Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Killing Fields -- Long Term Care Facilities Without Good Medical Care

In the beginning, just a few weeks ago, people were led to believe the Coronovirus was an "old person's" disease. 

Why? 

Deaths at Long Term Care facilities that were found to be caused by the disease. Then more deaths of older people.

Doesn't that prove it's a "selective disease"?

Reread my writings and you'll see I've tried to give warnings -- no one listened, no one thought a "non medical person" could see the handwriting on the wall.  

People who were younger walked around, traveled, thumbed their noses at anyone who suggested they would have any role in this horrible scenerio.

Like the three monkeys, they covered their eyes, ears and mouths because this "old people's" disease wasn't "coming for them" --- 

Yes, it was and is...."when will they ever learn...when will they ever learn"--we're losing flowers everywhere---gone, never to return.

And we continue to NOT SEND IN THE DHSS AND TRAINED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS TO HANDLE THE OUTBREAKS IN LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES.

Until YOU speak up. Until you advocate and stimulate friends, relatives and anyone using your Social Media connectivity to RAISE YOUR VOICES IN PROTEST TO ENSURE OUR LEGACY, OUR FOUNDATION OF THIS AMAZING COUNTRY -- THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND CONTINUE TO FIGHT -- those who deserve to be protected and yes to be saved....

BECAUSE IT ISN'T AGE THAT'S CAUSING THE DEATHS....

It's exposure of all ages and stages of life.

Even more "mature" audiences took chances, made decisions that spread the disease and believed they were "immune" and couldn't be affected and couldn't possibly be "carriers" -- a word they would soon learn is true of many who do not show symptoms or test positively.

Since the last serious Pandemic, we created school systems providing FREE education to ages Kindergarten through High School graduation. 

WE'VE FAILED TO TEACH COMMON SENSE.

WE'VE FAILED TO TEACH COMPASSION AND CONSIDERATION.

When will we listen to the cries of our parents and grandparents and raise the curtain on the Long Term Care facilities -- WHO HAVE BEEN OPERATING FOR YEARS with POOR MEDICAL SERVICES AND LACK OF SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF TRAINED MEDICAL CARE

I've been citing statistics, calling emergency numbers for relatives and friends who were residents deprived of medical and other care and deprived of the ability to communicate, make choices and GIVEN BASIC CLEAN MEDICAL CARE that included ensuring not moving from one bed to another -- from contamination of one person to feeding or wiping a mouth or giving meds, for example.

WHY AREN'T WE SEEING THE REALITY OF A SYSTEM that pays its executives as though they worked in Corporate America with high six and seven figure salaries, amenities, bonuses and more -- running sometimes into the seven figures -- is doing so at the expense of ENSURING MOST RESIDENTS SPEND AN AVERAGE OF THREE YEARS and then their "space" is turned over to another.

LET'S REALIZE....when you reduce or eliminate GOOD MEDICAL CARE....things happen as I've reported -- falls, breaks, infections, acceleration of pre-existing conditions and more...

Why isn't there a mandate EVERY Long Term Care especially but all Care Giving Facilities of all levels MUST PROVIDE EACH RESIDENT WITH ACCESS AND ASSIST THEM TO CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF THE FACILITIES BY COMPUTER and MUST ASSIST OR ALLOW RESIDENTS TO CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS THROUGH ZOOM OR OTHER VISUAL MEANS giving the family and friends peace of mind as to their loved ones actual condition.

REMEMBER .... I detailed how my friend Carol died two days before her birthday -- two days before we could visit with her. My daughter and I knew Carol since 2011; this was 2019; 8 YEARS of visiting, taking her places, getting her a tatoo she'd wanted for decades; providing her with clothes, a little money to shop; the brands of toothpaste, liquid body lotion, shampoo, etc AND NO ONE CALLED US OR TOLD US.

WE WALKED INTO CAROL'S ROOM TO SEE HER EMPTY BED AND MANY OF HER PRIZED POSSESSIONS GONE OR PILED NEARBY. 

This is what's going on today it hasn't changed. We're so busy seeing the devastation that's spread so far that we're not seeing what should be seen -- ABUSE IN LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR MEDICAL SERVICES AT A LEVEL THEY CHARGE INSURANCE COMPANIES, FEDERAL AND STATE PROGRAMS.

If it's to be, it's up to YOU.....I've been speaking up since 2012 publically in this blog and before that in my community through advocating for Seniors.

THE FIRE IS BURNING OUT OF CONTROL...HOW MANY MORE LIVES ARE EXPENDABLE BECAUSE WE ONLY SEE WHAT THE MEDIA SHOWS US AND WE CAN'T FIND OUR VOICES TO SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT AND ENSURE THIS ABUSE OF OUR SENIOR POPULATION CEASES, DESISTS, ENFORCES STANDARDS WE EXPECT IN MEDICAL FACILITIES just as we expect now the equpment and services are in our Hospitals.

