Your Golden Season Put on Hold!
Recently, Cindy & I were having a discussion with one of our friends about the concept of seasons. We all have seasons (i.e. childhood, teens, adulthood, retirement, etc.) in our life where we live a life commensurate with that season. For example:
- Childhood. We play with our friends, go to school, are obedient to our parents and clean our room as directed. (Ha-Ha)
- Teenage Years. We hang our friends (probably riding around in cars), may or may not be obedient to our parents and probably don’t clean our rooms.
- College Years. We go to more school or college (in between parties) and hopefully study something that will prepare us for adulthood.
- Adulthood. We get a job, get married, have kids and work for many years, dreaming about the day we will retire, buy that RV and hit the road.
- Retirement. So this is it. Our kids are grown and gone and we have spent our last day at the salt mill. We can (finally!!!) buy that RV and hit the road! Golden years – here we come!
We are going to take a journey into the hypothetical today. Everyone has different hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Retirement plans differ from person to person, but today we will imagine ourselves as aspiring road trippers.
Retirement is upon you. You have been shopping for RV’s and are just about to pull the trigger on one – then, suddenly, you get “the call”.
While you were torn between a Winnebago and an Airstream, your Mom was found aimlessly wandering around in a local grocery store in her hometown. Your mom has shopped this store hundreds of times. Today, however, she didn’t have a clue where she was or how to get home.
The store manager called the police department. Since they didn’t really know what to do either, they took Mom to the ER of a local hospital. Mom is now in the geriatric psychiatric unit of the hospital and will be discharged soon. The doctor says that Mom has moderate Alzheimer’s and can no longer be home alone but should be admitted to a Nursing Home where she would receive long term care.
Suddenly, your retirement plans are darkening.
What’s the Plan?
To make matters more difficult, your Dad (at home) has medical issues of his own. He has been the primary caregiver for Mom for the last several years. You have no doubt that your Mom’s Alzheimer’s has had a detrimental effect on your Dad’s health. You have had a discussion with Dad many times to no avail. He and Mom wanted to stay at home and he was determined to make that happen. Now it’s time to make some substantial changes. But what to do?
- Can Mom come back home, even if you have caregiver help Dad? How much help will he allow? Will Dad fall back into the role of primary caregiver? If so, how long will it be Dad needs more advanced care himself?
- Do Dad & Mom have the financial ability to pay out of pocket for full time caregivers in the home? Do any family members live locally who are able and willing to help?
- Is a Nursing Home really the best option for Mom? You have personally heard Mom say that she never wanted to go to a Nursing Home! Would Dad allow it?
- Would they consider moving out of state to live with you or one of your siblings?
So many issues – so few answers! All you know is that you and your siblings and Dad are going to have to come up with a workable plan ASAP.
How can you get that RV and hit the road to retirement now? Even though you live out of state, you are worried about both of them and spend a substantial portion of each day on the phone trying to craft a solution. You flew home after Mom’s “incident” and did what you could. The only things obvious to you are:
- You and your siblings love Mom & Dad and want the best for them;
- This is a storm that is not going to play out overnight.
- It’s going to take some time, thought and planning. All of this will take a lot of your personal time and effort.
You know that Mom & Dad love you and always wanted the best for you and your siblings. The last thing they would ever want to do is to derail your long awaited golden season. It’s the last season of their life and they need your help to figure this out.
You see that you will have to put the Retirement RV plans on the back burner for now. Time to focus on Mom & Dad.
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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. Don’t try to plan 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.