All it would have taken was some planning. Mrs. Jones was recently removed from her home due to rapidly progressing dementia. Since she had no children and her husband pre-deceased her, there was no one to care for her and her financial matters. The case was turned over to a guardian who nothing about her or her situation. I was asked to go to Mrs. Jones’ home and evaluate the possessions to see what could be sold for her continued care.
I went to the home and spent some time photographing it for the guardian so they could see the type of home and possessions that were in it. While the home was basically clean, you could see that someone afflicted with dementia was living there, as the upstairs was all askew. Food was left in the refrigerator from months before, and the drawers, cabinets, etc. had been rummaged through. My job was to report back my findings, what could be sold, and offer an estimate to clean out the house.
As it turns out, they do not know if the house is falling into foreclosure, or if it is owned outright, or if there is even any money in Mrs. Jones’ name. It would appear from a stranger looking in, that there were little-to-no facts about Mrs. Jones at all — it was as if any knowledge of her took leave when her dementia took hold.
My heart really went out to Mrs. Jones. I am no stranger to dementia and how it affects the one who has it, and also the loved ones around them. Yet, no one stepped forward to claim Mrs. Jones. No one even knew if she had any financial means. All they knew is all the utilities had been turned off because she forgot to pay the bills. One day she was there and one day she was moved. It’s as if she never existed.
If ever there was a classic example of planning ahead, it’s this one. Ask yourself, your parents, your spouse … what IF? Isn’t it better to give this life situation, and many others similar to it, some serious thought now while you can?
I am an old softy. Tough as nails when I have to be, but soft when it comes to the elderly and infirmity. Most of this scenario, if not all of it, could have been avoided with some pre-planning. It’s too late for Mrs. Jones. I don’t even want to think about where she is or the kind of care she is receiving. But it’s not too late for us and our loved ones.
Have the talk today!
© 2013 Julie Hall