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My Dad's End Of Life Care.

My father's end of life care and dignity. Caring for a dying parent has drained us, and our finances and resources.

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Short Summary

Dad was an only child. During WWII, he had an easy-out as far as the draft. He was also 16 years old. Out of a sense of patriotic duty, He talked his Mother, my Grandmother, into signing the papers so he could enlist in the Army Air Force. He served proudly, and was discharged honorably. 

Dad in the Army Air Force in WWII

 

Our Father has now reached the age of 87. He has Parkinson's disease and other ailments which will take him from us some time this year.

Caring for him in the home has been very draining on our finances and resources, and on us emotionally and socially.

Our Father worked hard his entire life. He did a decent job of raising five kids.  He married and stayed married to our Mother (Who passed away 7 years ago) for 51 years. He was active in our Boy Scouts troops, helped coach softball. And made really awful  puns.

Now he is bed ridden. It is harder and harder to get him up to use the comode next to his bed. His memory fails, but at times he can remember clearly things that happened 60 years ago, but not what he had for breakfast.

He needs 24/7 attention and care more and more as he slides into home base.

What We Need & What You Get

While medicare helps with quite a bit, and we have a Hospice helping us, there is still a huge financial, and emotional strain.

Dad in bed, with our cat "Lump" keeping him company

Myself and a sibling have been the care providers for Dad for the last few years. This has been very draining on us. While I am thankful for every day that I get to spend with Dad, I am also burned out and broke.

It is time for us to hire home health care assistants. Medicare does not cover this expense. And it IS an expense!

Dad's appetite fades away. But he loves his Ensure nutrition drink. He goes through several bottles a day, and that stuff is really expensive. But it is about all he will intake on some days. Chewing and getting food into his mouth is becoming a big issue.

I have a job that I have had to cut way back on so I can stay home and care for Dad. And now it looks like I will have to pay out more then I earn in order to hire some help.

 

Dad at a Ballgame

We don't know how long Dad will last. I am sure it will be within this year that he passes. His desire is to stay here at home until the end.

more detail:

We have Hospice workers that come in a couple of times a week to take care of some hygienic tasks and to monitor his health. While these people are wonderful, and covered by his insurance, getting any other outside help is very expensive.

There are several programs we could use, but the co-pay on our part would be from $750 per month to $2,500 a month or more. Those programs would cover in-home assistants. (Basically baby sitters that are able to change adult diapers and do other work)

And there is also the option of us hiring "baby sitters" on our own, probably cheaper. But it is risky hiring strangers, even by referal. And trained, bonded, insured help is much much better.

 

Dad in his wheelchair in summer 2011But beyond the direct care for Dad, I also need a break. I would love to be able to take some short road trips. And I would love to be able to do my job on weekends, which is also a big part of my social life. I would love to be able to go play with my band, which has been sitting idle because of my duties at home.  I would like to go out dating and meeting people. I just need a break. I also need to fix my old junker of a car.

I know that many of you will be in this position in the future, or have been in this position already. 

I put $10,000 as a goal for this fund raiser, but really any amount will help. I am sure that when it is all totaled up, we will still come out in the hole.

 

The Impact

Being able to make Dad's last days as comfortable as possible would be a blessing. Letting Dad live these last weeks with dignity, and in his own home is his desire.

For us, his care-givers, to not have to worry, biting our fingernails and stressing out over bills and logistics and the every day chores of caring for an elderly parent would be a huge relief. And that is a relief that is passed on to dad as well.

We try so very hard to hide our frustrations and stress and depression from him. We do not want him to feel like a burden, or feel guilty. But he senses it, and it affects him.

This is an issue that almost all of us will face at some point in our lives. If you have been through it, then you know what a draining ordeal it can be. And you will appreciate what our struggle is.

If by some miracle there is money left over after Dad passes, we will use it to cover any other  debts or bills, and then donate the remainder to either the Hospice, or the Public library, which dad was a big supporter of. (Or possibly the Air Combat Museum which he also supported)

You will have our undying gratitude, and many thanks. I am a strong believer in "What comes around, goes around", and that it all comes back to you.

Dad and Grandma, and five kidsI just wish i could do so much better for my Father, who did so very well for me.

 

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