Sophie and Joe (names changed) have been married for 70 years. During the last year, Joe’s health has declined and Sophie was expected to be his caregiver. He became unable to transfer and refused help. A neighbor assisted for awhile, but then he would remain in bed until someone would come to attend to him. Sophie became so worn out from trying to assist him, she was hospitalized. When she was transferred to a rehabilitation unit, Joe became ill and was hospitalized. He was transferred to the same unit. They both had a Medicare HMO which restricted the amount of time they could remain in rehab. Joe could not move to an Assisted Living Facility and would not allow Sophie to remain there. Joe went home with hospice.
The family was was working with them long distance. Hospice would not provide any information saying that Sophie was the caregiver. Joe refused the help of his daughter in law who was local. His son, Ed (name changed), was recovering from a recent hospitalization himself. Joe did allow caregivers, but limited their hours due to the expense. I spoke with Joe about extending caregiving hours, making sure there was food in the home, and taking the burden away from Sophie. Sophie would defer all conversations to Joe.
Finally, the out of state son, Bob (name changed), was able to convince hospice his mother was not a competent caregiver. Hospice began providing services to Sophie and would share information with Bob. Department of Children and Family Services were called twice but could not provide assistance. Joe is entitled to make bad decisions since he is not mentally incompetent. Bob was told Sophie was down to 85 pounds and had no chance of recovery in that situation. Bob has offered to have his parents move in with him until he could access services, but his father always refused.
One day, his mother called him and said, “Come get me. I am leaving your father since he will not move”. Hospice services were transferred to Ohio and set up within two hours of Sophie’s arrival. Sophie’s daughter in law and grandaughter flew to Orlando and brought Sophie to Ohio. According to Bob, his mother looked worse than a concentration camp survivor. She did not know where her bank accounts were and had no access to their funds. She had been a victim of mental and emotional abuse for many years which she now revealed to her family. Her son, Bob, obtained Power of Attorney and established a bank account for her Social Security and pension. He will also access her funds in her Orlando account to pay for companion care. Bob and I also discussed applying for VA benefits for her care which is why he needs to pay for her care with her funds.
Sophie is beginning to gain her strength and gain weight. Joe still refuses to change his situation and wants to die in his home. I told Bob the hospice staff will have to deal with his issues. His wish of dying at home, probably alone, will be granted.
Please contact the Orlando Senior Help Desk if there are any red flags during your visit. Issues develop into a crisis when you do not address them.
Orlando's Senior Help Desk is a free service of the Jewish Pavilion. We are financially supported by our generous sponsors and participating communities. Information provided is not to be considered medical or financial advice and users should consult with a licensed professional before making any final decisions. Orlando's Senior Help Desk and the Jewish Pavilion complies with the Can-Spam Act of 2003.
Website by Addicott Web.
421 Montgomery Road #131
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714