Here come the health complications …

momsleepingontableFor some time, my siblings and I have wondered if my Mom is in the right place. When we had to hire personal assistants for my Mom who is in Assisted Living, we started to look at other communities. We were having to spend about $5,000 a month on top of the monthly Assisted Living fees of $7,500. GULP! We are blessed because my parents saved the money to be able to cover these expenses — but it doesn’t make them seem any less gargantuan. For those of you familiar, this is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and that is a “discounted monthly rate.”

Our goal is to find the right care for my Mom as well as be a good fiduciary representative of her money.

I hired a firm to help us find the right community for my Mom. We have dozens in the metro-DC area to choose from. My siblings have been coming to town to visit the final communities. We decide that one dedicated to dementia care would be the best fit for my Mom. However, during this process, my Mom had some health issues.

I took my Mom to the doctor because the Assisted Living community suggested we follow-up the initial tests from her primary care physician. Her general diagnoses is “Congestive Heart Failure” which is apparently very common in anyone over 80 years of age.

My Mom is sleeping most of the day now and I have to wake her when I arrive to take her to the Cardiologist. A few weeks ago, my Mom started walking very stiffly. As we walk to the car, she lets me hold her hand for support. She doses off in the waiting room and when we reach the examination room, she just wants to lie down and sleep. She actually sleeps through the EKG. I feel a sense of deja vu back to my Dad’s final doctor visits.

The Dr.diagnoses her with Diastolic Heart Failure. There is really nothing to do since she is not complaining of any symptoms or pain. He tells me what to watch for (swelling feet, weight gain). Last time the swelling self-resolved, but if it doesn’t, they can put her on a diuretic to help her eliminate the retained water.

We now have to weigh our decision and hedge our bets that Mom won’t need Skilled Nursing if we move her to the community dedicated to dementia care. Their goal is to have our Mom live the rest of her life in their community, but more complex health care issues may mean that she would need Skilled Nursing at some point moving forward. Just when you think you have a clear path, the choices get muddied. Befuddled.