You are the answer. Tell others to read this blog and other entries. Take action. Spread the word. 

WRITE YOUR STATE AND NATIONAL CONGRESS PEOPLE...YOUR FRIENDS...YOUR FAMILY...THE PRESIDENT...THE DHSS...THE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM NATIONALLY AND YOUR LOCAL "CHAPTER"

Remember...each day you're getting older....how do you want to be treated if you find yourself in LONG TERM CARE or another facility. It could happen any time....

Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronovirus: Choices Now; Penalties Later?

Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self" and it's time more ages and stages of life understood this is not just a saying or a practice it needs to be a way of life.

If ever we were aware we are a part of a world while still being American,European, Missourians, New Yorkers, British, Irish, African etc etc it is NOW.

WHO is aware of others needs and giving not when it's convenient but when it's a challenge -- to the self?

ATTITUDE BEYOND SELF.  Giving of what you have is easy. Giving when it's a stretch, a challenge, it's taking away from what you have and may not get returned -- that is true giving, it is sacrifice.

HOARDERS.  Fear of the unknown, the uncertain, the "I (and often "mine") must survive above all are practices that are harming people unintentionally or not.

STOP BELIEVING THIS IS "NEW" -- it's everyday life for many in the United States and around the world.

While you've stocked your pantries and bought your wine there are those among us in the United States and in many places of the world who are worried about the water they drink and how they'll find food let alone afford it.

NO, IT'S NOT JUST THE OLDER POPULATION.  When you think you can "single out" a group, it can make some/many feel better and it's been done around the globe and brought us to many historical, demeaning and damaging situations -- just like a Pandemic can do.

TRUE, WE'RE NOT IN CONTROL --- OR FALSE, OR WE?

Why does it always require someone to get first hand experience before they can think about "real" possibilities and consequences?

Out for a walk?  Say hello don't just look away. 

COMMUNICATION IS TOP OF THE LIST, EVERYONE.

REALIZE THIS LESSON THROUGH BEING MORE "CONFINED" AND "CONSTRICTED" WHILE THERE'S STILL TIME TO MAKE POSITIVE DECISIONS AND NOT JUST REACTIONS.

We are being told because we do not think about others.

We are being made to do which could rise to even higher levels if we don't "hold imaginary hands" and lead those who are still incapable of thinking beyond themselves to cause even more challenges for those who listen, have learned and understand  -- IT'S NOT ME ---- IT'S WE.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Not In "My" Lifetime -- Pandemic Does Not Compute For Many

My mother was four years old when the last pandemic hit.

She was in a small rural town that wasn't as affected as the major metropolitan areas.

Cities today are experiencing the same crisis as during her lifetime; she passed in her 100th year.

How can we convince the teens and twenty somethings of the seriousness of this situation?

Do they think it's smoke and mirrors or "made up"?

This is not within our control.

This is not hype.

This is not reality TV where someone decides how and what and where and when.

You think your're not included because the virus is currently attacking the most vulnerable?

You may be a carrier and not even know it.

We're too focused on telling the general public it's "not advisable" for an "older" citizen to travel or do many things.

Why? Because our older population confined to spaces like Long Term Care where people like myself have witnessed the poor medical care and cleanliness have taken lives before the Pandemic and now are going to move even faster and more destructive because we do not look, we do not listen and we do not ensure our older population is truly protected

That's how it starts -- getting a foothold into a weakened area and then progressing into the general population.

Viruses are like other life forms, they change (mutate) and gain strength as they grow in number and strength.

Our "enemy" is just getting started.

So you think you're so special you won't get it or by the time it "selects" your age group there will be a cure so no worries?

It's dependent on your turning your back and believing, as many of your age have done before, you're "invincible".

You Are Not.

Turn your back and you will find with so many other crisis, the attacks will come, they will reach you and you will be oblivous to its attacks because you didn't believe it would ever come.....to you.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

CBS -- Dive Deeper Into Senior LTC & COVID-19 -- You See The Most Beneath The Surface

CBS  STOP singling out the Washington State facility as if it was "unique". It's not!  

Other facilities have deaths every day and report them as "dying of old age".

Other facilities are possibly not willing or do not have the ability to see the deaths they are experiencing -- which they believe is due to the "time of year' or "weather" or :"age of resident" IS NOT.

Now we have "locked down" facilities but have staff that still moves from one facility to another and who go out into the community moving about with people who may be incubating the virus adding to the pandemic.

ON A DAILY BASIS:

Seniors are required to share rooms even when their roommate is critically ill or sick with a contagious disease. 

