Parental Journal 25 from Planet Elderly: “What will you do with the house?”

Wed. October 14, 2015

Mom has a cold. Probably caught it from Dad since she kisses him hello and goodbye. She refuses to use anything except a cough drop, and that’s fine for now. Will watch to make sure she does not develop a fever

Tonight she announced that she would not want to move to Missouri if something happened to Dad. I just let the comment go. It’s her decision as long as she is deemed capable of making her own decisions.

Today we had our phone advisory meeting about changing health insurance options. Walgreens is transitioning all employees and retirees to the sea of health care options out there and has hired AON to assist folks with finding plans that best meet their needs. After 2 hours and 45 minutes we were done. Effective January 1, 2016, both will have a Medigap program and a prescription drug program. I’ll be overseeing all the paperwork, bills, reimbursements, etc. That’s something Mom can’t handle.

She can barely keep track of the Medicare and insurance cards for her and Dad now. Before I left at the end of the last visit, we put Dad’s cards on one side of her wallet and hers on the other. His are still there, but only her Medicare card is in its right place. Her Blue Cross/Blue Shield Walgreens retiree card is missing. I told her it’s probably in the house somewhere and maybe she could look for it later. She missed the whole half hour of “Wheel of Fortune,” and then proudly came down with the two Medicare cards in her hand. I reminded her that the missing card was her Blue Cross/Blue Shield. She went back upstairs for another 20 minutes and then went to the basement laundry area to retrieve dried towels. Neither of us said another word about her missing insurance card.

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 – afternoon.

Didn’t feel up to par yesterday and woke up at 3 a.m. today with a cold. I did a little grocery shopping early this a.m. and went back to bed for a couple hours. Mom visited Dad briefly this morning; then she came home and put herself to bed.

I made some delicious homemade chicken noodle soup so we could have that on hand and freeze some for Mom to use at a later date.

Next thing to do is to print out all the information about the new insurance sent to me via email. I’ll make copies for me and Mom. Hopefully, she can find a place to keep the information in case she or someone else needs to refer to it when I’m away.

Thurs. Oct. 22, 2015 – late morning

Had an easy trip back to MO last Sunday…but it is not easy being far away from Mom when I know how extremely confused she is getting.

She called me twice on the 19th. She received a reminder about signing up for new health insurance and I reminded her that she and Dad are all signed up. She can throw away the notification. Later she called to ask me what day it was. Told her it was the 19th.

Mom called again on the 20th and asked about how payments for new health insurance will be made. I told her I’d set up auto pay with the account that pays utility bills. I went over this with her on the 14th, but it is information that is not sticking. She worries all the time about being signed up for the new health insurance and paying for it. She has also told me how grateful she is that I’m helping with these matters. “I know I get a bit crabby at times, but I appreciate all your help.”

After my previous visit, I did not call Mom often. I wanted her to have her space and her privacy, especially since she said several times that she felt like she was being watched all the time. However, after this last visit, I will call her every couple days just to say hi. She has too much alone time to worry and no real outlets for talking about her concerns, so I think it’s good for me to check in on her more frequently. If she doesn’t like it, she’ll tell me.

Before I left on Sunday she said, “If something happens to Dad and me, what will you do with the house?”
“What do you want me to do with it?” I asked.
“Well, what do you want to do with it?” she replied.
We had a gentle conversation as I reminded her that my grandchildren and son live in Missouri.
“You have a lot of friends there, too,” she said.
“Yes,” I replied. “And I don’t have anything meaningful here. There would be no reason for me to live here.” She nodded her head, and I assured her that it would not be easy to sell the house because I know how much she likes it and how comfortable and safe she feels here. It’s too difficult to write that sentence in the past tense.

She thinks a lot about death and dying…worries about Dad dying and what she can do to prevent it. When it comes to herself, she will often say, “I just want to go quick.” I nod my head and say, “Don’t we all.”

About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and I thought it would be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. It was. AND March 2023, I returned to Columbia. I had a wonderful time experiencing the Madison area of Wisconsin, spending time with my cousin, and making some wonderful friends. No regrets.
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