Dad hasn’t paid his bills in three months

Dad hasn’t paid his bills in three months. I just found that out last week. His car was repossessed this past weekend and his landlord is ready to get an attorney. All we need is that social security check and I can solve some of the problems. It’s over a week late and I’m getting nervous.

I called the social security office today but they wouldnt give me any information. I need to show up in person. Dad won’t call himself- he can’t really. He’s a bit out of it. Argh. This is extremely frustrating. I live in a different state and so I can’t just drive up on a whim.

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Clarification on earlier posting, BE.A.VECTOR

Here’s the thing. In my earlier blog, I focused on the importance of doing everything you can for your loved one in a timely manner. It’s true- sometimes there are deadlines to be met, and quite frankly, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it all right. away.

BUT… the truth is that we need balance. All of this responsibility can be overwhelming. I know that sometimes I just need a break from it all. In my earlier post when I said that we should keep on pressing on, I didn’t mean we shouldn’t ever take a break. We should, and as often as we need one.  And don’t feel guilty about it. You, more than anyone else, deserve it. What I meant was, don’t give up in the face of uncertainty or challenge. Keep at it. Try to stay on top of things as best as you can, certainly in application processes and such. Once you get through the hard part, you’ll notice that the breaks come. You might get people in to help, where you didn’t have them before your hustle.

All in stride. Find your own stride. And keep up the good work. Over and out.

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Great advice  Click on the link to my left for another POV from a caregiver and blogger… ha. That sounds funny.

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Title VI, Agencies on Aging  Click on the link to the left to find your local Agency on Aging (AoA).

AoA’s are administered through the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, which was created by The Older Americans Act in 1973. AoA’s advocate for the elderly and help to provide Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) so that elders can remain in their homes if they would like to do so.

When you click on the link above, find your state, and then your local Agency on Aging (AoA). They’ll be able to answer a lot of questions re: your aging parent and things you need to consider. They’ll also help with tips for filling out applications for social service programs.

Also, here is PDF that explains what Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) might be available to you and your family: http://www.n4a.org/files/about-n4a/community-based-services.pdf

There are a ton of resources available on this website. Make sure you look through!

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Tidbits of advice for the caregiver

  • Treat family obstacles as business obstacles. That said, be a good business partner. 😉 This does not mean you should be extra harsh, or emotionally detached. To clarify, you should consider all options and think logically when trying to solve a problem, with as little emotion as possible. It is a given, that this is an extremely difficult environment in which to avoid excess emotion. It will prove rewarding if you can navigate well.
  • Create your own space to think and work. When you’re considering options, make sure you have your own space to think, to sit down and write out your options.
  • Organize your contacts. Keep lists of your contacts, what each person’s role has been in assisting you, where they’re located, what you spoke about and when you spoke about it. Also write down anything you’re expected to deliver, or what you’re expecting to be delivered to you.
  • Delegate tasks. You can’t do it alone, and chances are that people who love you and your family want to help when they can, in ways they can. Make helping you easy for them. It might take you an extra ten minutes to think about schedules but do it! Maybe your neighbor is heading toward the direction of social security anyway, and wouldn’t mind dropping your parent off while you stay home and make phone calls. An extra ten minutes of thinking might save you two hours in your week.

Will update this list as I think of tips.

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BE.A.VECTOR. Be an advocate.

vec·tor

/ˈvektər/

Noun
A quantity having direction as well as magnitude, esp. as determining the position of one point in space relative to another.
Verb
Direct (an aircraft in flight) to a desired point.
Synonyms
direct – guide – point

Copyright by someone else. This is not my own definition of a vector. 🙂

You’re the only one who can lead your loved one’s care in the right direction. Set your sights on where you want your family to be, and take SMALL, MANAGEABLE steps in the right direction. You need weight, you need direction and you need to move at a certain velocity to get things done.

A case manager from Adult Protective Services told me the other day that I need to be the squeaky wheel, and that if I am not that person for my dad, no one else will be. Well, yeah… duh. That may be what you’re thinking but try calling social service programs all day and then tell me you don’t want to take a few days off and pretend it all never happened. Well, maybe you can. Maybe it’s your waiting period, where you’ve called everyone and done every little thing you possibly can because you’re an over-achiever (as usual) or maybe… wait for it… wait for it… there’s more to be done and you can’t take time off!  Maybe getting your parent disability is time-sensitive. Maybe filling out the paperwork for Medicare has to be done during open season. You have to move at a constant velocity. If your loved one needs care, maybe you have to spend four hours on the phone day 1, and then only spend an hour the next day. Maybe that hour is crucial to starting paperwork, or understanding the next step in your Medicaid process. Maybe you’ve called the social security administration four times and never got a call back. Well, guess what- you’ve got to call again tomorrow and complain and get someone on the phone who can answer your questions. Just do it- copyright, NIKE. 😉 You’ve got someone who’s done it and is going through it all right now. Be a vector. Be an advocate.

You can do it. Head high.

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I must admit, I’m a bit hesitant about blogging

At first I didn’t want to write this blog. I mean, I want you to pay attention to the me that is around today. That me today, isn’t a me of the past. I am not only my disabled mother’s daughter. I am not merely the result of an alcoholic father. I am much much more. And at times, I try to forget my past. I am a 25 year-old woman trying to lead a life of happiness. I want to do the right thing, and improve the world in the little ways that I can. I have my masters degree and YES! If you couldn’t tell, I feel the need to legitimize myself. This is something I’ve had to deal with for a while. When I retell my story, I feel like I am from lesser-blood. At times, I feel like I am not as valuable as someone who was born into a traditional family with a high income. If that is how you feel, expel it RIGHT NOW. It is not at all true. If fact, your struggles make you who you are- an extremely valuable, unique person.

Growing up with a disabled parent surrounded me with stigma. Even if it wasn’t there, I created it for myself. There were times I just wanted to forget it all, and pretend everything was normal. It wasn’t and I couldn’t forget. Now that I’m older I realize that there is no normal. The real normal is abnormal. If you’re perfect, you’re strange and quite frankly, maybe even boring. Chances are you don’t really exist. Everyone has problems. For me to inflate my problems, or see myself as different from the rest of the population is problematic for me, and my future. So I’ve got to let that go.  I can’t be ashamed anymore, and I can’t do the opposite and be extreme and start to think I’m super special because well, I made it through it all and came out shining. I am certainly not shining. In fact, I can barely go through an hour without freaking out in some small way and wondering whether or not my father will be okay, let alone take the time to shine. What I can do is share my experiences both practical and emotional. There are a lot of steps an individual can take to make a situation easier for themselves and their family. I want to share the things in our system that need to change in hopes that a policy professional (or I) will take on the challenge. There is strength in numbers and so I hope to create strength and to be a vector in the right direction for the disabled population and the caregivers of this population.

That said, I can’t commit to some amazing blog, but I will try to post often and make the entries substantial and meaningful. Practical is helpful. I realize that. Please feel free to ask questions or make comments.

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