Seniors who are atttended by CNA's move from room to room often passing by a "hand sanitizer" that doesn't do the job.

Seniors who are "handled" on a daily basis without the use of gloves moving germs, infections and other problems from bed to bed, room to room.

Many Long Term Care Facilities are in "business" to make a profit.  

Check out the auxiliary services that are owned or operated or where arrangements have been made for significant billing adjustments -- not reported to Medicaid or Insurance coverage.

Let's be real. If you control supply and demand you can sell/provide a product or service at a lower price point and if you get reimbursed, chances are the business still makes a profit beyond the cost and enabling them to build more, larger and more extensive facilities where they can be higher consumers and subject to more and deeper discounts they pass on into their pocke.

Long Term Care Facilities, even Not For Profit, providing their Board Members with payment of their Country Club Dues. This can be seen on their 990's required to be filed. What about the For Profit -- they should also have to file as they provide for the most vulnerable in our society.

Long Term Care Facilities who specifically look for "new" residents on MEDICAID that have few or little ongoing medical care that cannot be managed with drugs and needs more "personalized" hands on assistance.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG....

This is your chance to really discover why the average amount of time a resident lives in a facility is two to three years and why so many Seniors don't want to go, even when they have no other financial choice or relatives who cannot or do not have the time to CareGive.

It's time to do an INVESTGATIVE REPORT on these sequestered incubators of disease and treatment we wouldn't give an animal. 

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ARE REAL STORIES OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT.

CBS AND OTHERS, STEP UP TO THE PLATE....

I've been writing about these challenges and sharing the problems on this Blog since 2012. 

How many of our valued contributors are now considered expendable?

They created so many opportunities by lighting the way and giving generations benefits they fought so hard to establish.

DO MORE THAN READ. 

TAKE POSITIVE ACTION TO PROTECT AND DEFEND OUR MOST VULNERABLE AMERICANS.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Heroes Among Us Aiding The Senior Population

Listening to the latest information being presented by the Governor of New York, my concerns are growing about the increasing amount of cases and possible need to move people from a hospital bed to another location to make room for others.

Where will they go?  Not all can go home. Many will not have the medical insurance or family members to come in and help them through and to being "healthy" again or may need "secondary care" which in the case of anyone over 60 will most probably be a decision to do "rehab" in a Long Term Care Facility.

Also, as we move through a time of uncertainty when there are closings of businesses, shortages of personal and home supplies:

How can we be certain these facilities are able to provide what this dependent society, residents living in a Long Term Care facility where food, medicine and personal care are necessary really need  . . 

When will we ensure Long Term Care Facilities ARE fully transparent with reports posted on line for all States, at least the total amount generated for the past three years, in plain language without the "jargon" used to hide violations while maintaining the privacy of the individual...

As I've discussed so many times, many of these Long Term Care or Rehab facilities are hotbeds of undisclosed medical challenges and escalating medical problems.

If we do not take this opportunity to speak up, to speak out and to work for reorganization and full accountability to the people who pay into the system, the Taxpayers, and those who are being supported by the system, through vast sums of money going to highly complex enterprises who currently have little responsibility to informing the general public -- 

We will not have learned one of the valuable lessons this challenging event called COVID-19 , Coronovirus, is giving us in bringing to light and to the surface of our society so many challenges in our medical system.

On the positive side, I've heard from some "middle aged" people how they've called Long Term Care Facilities and told them they wanted to remove their loved one, meaning a mother/father/grandparent/friend from the facility and take them into their homes. 

Yes, it's a challenge but generations before us and societies in many countries that have been hardest hit by this emergency situation, have practiced this "caregiving" for generations.  

Kudos to those who step beyond their personal comfort zone to provide caring for others; we should be talking about these on the National and International News because they, too, are the Heroes Among Us.

Yes, it's a challenge adjusting. 
Yes, it can mean more work for family members. 

It can also mean we're returning to being a caring and considerate population where instead of being self-centered, giving when it's "convenient" or brings some form of "reward", we realize it's in the giving we receive.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

COVID-19 Concerns For Long Term Care Residents

Warnings? Announcements? Trial Runs? 
Are we listening? Have we learned? 
      Or do we only see with blinders on?
Maybe we're like the proverbial three "monkeys" -- 
       Hearing Nothing, Seeing Nothing, Saying Nothing?

The Emergency Broadcast System has evolved over the years from a Test Pattern to a scrolling announcement with a signature audio sound. Many ignore it as "just another" announcement that will "soon be over".

Have the years since the last medical incident been so long ago and far away that we do not place a priority on being prepared, planning for these challenges and even anticipating their arrival?

