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My father's last directive to me was to take care of my mother. He ended up passing in 2002, at age 62.
After his passing, we realized just how much they had been covering up.
I grew up an only child in rural Michigan. My dad was a hard working blue collar worker for a chemical company.
My mom was a secretary for our school district.
I graduated from law school and passed the Kentucky bar exam in 1989. Two years later, I married my amazing husband and we now have four wonderful kids.
We had begun to notice that my mother, then 58, was slipping. She had been fired from a position for poor job performance and a home health nurse even called me, concerned that she couldn't keep my dad's medicines straight. I was doing their taxes by now and to say that their records were a mess in an understatement.
We finally sought a neurologist's opinion for my mother and at the age of 59, she was diagnosed with dementia. To say that we were devastated would be putting it lightly. For a long time, she denied that anything was even wrong. Looking back, that may have actually been a blessing. Her finances, among other things, were chaotic, and just like that, we became parents to a 60 year old.
We had to prepare her meals, do her laundry, make and keep her doctor appointments, and kept her entertained, but fortunately, she was capable of living on her own around the corner from us and did so for many years.
She had a wonderful spirit and loved travelling, riding roller coasters, and even zip lining. Our kids have some wonderful memories of their Nana.
She ended up passing at age 68. We still miss her every single day.