The Aging Game


Protecting Your Independence means learning what your options are, expressing them to loved ones, and making sure you have legally insured they will be followed.

Recently I conducted a workshop “Protecting Your Independence” at the Henry Ford Learning Center in Dearborn. Each attendee had a personal reason for taking the workshop. At the workshop, I assisted with opening doors for them. It is their option whether to go through the doors. Over the next few months, learn what is behind Door #1, Door #2 etc.

Door #1 Respite Care

One attendee, Joan (not her real name) has a husband with Alzheimer’s. Joan opened up and sharing how stressed she is.

  • After attending support groups, Joan left depressed from the negative feedback of those who dominated the time. We looked at the option of starting a meeting within her home for others who also want a positive environment.
  • Using In home care services a few hours per week. The goal was to free up some time by taking advantage of others for tasks such as cleaning, shopping, cooking and washing clothes. Having transportation to and from doctor appointments was a welcomed idea.
  • Did you know many assisted living facilities, such as American House, provide short-term care for families in need of vacations?
  • Another alternative is having a nephew or niece stay with her husband for a few hours. A great way to bond.

If I have triggered your emotions, please email me via this web site. Your feelings may serve others. I look forward to exploring your options.


At my recent workshop, another attendee is the only heir and wants her mother to become serious about having a living will, will and testament plus trust set up.

Door #2 Elder Law

At age 80, her mother does not understand the urgency of having a last will and testament. I suggested she contact an elder care attorney. These special type of attorney face this type of situation and know how to deal with her mother’s emotional issues. Make sure you and family members understand all legal documents prior to death of a loved one.

Personal Experience

When grieving for a loved one, would you want this problem?

I recently my ex-husband passed away. My son Michael, 31 years old, is the only heir. Prior to his death from cancer, Mike was asked to keep the home in the family. His father also had put aside an account to pay for the grandchildren’s education.

The attorney his father used did not write up his last will and testament to meet these desires. Instead it was written to benefit the financial institution that holds his investments. Everything was written as part of the trust account. To make matters worse, Mike was not allowed to use any part of the trust for another 30 years. That may mean the house must be sold and that money goes into the trust also. Financial institutions that are executors of trusts have the right to charge for their services. Would there be any money left in the trust after 30 years?

Should my son been added to the savings, checking and home, most of the problems now faced would have been avoided. Now Mike has called another attorney to take on the trust and sue the other attorney. Mike was given the opportunity to pick his own executor for the trust after the financial institution decided it was not large enough to handle. That was the only good side to what is happening to him.


Door #3 – Calming the Chaos of Change

Another workshop attendee, Alice, is watching a very independent sister, Barbara, become wheelchair challenged. Our lifestyle can change at any time and any age. Chronic illness and aging challenges our emotional stability.

Barbara broke a hip, went into the nursing home for rehabilitation and is now coming home in a wheelchair. In home care providers offer you the opportunity to interview their workers prior to needing their services. If Alice doesn’t relate to their personality, be honest with yourself. Ask for another service person.

Barbara’s husband is ill and unable to assist her. We discussed in home care services, a variety of ways to pay for this care, and senior-housing options for her husband should his health continue to get worse. It is always difficult to watch a loved one’s life challenged. There are companies that actually deliver food to the house to avoid the stress of cooking and shopping. Another service actually pays bills monthly and will send end of month statements to back up their services.

Organizing For Change:

Furniture must be changed so that Alice can maneuver in the wheelchair. This is a great time to remove items not used for over a year. Pack up items that hold memories to organize the environment. Consider simple changes such as a new tablecloth, new plants, floor lamps, and new throw pillows. Make minor changes to create a positive atmosphere.

Keep things simple. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Love and be loved.

Would you like to know about other types of services available?

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