In  2019 the Medical Community planned for the wrong strain of the "regular flu" -- and now they're not prepared to handle this NEW "flu" invasion?

Let's take one incident that was reported but never really examined on the National News.

Who's questioning why so many came down with and died (and possibly are still dying) in the Long Term Care Facility in Washington State and allowed to report the deaths as "Old Age"? 

Why no investigation into Long Term Care Facilities -- esp now that so many are going to Continuum of Care meaning providing living facilities across the spectrum of aging --
         Independent, Assisted, Long Term and Dementia.

The Stats for this medical condition need to be accurate and that includes inside Long Term Care Facilities

How many are dying in other Long Term Care Facilities and their deaths, as with the LTC in Washington State has admitted, been reported as "death due to old age"?  

           And -- stating publicly that this "cause of death" has
                      been and is their policy for all deaths in the 
                      facility.

Not heart attacks? Not Cancer?
    Not other serious medical conditions?

Death is To Be Expected and usual...they'll tell you...in Long Term Care....

In reality -- 

People who reside in LTC are there for a reason -- 
it's usually because they cannot manage by themselves, the cost of "individualized care" is beyond their or their family's abilities or they have no place else to go or "someone" has convinced them that's "where they belong".

CHALLENGE:  We have systems, like "The Ombudsman" -- called by other names in many areas -- that relies on "volunteers" and does not have enough people to "assign" any one person to any facility on a regular basis -- not even once a month.

CHALLENGE:  There is no full disclosure or transparency and many of these are privately owned businesses.

It's a Call To Action we need to hear from those in positions where changes can be made.

LOOK, LISTEN,TAKE ACTION...It's an Election Year...Ask those running for election what they're going to do to ensure our elderly population is protected and supported

And a word to the Gen X'ers -- some of you are of an age where "they" (the medical community) could send you for rehab to a "facility" where elderly people also reside. 

Maybe if you see, hear and feel when you're less than what you usually are you may begin to see "the light" of the real crisis in Long Term Care and work to change "the system" and "the laws".

The Bell of Awareness is ringing; are our headphones and earbuds on so well that we cannot hear the cries and calls of those we love, have loved and should love and care about?

Monday, February 24, 2020

As The Twig Is Bent So Grows The Tree

Sitting at my table, looking out the window, family gatherings and everyday events come to mind.

No, my  son, I could  not sell this house; not now; not yet and not then -- when you told me how wrong I was about "keeping it" after Dad passed.

With all its challenges as it ages, like I am also doing, it is a comfort, a haven of memories and peace of mind. 

Yes, there have been several times when I could have used "your" help but I would never ask you as the price I have to pay isn't worth the cost.

We've stumbled, we've even fallen along the way but through it all I had your sister, my daughter, and when I've asked, your brother, there to guide, to care and to understand it is my life, still, while I can and am willing to live it in ways you do not comprehend.

You have chosen to walk another path, one of distance and eventual complete separation. That is your choice. It is not how you lived, it is not how we taught.

To you,  it's a "big" house and needs repairs and so much more. 

To me, it's a respite, a hope and a future without having to give up,  give in and try to hold on for dear life -- been there, done that not just since you were born but many years before with my Mother supporting, caring and "there" for me, for us.

I admit, without your sister continuing to be a part of my life I would not be financially able or capable. But you would not be able to provide for your family of five if your wife wasn't working and you didn't have a good job. In your way you also work together to gain and retain what you want, what you need.

We all make decisions; we live lives we choose with parts that are given and parts that are taken.

Looking out the window I see the towering Oak tree that once was a twig cut from your Grandfather's Oak in the home they lived in as long as we have now, placed in water, allowed to root and then planted in our yard; a symbol of continuity, of family and of the love we had for one another -- especially now that all of them are no longer with us.

Your father planted it after asking me where I'd like for it to be. He's been gone several years now; 

the tree reminds me of him, of us, of then and of now.

I chose far enough away from the house where it would get sunlight and have room to grow to its potential-- now almost twice the height of our house.

This wasn't our first home; it was the fourth one you called home. So fortunate and privileged were we all to build this dream, carve out this space to grow our lives and shelter our extended family along the way.

We moved as Dad moved up the corporate ladder and then to this place where we chose to spend so many years learning, growing, working -- together.

It was a little bit of a reach but it gave us what we valued -- a yard back and front where you and your siblings spent time, each of us had our own room including Grandma who came to live with us when you were two months old and moved with us around the country before settling here.

It was and is HOME.  It was and is MEMORIES.

And, I, my son, am like my Mother, with whom you spent your life as we did ours; you grew from a small baby into a grown man and benefited along the way from three adults loving you, caring about you and providing for you -- and your siblings--even when we should have said "enough" and "no, we can't.

