FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘Be prepared’ for any eventuality

Opinion Sep 03, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Boy Scouts have the right idea. Their motto is “Be prepared” and it is something we should all consider.  

Through the COMPASS Education and Research Project, we hear many stories from adults caring for their aging parents. Some of the families have done their due diligence and have such things as wills, power of attorney and final wishes in place. The value and security this foresight can provide is incredible.

Bob and Jane were married for 55 years.  They had physical challenges over the years and of the two Jane was thought to be the frailest. A shift occurred when Bob was diagnosed with cancer.  He put up a good fight, submitting to all the chemotherapy and radiation available. While he was in the hospice, Jane remained in their home.

She had her own car but used it only for short trips to the pharmacy or the grocery store. The “kids” grew concerned when they realized that mom wasn’t eating well. Already slight and slender, she had become gaunt and somewhat shaky. She was also experiencing short-term memory loss.  They became concerned about her driving, but were uncertain what to do about it.

Another concern was the amount of money Jane would spend each week. Knowing that she seldom went anywhere and had little occasion to shop, they began to question her about where the money was going. She claimed she had not been out and had not purchased anything. Adding it up, the family realized that during a six-week period, several hundred dollars were missing.

The family also worried about what would happen when Bob passed away. 

Where would Jane live? Could she look after herself and remain independent?  

Jane had been a stay-at-home mom and hadn’t worked since she was a teenager. Finances had been Bob’s responsibility and, because he was a good provider, they had enough money put aside to get by. Jane had never had to pay the bills or do the banking.

While Bob was in hospice care, it was decided to list the home for sale.  This was an emotionally charged decision for the entire family. It was agreed that, after the house sold, Jane would move to a retirement community where she could get the care she needed when she needed it.  

She seemed OK with it, but it was hard to know for sure. With her memory problems, sometimes she forgot things. The family wondered if she really knew what selling the house would mean to her.

The family physician agreed that Jane should not be driving.  In Ontario, a person’s driver’s licence can be suspended if a doctor or optometrist feels a person has a condition that may impair their ability to drive. Doctors are bound by law to report this condition to the Ministry of Transportation, which then reviews the information and acts accordingly.  

Even though Bob had done most of the driving, Jane had loved her car. Being unable to drive was a blow for her, but it did bring some comfort to her children.

Statistics Canada reports that other than young male drivers, people aged 70 or older have the highest accident rate. Furthermore, seniors are much more likely to be killed in collisions.

With Bob in hospice, the house on the market and Jane’s driving no longer a concern, the family decided to tackle the issue of the missing money. After placing a video camera in the room where Jane kept her purse, the family was stunned when they later watched a personal care worker calmly search Jane’s purse.  She removed the money and tucked it into her own pocket. This was reported to the authorities.

It was only a few weeks after Bob’s passing that the house sold.  Now the priority was to find Jane a new home.  Working with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), she moved into respite care for a 30-day period. The hope was that a permanent bed in a nursing home would become available in that time.

Astonishingly, Jane does not have a power of attorney in place.  And with the sale of the house, she has a lot of money. The family is working with a lawyer to resolve this as soon as possible. If Jane needs more medical care or a financial decision is necessary, the family has no ability to act for her without it.  

Like many families, Bob and Jane thought they were prepared.  

Conversations about aging and death are difficult, but necessary.  Speak to your parents or adult children today.  Review your decisions and your documents.  Ask the hard questions. Find out who does what and when. Be diligent.  Be prepared.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘Be prepared’ for any eventuality

Organizing wills and power of attorney ensures wishes honoured

Opinion Sep 03, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Boy Scouts have the right idea. Their motto is “Be prepared” and it is something we should all consider.  

Through the COMPASS Education and Research Project, we hear many stories from adults caring for their aging parents. Some of the families have done their due diligence and have such things as wills, power of attorney and final wishes in place. The value and security this foresight can provide is incredible.

Bob and Jane were married for 55 years.  They had physical challenges over the years and of the two Jane was thought to be the frailest. A shift occurred when Bob was diagnosed with cancer.  He put up a good fight, submitting to all the chemotherapy and radiation available. While he was in the hospice, Jane remained in their home.

She had her own car but used it only for short trips to the pharmacy or the grocery store. The “kids” grew concerned when they realized that mom wasn’t eating well. Already slight and slender, she had become gaunt and somewhat shaky. She was also experiencing short-term memory loss.  They became concerned about her driving, but were uncertain what to do about it.

Another concern was the amount of money Jane would spend each week. Knowing that she seldom went anywhere and had little occasion to shop, they began to question her about where the money was going. She claimed she had not been out and had not purchased anything. Adding it up, the family realized that during a six-week period, several hundred dollars were missing.

The family also worried about what would happen when Bob passed away. 

Where would Jane live? Could she look after herself and remain independent?  

Jane had been a stay-at-home mom and hadn’t worked since she was a teenager. Finances had been Bob’s responsibility and, because he was a good provider, they had enough money put aside to get by. Jane had never had to pay the bills or do the banking.

While Bob was in hospice care, it was decided to list the home for sale.  This was an emotionally charged decision for the entire family. It was agreed that, after the house sold, Jane would move to a retirement community where she could get the care she needed when she needed it.  

