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Financial Planning and Insurance


Donna4444

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Hello everyone,

 

My brother suffered a massive stroke last fall and, as he is unmarried, my sister and I have been looking after his finances while he is in a group foster home. He has been approved for Social Security payments but will not be eligible for Medicare for two more years (he is 51) and the insurance from his former workplace expires in two months. We have been paying for his care at the foster home ($4000/mo.) - as well as his truck payments and household bills - with his savings (we have P.O.A. for him). Thankfully, he has always been a good saver. However, his savings will not last forever. We are not sure how to approach paying for the gap in insurance as well as how to best use his savings.

 

We had hoped that he might be well enough by this time to return to his house but that is not an option at this point. We are in desperate need of advice!

 

Thank you,

 

Donna

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Donna: you will have to COBRA his health insurance until Medicare kicks. You will have to budget this in.

 

Consider renting out his house. Get all the good stuff out and stored safely at you and your sister's. Local big businesses may be in need of housing for executives and those rental contracts may be made on a month to month basis. But if you got into a year contract, maybe brother could bunk with you or your sister for a month or two until he could get his home handicap-accessible renovated and ready for him to move back in.

 

If not, shut his home down. Insurance for theft and damage. Turn heat down to 55 degrees, no AC: when you and your sister go, just open windows. Please consider selling the truck or putting the insurance on Hold-you do not want to cancel in case he can't get it reinstated. He will have to retest to drive and you and your sister must make some serious decisions as to whether or not you feel he will ever be able to do that.

 

I keep Bruce's truck as he is home. It is an easy transfer in and out for him and it gives all home caregivers transportation to get him to appointments, pool, outings. Without that he is stuck in this house until I am available. But, Bruce will never drive again.

 

One thing I would do is make an appointment for a family meeting at the Foster Home. It is possible to take brother to his own home, with some renovations, with full time care and it will cost a lot less than what you are paying for the foster care. It will involve you and sister checking in often, doing grocery shopping. Help should do transportation to appointments and therapies, laundry, light housekeeping and cooking. If it is only physical difficulties keeping him from going home-no medical issues-that is worth at least a meeting to discuss.

 

You will figure this out with some professional advise. Praying and thinking of all of you, Debbie

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Thank you, Debbie, for your swift response and excellent advice. We have shut his house down already and taken out those few things he had that are worth anything. I'll talk to my sister about the rental idea but the house is pretty run down (typical bachelor...you can eat off the garage floor but the house can go to hell in a handbasket) and I'm afraid anyone we could get to rent it will be . . . how shall I say it . . . less than desirable.

 

Medically, Warren is in pretty good shape. He has had a seizure as a result of the anti-spasticity drugs and is now taking something to combat that nasty side-effect. He walks very well with a cane and can negotiate steps. His biggest problem is his inability to speak (or write) so it is difficult to know how much he understands. He appears lucid and seems to take in what we are saying.

 

I think we will have to sell the truck. We've been dreading doing this as Warren just bought the darn thing just before his stroke and likes to "visit" it when we take him over to his house for a few hours. He's depressed enough now the way it is.

 

Thank you again for all of your advice. My sister and I have been tearing our hair out trying to figure out what to do.

 

Best to you and your husband, Donna

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Donna:

 

welcome to our wonderful world of blogging. Debbie gave you real great advice, hope you can use some of it. I know stroke affects whole family & life changes for everyone onvolved in an instant. first few years are hardest for everyone involved. but I am here to tell you there IS life post stroke & things change. I stroked at age 34 which left me paralysed on my left side in 2004. but with support of my friends & family I am back in game of life & having fun again.

 

Asha

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Thank you Asha for your kind words. I like what you wrote about "life post stroke." At this stage of the game, my sister and I only foresee more misery and financial hardship . . . we can't seem to wrap our minds around anything positive. Which is truly unfortunate considering how well Warren has done in his recovery (10 months since the big S). He was truly a mess, the poor guy. But he has no eating difficulties, he can bathe himself, he has his "regular" face back (no drooping to speak of), he can even walk a few steps without his cane. He seems to know what's going on, but, as he doesn't talk, we don't know to what extent he really understands things. He can raise his right arm but his hand is still non-functioning.

 

Have you recovered the use of your left arm and leg? I'm sure your positive attitude has done much to help you.

 

Donna

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Donna:

please don't make same mistakes I did assuming how life will be in few years looking at his condition today, I know I did that mistakes & spent valuable time depressed about my situation rather enjoying love my family & friends showed towards me in my difficult time. I now walk unaided for miles & hours every day, gained new perspective on simple joys in life. yes I can not use my left hand but being rightie never used my left hand much anyways. I have learnt great ways to compensate for my left hand. I can walk, talk & take care of my family single handely. so for me today life is still great just little different. I am still here to enjoy every every moments with love of my life. best advice I got from my husband when I felt overwhelmed & ready to give up. he was always just hang on little stay above water for little while & tide will change. I am glad I did cause things did change & life has become more meaningful & enjoyable.

