Elder Abuse

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Today, I was supposed to go help my friend, F, reorganize her single large closet in her assisted living apartment.

We were going to sort through all the clothes she moved from her home, weeding out the ones she no longer wears or needs, and organizing her travel photo albums so that they would be on bookcases at floor level, instead of higher up on shelves in the closet where she can’t access their contents.

We were going to move the chest taking up space in her bedroom, blocking easy access to the closet, and we were going to find a way to store her granny cart and her vacuum so that they weren’t taking up valuable floor space outside her closet.

Instead, I’m going to be dealing with a panic attack over finances and trying to calm her down.

P, the controlling friend that has made all the decisions regarding F’s finances, is harping on the fact that F is spending “too much”, all while knowing she just sold her fully paid for home for $789k, and that the place F has chosen to live should run her about $70k to $80k per year.

Instead of treating F like an impaired but reasonable adult, P is refusing to answer F’s questions (regardless of how many times the questions are repeated), leaving F to play a tit-for-tat game of hiding her money (and pulling out a lot of cash so that she feels she has control of her money, since she’s no longer seeing monthly statements).

F’s determination to wrest control from the largely silent Canadian relatives who have all her money and power of attorney (now that she’s been declared in need of guardianship / conservatorship) is a drama that didn’t need to be.

But, I blame P as the instigator.

P is a control freak, in my humble opinion, and her unwillingness to answer F’s reasonable questions has lead directly to this crisis.

(Calling me last night about 8:30pm to cancel our get together today, and then calling me at 6:02am in a panic to discuss things, shows what stress F is being put under by receiving mixed messages and different answers from everyone in her life).

So, I’ll go see F later today as originally agreed.  We’ll work out a strategy for her to stay calm and – possibly? – get some answers.  And, I’ll give her some suggestions about how to stay calm and create a workable budget for weekly cash so that she has a negotiation strategy for dealing with the drama that I otherwise consider elder abuse.

Please, if you have an elderly friend whose elevator no longer goes consistently to the top floor…  just be kind.  Be patient.  Answer all their questions even if they’ve asked them 1,000 times.  Don’t bully them.  Don’t boss them.  Try to listen and be supportive without badmouthing anyone else trying to help them.  Just care enough to show up.

We’re all going to be in a vulnerable point at some stage of our life due to age, infirmity or financial vulnerability.  Just be patient.  Try your best to be kind and not make the situation worse.

 

 

Hello. I’m still here.

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Still struggling with my attitude problem, my money being drained five minutes after I get paid, and my 2012 Kia Soul not selling.

So, there’s been a lot of me and the fur-coated diva on the couch, napping, in between lots of driving back and forth to the heart of Silicon Valley (about a 60 to 100 mile round trip, depending on where we end up walking, and whatever errands need to be run).

I think the money is disappearing so fast because of my poor money management, and all the gas for the extra trips, but I’m not sure if I’m lying to myself or not.  We’ll see how this next paycheck goes.

I’m also doing a lot of thinking about how to fix a running toilet:

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…and trying not to let my success with fixing the washing machine earlier this year go to my head !  To fix the toilet I must first take apart the bathroom cabinet / towel storage system (yet another daunting distraction), and with the house in various states of projects, I’m just overwhelmed with the clutter.

Did I ever tell you how much I hate home ownership and its related maintenance duties?

I first grew up in a 200 year old farm house constantly in a state of repair and strip-the-walls-down-to-the-studs “improvements”.  After my parents divorce, I finished growing up in a cottage style house that was always being renovated and reinforced against the always-pending storms.  Rain, Snow, Hurricanes, Nor’easters…

The cottage had an incredible mold / mildew problem due to it being a 1950’s era tract box, with very little insulation  – at least due to then-modern standards.

So, to find myself living in a mobile home built in 1976 with zip for insulation, doing my own repairs while short of breath and exhausted from lack of decent sleep is not ever an adventure I foresaw in my life.

But, it’s better than being homeless or having someone tell me I (temporarily) make too much money to be able to qualify for the construction aid programs meant to aid seniors and disabled people.

Back to today’s story, though…

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Would you believe that some former owner spackeled the toilet tank lid in place??!!??

It’s moves like that which make home ownership and repairs such an adventure.

It’s still been cold or chilly a lot more than normal, which is making me wonder if I’m being lazy for getting things done or if it’s just not hot enough for me, but that’s an every day kind of musing that helps me waste time and avoid getting much of anything done between naps, LOL.

Between running my friend around doing her errands, I’m arguing with the endocrinologist.  My A1C has been in the 7.5 range for most of the Winter (bad fudge !  Bad !), but since I sent her a chart of my A1C over the last 2.5 years showing weight and medication points and sleep patterns, plus proof that I walked at least 830 miles last year and an average 80 miles a month in good weather, she’s agreed to calm down and breathe.  She’s expensive, so I didn’t want to move my appointment closer than July 9th, and she’s finally agreed to see me after some arm twisting.

I also found a Harvard Health study which wonders if tight control of the A1C in someone who has other co-morbidities is worth it, and which posits the idea that an A1C between 7 and 8 might not be unreasonable for those with chronic health issues.

Rethinking A1c goals for type 2 diabetes

In particular, I’m cherry picking this part of their conclusions:

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I think I have invested enough effort in staying as well as I can, and I am not going to make myself crazy trying to regulate my blood sugars when all it does is leave me tired and short of energy.

Since I’ve stopped taking the Januvia my blood sugar has risen, but I feel better and my finances thank me for not paying $525 each month for a medicine that causes constipation and hemorrhoids, without really addressing the underlying problem.

It’s funny, though.  I started this blog about friendships and home repairs, and it digressed into another rant about health.  Go figure !

Needless to say, I’m fine and still putting one foot in front of the other.  Time to get my butt in gear and start my day.

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