Monday, April 19, 2010

A year ago today... mother-in-law left her home and has never returned. She was transported via ambulance to the hospital due to the paramedics thinking she were mentally incompetent. Interestingly enough, I saw her every week for years before then and, even though she seemed forgetful, I thought those instances were due to her age. She was 86. Her other signs of Alzheimer's were so similar to her personality (negativity, calling several times about something, becoming aggravated over something small) that even I, the person closest to her, didn't see them.

Since that time, she has continued to deteriorate mentally to the point where she doesn't know her family. She has no friends (they're all deceased) and the closest relatives (us) are very familiar to her but she doesn't realize we are related. She just knows she has a positive, comfortable feeling about us. I don't think she remembers my big girls but she loves playing with my little boys. If it weren't for the boys going over and playing with her, I wouldn't know what kind of conversations to have with her.

I took her some new glasses today. Her last eye test was about five years ago. She broke her glasses a few weeks ago so I had to take her to get another eye exam and then order some new glasses (two pair, just in case.) The lens of the broken glasses have still not been found. She just wore her broken ones until I brought these new ones to her today. They were a little different, but she didn't even notice. In fact, within a minute of having them on, and the broken ones out of sight, she had no memory of anything related to them.

We've requested assistance from the VA (my FIL was in the Navy during WWII.) It took eleven months to process her claim for aid and assistance (which could provide up to $1056. a month.) We have just received one check finally for that amount. However, they propose to declare her mentally incompetent and want to appoint a fiduciary (someone to take care of that money they'll be sending her.) Well, of course, she can't take care of her money, that's a given. But the process in which this is done with them takes an average of 12-18 months. When they actually start that process, the monthly funds will stop until the claim has completely been processed, and then when it is finished, they'd then send the accrued amount during the processing time. Is that not crazy? Meanwhile, she will be in a deficit of $1700 a month.

Her money runs out in a month, maybe two...I'm in the middle of writing one of those letters to send to the remaining children of hers (my husband's siblings.) I am carefully choosing each word on paper before I email them to beg for monetary assistance to keep her in her expensive assisted-living facility where she is most happy. If she is in a nursing home, with her unique personality, she'd become abused or neglected by the personnel. She has a certain way about herself....luckily, the staff where she is now have learned how to handle her and what to expect from her. I want to keep her there and am crossing my fingers that whenever I send this request out, that one of them will find some nest-egg to keep her safe in her little tiny room until that day in which she moves on......


Lisa said...

Awww Robin my heart breaks for you when I read this. I am sorry!
It truly is heartwrenching and hopefully some family members will buck up and assist with some of the finances to keep up with the great care she seems to be receiving.

One could wish for a daughter-in-law like you Robin.


Mike said...

Gee, I wonder how this scenario would play out had there not been a caring family member taking care of things. You're doing a great thing Robin.

JAMR72 said...

Robin, you are such a great daughter-in-law. Having cared for my in-laws as they fell ill, I can relate to some of the frustration you're feeling over "the system". Your MIL is so lucky to have you in her life, as are your husband and his whole family. Being a caregiver is not an easy job. I hope that you receive positive responses from the other family members.
You are laying a wonderful groundwork for your children as an example of how to treat our parents. You're a great role model mom.

Michelle Pixie said...

I hope I am loved as much as you love your MIL. This frustrates me to no end! Is there nothing that can be done? Why must they make it so difficult? Just give the women what she needs isn't that the very least we owe her husband? I could go on but I am sure your frustrations are far more then I could ever imagine. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and hoping that the rest of the family is able to step in and help you.

Rachel said...

Oh, I am so sorry.

I've volunteered in many nursing homes and you can truly tell who cares for others. It is heartbreaking to see money being something that can alter the quality of life for someone in their twilight years.

I hope you find the right words, and that they will step forward to help the one who has raised them.

God Bless,