 

Asha

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Words of wisdom, Asha, thank you.

 

I guess we are still fixated on the half empty glass versus the half full glass. We do our utmost, however, not to show our fear and desperation around Warren. We are always cheerful and full of funny stories for him. We encourage him and praise each little improvement. The last thing he needs is to see us moping and whining!

 

I have a cute story for you. After Warren's stroke, he started losing his hair in a dramatic fashion. But, about eight months later, when my sister and I had him over for a weekend, I noticed that it started growing back. I told him about it and said that maybe it was a result of all the trauma he had been through (an infection in his mechanical heart valve caused a "mild stroke," then he needed emergency valve replacement surgery during which he had the massive stroke). A little later we went to his house to check on things and as we were leaving, he signaled with his cane to wait a moment. He tottered into the bathroom, rummaged in the cabinet, and came out smiling with a bottle of Rogaine. I guess with all this other crap he had been going through, he had no intention of losing all of his hair, too!

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Donna: LOL and you worry about his cognitive status? I would like you and your sister to consider an overnight at Warren's home. Remove all throw rugs, get furniture-like end tables-put away. New sheets on his bed, some supplies in the fridge. You and your sister will have to figure out a place for you two to sleep and see how it goes.

 

First off, you will figure out what handicap renovations have to be made=raised toilet seat, grip bars in tub with maybe a tub chair for him to sit to rest, a back up WC when he is too tired to walk, etc. Nice recliner or easy chair to watch TV and then safety in the kitchen, of course. You and your sister are there to observe and for safety. You are to do nothing for him until you see him struggle. Be sure his balance is good, he has his cane maybe just spot him getting up and down. Watch him prepare his meds, fix his own meals-get the right stuff in, no fancy cooking for this test. Make sure he can dress himself.

 

He may be OK to go home with a daily aide to assist bathing and dressing, set him up for meals and with his daily meds laid out; then someone for the supper, night wash up and change and into bed with TV, telephone-all numbers preprogrammed and perhaps Life Alert. This may be doable. Just a thought, Debbie

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Donna welcome to our blog community. Good to have you here with new thoughts. I agree with Debbie, but add if you would let your brother live alone with speech, let him try as long as he is physically able to.

 

Two fellows who have no speech in the Stroke Recovery group Ray and I belong to live alone without very much help. Initially they would have been retrained in kitchen skills by an OT and had help come in daily but now they manage, one back in his own home, the other in assisted living.

 

If he can write, even a few words that will help too. One man we know writes single words so he will write "food" his wife writes "lunch" he writes "chicken" his wife writes "sandwich". They do that for every decision.

 

I am ambivalent about selling the truck. If he goes back home would it be possible to find a friend or two who could take him out using his own truck with him paying for the gas etc? That would give him days out and his independence in a way being still a truck owner.

 

Good luck with all the decision making, you are doing a great job and thanks to you and your sister he has a brighter future ahead.

 

Sue.

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Wow! Thank you Debbie, Asha and Sue for your great ideas and emotional support! I wish I had gotten involved with this blog months ago. I think it would have saved us from some of the mental anguish my sister and I have been going through.

 

I will be going to see my sister next week (she lives about 200 miles from me in the same town my brother has his house) and will bring all this great info with me. I was thinking last nite, as I am unemployed at this time, that I would move into Warren's house for awhile and we could take him out of his foster care home and see how it goes. He definitely needs additional OT. The people at the foster care place do everything for him so that those few things he learned in rehab have probably been forgotten.

 

Unfortunately, he still can't write (except for his signature....that he has no problem with, oddly enough) and we don't believe he can read, either.

 

His bathroom will definitely need a handicapped accessible shower and some other things. His house is one level so it won't be especially difficult for him to get around with his cane.

 

 

 

Could someone recommend a good site/supplier of aids for one-handed people? Does anyone have any of these things they wish to sell? What devices have been especially useful?

 

Again, thank you! You folks are great!

 

Donna

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Could someone recommend a good site/supplier of aids for one-handed people? Does anyone have any of these things they wish to sell? What devices have been especially useful?

 

Again, thank you! You folks are great!

 

Donna

The best book/information I got on one-handed aids is the Tommye K Mayer book, One-handed in a Two-handed World.

Dean

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Could someone recommend a good site/supplier of aids for one-handed people? Does anyone have any of these things they wish to sell? What devices have been especially useful?

 

Again, thank you! You folks are great!

 

Donna

The best book/information I got on one-handed aids is the Tommye K Mayer book, One-handed in a Two-handed World.

Dean

 

Thank you, Dean....I will definitely get it!

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