It’s been a while since I gave an update on my Grandma. I’m still limited on what I can and cannot talk about, but I will give you a brief overview of what has happened since her nursing home abuse incident in December.
A few weeks later, Grandma was found unresponsive on a sofa and was left there by attending workers. My mom showed up with a bad feeling, and upon finding Grandma there, asked the workers if they were just going to leave her there. Their response was, “Doesn’t she have a DNR?”
She was taken to the ER and was suffering from severe dehydration and other symptoms of abuse. Once she was rehydrated and doing better, the doctor on her case told my grandfather that he would not release her from his care until she was moved to a different facility. The doctor called DCF and had an investigation started on my grandma’s facility at the time. She to went into temporary care and rehabilitation for a month before moving into her brand new Memory Care Facility.
In her old facility, she had lost the ability to talk, walk, brush her hair, eat, and other day-to-day activities. She was skittish and afraid of everyone, including my mom. In the hospital she was found screaming, “DON’T HIT ME” several times. Upon entering the rehab care facilit;, she regained the ability to talk, albeit not in complete or coherent sentences, she does her best; comb her hair, eat, laugh, and walk. She is responsive to the new staff and has made some new friends in her new facility.
Grandma’s memory is still declining from Alzheimer’s Disease, but she is doing much better than she was in the old facility. We got to see her on our recent trip to Florida. She had no idea who I was but she had a few moments of excited recognition cross her face as she looked at me. They were gone just as quickly as they came, but just before we left, she was sitting by her little friend on the sofa. Her friend got up to go get something from her room and told Grandma that she would be right back. Grandma responded, “OK Summer.” I lost it. She didn’t recognize me directly, but my presence sparked something and she said my name. To the wrong person, but I don’t even care. She said my name and it was huge.
Going through all of this with my grandma made me realize just how important it is to think about having to pay for long term care long before you’re faced with the reality of it.
We often don’t want to think about the fact that we or our loved ones are going to get old some day, but reality is that we are living longer lives and some day we will have to put a loved one in long term care, or enter a long term care facility ourselves. My grandfather is a retired Army Major so he has some assistance from the military, but not much. He still has to come out of pocket $5000 every month to pay for Grandma’s Memory Care facility. This leaves very little money for him to live on himself. Grandma is now well taken care of, but Pop couldn’t afford to put himself into a facility at this point if he wanted to because his and Grandma’s needs are so very different. Had he known about Genworth Financial, he could have avoided this financial abyss by doing a little long term planning before Grandma got sick.
I recently saw an article on Wife.org about how Long Term Care is a Woman’s Issue. It talks about how by 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be senior citizens. In 20 short years, my parents will be pushing 80, and my in laws will be in their 80s. It also talks about how because women live longer than men, we can’t rely on having a man around to take care of us long term. We have two options: Marry younger (like I did), or think seriously about Long Term Care. While I’m kidding about the younger marriage thing (kind of), I do want to stress how important it is to think about your own long term care. On the website, there is a link for a bumper sticker that says, “A Man is not a Financial Plan”.
Ouch. But oh so true.
My grandma was my grandfather’s caregiver for his entire life and fact is, he’s just not as good at caring for her as she was for him. He does the best that he can, and makes the best decisions that he can, but if my grandma had thought about her future a little longer and harder, I hope that she would have found her way to Genworth’s Planning for Long Term Care calculator. You’re really never too young to start planning, and the sooner you start, the less expensive your payments will be. Because I have a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease & Parkinson’s, you better believe The Workaholic and I are going to start seriously thinking about planning for our future. Sure, we’re old, but reality is we need to start thinking about our future today, so that our kids aren’t stuck with it in 40 years.
Don’t put it off for tomorrow, because in the blink of an eye, you will be facing this very issue and will have wondered where the time went.
This post was inspired by Genworth Financial in partnership with Brandfluential. All experiences and opinions are, as always, 100% my own. For more information about caregiving, visit the Genworth Financial website.