155 Big Green Pen Minutes Day Nine: Plan

I am participating in the 31 Days of Free Writes October challenge. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. (Confession: I *may* not be able to resist spell-checking!)

Today’s prompt: Plan

Given the season of life we have just passed through, let’s be practical today. When embarking on the caregiving process, even if you do it relatively spontaneously (or especially when you do it spontaneously), it is critical to have done some planning in advance. Otherwise, you’ll spend a LOT of time hunting and wondering.

A plan would have kept me from tearing apart my father-in-law’s house soon after he moved in with us, looking for his DD 214 to apply for veterans’ benefits. (We ended up having to order one from the federal gov’t — turns out his year’s records were involved in a fire in the warehouse (or something) so recreating/retrieving it was …. a process.

I’m sure we’ll find his original sometime long after it is needed.

(And he didn’t qualify for veterans’ benefits (aid in attendance) no matter how many well-meaning people, including attorneys, told us he should, but we needed it anyway. Did you know the gov’t provides a headstone to every veteran?).

And then there are things like his driver’s license. Somehow we survived the period between his license expiring, when we SHOULD have gotten him an ID, and his death, but there were times when he had to present an ID that an eagle-eyed bank rep (or whatever) didn’t accept his expired license. That’s not so much a planning thing, I guess, as a prioritization thing, but it was a pain to get him to the DL office to do the ID process so we hesitated.

There are also lots of adjustments you should make to your home when you have a feeble elder living with you (pick up throw rugs, install grab bars in the shower, elevate the toilet seat).

A plan can bring you more peace of mind than I can possibly express.

Writing Challenge

17 thoughts on “155 Big Green Pen Minutes Day Nine: Plan

  1. Pingback: 31 Days (155 Minutes) of Five Minute Free Writes - Big Green PenBig Green Pen

    • Yes, it will be all of that. If I can do anything to help, don’t hesitate to let me know. There are so many great resources out there, but I got kind of absorbed by the day to day — so anything you can do to connect with those resources in advance, I would definitely encourage you to do that.

  2. My dad served in the navy. At this point, he’s living independently with his wife (my step-mother). He’s moving from his 70s to his 80s. He doesn’t want my help at all, but if a lot of things shift over the next few years, I am now a little more aware about veterans’ issues. (I didn’t know that about the headstone!) Thanks for sharing your caregiver / care partner journey.

    • YES. Do what you can to educate yourself about veterans’ options. There are lots of them, but it takes tenacity (IMO) to track them down. And beware of people who aren’t directly affiliated with vet orgs who offer to “do it for you” — they *may* have ulterior motives (ask me how I know). I really think I should possibly do a post about this, even though I still feel like I have more questions than answers, even after three years of fooling around with it all. But here’s the info on headstones. https://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/

  3. It is a learning curve! I know when my Dad died we had to get so many death certificates for various things it was incredible and expensive!
    Good luck on your challenge.

    • YES on the death certificates. I think we got ten (at $10 each) and we’re going through them quickly. Definitely a learning curve. And thanks for the good wishes on the challenge. Looks like I’m almost a third of the way there!

  4. I can agree with you here… it’s so important to plan a few of these things, even if it’s just for ourselves – because we never know when we might need caring, and aren’t able to express our wishes/plan – and it’s so much better on the family if they already know 🙂

    • Yes yes yes exactly. This is bringing up so many ideas. I really need to do a post (or three). Both of my in laws had five wishes documents. They were so useful — from the life-critical choices we had to make when my mother had an aortic dissection — down to the fact that my FIL wanted Clare de Lune (sp?) and Sleepless in Seattle played at his visitation/funeral. It meant the world not having to guess.

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