A person who cannot do those things for essential selfcare due to physical or mental deficiencies is what the Public Policy Institute of AARP calls self-neglect. Some of the signs of elder self-neglect are poor personal hygiene, bedsores or skin rashes, untreated injuries or infections, weight loss and dehydration or malnutrition. Still other signs are unpaid bills, unsanitary or unsafe living conditions, poor personal hygiene, lack of food in the home, and improper or dirty clothing..
After World War II the typical family raising the baby boomers was a married couple and children. Planning for death or taking care of parents was relatively simple. But now blended families with second marriages of the parents and of the children look more like the Brady Brunch or the movie “Yours, Mine, and Ours.” That means planning for care of the elders with increased life spans and their deaths, has to
take into account the special challenges that blended families present.
Every day we are a day older, and so are all our loved ones, and that means, over time, that our health, finances, expenses, and family relationships change. There is marriage, divorce, children born, parents dying, unexpected health care expenses, job changes, increase or decrease in financial assets, and for very few, even hitting the lottery. No matter who you are, these changes as life goes by can require small or large updates to your estate planning.
Mail, junk mail and emails never stop coming. Like most people, you probably put most of this in the circular file or hit the delete button. There are some documents and records that are a must have if you ever need to apply for government programs, such as Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance. They can be retrieved from banks, or investment firms, or public agencies, both federal and state, but that can have its own set of aggravating problems.
One of our law firm’s elder care coordinators observed the most touching manifestation of the power of love. She accompanied a wife to visit the husband who is permanently in a nursing home due to the severe Alzheimer’s and physical disabilities which confine him to a wheelchair. His memory is so devastated that he cannot remember his wife’s name despite decades of marriage. Upon entering the
facility, they went to his room and the wife called her husband’s name. He turned around and she said, “Hi honey.” His face lit up with joy, his eyes expressing pure love, and responded, “Hi baby.” It was as touching a moment as you can imagine and brought tears to the wife and to our elder care coordinator.
Keeping Your Spouse at Home As married couples age into their later years they are often faced with significant decline in the mental and physical functioning of one of them. The healthy spouse usually goes to extraordinary lengths to give help to the one needing care, sometimes wearing out the healthy spouse.