She was living in a nice retirement home in Gainesville for the past two years when we noticed a cry for help. She told us she had decided not to renew her lease and would need to move out by the end of the month. Hearing the trouble in her voice, my brother and I made plans to visit and find out what was going on. We were devastated by how we found her. She was sad and depressed, lonely and full of fear, telling us that she could no longer take care of herself. Her apartment was filthy and disorganized. We sat with her amongst the mess, listening and wondering how things could have gotten so out of control. We went into full rescue mode.
By: Julie Perdue
We spent the next three weeks clearing out unneeded items, packing and getting ready for moving day. After stuffing a dozen huge trash bags full of decades of papers and things she couldn’t seem to throw away, we moved her in with friends 60 miles away. We filled two storage units full of items she didn’t think she would be able to live without.
She was my stepmom for the last 35 years. My father passed away in 2006, leaving her in good financial shape for the years to come, but over time, she lost everything to poor real estate decisions, opening her home to people who stole from her and ruined her property, and trying to help the less fortunate, as was her way. Many times, we came to her aid, moving her from place to place, trying to help, but were often met with stubbornness, so we simply watched her lose everything she once had. It was a frustrating process — but now, things were serious. She was 78 and broke, alone and drowning her sorrows, of which we were not aware. So, we began the complicated journey of what to do and where to find help.
We found that there is an abundance of options for the elderly who can afford luxury retirement homes and assisted living complexes that feel more like resorts. Our research showed the cost of those to be from $3,000/month to over $6,000/ month depending on the location and amenities. Like many in her situation, my stepmom could afford none of those. She was living on social security only, so we began looking to see if she would qualify for VA Aid and Attendance Benefit because of my father’s time in the service to help aid in the cost for a new place to live.
The first call I made was to Senior Resource Partners in Suwanee, an organization that acts as a senior resource office and points families to the best professionals for each area of need, such as care homes, elder law, financial services, care managers and senior moving services. Senior Resource Partners put us in touch with a professional placement service for the elderly. Both assisted us, free of charge, and were a godsend because of their experience and knowledge of the tasks involved when learning each process and searching for the best place for our stepmom. They were personally familiar with options for what we could afford. Senior Resource Partners also introduced us to a geriatric case manager (for hire) to help us in dealing with our stepmom and getting processes accomplished with her doctors and Georgia VA.
After three months, we found a personal care home in a town close to us that was a perfect fit and something she could afford. The most important part to us was that she would be safe and looked after, and no longer alone. This home is small with only four residents and an aide onsite 24 hours a day. It is clean, happy and an answer to our prayers.
If you or your friends have dealt with an aging parent or relative, you know how daunting it is to be thrust headlong into a crisis or major life change. You may need to pack and move their belongings or disburse them to charity and relatives. You may need to hire home assistance or take them to a medical rehab center for a while. Maybe they have issues driving to the doctor or just need a new, safer place to live. Or maybe they have a degenerative disease and will need more services each month or year going forward.
Senior Resource Partners is located in the Suwanee area and is comprised of the top professionals in Northeast Atlanta for the entirety of senior aging issues. The partners cover: home modification and mobility issues; home health care, home care assistance, moving and packing senior housing, senior tax issues and planning, Medicare planning and management, senior living choices and placement, Elder Law issues and planning, Veteran’s Assistance benefits, Hospice care, Senior Skilled Nursing Rehabilitation Center; and much more.
The lesson? Don’t tackle senior aging issues on your own! Getting old isn’t for sissies. Losing independence and accepting help is very hard for most people and caring for loved ones is a complicated process. It takes a lot of patience, love and kindness, and it sure helped to have professional and knowledgeable advocates to help navigate the way. Without them, we might still be searching or may have made the wrong choices. With them, we found the perfect place for her.
Are you looking for assistance? Contact Senior Resource Partners:
770.945.5261 EXT. 626 / SeniorResourcePartners.org