Checklists are basically what the word entails, a list of items or to-do instructions that you can check off as the tasks are completed. As a caregiver who now needs to traverse the winding road of getting someone’s affairs in order, I’ve found checklists are my friend.
Yesterday I spent a considerable number of hours on the phone with Dad’s retirement site and the Social Security site among others. Thank you SSI for the option to call us back when a line is available. Saved me at least the forty-five minute wait that was predicted and I was able to continue working during that time.
After a search based on “what to do when an aging parent dies” I was given quite a number of links in the results list. Some of them were organizations and others were obviously other websites and blogs. I checked out about a half dozen and found that AARP was the most comprehensive. Here is a link to their article, including checklist, if you are interested in checking it out.
While I didn’t need all of the information, it definitely helped me cover those places that were most important and in what order. I’m not finished yet, but having a list already created for me or one that I could adapt to my particular circumstances was a real God-send.
Here is the short and quick list. There is much more detailed information in the AARP article.
Documents Needed to Complete Checklist
- Death certificates (maybe a dozen)
- Social Security card
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
- Birth certificates for any children
- Insurance policies
- Deeds and titles to property
- Automobile title and registration papers
- Stock certificates
- Bank passbooks
- Honorable discharge papers for a veteran and/or VA claim number
- Recent income tax forms and W-2 forms
- Loan and installment payment books and contracts
If you have family members that are willing to help, divide the list so that you are not spending hours or even days on the tasks before you. If you need more detailed information that is not on any of the “list” websites, search the particular topic you want to know more about. That’s one of the great things about the Internet. In many ways there is a lot of misinformation, but when push comes to shove on the important issues the Internet is the best route to go in my experience.
Tags: Death and Dying · Elder Care
I’ve lived with regret for many years. The decisions I’ve made, the words I’ve spoken, the missed opportunities over the years that I wish could come around again. One thing I’ve not felt at all is regret about how I took care of Dad in his final years.
The day I moved in with him in September 2006, he and I got into a huge argument just a couple of hours after the movers started unloading the van. It was a dumb argument and I thought, “Is this the way it’s going to be?” We had always had a rough relationship and most people were shocked when I took over his care from my sister. She wanted to move on after years of caring for my mother until her death, and then dad for an additional two years. [Read more →]
Tags: Death and Dying · Elder Care
I recently ran across a poem that’s a take-off of the popular Cat in a Hat by Dr. Seuss. The title is The Cat In a Hat on Aging. As we get older, sometimes we need humor to see us through the increasingly tough times. For example, our knees don’t bend as they used to, our mind doesn’t want to cooperate when we try to think of a word or remember an experience from the past, and our get up and go left quite some time ago. [Read more →]
Tags: Aging · Body
February 25th, 2014 · 4 Comments
In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 22, 2014, my father passed away at the age of ninety-one. He had a long, active life and at the end he went out on his own terms.
I won’t go into too much detail, but when he met with the doctor on Friday afternoon and knew that his time was short due to a dangerous infection in his foot, he chose to decline food and drugs, but accepted the medication that helped him remain as pain-free as possible until the end. His main thought and motivation was to see his wife again (she passed away in 2004).
My oldest daughter is a registered nurse and has worked in the area of critical care, and has extensive experience with death and dying. Barb and I arrived at the nursing home around 8:00 p.m. and he passed away at four fifteen a.m. the next morning. She was by his side until the end. We were shocked that his death happened as quickly as it did, but we are thankful he didn’t linger any longer than necessary. We had great support from the nursing staff who took good care of Dad, and us, during the time we were there.
I’m not going to write a long post today, but just wanted to thank everyone who was a part of his life that helped him along the way as he struggled with diabetes, dementia, and other ailments over the years. We’ve been blessed by the quality of care provided by the doctors and nurses who have taken care of him along the way.
Elder Care Café was created August 3, 2008, after a period of time on Blogger.com, with the intension of sharing Dad’s story and hopefully helping others deal with aging and the side effects that come along with growing older. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll continue to post on this site, but will for the foreseeable future.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us during this time. We have appreciated your comments and hope to continue to hear from you. God bless you!
Tags: Death and Dying
This afternoon I was reading an article about the rising flu-related deaths among the young, and the article stated that it wasn’t too late to get a flu shot as there was still a month to go in the flu season. The 18 to 64 age group were especially hit, although a growing number of children and teens have died due to complications of the flu.
So, it got me wondering why the elderly didn’t seem to be as strongly hit as the younger people this year. I read about a half dozen articles today and while they don’t always agree on everything, I got a gist of why we elders seem to be handling this season better than those younger than us. [Read more →]
Tags: Conditions and Diseases · Medical
February 17th, 2014 · 6 Comments
When Dad first went into the nursing home we were visiting him several times a week. That frequency lasted for about four or five months until a shift in work schedules caused us to reduce our visits to once or twice a week. Our current schedule is usually once a week on Saturday or Sunday, except in cases such as this week where we all had a cold and didn’t want to spread any germs that could cause problems.
But from what I have read recently, more often isn’t always the best option for aging seniors. In other words, sometimes less is best.
Why is that? [Read more →]
Tags: Elder Care
This winter we noticed that Dad was no long able or willing to talk very much. I’m not sure when it happened, but in a matter of months we found ourselves struggling to talk to him during our visits to his nursing home. We are not sure why he stopped talking, although we know he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia. What we don’t want to do is just sit there looking at one another without feeling that we connected in some way when we visit.
