What Mattie Did To Help From A Distance
In our last blog, we discussed Beth’s story. Beth was a local family caregiver, doing everything, all the time. Today we discuss Mattie’s Story, which is a story of a caring caregiver who lives at a distance.
Mattie is a very engaged Remote Caregiver, who is doing everything possible from a distance for her Mom. If you are an Adult Child who is doing your best to provide the best care possible for your declining parent, I hope you will draw some inspiration and a few tips from Mattie’s Story.
Caring from a Distance: When Miles Matter
Mattie was confused! For the third time this week, Momma had told Mattie the same story when they had their call. At first, Mattie just chalked it up to Mom’s busy lifestyle. After all, Mary (Mattie’s Mom) had been the busiest Senior that Mattie had ever met. Mary was involved in several church and civic activities and was always reaching out to help others.
However, during the last few weeks, Mary seemed to have withdrawn into a shell. She missed several civic meetings in a row and seemed a “little off” during the Mattie / Mary three-times-per-week phone call.
These differences bothered Mattie greatly so she contacted her childhood friend Martha and asked her to stop by and check on her Mom. Martha confirmed Mattie’s worst fear with a video phone call. Mary’s house was a wreck and some of the food in her refrigerator was spoiled. There were stacks of unpaid bills, along with piles of unopened junk mail.
Fortunately Mattie came across our eBook. Immediately, she realized that costly mistakes had been made concerning Mom’s care. Not only were Mom’s finances taking a hit, but her care was suffering, too. Mattie began immediately taking action to avoid any further costly delays.
In the “care department”, these are some of the actions that Mattie took:
Mattie took a week off from her job and flew home. There is no substitute for this! Mattie knew that she had to see Mom face to face in order to figure out what was going on. She knew she could never make proper judgements from a distance! Mattie knew her Mom well and she was able to immediately see some areas where Mom obviously needed assistance.
Mattie and Mom had an eyeball-to-eyeball, heart-to-heart talk. That was the most important part about this whole process. Mattie could see that Mom was declining physically and cognitively but they were still able to clearly communicate. Mattie did not have to guess – she was able to talk to Mom about the assistance needed now and what Mom’s preferences were for the future.
Mattie was able to get Mom in to see her local primary care physician that week. The physician adjusted Mom’s medications and prescribed physical therapy. Mattie also booked an appointment with a Geriatric Care Physician and plans to come home for this visit which is scheduled out 6 months from now.
Local Help to Cover the Distance
Mattie only had a week to take action during her visit. She did what she could, but knew that she had to enlist the help of some local individuals who could help Mom with certain tasks and regularly monitor her condition. Fortunately, Mattie’s childhood friend Martha, still lived in town. Martha also was friends with Mom. Everyone agreed that Martha would check in with Mom every few days and would communicate with Mattie weekly. Additionally, with Mom’s permission, Mattie hired non-medical home care aides to come in for four hours every day to help with the morning and evening routine.
It was obvious to Mattie that some systems needed to be put into place. A couple of things were installed immediately:
Mattie had a camera system installed so that she could see Mom and her environment and monitor what was happening, even on her cell phone. Being able to see Mom at home helped a lot.
Medication reminder system.
A wearable help button that Mom can press to call first responders should she need assistance.
Mattie knows that these systems in place are only a temporary solution to a more permanent problem. Mary is declining and the situation will get worse and will require more actions as time goes on. Even though she is an only child, Mattie is implementing all of the steps of a Mom Centered Family Meeting. (You should, too!) She knows that it is critical for Mom to develop and implement the best going forward plan possible.
Making a Determination from a Distance
If you live a distance from Mom and only see her in person a couple of times per year, it’s hard to know whether she is declining or not. Sometimes, it’s obvious. If your Mom has a stroke, a heart attack, a fall, or some major health event, you may know instantly. Sometimes the change is gradual. It’s more of a feeling that you get when you talk to Mom that leaves you wondering, “Is she really declining? Does she need my help or is she OK? Should I go out there and check on her?”
Financial Assistance, even from a Distance
As we mentioned earlier, lack of planning had taken a hit on Mom’s finances. As she scrambled to fix holes in Mom’s care, Mattie realized that there were financial leaks that needed to be repaired as well. After reading our book, and having a few good meetings, Mattie & Mom were able to repair those leaks, too.
Your Next Step
You have probably already taken several steps to make the life of your Loved One better. Hopefully you have picked up a tip or two from this article to help even more. However, we can’t stress enough how important it is to plan. Let this story, albeit fictional, encourage you to read our FREE eBook as you get a jumpstart on your (or Mom’s) financial planning. We hope to hear from you, allowing us to help you avoid costly estate planning mistakes!
ELP YouTube Channel
Distance never matters online! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We have a few hundred videos there for your watching enjoyment (We even have videos aimed specifically at Medicare and Medicaid and their differences). Our videos are categorized by playlist. You should easily be able to find several videos that discuss exactly what you are looking for. The best part about this is not only is this some really good content, but it is free! There’s even a video specifically about a Revocable Living Trust!
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We have covered some legal topics in this edition and as always, I want to emphasize that (1) the law is different in every state, so if you live in a state other than Arkansas, just know that the law may be totally different in your state; (2) your situation is unique, so one size doesn’t fit all – meaning what we discuss herein may not be right for you; (3) we have purposely over-simplified many of the topics above (otherwise this would be many pages long and unreadable because of all of the legalize). It is imperative that you meet with your attorney (hopefully us!) and get a plan that will work for you. Please don’t attempt DIY Estate Planning based on what you read in this (or any) article AND don’t try to go it alone. Please consider this, get your questions answered and take action.