If we believed it was beneficial; we found a way. And that was for each, in their own way, as one received, so did the others. 

There were no "favorites", none was provided for beyond others, and that included our short time being Guardians for your Uncle's grand-daughter.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree....but the tree that is moved to another location also responds to where it is moved...and that can affect the shape, height, even the way the tree responds to the elements around it.

You chose and choose to make choices every day. 

Perhaps you'll reach your full maturity some day and recognize how important it is to bend, to move "with" and not against the winds that blow. 

Perhaps you have in some ways in your personal and professional life; now it's time to adjust, to understand life is more than just what surrounds you every day.

Someday I will leave this house. It will continue in some form, perhaps another shape, definitely another owner -- hopefully your sister as that is our plan.

The Seasons are changing. Soon Spring will arrive. Some days already show signs of warming and new growth and development from animals to plants.

When will you change, my son? 
When will you have the courage to reconnect? 

I have the memories but it's not the same. 

It's been your decision to disconnect yourself and your children.

It is not what you were taught; it is not how you were raised.

I continue to walk my life's path. 
I make decisions and plan.

Looking out the window at the tree I see new growth.

I hope someday soon to see new growth beyond where I can look everyday.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Multi-Generational Living: Yes, YOU Can!

In November, 2010, we ended our journey as a multigenerational family living together in the same home started in November, 1971 -- almost four decades.

I've written about a small part of that journey with Mom -- in reality a very small segment of about four years -- when an abuser came into our lives -- we actually spent ten times that amount, almost forty years together as a multi generational family.

It's not a "new idea" -- it's been practiced for centuries among many cultures and it's been highly successful.

What has changed this practice for the Western World? 

Some say it's industrialization -- moving from rural to city areas and then to the suburbs. 

Some say the houses were "smaller" ---yet many "made do" in small apartments in the city with multi-generations; not everyone has had or has a home in the US and doesn't in other countries.

When did we start isolating and separating from one another?  When did we start not being "neighbors", "family" and "friends in need"?

Yes, there are adjustments, concessions and even learning a "new way" to live with another person -- just like "living together" w/wo a legal agreement or document.

It's also like bringing home the first child and each child added -- it's a family, a growing and changing dynamic --where adjustments and considerations are a part of everyday life.

Think about how beneficial it is to have another person in your life -- 
 .... someone to share time and experiences with everyday.
 .... someone who is "there for you".
 .... someone who gains and someone who gives

It's a different kind of "life" and "living" -- less for the self and more for others.

It's like adoption.  You bring in a child or young person to your home, the family unit you have only this is an "adult".

There are differences, admittedly.... depending on the age of the child, usually the "family living together unit" is for fewer years...the "child" grows up, gains abilities, can share in the responsibilities of family life

THE ADULT joining the family grows older....usually experiences more "need" for physical or mental challenges.... has decreasing abilities and often special needs

HOWEVER, THERE ARE THE VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE who everyday in every way are living a life of sharing their lives... 

...with life circumstances that affects or removes abilities and possibilities in their lives for a family member....

My In-Laws youngest son had Down's Syndrome. They were told to "instutionalize" him. They were advised not to "take him outside the home".

He was an active part of their lives. He went where they went. He was given an education (they worked to get Special Schooling and programs started).

Listen to your heart. Do what you believe is best for yourself and those you love.

Statements you may hear others say:

We should be able to take care of ourselves...all our lives
If you save enough..

If you're careful....

If you plan right...

You won't need to "impose" on anyone; you can afford to live SOMEWHERE ELSE....

Some can. Many can't. Especially as the years go by.

We've redefined the family in the past several years.

We've redefined relationships.

We've redefined so many areas of life but we still have a "hang up" when it comes to multi generational living.

MULTIGENERATIONAL LIVING....this is the life we shared....this is the life we made together... this is the life we chose...and I am grateful every day we worked to make it a life worth living for each of us..

A relationship that enabled and gave value and opportunities to each family member.

A lifetime of caring, sharing and supporting one another through challenges & times of great joy.

Learning from one another and about ourselves.

We told Mom...who'd lived alone when I went away to college and since I was married, who worked and had her own apartment....when we learned she'd broken her wrist ... 

It's a choice we all make each day and you can choose to leave at any time. We will always be there for you whenever and wherever we're needed.

That was November, 1971 and in November, 2010 the manipulation and control of an abuser who came into our lives could not, in the end, separate our multi generational family. 

We, each family member, are who we are today because we opened our minds, our hearts and our home(s) to share a life we treasure now as we did when it was being created.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Standing "Outside" Looking "In" To My Early Life

Mom and I. Even in the darkest and most challenging times -- we were able to stay together. 

She married late. To a man who'd  been married before. He was Catholic. She was not.

