it, the box can’t be opened without legalities.

Another order of business was to see her financial advisor, another worthwhile visit. Thanks to her explanation, Aud agreed to look at an assisted living center. I had given her the same information, but this was one of those instances where a non-family member’s word had more import. We toured a really nice facility, and Mom liked it. When the time comes, she said, she’d like to live there. “When the time comes” is the part that will be the sticking point.

In the vein of decluttering, we got out her summer clothes. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say Mom has enough clothing to clothe a small town. She has more just summer clothes than I have total clothes, and I go out to work every day.

Our last order of business was going to her RA doctor’s office for her monthly infusion. Thankfully, I had my laptop with me, so the two hours passed relatively quickly while I waited for her. One good thing was that her doctor’s office is near Syracuse University, so we made a quick stop for some alumni swag and license plate frames for the new car.

It was a quick week, and even busier than usual. Which brings me to tonight. She called to tell me she was waiting outside for a friend to pick her up for bunco, and fell.

When will the time come? I tried to tell her that she needed to make the transition while she was still healthy and able, before she didn’t have a choice, and she needed to be safe so she could remain healthy. She turned 83 yesterday, and while she still gets around pretty well and is relatively healthy, she’s slipped a bit since I last saw her at Christmas.

While I was there she did finally agree to a home health aide to come in a couple of days a week, to help her shower, help with laundry, do a walk to keep her active, etc. I made some calls today to agencies to start finding someone. This will likely be a stop-gap measure, but for how long remains the question.

It’s hard being eight hours away sometimes.

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From → Elder care

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