Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 82, low 65)
I apologize for the boring post, but this appears to be our life now.
We’ve been back in Florida nearly two months, but it feels much, much longer.
People used to say to remark to us, that we really knew how to “do” retirement, and that we were living the dream. Well, that’s no longer the case.
We had to leave Georgia earlier than we had planned because my mother had some sort of an event, which seems to have affected her brain. The doctors did not find any evidence of a stroke, but we have our doubts. There is definitely some dementia. We are here in Tampa helping to care for her in her home and are trying to keep her out of a nursing home as long as possible. She needs someone with her 24 hours a day.
We had some long time family friends that moved to Tampa for a job,and were staying with Mom. We had hoped it would be a win-win situation, but it turned out to be too stressful for all concerned, and especially Al and I. They gave up on Florida and are moving back to Nebraska. They were good to Mom though, and she will miss them, but the stress level for my brother, Al and I will go down.
A few weeks ago, Mom started on a new medication for dementia. The doctor was less than enthusiastic about it’s effectiveness, but we have found it to have helped her a great deal. It can’t stop dementia, but can delay its progress, and that’s good enough for us right now.
Mom has a long term care/nursing home policy with John Hancock Insurance. Per the policy, she has $120 a day benefit for either nursing home or home health care, but getting the claim set up has been a nightmare. Many, many phone calls and tons of paperwork and then dealing with incompetent people. I can’t tell you the amount of stress this has caused.
Over the years working as an injury adjuster at USAA, I dealt with a lot of other insurance companies and I never dealt with one with such poor customer service. I would never buy any insurance from John Hancock. I am seeing the benefit of having a nursing home/long term care policy, though, and we’re very glad she has it.
So….. If you have a long term care or nursing home policy, don’t expect to be able to file a claim on your own when you are older and in need of help. Dealing with them has been very stressful in a situation where we are already under a great deal of stress.
After many, many aggravating phone calls to John Hancock, they have finally agreed to open a claim for Mom and pay for home health care. We have to choose one of their authorized providers. I finally settled on Visiting Angels, after many phone calls to other companies.
Visiting Angels have been pretty good, but there have also been some issues there, which has not helped our stress level.
We found a few things that help us care for Mom. One thing is what is called a “gait belt.” Its a heavy duty belt that you put around the unstable person’s waist. It allows you to hold onto the person when you are walking with them. Simple, but effective.
Another thing is a home camera. We bought one called a Nest Cam. It has a wide angle lens, complete with sound. You can log onto the website and watch remotely. You can watch and also talk to someone through the speakers on the camera. It has a great wide angle lens with night vision. When Mom gets up at night, I can see her and I tell her to sit down on the bed,and wait for my brother to get into the room. We don’t like her walking unattended. It freaked her out a little the first time I spoke to her over the camera, but now she’s used to it. :)
It’s a great way to monitor the caregivers and make sure they are taking good care of Mom, and yes, they are aware of the cameras.
We also bought one for the motorhome. If you have animals you worry about, it’s a good way to monitor the temperature in the event of a power or air conditioner failure.
Here is a link if you are interested. Nest Cam. There are a lot of ways this great little camera could be helpful. We got ours for $169 at Home Depot.
You have to have the password to log onto your camera, but you can see what the camera sees from wherever you are. It’s quite a great invention.
My brother recently found another helpful device for elderly people, in case you find yourself caring for an aging parent.
It’s a Kerr Fall Prevention system. We put a special pad on her recliner and another one on her bed. When she moves too much, or gets up, it sets off an alarm. There is a remote you can take with you in the house, so you don’t have to be in the same room. It’s been very helpful because it lets you know as soon as she gets up, and doesn’t depend on you noticing movement, like with the camera. We have slept a lot better since we got that. Before, we kept waking up and looking at the camera in her bedroom, which didn’t allow for much sleep.
If you have elderly parents you are caring for, we’ve found these items to be extremely helpful.
We are not going to the Keys this winter. We have our Rv lot rented for January and February, and are still working on December, March and beyond. If you know of anyone wanting to rent a RV lot in the Keys, let me know.
I guess there are worse places to be stuck for the winter than Tampa, Florida, but we will certainly miss our little piece of paradise in the Florida Keys.
I have been trying to keep up with blogs, but have fallen behind in reading and responding. I hope you all are enjoying your winter travels, wherever you are.