She promised to raise me "in the faith" and kept that promise even when a Priest and a Nun called her a "whore" and me a "bastard". 

Children in my era didn't ask questions especially from those in authority. I knew it was a negative comment and over the years the sting of those words is still inside me. 

With recent events over the past nine years, the verbal abuse continues from "those in authority" who would rather turn away and let it continue than face the challenge of resolution. 

Interesting. Cause for thought. A religion requiring confession and forgiveness but does not believe in accountability?

Difficult enough "in those days" to be unmarried so late in life but to marry a divorced man with two children from the previous marriage? Major life error.

I didn't know about "them" until one day I saw a picture of Dad standing beside a woman and behind a young boy and girl who I think looked to be about two years apart in age but had then and have now no idea of how old they would have been. I was about five at the time.

Dad had asked me to get him something out of "his bottom drawer" -- perhaps he wanted me to see the picture--although young children were far more "obedient" in those days because it was the era of "spare the rod and spoil the child" carried forward to becoming a belt that could reach even farther than a "switch" from a tree used on the previous generation.

As customary -- I didn't question. It was "his" drawer, his "things". 

I would have done the same and did, over the years, with Mom. 

For example, I always took Mom her purse, I NEVER went into it to get what she wanted. And I didn't question -- even when she showed some signs of older life challenges.

I saw the picture but never asked who was in the picture. Children didn't question. The "rod" was used and in the case of my father, it was his leather belt and I felt enough of it as he often used it to gain "control" -- of me when I questioned, did something he didn't like---for whatever reason.

Respect. Courtesy. Consideration. 

We were "poor" but we had a roof over our head -- despite Dad's constantly losing one job after another. Never asked Mom how she did it; know we moved quite a bit Perhaps we "walked out" on past due rent and utilities -- I have no idea.

Mom worked at whatever job she could get when I started school. Dad had no respect for Mom's purse...always helping himself despite her pleas to leave at least enough to get bread and milk and a few groceries. 

Alcohol, not his family, was his primary need and primary focus.


What was His was His. What was Hers was HIS.

Alcoholism -- Whether from results of being in the War or for whatever reason -- damaged and destroyed but could not break apart my Mom and me.

Other Mothers were home during the day; mine was not; it was something I just accepted even with the verbal "name calling" from kids who overheard parents "disdain" for "our kind".

Women stayed home; men went to work. There were no "good" jobs for a woman who was married and most women married at or before 18; my Mom was 31. 

She was a "spinster"; actual truth was she worked to provide for her sister and brothers who were still at home.

Mom "came over" from another State to find work as a domestic in other people's homes -- people of means -- people who treated her like "white trash" and worked the 13 year old long, hard days keeping their homes "bright and shiny".

The kids where we lived knew they were free to throw insults my way and they did. This was not the typical neighborhood you can still see in the shows about the families of the 1950's -- those are the "ideal" families and not reality.

Those TV shows about the perfect families living in the friendly neighborhoods where the most challenging problems were so minimal were big in the 60's and the 70's but they were far from reality for many families who lived prior to that time.

Going to "a movie show" was an exceptional treat. 

Riding on a bus or on a streetcar, as inexpensive as it seems today, was also a "special event". 

Somehow Mom managed at least once a month to hide enough from Dad to provide a "treat" -- one we could never talk about in front of him or I would be subjected to his "discipline" and Mom would be verbally abused.

We usually walked to the closest major street where shops lined each side of what we thought was a "busy" street but pales in comparison to today's traffic.

Mom and I would walk and share time together. It was a way to be together. It was her way, our way, to "get away". 

Dad might have been sleeping; he worked the night shift. It's challenging as the years go by to remember some details; too many other life experiences (thankfully) replace them.

When he worked it was usually as a "night watchman". 

To my knowledge he'd been made to leave school at a very young age, never really asked (again, how we were taught)  to help in his father's business, who was a barber. 

That's supposedly where he "learned to drink" -- as this was common practice -- but I wonder also about how his serving in the War (WW1) affected him and may have led to his drinking -- PTSD?

And, he was probably "sleeping it off" if he'd been paid because money in his pocket meant he headed to the local tavern and he was always generous (to everyone but his family) buying drinks for whoever he happened to meet.

His "generosity" in the bar meant we went without: food, clothing, basics many take for granted. 

People in the armed forces have had similar challenges moving around and to some extent those who worked for companies who "transferred" employees to other locations -- but for me, it was accompanied by living in a volatile environment where one parent was protective and the other self destructive. 

It wasn't exactly conducive to having a friend "over to play" or being "invited" to another home.

When asked today about my "friends" from growing up, I have to admit I haven't many and still find making "friends" a cautionary step and one not to be taken lightly.

