The saga goes on with my aunt and uncle as I try to juggle two differing forces in my mother (my uncle’s sister) and my aunt’s granddaughter. They were on the same page until a few days ago, that my aunt and uncle should go home and get home care, but I kinda had to get real with my mom and tell her to look at things practically rather than emotionally. We want to believe they’ll get better, but I’m not seeing any indication that is the case. I told her that with their limited savings, we would only be postponing the inevitable by bringing them home because it’s a temporary fix. At $1295 a week, out of pocket mind you, they’d bankrupt themselves within months and then not have any money left over to pay their final expenses. And all for what? So they can be temporarily appeased that they were able to go home?
It’s not going to be like before. My uncle won’t be able to drive anywhere, and I doubt very much he’d be any less agitated when told he cannot do what he wants when he wants to. At least in the hospital he’s come to terms with it. He doesn’t like it, but he’s not fighting us as hard.
That was probably because he understood when I told him he would have to do what they told him so they could go home.
But we kind of had to put off a lot of planning until we talked to their doctors, which we did today. Turns out I was exactly right – the doctors say that they are not going to improve enough to live unassisted. And the doctors even said that we’d need one person a piece to assist the both of them, which jacks the price up to $230 per day.
And even in this instance, it’s not like they’ll ever improve enough to not need them. They’ll still have to go back to the convalescent home after they’ve exhausted their resources, and then they’d be too poor to pay for their final expenses.
To be honest, I think their final expenses, even if we only do one at a time, will break them pretty sufficiently.
My uncle is suffering dementia, which they think might have been exacerbated by a UTI that he had when he was initially hospitalized. They were also dehydrated and it was obvious they were unable to care for their basic needs. Which is why the doctor who hospitalized my aunt for her fluid retention and congestive heart failure decided to put him into the hospital as well.
I suspected that he might have had a stroke at some point, and they said while the brain scan didn’t indicate any severe stroke, there was some tissue damage that indicated what might have been a minor one, especially with his speech patterns now being adversely affected. It’s not the facial paralysis you typically see with a stroke victim, but he went from being able to communicate normally to mumbling his words and unable to articulate.
So he needs some assistance, mostly because they notice that he is prone to making decisions that could be dangerous for him even though he’s physically strong (and getting stronger).
Plus he’s mentally unable to take care of his basic needs, and the doctors won’t even allow him to sign over durable power of attorney to my mother because he’s literally not in his right mind to do so.
My aunt, on the other hand, is in pretty bad shape. All of her body systems are starting to fail, which explains her short term memory loss as well as her circulatory problems (like being very cold all the time). The doctors said she could go at any time, and since there is now a DNR in place – up to and including no feeding tube – the fact that she’s no longer physically willing or able to feed herself means she may be much closer to death than my uncle.
So the group we sat with, which included a social worker, suggested we try to get custodial guardianship ASAP to pay for those final expenses for my aunt. They seem to think she’ll need them very soon. The process is a legal one and will take another 30 days unless we can get an injunction due to the dire circumstances, and it turns out that we can file in addition to the granddaughter so that way everyone has input and can work together.
What this means for me is that I’m still out here indefinitely, but at least I know what needs to be done now. Priority number one, going to start this legal process so that we can pay for her “pre-needs” as the convalescent home calls it. Once she passes, they must remove her from the premises within 4 hours, and so we’ll need to get in touch with a mortuary in order to find the least expensive route to go to put her away.
Both my mother and my aunt’s granddaughter do not want her cremated because my aunt herself never wanted to be cremated. But when I went out to the cemetery yesterday (fun, fun, fun) the costs of interring a body are astronomical. We’re talking probably about $10K (or more) just for the plot and all the labor to actually “open and close” the grave.
If the granddaughter insists that they have to go home, there will be no option but to cremate my aunt, which if the urn is interred at the cemetery brings the cost down to one tenth of what it costs to bury someone.
I think the granddaughter believes that my aunt and uncle have more money than they do. Her dad, my aunt’s only living child, supposedly gave her all his money when he died – but I haven’t seen any evidence of it. So I think we need to stop assuming they have the money to do what makes *us* feel better.
This is about them, and what they realistically can and cannot do.
As much as it takes outta me to go over this with them every visit on why they can’t go home (him more than her), I think it’s been more stressful trying to coordinate my mother and the granddaughter who are both fighting for their loved ones. The motives are noble, but I think to do what is best for them we have to stop all the assumptions and just do what needs to be done.
So my job is far from over. But at least now I have the doctors on my side.
With that, and all my friends to boost me up on their shoulders, I should be able to power on through.
Big thanks and lots of ❤