Monday, September 21, 2015

Roles change again…

I haven’t written in awhile.  Mom has neither improved nor declined but continues to be content sitting each day holding her baby.  While that is true, each visit can be vastly different from the last.

Today I arrived after lunch to find her sitting in the rocking chair, not yet holding a baby.  She looked up at me and smiled a big smile and said hello.  We hugged – and she was actively hugging me – for a good minute and when I finally leaned back, she said, “I love you.”  I melted. 

We had a great visit although she was snoozing off and on.  She would talk a bit and then drift off but come back a minute or two later.  Food coma I would say.  At one point she noticed a CD player sitting on the floor beside her chair and started investigating it.  I thought that would be a good time to give her a baby to distract her and as I handed her the baby, she settled it in her arms.

As I drove away after our visit, I did something I do almost every time I visit.  I thanked God for giving me such a wonderful mom and daddy.  As usually happens too, I began to cry.  It’s not a sad cry even though Mom today is not the mom she has been all my life.  It’s a happy cry that I have been so blessed.  I can only hope that someday my children feel about me as I feel about my mom.

While Mom remains the same, other things have changed.  My brother, the elder of us five, has carefully watched Mom’s finances over the years.  Last year, he alerted us that her savings would soon run out and we would have to supplement Mom’s income to pay for her care.  

We could possibly reduce the cost of her care by moving her to a Medicaid facility.  I haven’t investigated it but I think she would probably qualify but moving her would be traumatic and take her away from the staff members at her ALF who care for her every day.  She is so happy and content that we made the decision to keep her where she is.

Time passed and Mom’s last bit of stocks lasted longer than my brother expected.  We actually joked that we would be very happy if Mom spent all of her money before she decided to join Daddy in heaven. 

Earlier this summer, the funds finally ran out.  Mom still has her pension – I may have mentioned at some point that she is an annuity nightmare.  Daddy set up his pension to go to Mom if he passed first.  He did, but I know the annuity companies don’t expect anyone to live to 95, let alone 99 heading to 100!

The pension always more than covered her expenses while she was living with my brother and when she moved in with me.  The savings she had accumulated over the years helped supplement that income when we moved her into the assisted living facility.  With the savings gone, it is time for the tables to turn and now the children will support the parent.

My three brothers and I split the cost over and above what Mom’s pension covers.  My sister took over the purchasing of the incidentals such as Depends, wipes, gloves, shampoo, etc.  There were no arguments or complaints, we just figured it out and arranged getting the payments to my brother so he could pay the bill.  Again, I am so blessed to have a wonderful family!

Helping to pay for Mom’s care has brought another change to my life.  It’s like having another car payment and our budget didn’t have room for that.  The other option would have been to bring Mom home to live with us again but that is no longer feasible.  Although I am in great health, I know that my back – I already have sciatica – would give out if I had to transfer her multiple times a day.  So, I have gone back to work to make the money needed to pay my part.  

Sometimes, especially when I’m working, I wish Mom was in a facility closer to me so I could see her every day but placing her near the rest of my family was the best decision.  My sister and niece are there often and many other members of the family will stop by here and there.  They wouldn’t be able to do that if I had placed her near me.  So, I will be happy to work to help pay for her care and enjoy all the visits I can squeeze in.

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