New Project? Maybe?

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Over the past few months, I keep joking that I'm going to write a book about all the things I've learned. There wasn't really any guide for me to go by. In less than 48 hours my siblings and I had to deal with:
1) The death of one parent
2) The possible death of another parent
3) The health and well being of still currently alive parent
4) Funeral Arrangements
5) The Nosy media
6) Finding a will
7) Finding anything in the disorganized messes of 2 houses
8) How we are going to pay for dad's care
9) Surprise: You are a homeowner!
10) P.S. The money in the trust is yours too.
11) Parents' finances: Holy Hot Mess Batman
12) Oh and BTW, you have lawyers...2 of them
13) So...we have a parsonage to move out of
14) Where is Amy going to live?
15) forgot to call the insurance people about mom's car (who was she insured with again?)
16) Oh and your house is totally full of stuff...and so is the parsonage.
17) Did we mention you need to move everything from the parsonage to the house?

and the hits keep coming.
1) Dad's care is always ongoing. Is he in the right place? What if he gets sick or we have some other set back?
2) Making it through holidays
3) Taxes (meh where is mom's 1098-T from MTSO, and whatdaya mean North Dover hasn't done her w-2s), benefits, and other issues are now ours.

I'm not writing this for a reason to list why it sucks to be me. These are just some of the challenges we have faced along the way.It wasn't impossible, but a little help would have been nice. At 30, 27, and 25 we weren't prepared for most of the items in the list. Honestly, there isn't much out there. Yeah I get that our situation was a little different (as we say there aren't support groups for people like us), but you would think there would be some reliable resource out there, right?

My best example: The insurance company told us that dad couldn't continue his therapy at UTMC/MCO because he wasn't improving fast enough. We would need to put him in skilled nursing to continue his therapy. Okay fine. The issue was, we were not okay with the facility they wanted to put him in. We did our homework and we thought Avalon would give him a little more privacy and dignity. It was a "house" instead of a traditional nursing home. That was a better choice, dad still hated the old people (he's only 61), but it was better than the alternative.

Avalon was a good choice initially. He did make a great deal of progress, but then we had a couple set backs. He was hospitalized with pneumonia twice. From that point on I was not pleased with Avalon's care. They basically gave up on him. They dumbed down his therapy sessions, and despite attempts to get updates from their social worker, they waited until the day after his insurance stopped paying to tell us they thought he would need to stay in skilled nursing. I didn't agree. Basically, they wanted him to stay there (and for us to pay the $9000 a month to keep him there). They all told us he would never get any better, and skilled nursing was the only way to go. Well guys, we can't afford $9000 a month. They also suggested their sister facility which was a little cheaper. Still, I was not pleased. With much protesting (they even went as far as to tell the woman from Waterford not to come, and exagerated Dad's condition when she called to make the intial consult), we were able to move dad to Waterford for assisted living. It took phone calls, e-mails, and knowing my dad's and our rights, but we did the right thing for our father. It was hard work, and I can't imagine being able to be an advocate for my father had I not worked in a retirement village (in dietary and marketing/admissions) myself. I knew the rules. I knew the terminology. Most people do not. How would they know what to do?

Maybe a book isn't such a bad idea. However, I'm thinking something more interactive might be better. I *want* to start a new blog that focuses on dealing with things like Elder Care and other less than pleasant things I know many other people have to deal with too. I want to make a resource where people can get ideas, advice and maybe even support from those of us who have already been there. I'm just not sure where to start.


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