A cold water flat; moving every six months from 4th grade until 7th and changing schools twice a year. Some memories come back -- I have some good ones from Kindergarten through the first part of third grade.


Times were changing. Neighborhoods were changing. In our city people were moving "out" because"THEY" were moving in.

Mom tried having a Doctor talk with Dad; she encouraged him to go to AA. He'd stop for a while and then back he'd go -- having Neighborhood bars didn't help as he'd pass one when he walked anywhere and that meant he was "drawn in".

He took me inside with him. Sat me at the bar with him. 

Sometimes he'd buy me a soda -- a very rare treat. Guess he was "buying" my silence as he'd say, "Now don't tell your Mother I gave you that; she'll be angry with me for buying you that soda."  

Of course what he really was saying was, "Now don't tell your Mom I took you into the Bar again. Here's a soda which you can only get when we go here. So, think about that and remember we can only get one when we go here."

When you're a small child, and back then children were more "innocent" and less worldly for many more years than today, you accept more, dream more and generally don't realize how life "should be" or "could be".

Many men drank and they drank to excess. Again, think their being in the Wars of those times and trying to escape the memories had to have an effect. Also drinking was more excessive than it is today for many people.

My Mom planned, she saved nickles and dimes; she went to Beauty School to get a profession she felt could provide for the two of us -- and it did.

It took years. We left with the clothes on our back. With one of Mom's brothers we went back to pick up a few, a very few things, but left behind our lives and for me that was toys and games and my beloved dog who went to stay at the Uncle's.

Children today have so much more. My children had so much more. And, they had love, two caring and devoted parents who both worked so their lives could include great educations and amazing opportunities.

Looking back I do not see the person my oldest son paints me as -- incompetent, incapable, not planning for life well enough and an abuser of his Grandmother and Father.

We've exchanged emails and had email "discussions" many times -- it always ended in his "picking up his marbles" and going home.

Then would come his removing my, his father and even his grandmother's ability to see "his" children. You see, we were a family unit and what he did to one, he did to all. 

Like my father, my oldest son strikes out when what happens, what is said, does not "please him". 

Looking at him on line you'd never guess he was an abuser. Looking at his wife, you'd never guess she participated in an supported the abuse. 

I have no way of knowing how they treat the children. I've wondered. I'm not sure. Sometimes verbal can be as abusive as physical -- I remember as that was also a "skillset" my Dad had.

My oldest once asked me if he was anything like his grandfather. I said yes -- he was blue eyed and bald when he was born. Then the blonde hair came in -- odd because I had dark brown hair and my husband had "salt and pepper" hair with black and silver coloring. My husband had been quite sick as a child and thought that was the cause but seeing my other son "go grey" early, it must be hereditary on "that side" of the family.

We chose how we go through life. We walk past many windows in life, some we see from the inside, some we see from the outside.

We chose to work on relationships or we choose to use relationships to manipulate and control others.

In life, at home, at work, in social situations, we make choices. 

Mom and I both accepted what we could not change but have had the courage to change what we could.

There is heartache but we must move away from those who use and abuse for our own well being.

I know I have the ability to move through these times as they do not control me, they give me the courage to face head on and walk away waiting for the tomorrow I know will come.

I stand outside looking in to my early life and the life my oldest son has chosen to create for me. Little difference. Abuse is abuse.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Legal Duty To Support Our Parents -- Many States Have Laws

Since beginning this Blog in 2012 my journey through aging, medical challenges, dementia, family challenges and personal survival, I've found my entries often move in directions I wasn't directly exploring at the time.

Chance, luck, fate, meant to be....take your choice. Whatever it is, I feel the need to share and enlighten because these life's journeys will most likely be one almost everyone at varying ages and life circumstances will take -- in one form or another.


I focus on a subject and start detailing or remembering what's happened or currently occurring and then use this amazing social tool called "the internet " or conversations in my community.


This leads to my discovering often startling information that causes me even greater concern for myself and others travelling this ever changing personal life road involving ourselves, our family and the community in general.


A "legal duty to support our parents"?  Had no idea this existed. 


Morally, I agree with this concept; however, in reality, I question a society that has to make this law and doesn't recognize the importance of medical care as a "right" for all ages and stages.

And, one step further, do you go to a store to purchase something without seeing a price? 


We walk through the doors of medical services every day without a clear idea of what it will cost and without knowing what "the competition" charges.


Variable, you say. Depends on "what happens". 


I can accept that for some medical services but not for those that are "standard" and that includes shots, regular check ups (and what that includes), specific laboratory tests and others.


We're at the "mercy" of the medical system. Yes, they provide "free" and "reduced" care but they also could be more "transparent" in the care they charge.