She seemed OK with it, but it was hard to know for sure. With her memory problems, sometimes she forgot things. The family wondered if she really knew what selling the house would mean to her.

The family physician agreed that Jane should not be driving.  In Ontario, a person’s driver’s licence can be suspended if a doctor or optometrist feels a person has a condition that may impair their ability to drive. Doctors are bound by law to report this condition to the Ministry of Transportation, which then reviews the information and acts accordingly.  

Even though Bob had done most of the driving, Jane had loved her car. Being unable to drive was a blow for her, but it did bring some comfort to her children.

Statistics Canada reports that other than young male drivers, people aged 70 or older have the highest accident rate. Furthermore, seniors are much more likely to be killed in collisions.

With Bob in hospice, the house on the market and Jane’s driving no longer a concern, the family decided to tackle the issue of the missing money. After placing a video camera in the room where Jane kept her purse, the family was stunned when they later watched a personal care worker calmly search Jane’s purse.  She removed the money and tucked it into her own pocket. This was reported to the authorities.

It was only a few weeks after Bob’s passing that the house sold.  Now the priority was to find Jane a new home.  Working with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), she moved into respite care for a 30-day period. The hope was that a permanent bed in a nursing home would become available in that time.

Astonishingly, Jane does not have a power of attorney in place.  And with the sale of the house, she has a lot of money. The family is working with a lawyer to resolve this as soon as possible. If Jane needs more medical care or a financial decision is necessary, the family has no ability to act for her without it.  

Like many families, Bob and Jane thought they were prepared.  

Conversations about aging and death are difficult, but necessary.  Speak to your parents or adult children today.  Review your decisions and your documents.  Ask the hard questions. Find out who does what and when. Be diligent.  Be prepared.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘Be prepared’ for any eventuality

Organizing wills and power of attorney ensures wishes honoured

Opinion Sep 03, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Boy Scouts have the right idea. Their motto is “Be prepared” and it is something we should all consider.  

Through the COMPASS Education and Research Project, we hear many stories from adults caring for their aging parents. Some of the families have done their due diligence and have such things as wills, power of attorney and final wishes in place. The value and security this foresight can provide is incredible.

Bob and Jane were married for 55 years.  They had physical challenges over the years and of the two Jane was thought to be the frailest. A shift occurred when Bob was diagnosed with cancer.  He put up a good fight, submitting to all the chemotherapy and radiation available. While he was in the hospice, Jane remained in their home.

She had her own car but used it only for short trips to the pharmacy or the grocery store. The “kids” grew concerned when they realized that mom wasn’t eating well. Already slight and slender, she had become gaunt and somewhat shaky. She was also experiencing short-term memory loss.  They became concerned about her driving, but were uncertain what to do about it.

Another concern was the amount of money Jane would spend each week. Knowing that she seldom went anywhere and had little occasion to shop, they began to question her about where the money was going. She claimed she had not been out and had not purchased anything. Adding it up, the family realized that during a six-week period, several hundred dollars were missing.

The family also worried about what would happen when Bob passed away. 

Where would Jane live? Could she look after herself and remain independent?  

Jane had been a stay-at-home mom and hadn’t worked since she was a teenager. Finances had been Bob’s responsibility and, because he was a good provider, they had enough money put aside to get by. Jane had never had to pay the bills or do the banking.

While Bob was in hospice care, it was decided to list the home for sale.  This was an emotionally charged decision for the entire family. It was agreed that, after the house sold, Jane would move to a retirement community where she could get the care she needed when she needed it.  

She seemed OK with it, but it was hard to know for sure. With her memory problems, sometimes she forgot things. The family wondered if she really knew what selling the house would mean to her.

The family physician agreed that Jane should not be driving.  In Ontario, a person’s driver’s licence can be suspended if a doctor or optometrist feels a person has a condition that may impair their ability to drive. Doctors are bound by law to report this condition to the Ministry of Transportation, which then reviews the information and acts accordingly.  

Even though Bob had done most of the driving, Jane had loved her car. Being unable to drive was a blow for her, but it did bring some comfort to her children.

Statistics Canada reports that other than young male drivers, people aged 70 or older have the highest accident rate. Furthermore, seniors are much more likely to be killed in collisions.

With Bob in hospice, the house on the market and Jane’s driving no longer a concern, the family decided to tackle the issue of the missing money. After placing a video camera in the room where Jane kept her purse, the family was stunned when they later watched a personal care worker calmly search Jane’s purse.  She removed the money and tucked it into her own pocket. This was reported to the authorities.

It was only a few weeks after Bob’s passing that the house sold.  Now the priority was to find Jane a new home.  Working with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), she moved into respite care for a 30-day period. The hope was that a permanent bed in a nursing home would become available in that time.

Astonishingly, Jane does not have a power of attorney in place.  And with the sale of the house, she has a lot of money. The family is working with a lawyer to resolve this as soon as possible. If Jane needs more medical care or a financial decision is necessary, the family has no ability to act for her without it.  

Like many families, Bob and Jane thought they were prepared.  

Conversations about aging and death are difficult, but necessary.  Speak to your parents or adult children today.  Review your decisions and your documents.  Ask the hard questions. Find out who does what and when. Be diligent.  Be prepared.