Friday, January 14, 2011

Decisions, decisions

Really not a fun day today. I went to look at a couple assisted living places for dad. I tell you what, I shouldn't have gone to Bickford Cottage first! That place is nice, very, very nice. And expensive, very, very expensive. Like 5k a month expensive. It's just incredible how much those places cost! It was a real eye opener, that's for sure. I knew it was expensive but not "that" expensive. How can anyone possibly pay for that without some kind of assistance? Even with dad's VA benefits, pension, and meager social security check, he cannot afford that. With all the ballyhoo that's been on the news lately about how the first baby boomers are retiring this year and what a strain it will be on social security and Medicare, how do you deal with this?

Believe me, my husband is a frugal person. Frugal to the point of ridiculousness sometimes, IMHO, and we sure as hell wouldn't be able to afford to live in a retirement center like this. I'm grateful dad still doesn't need more help than he does. The room alone at Bickford is $2,600 a month and then on top of that we have to pay for the care he needs - they base that fee on the level of care he needs. I'm thinking he's at about a level 3, which is about 2k a month MORE!

Luckily, that wasn't the only place we visited today and I think I can find somewhere more manageable, money-wise, but holy crap, it will still be waaaaaaay more than what he has. The rep at the other place we looked made me laugh when she talked about the possibility of "spending down his assets". Ha ha ha... Like he has any assets left after being married to Miss Gold-Digger 1960. We're lucky he's held on to what he has for as long as he has!

It was also sobering to wonder what in the world Steve and I are going to do in the future. Face it, we're going to be 54 and 57 this year, not exactly spring chickens. I have a small (read minuscule) retirement account from working at the hospital and Steve has 20+ years worth of pension at his employer, but believe me, we're not going to be living in the lap of luxury in our golden years. Our lives are more than half over and we have a wonderful home, 2 cars, and everything we need to live now, but what happens in 5, 10, or 15 years? I don't want my kids to be burdened with dealing us in a situation like my dad's - and do I have dementia to look forward to? My grandmother had Alzheimer's, my father has temporal lobe dementia, so what's my lot in life? I absolutely do not want to live with dementia to the point my grandmother lived. I do NOT!

The VA home is still on the list of possible places to live, but I hate that it's so far away. If he fell or was sick and they called us or needed us there, it's about half an hour or more from here. I don't like that. Unfortunately, like isn't going to pay the bills.

The one thing I dread is having "the talk" with dad. He's going to absolutely blow a gasket. Maybe we should tell him and then find a place, just in case... LOL! (just kidding, really) He's been so tearful lately and I'm pretty sure that idiot wife (still - God, this will never end...) has been giving him a lot of crap lately. Mind games all the time. Telling him she loves him, she can't move back home because "the girls" are there, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.... She had a minor car accident last week after having dad take her out to dinner (He says she paid, I say BS, she's never paid for anything in their marriage, why start now?) Either way, she was going home and says she slid sideways into a tree, broke off her passenger mirror and did some damage to the right side of her car. Whatever. She has a cell phone - does she use it to call the police? Oh heck no - she drives home and then calls my dad. Really? What in the heck is he supposed to do? He doesn't have a car anymore. She's not hurt, but she doesn't know what to do. Well, moron, call the police - that's what you do when you have a car accident. Dad couldn't get anyone to take him to her apartment that night, it was a bad night out, and, like I said, what's he going to do? Come to find out she has a $1,000 deductible on her collision insurance. Yeah, have we mentioned how she's a genius? If you have no money, I understand trying to keep your insurance cheap, but you also have to factor in the fact you live in a place where it snows, it gets icy, and people have accidents. You really might have to come up with that $1000 if you have an accident. I suppose she thinks dad has it (ha ha ha), or that he's going to give it to her (if I find out he did he's a goner, I swear....) I'm so sick of her and her BS and her her twisting dad around and leaving him to hang in the wind. I wish to God that he's never met her - and that's second only to my wish that he'd never met my mother (the only reason that's second it because if he hadn't met my mother, I probably wouldn't be here.) I can only imagine the frustration Mel feels, because I know I'm about ready to throttle myself from the stress! If I had to live with him I don't know what I'd do.

I told Steve today, after touring just one place, that you ought to go straight from high school to a nursing home. What good does it do to work, and work, and work some more to have a nice house to raise your kids and grandkids and enjoy life, when by the time you're ready to retire or downsize you can't afford to anyway? What have you really gained in life that you get to keep when you're old and not working and are able to just enjoy what you have? You can't have it because you can't afford it!!! I look at our house now - we could afford it 7 years ago. I was working, Steve was working, the taxes were half of what they are now, and Steve was putting money into retirement, I was putting money into retirement. Than WHAM. I can't work anymore, the economy tanks, taxes go through the roof, and our mayor starts making taxes up!!! Let's tax services, and buying prepared food at the grocery store, and going out to restaurants, and movies, and hotels... When does it end?

I know this sounds silly because you're obviously not taking it with you when you go, so why do we work for it to begin with? Hmmm. That's something to ponder.

In the meantime, I'm going to love my family, my kids, my grandchild, my dogs, and the rest of my stuff because really it will probably all be gone sooner than I expect!!!

Dad wants to add her to his bankruptcy now too. I'm not helping her. No way, no how, because if something should go wrong, or we miss a bill that she owes, or whatever can go wrong does, I'm not going to be responsible. Nope. Not me. I expected this though, since dad has already hired and attorney and paid the retainer, heavens yes, why should SHE have to put up any money?

And I wonder why my BP is high? Ha ha ha... Laugh while you can is going to be my new motto.

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