My daughter is the main person who can communicate with Dad. She is an R.N. and has experience and training in how to communicate with the elderly so we let her take charge of the conversation. Plus she has a great, outgoing personality. Here are a few ideas from our experience that may be helpful to you. [Read more →]
Tags: Conditions and Diseases · Dementia and Alzheimer's · Elder Care
January 20th, 2014 · 8 Comments
Every once in a while we look around our neighborhood and realize we haven’t seen one of our seniors lately. Maybe they didn’t decorate for the holidays as they usually do, or we haven’t seen them enjoying their daily walk around the block. Even within a family unit, we suddenly realize our loved one isn’t taking part in our usual festivities.
If you have noticed that in your own neighborhood or family, here are five ways you, and I, can get them involved once again. [Read more →]
Tags: Activities for Seniors · Fitness and Exercise · Healthy Lifestyle · Personal Health
Many people have opted to plan their own funeral or memorial service rather than leave it to their loved ones after they have passed away. My parents prepaid their gravesite and headstone, but left the funeral service to us children. It actually worked for us as we knew the type of service Mom and Dad wanted because of a fraternal organization they were long associated with. In fact when Mom died, that organization took care of the arrangements and we “kids” basically just showed up. [Read more →]
Tags: Death and Dying
Have you thought about planning your own funeral? My parents prepaid their funerals and purchased their burial plots, but left the planning to their adult children. They also purchased their own headstone and had exactly what information they wanted chiseled on it. When Mom passed away, we had a funeral service for her, a luncheon afterward, and her ashes were placed at the cemetery at a later date. We also wrote her obituary.
As of this writing, my dad is still alive and the planning will again fall on his children.
When you plan your own memorial service or funeral, you are able to express your wishes and desires, and can give your family peace of mind. One of the main problems with having the adult children make the decisions is that many don’t always get along. The last thing anyone wants is arguing and bickering over someone’s gravesite and headstone. [Read more →]
Tags: Death and Dying
Winter time can be an especially dangerous time for aging seniors, especially those who live in cold weather climates. As I’m writing this today, we are in the midst of a blizzard. We’ve had particularly harsh winter conditions this year, starting about a week before Christmas. Here it is January 6th and the snow and ice continue to accumulate, and will probably continue during the next month or so.
Because of these conditions, I thought it might be a good time to review how seniors can stay safe during this time of year. Here are five main topic areas to help you and your loved one plan for the inevitable snow or ice storm. [Read more →]
Tags: Senior Safety
Sometimes we caregivers have to expect the unexpected and do whatever we can to make sure our loved one is taken care of in a proper manner. This guest post reminds us we do have choices. Here is Stephanie’s story. You can find out more about Stephanie and her work in the bio section at the end of this post.
Mom has not been sick much in her life besides the occasional flu and a hysterectomy in the past. But this year all this has changed because they found that her carotid artery was blocked and upon further investigation they also decided she needed a triple bypass. She had both surgeries within a three month period and since that time she has had multiple other problems. She has lost her appetite completely, had multiple bladder and bowel infections, and because of this has lost thirty five pounds. Her emotional system was messed up as well and even though her heart is doing well everything else seems to be falling apart.
Her general practitioner has great reviews and seems to be a competent doctor but getting to him outside of the office is like getting into Fort Knox. His staff leaves a great deal to be desired, when they call me to tell me the results of a test they give me the medical terminology and when I ask what that means they tell me they do not know and will have to ask the doctor and call me back. When I took Mom in last I asked him if we could ever talk to him on the phone personally and he mumbled something about being really busy and then changed the subject. [Read more →]
Tags: Conditions and Diseases · Guest Post · Medical
December 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments
Sometimes the life of a caregiver takes an unexpected turn. When that happens, we have to learn to adjust to the circumstances or we end up banging our proverbial head against a wall. In early August, my father had his big toe amputated due to complications from diabetes. He ended up in rehab, but we expected that at some point he would return home.
His length of stay kept getting longer as his foot did not heal as was expected. Ultimately, he ended up being admitted to the nursing home area of the place he was staying. Luckily for us, he was able to transition in paper only rather than having to move to another facility. [Read more →]
Tags: Conditions and Diseases · Death and Dying
Since nursing homes came into being decades ago, there has been much conversation regarding whether aging parents should go into a home or stay within the family unit. Some believe that putting mom or dad in a nursing home gives adult children more freedom to work outside the home, spend quality time with their children, lead an active social life, and, in other words, go on living their life.
Others believe that nursing homes can be the best place for their parents to receive the twenty-four hour care they need. Medical care, nutritional food, and an increased ability to socialize are all positive reasons aging seniors should check out outside living arrangements. [Read more →]
Tags: Elder Care
Yesterday family members were stunned to realize we had yet another challenge to face and decisions to make. From last Thursday through yesterday, we had a traumatic few days that came up rather suddenly. Here’s what happened.
Last Thursday, we received a call that Dad was finally going to see a wound care doctor late Monday afternoon. The doctor was a specialist that LifeCircles had wanted for some time, but was difficult to arrange. Every two weeks, a nurse specialist was checking out the increasing number of sores on his feet, most due to pressure from constant laying in bed. Having the doctor come in was a rare event. [Read more →]
Tags: Conditions and Diseases · Death and Dying · LifeCircles