by Barbara Penwell
Twelve years ago, my father and the beloved husband of my mom, Betty passed away. One of his last wishes was for me to take care of Betty, make sure she is safe and most importantly, loved. This vow was very easy for me to embrace and keep. Betty and my father were married in 1982 and spent seventeen glorious years together before he passed. My sister and I, very quickly on, not only accepted her into our family, but also called her mom, grandmother and most recently, great-grandmother.
Betty kept numerous photos of her and dads’ life together, including the proposal evening, several travels spanning the US, Germany, France, Spain, UK, & Egypt, attending the wedding of my nephew, experiencing the birth of a daughter and son to my nephew and wife and countless family get togethers.
Two and a half years ago, Betty suffered a stroke that resulted in short term memory loss, hence being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. While not physically impaired, we were faced with the reality of her not being able to live alone. I am her healthcare agent, Power of Attorney, and Co-Executor of her estate, thus remembering my vow to dad, I embarked on arranging her care in an assisted living facility. On most days, her routine is challenging as her cognitive ability to function is gone. What has brought her joy, is attending the facilities’ programs that include music from her genre and watching old time movies.
Living approximately 2.5 hrs away, does not afford me the time my husband and I would like to spend with her. Thus, we came up with an idea to create a video capturing a story line of memories from the photos Betty kept over the years. She loves the big band era of music, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby and the like, so these artists are the musical backdrop to the video. To this day, Betty can escape her frustration of the memory loss and watch the video daily, weekly or monthly. The video brings priceless joy and warms her heart. Betty has stated we should have done a video like this years ago and has told her friends to do the same.
It is never too late to gather photos you and your loves ones have accumulated and tell your own “story”. A video will help provide peace of mind to an elder person, as it has in the case for Betty.
Equally important, it is never too late to discuss your estate planning with family members, prepare for the future and gain peace of mind.
It is never too late to learn about nursing home planning, asset protection, family trusts, veterans benefits, medicaid planning and estate recovery from Cooper and Adel and Associates and gain peace of mind.
It is never too late to act.