Medicare has deductibles and for many Seniors, that is a challenge along with costs for "above" their coverage levels.

...OR at the very least a full disclosure of the medical costs and the ability to compare services as one can when shopping for other goods and services.


This topic really grabbed me because during my Mom's journey through Long Term Care facilities she had post hospital stays in more than one facility.


I mentioned being given a contract to sign -- ME -- not her -- and in the many pages was a short statement that I would be responsible for her bill. I refused to sign. I was not in a financial position after my husband's medical challenges to take on costs I had no idea what they would include and how many thousands of dollars could accumulate.


They were a "multi state" operation and apparently their "standard contract" contained inclusions that may or may not have been "legal" in my state.


If I'd signed the contract....an attorney friend told me I would have been responsible and could have been sued.


Even for a "short term" stay of 30 days, since they determined the services "necessary" and create the "paperwork" (and who among us wants to deprive someone we love of "medical care" )-- this could have been money we needed for daily living (and it would have been) or caused us to possibly even sell our home to "meet our obligations".

Frightening isn't it?  Our parents are growing much older and so are we. We are their children and at a time in life when our "resources" are limited or affected by our own medical and other life challenges it's possible we may be legally obliged to pay even when it could be a hardship.


Yes, the law states if you are "capable" but we all know that's an interpretation and depends on who's making the determination. At the very least, it can involve hiring your own attorney, time spent in this "legal matter" you don't have and money put out for your "defense".

Please note:  I see no reference to a date when the information below was entered on the internet. Suggest reviewing to ensure you understand any and all updates, changes and additions of other States by going to your own State's information in this area.


Also, don't know if there's "cross responsibility" -- not sure how an adult child living in one state and a parent living in another will be affected and by which or both state's laws.


"States with filial responsibility laws are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia." 


Not every State has a law; here's the reference:

Filial Responsibility: Can the Legal Duty to Support Our Parents Be Effectively Enforced? by Shannon Frank Edelstone, appearing in the Fall 2002 issue of the American Bar Association's Family Law Quarterly, 36 Fam. L.Q. 501 (2002). Lexic.com


https://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/health/NOA/30states.pdf

Your obligation to pay a parent's nursing home bill is another resource to read:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/your-obligation-pay-parents-nursing-home-bill.html


We took responsibility for my Mom's day to day living through being a multigenerational family where Mom retained all her Social Security and spent it when and where she chose and we paid all the "ordinary"expenses of living and some of her "extras" -- often providing additional money for her to travel or purchase larger items -- bed, furniture, room decor, etc. 

This was how we lived from the time Mom came to live with us when our first child was three months old until she went into a facility through the actions of Julia I've written about in several earlier entries. That was almost four decades.


Mom had no property and no resources aside from Social Security and that was at a very low level as Mom was a very low wage earner.


We finally applied for Medicaid as it provided Day Care. 

I was coping with 24/7 caregiving for two and Mom deserved to have a more stimulating and social lifestyle than we could provide when my husband was basically "home bound".


Most of his time after spending 100 days in the hospital, almost all in Critical Intensive Care, was in a medical bed with as many as four bags taped across his abdomen as his skin constantly broke open and the contents of his "processing" of what he could tolerate to eat dumped into the bags which constantly needed to be changed.


What if my state would have decided I "had" the ability since we had a home when Mom started needing medical care (before my husband had his medical challenges) and we were "held responsible" for her bills .....?

And then there's the consideration of the responsibility to care for "parents" and that would have meant, if they were living, two people for each of us, my husband and myself, bringing to our lives the "responsibility" of paying for care IF each of them could not pay or did not have assets or other means OR if we were seen as "having the ability"......

Where are we headed as a society? 

What can we do?

This is not just a discussion among Seniors and their children.

GenX, Millenials and the GenZ's and those who come after are facing these challenges and they have no idea they exist, have no idea what "responsbilities" are being "thrust" upon them.

Each generation deserves to know more about decisions and practices that not only limit their daily activities and actions but also those in place that are silently and behind closed doors affecting the future they work so hard and often struggle to create.

Life happens. Medical expenses and other life challenges can take away what you've worked for decades to provide. 

In a heartbeat life can change. 

In a heartbeat you find out about laws and practices taking you from independence to interdependence.  

It's a system that's only going to change when we realize how critical it is to watch, to speak out and to move forward along with positive change in other life practices.

You hold the keys not just at the Polls when you vote but everyday when those you elect or appoint, those who make decisions governing your daily life create these and other laws.

If you do nothing else, at least shine the light as I'm trying to do through raising awareness of what's "out there" and find a way to make a difference.

Raise your voice towards those who are heard and especially those who "control" your present and your future.

You are the key to the many locks in life you encounter.