Senior Living Advice: Plan today, no one guaranteed tomorrow

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By Beth Dow, Home Helpers of GA & AL
My mother-in-law was Dot Dow. Dot raised three children, one grandchild and was married to her high school sweetheart. Her best friend in the entire world was her sister Louise.
In her 82 years, Dot lost many loved ones. Dot watched as her husband died from Frontal Temporal Dementia when he was only 64 years old. Then she lost her daughter Joy, when Joy was 46. Joy had been dealing with  Bi-polar disease with schizophrenia since high school.
Dot’s sister, her best friend, died a few years later. This loss hit Dot especially hard. Her sister had always been there for her through the loss of her husband and child, but now, she had to go through this loss without her. Eleven years ago, Dot lost her mom, Babo. She was 98 years old.
Even though Dot had suffered many losses in her life, she was a happy great-grandmother. She got to see some of her great-grandchildren every week, a grandson at least one or two times a week, one son lived with her and the other son – and favorite daughter-in-law, me – lived 100 feet from her.
Then last year, Dot was murdered in a home invasion. In a million years, we could have never imagined that Dot’s life would end in that manner. We live in Lone Oak for goodness sake. We all felt that Dot would live forever. We used to tease her that she was going to outlive all of us. She had her mom’s good longevity genes, so why wouldn’t she live into her 90s as well? That is what we thought.
So why I am telling you this story? Because no one expected my father-in-law to die at 64. He was in the best shape of any 60-plus year old that I knew. He ran the Peachtree Road race every July. No one expected Joy to die. She was only 46 years old. No one expected Louise to die. One day she was applying lotion to her face and neck, and felt a lump. And then Dot.
We know our parents will die. We know we will die. We just think it will happen later. Much, much later. But often, very often, we don’t get later. Very often it comes today. A loss of a parent is always hard, but when you don’t have everything in order; when we don’t have a plan for who should make decisions for us; when we haven’t told family members where important documents are located or that they even exist – a difficult time can be even more traumatic.
If you do not have a plan or have not shared that plan with loved ones, I ask you to do just that, now. Don’t wait. If you need help with your plan, contact me. As a Geriatric Case Manager, I can help you with a plan, or refer you to someone, that will bring peace of mind to you and your family. My email is [email protected].
The end of August marked the one-year anniversary of Dot’s death. We were fortunate, in that Dot had
everything laid out for us. She had already made all the decisions. What a wonderful gift! Don’t take for granted that you will have tomorrow.
Plan now to leave one last gift to your loved ones.
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Beth Dow is the owner of Home Helpers and Direct Link of GA & AL. For more information, you can reach her at 678-876-5118 or visit their website: local.homehelpershomecare.com/newnanga/home.

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